PrAACtically Halloween: Considerations for an AAC-friendly Holiday

October 15, 2015 by - Leave your thoughts

PrAACtically Halloween: Considerations for an AAC-friendly Holiday
A- A+

Holidays are special and Halloween is a favorite among many. As much fun as it is to dress up and get candy, though, there are lots of ways that Halloween can be stressful for AAC learners. From the change in routine, to the costumes and scary decorations, to talking with neighbors and other less familiar communication partners, to the over-abundance of sugar, there are lots of ways in which Halloween can trip us up.

If the AAC learners in your life celebrate Halloween, Fall Festival, Harvest Parade, or any other celebration with similar traditions, we SLPs can help them to have a positive experience. Here are some ideas.

                 Pumpkin Fluff at Speaking of Speech.com
                 Candy Corn Bark by Miss Rachel’s Room
                 Lemonade by Your Special Chef (use orange lemonade for a Halloween look)
                 Chocolate Covered Pretzels at Teachers Pay Teachers  by PrAACtical AAC
                 Monster Crisp Snacks from Cindy’s Autistic Support
                 Halloween Mix 
  • Check out some other resources, such as this Adaptive Cooking Book with Communication Board and the Halloween Spider Cooking Summary by Danielle Loyche via Boardmaker Online
  • Take a look at the learners AAC system to see what vocabulary and messages can be used and start prAACticing them. There are lots of ways to use those October core words. Since the transactions are often fast-paced, a set of prestored messages might be helpful.  
  • Or use a special app, like Fat Cat Spooky Chat.
  • Make sure the AAC is available and ready to go. Working with students who don’t have an AAC PrAACtically Halloween: Considerations for an AAC-friendly Holidaysystem yet? Consider introducing a communication board like this one with both core and activity-specific vocabulary.
  • Create a mini-schedule to explain what Halloween day will be like. You can represent things like having an early dinner, changing into our costumes, carrying a treat bag, going outside, walking the neighborhood, stopping at houses, knocking on the door/ringing the bell, waiting for them to answer, greeting the person, holding out the treat bag, saying thank you, etc.
  • Consider making a visual support to plan the trick or treating route. Some AAC learners like to know how many houses they will visit, or how long they will be away.
  • When kids can’t speak well or are reluctant to interact with less familiar neighbors, it can feel awkward and stressful for everyone. Cards that explain the situation, like these, can be handed out at each interaction to inform and ease any awkwardness that may arise. You can download the PrAACtical AAC versions shown in this post here.
  • Create scripts and prAACtice them to give the AAC learner confidence. You can have one script to practice going out to trick-or-treater and another if the AAC learner is going to hand out candy.
  • Don’t forget the safety rules! Holding hands in the street, walking (not running),
  • Check out Trick or Treat Using AAC by Deanne Shoyer at Small but Kinda Mighty.

Do you have tricks to make Halloween a successful experience for AAC learners? Please share! We’d love to learn from you.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed under:

Tagged With: , ,

This post was written by Carole Zangari

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *