AACtual Therapy: Fun and Functional in the Kitchen
Today we welcome back SLP Shareka Bentham to share her prAACtical adventures in the kitchen. You can see her previous posts here.
For the past few months I have been having lots of fun using functional ways to teach my little ones vocabulary for items around the house. “Around the kitchen” is a favourite theme, since we always get to explore the kitchen, and make some yummy treats. I’ve found in my sessions that many children can recognize many of the items in the kitchen, and are aware of their function, but don’t actually know the names of these objects. It has been my goal then for children to be able to label at least 15 items within the kitchen. Vocab items range from the fridge, stove, blender, to food items, spoons, dish towel. Through these activities we have also highlighted the need to be able to talk about many actions such as (bake, boil, mix, stir, blend) and descriptors (hot,cold,sharp, wet) . I have also been using these activities as part of my AAC lessons as some of my little ones transition to high tech devices. Here is an example of a session with a little one who is primarily nonverbal, who is learning to use his Dynavox to communicate. The session was conducted in the kitchen at his grandmother’s house, where he spends most of his time during the week.
We started with a “Find it” worksheet activity where he had to match the pictures with the appliances around the kitchen, by running and touching each appliance. He loved this activity and caught on very quickly. He then did a comprehension task where he had to stamp the items called. I like to leave worksheets with parents to help facilitate continued practice of activities, since many parents/caregivers, like his granny, are hesitant to work with technology, and feel overwhelmed by the more high tech devices. It is always important to note that parents and caregivers sometimes need more support than the children to use these devices and be effective communication partners.
Once he had grasped this we moved on to a dynamic display of the kitchen on his device, which looked a lot like the kitchen we were working in, and we were able to label items while pointing them out in our kitchen and work on short phrases such as “open the cupboard,” “in the sink” “wash up” “close the fridge.”
After we had explored, boy were we hungry! And what better way to do a functional activity in the kitchen than to make some food! He was able to use his device with minimal prompting, to say each item needed to make his favourite, a toasted mayonnaise sandwich.
He still required some support to name objects to questions about functions/descriptions, such as “What will we use to cut/toast the bread?” or “what did we put on that was white and creamy?” so that will be an extended goal for our activities. Once we had finished our delicious snack we had the opportunity to combine using the words “wash” and “dry”, to clean up the items we had used (Wash plate, dry knife etc.). This was another favourite activity, as it was a new version of water play for him to enjoy.
What was great about this kitchen activity was that it was a fun, functional way of learning, as well as super easy for parents/caregivers to replicate at any time. Furthermore the language that could come out of any kitchen tasks is limitless. I look forward to expanding these activities and extending them to more settings , as well as teaching his family more ways to incorporate using his device into their everyday routines.
Filed under: PrAACtical Thinking
This post was written by Carole Zangari