PrAACtical Thinking It's PrAActically Saint Patricks Day

Published on March 13th, 2013 | by Robin Parker

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It’s PrAACtically Saint Patrick’s Day

Its PrAACtically Saint Patricks DaySaint Patrick’s Day is coming up.  We love focusing on holidays in our sessions because it is a chance to teach new vocabulary and as importantly (if not more for some learners) it is a chance to teach social conversation about what many people in the community are talking about.

Holiday’s also give us fun ways to focus on many other goals as well. The theme (in this case – a holiday) can serve as the platform for any goal that is appropriate. We just always ask ourselves (and our graduate students)- ‘What is the point’ or ‘What is the Goal’ when we have a great new themed activity.

This is a time to work on core and fringe vocabulary, social conversation and interaction, play skills, and more. These are some fun activities matched to goals that we use to get ready for  Saint Patrick’s Day.

Surveys & or Questions- to focus on social interaction, social conversation, and/or prAACtice with questions. Have students do surveys on what type of green food will people eat?, what green clothes they will wear?, Where will they celebrate?, Who will they celebrate with?, How will they celebrate?.  Questions can be from simple to complex. Some learners can do the survey while others can help create surveys.   (Also see specific resources for other surveys)

Holiday Rating Scale- to focus on self advocacy and comparing and contrasting goals. Create rating scales to rank order favorite or least favorite holidays.  Holiday or comparison rating scales are great especially as the year goes on.  We think it is great to ‘change’ ratings as new experiences happen and using the ‘think aloud’ strategy can help with learning to change your mind and be flexible. These types changes also allow learners to practice using language to talk about thoughts and feelings (‘I changed my mind’). Additionally, discussion about ‘pretty’ or ‘ugly’ green clothes, tasty or disgusting green food can all add to the prAACtice. 

Calendar Schedule PrAActice- to focus on knowing what to expect, talking about past, present and future events. 

Cook with Visual Recipes-to focus on requesting, commenting, sequencing, vocabulary, self advocacy, almost any goal with cooking.  A visual recipe with a traditional Saint Patrick’s Day food could be used, but almost any green food would also be great or a recipe can be turned ‘green’ with a little food coloring or some green sprinkles.  Here are a few that would work (a few examplesCucumber Stacks, Chocolate Covered PretzelsSpeaking of Speech Recipes, Your Special Chef

Read A Story- to focus on literacy, vocabulary, requesting, commenting, comprehension.  Check out Speaking of Speech Saint Patrick’s Day Story, Boardmaker Share, or Tar Heel Reader for Saint Patrick’s Day Books

Bonus- Some great Saint Patrick’s Day Themed Activities, ready to be modified and supported for AAC learners.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, Use Themes & Stay Goal Focused.

Its PrAACtically Saint Patricks Day

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About the Author

Robin Parker

Robin Parker Robin Parker is a professor of speech language pathology who has loved supporting the communication and language of children and adults with autism spectrum disorders for more than 20 years. One of her professional passions is spreading the word about PrAACtical AAC. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." Helen Keller



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