Father’s Day Language Facilitation Activities and Gifts

June 14, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts

Father's Day Language Facilitation Activities & Gifts
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Father’s Day is almost here.   We love celebrating fathers and/or the positive male role model in our students lives. The reason we celebrate a variety of ‘father figures’ is that we want to include ALL of our students. So we celebrate grandfathers, uncles, godfathers, husbands, brothers, or any other male the child feels represents a ‘father’ figure.
Speech-language pathologists tend to love holidays and art projects.  Communication and language is learned in real (authentic) activities. So we found some great Father’s Day Crafts that we are using to facilitate communication/language AND to give ‘dads’ a great home-made gift. Remember though with a little AAC training, Anything we can do, families can do better and more often at home…

Possible Goals (but limitless):

  • requesting with adjectives– ‘want blue crayon’; ‘can I have striped tie?’; ‘need wood glue’
  • commenting– ‘pretty’; ‘that’s beautiful’; ‘too sticky’
  • causality– ‘want pink because it’s my favorite’, ‘I used glitter because stars shine’,’ need sponge so I can clean up’
  • Choice Making– choice of  white sign or blue sign (to hold in Photo collage); choice of colors; choice of tie to go into wreath next; choice of words for candy bar
  • Negotiation– ‘pretty please- can I have eat one of the candy bars because .. I am starving, we have an extra, I love you
Some Considerations 

Age Appropriate Terminology-   Art activities can be great to use with any age students. We even use art activities with adults if they like crafts, art, or do it yourself (DIY) projects.  We just have to remember, art goes by a variety of different names depending upon the age of the person doing it.  Preschoolers usually do arts & crafts, school age children typically do art projects, and teenagers and adults might do crafting, DIY projects, or Art Design, etc. All of these ‘titles’ for art can be represented on AAC displays through text, picture communication symbols (PCS), other symbol set images, clip art, photos, or hand drawings.

Themes– Father’s Day fits great into theme based learning.  It is the natural theme of the third week of June. However, depending upon interest mostly (& often it is interest of the facilitator as much as of the client), Father’s Day can be used as a theme for the whole month of June or at least two weeks. Researching about the meaning of Father’s Day, writing essays, poems, playing ‘dad’ games can all be used as a comprehensive learning platform.  We also often reverse this idea and make art the theme and might use facilitate AAC learning through an art lens. We might communicate and use language while learning how to become ‘artists’, we might learn about different art generes, or even adapt structured programs like ‘Meet the Masters” to learn about different famous artists.  Since we are very good at cutting, coloring, and pasting (mostly geometric shapes), we tend to have art ‘projects’ ‘in each of our sessions as a main item on the schedule. We then change the specific project based on the overall theme of the session. We have done friend art, sports art, growing up art, and certainly holiday art.

Art Examples– When we do art we always have enough materials to make at least 2- 3 creations. We usually like to have a example or model so the student ‘sees’ the purpose.  We have also had pictures of the finished project if it is not really feasible to make a sample, but it is really helpful for the student to SEE the end result.  We also like to do the project with the student.  If we are creating, we can model appropriate requests and comments for ourselves rather than narrating what the student is doing.  If we are only narrating what the student is doing, there is not much left for them to say.  We  will also work on one creation for group art project together but we each are adding to the creation on our own. We have made wall murals that still hang in our clinic,  banners and pennants for the many great sports teams we have here in Florida, or any other project that is interesting to the student.

Resources- We always use core words in our PrAActical AAC language facilitation but we have also found some great art communication displays at Speaking of Speech and Board Maker Share

Last Considerations– Even though the activity is art, we always keep in mind that our GOALS are related to AAC, language, and literacy.  No neatness or perfection in the art is important. We use all our language facilitation strategies for reinforcement rather stressing the beauty of the art (although some of this of course is done).  We make sure to use language expansions or recasting to follow up a student commenting on his picture (student communicates “‘want blue paint” and we might expand with “wow want blue paint FOR the sky”  rather than responding with “its so pretty”.  With that said, if the goal for the student was comments, we might set up a commenting format to take turns praising the art. In this case, we might look at the art project together and if the student communicates ‘sun’ we would expand with something like “beautiful sun”.  The main concept here is to expand with your language goal in mind.

How do you use  prAACtical art activities or do you have some great Father’s Day Crafts?


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This post was written by Robin Parker

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