AACtual Therapy: Harlem Shake, AAC Style with Shareka Bentham

April 18, 2013 by - 1 Comment

AACtual Therapy: Harlem Shake, AAC Style with Shareka Bentham
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We’re back again with another AACtual Therapy post from SLP Shareka Bentham. We love the way she creates ‘buy in’ with kids, families, and teachers with this terrific activity.

Everyone who knows me knows that I can get a little bit crazy sometimes, so when I went around school informing the teachers that we were going to be doing a school-wide Harlem Shake, no one was surprised. The thing is, my little ones, especially the school aged children are all very aware of the latest trends in popular culture (I have a little one that will only use his Big Mack to request Adele). Whether they are verbal or nonverbal, they can show you all the latest moves. So we just had to do Harlem shake. Well, a modified version…

AACtual Therapy: Harlem Shake, AAC Style with Shareka BenthamAACtual Therapy: Harlem Shake, AAC Style with Shareka Bentham

The main focus of the activity was making using AAC to make choices for the dress-up part of the activity. Children were able to use a communication board to choose from a variety of items from the ‘dress-up hamper’ then request to look in the mirror at their new hip style. I think I made a pretty good choice as well.

AACtual Therapy: Harlem Shake, AAC Style with Shareka BenthamAACtual Therapy: Harlem Shake, AAC Style with Shareka Bentham

After everyone had chosen their costumes it was time for some Harlem shake fun.

AACtual Therapy: Harlem Shake, AAC Style with Shareka Bentham

I used this board as both a visual timetable for the activity, and for children to take turns to tell the group what to do next. I also incorporated a sequencing activity for those children at the school who are verbal, so that they could give the instructions for what would happen first, next and last. It was such a motivating group activity for everyone and we all had fun.

AACtual Therapy: Harlem Shake, AAC Style with Shareka Bentham

What was also great about the activity is that the teachers were involved. They were able to see AAC in action in a fun, trendy activity that allowed everyone to participate.

AACtual Therapy: Harlem Shake, AAC Style with Shareka Bentham

I’m enjoying my AAC work thus far and I’m seeing the growth in the children I work with. They are more motivated to participate and engaged in tasks. Many are also showing greater symbol recognition and are moving towards greater discrimination of symbols across activities. Keeping tasks fun and functional is a great way to build AAC skills. 

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This post was written by Carole Zangari

1 Comment

  • Gale says:

    This was a great post giving me ideas for my inclusive drum circles ideas. Need all participants to not only request and comment but participate and even lead with joy and energy. Looks like you all had a terrific time together. Thanks.

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