PrAACtical Thinking AACtual Therapy: Go Fish with AAC and Shareka Bentham

Published on June 6th, 2013 | by Carole Zangari

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AACtual Therapy: Go Fish with AAC and Shareka Bentham

We are happy to welcome Shareka Bentham back to our site with more AAC intervention ideas. Earlier in the year, she shared ideas for AAC intervention on a field trip to the zoo, playing Stop and Go, in therapy groups, and doing the Harlem Shake. In this post, Shareka uses a fun card game, Go Fish, to build vocabulary and help students learn to ask and answer questions.


I have been working more frequently with a few more low tech devices recently, particularly with my older kids at school. We have started using the Go Talk 4+ and the Quick Talker 12 in class, (depending on the child’s level and ability) and have been seeing excellent results.

One of my greatest challenges however has been finding ways to incorporate general vocabulary learning into AAC use, while keeping these older children engaged. These are the kids who are 7 years old going on 16, and going through the ‘cool stage,’  where only things related to technology hold their interest, and storybooks and cool toys get boring fast (They rolled their eyes at my puppets!!).

I admit that I usually tend to give in and let them use AAC to request what they want to play on the ipad, but this week I AACtual Therapy: Go Fish with AAC & Shareka Benthamwanted to try something new. My very creative assistant and I brainstormed and created a fun way to work on vocabulary specific to the classroom setting, with a bit of a competitive edge to keep them engaged.

We made a ‘classroom vocabulary go fish’ game, which started with basic vocabulary and progressed to more difficult words.

Each child was dealt 5 cards and player 1 had to use the device to ask another player if they had a card to create a matching pair with a card in the first player’s hand. The next player would indicate ‘yes’ they had the card, or ‘go fish’ if they didn’t have the card, for player 1 to choose from a pile. This continued around the circle until someone made all matching pairs and had no more cards, thus winning the game. This turned out to be a great activity for vocab building, as well as asking and answering questions.  It was also really motivating to see the children using the device to communicate with each other, which is one of my most important goals. I think this was the most exciting AAC session I have ever had (No eye rolling this time!).

During the activity some competitive personalities really showed.  The nonverbal expressions that were observed were priceless! These also served to highlight some additional essential vocabulary that I could have included in the activity such as “Awww man!” “I win!” “I need help” or even “Stop cheating!!”

What I like as well is that this game can be used with any type of vocabulary building goal. It can also be extended to various types of barrier games, even for a ‘Guess Who’ type of activity.

This also has really helped to remind me that the possibilities for making AAC fun and functional are limitless!

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About the Author

Carole Zangari

Carole Zangari has been involved in the practice and teaching of AAC for over 20 years. She is a professor of speech-language pathology and has been fortunate to have been able to introduce many children and adults to the world of AAC. "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." Theodore Roosevelt

One Response to AACtual Therapy: Go Fish with AAC and Shareka Bentham

  1. Baila says:

    Just curious– how many devices did you have for how many kids? How much staff was there?

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