July AAC Core Word Activties: Week 3
This week the augmentative alternative communication (AAC) activities in our homeschool focused on the words SAME, READY, IS, WITH. I selected these from the PrACCtical AAC's list of core words for July. My goal is do one fifteen to twenty minute activity per day that allows me to model the words and motivate Nathaniel to use his device and learn new language skills. I am currently trying to model three to five word utterances. In my examples below, I model all the words except those in parentheses. I have put this week's core words in all capitals to draw attention to them. Simpler modeling option would be to only model the targeted core word.
Again this week, Monday morning found us at physical therapy during our scheduled AAC activity time. I talked with Nathaniel about the week's words over lunch and we found where each was located on his device.
I set out blocks and cars for our AAC activity time together. I anticipated making towers and crashing them down with the cars. Some phrases I modeled during our initial play included:
- Push WITH car!
- Mine IS READY! Down it goes!
- Wait BEFORE you go!
- Can you FIND the SAME shape?
Nathaniel was set on building the little structure show in the photo above and using the triangle piece in front, moving it away, driving the car through, and moving it back. After modeling all I had planned and realizing he had little interest in crashing towers, I quietly started to build next to him. He said, "Blaise home," pivoted the triangle block, pushed the car through, and pivoted the block back into place. He was pretending the blocks were the gate on our daughter's farm! Coming and going from their home requires someone to jump out of the car to open and close the gate. Blaise is my two-year old granddaughter and Nathaniel's BFF - how sweet for him to be thinking of her and pretending to visit her! I was delighted he let me in on this special play time.
One of Nathaniel's most engaged speech therapy appointments with St. Louis Children's Hospital Therapy Services department last year was the day he made pudding. This week's set of words was a great excuse to take our AAC work back to the kitchen. Phrases I modeled while we prepared the pudding included:
- Get it READY!
- Put it WITH that.
- Nathaniel IS READY/not READY.
- It goes WITH that.
- IS it READY?
- It IS READY!
We made lunch. Pudding was included, of course! Phrases I modeled over lunch included:
- Good working WITH fork!
- Eat the pudding WITH (a) spoon.
- Blueberries good WITH pudding!
- Bananas go WITH pudding!
I have a collection of laminated photos that provide endless opportunities for guided conversations targeting a wide variety of words. My hope for this activity was to encourage Nathaniel to say a four word utterance of my selection. He seems to struggle with sentence order. For example, when requesting lemonade, he might say, "lemonade Daddy get." It seems occasionally practicing some prescribed sentences helps him understand a more typical sentence structure. Practicing longer utterances encourages sustained attention to his device.
I do not demand these sentences through hand over hand support. There is nothing that shuts Nathaniel up faster than hand over hand talking. He is smart enough to realize exactly what that is - someone making his body do what they want it to do. Rather, I model the phrase a few times and offer a low tech visual aid. If necessary, I point to each low tech card one at a time moving from left to right to help him keep his place. For this activity, I kept all the photos hidden and showed them to Nathaniel one at a time in response to him saying today's phrase, "He IS READY (to) go!" Very motivational! I then encouraged more conversation about each photo. We discussed who was in the photo, where it was taken, seasonal clues, and how Nathaniel might have felt. A spontaneous utterance during this activity was Nathaniel telling me, after seeing the photo of him pulling a suitcase, that "Nathaniel (said on device) Daddy (signed) Mommy (signed) go car Blaise (said on device.) His niece has a very faithful friend who desperately wants to visit her.
Nathaniel's older brother Peter was home from work this morning so we played Hide and Seek. This game gave us an opportunity to practice counting with Nathaniel's device, and use these core word phrases:
- He IS READY!
- READY (or) not I come!
I write about the books we read and writing activities we did at this post.
Nathaniel is a five year old non-speaking child who uses multiple modalities to communicate. His communication device is an iPad with the app Speak for Yourself. He is in kindergarten and is taught at home. Read more about his and our family's journey through blog posts and at his Facebook page, Hold My Words.