It's PrAACtically Memorial Day!
Memorial Day Weekend is big for us. We remember, appreciate, and honor the people who have protected our freedoms. We both have annual relaxing weekends planned. As we started to get ready, though, we started looking for Memorial Day AAC materials. It was surprising to see that there was not much to be found. We found some gluten-casein free Memorial Day recipes, which are great, but what about symbols to go with the recipes or symbols to explain the holiday and what about AAC language activities for the typical long weekend or trip? Not much…. So as we began preparing for our own weekends, these are some of the things we have done or are doing for PrAACtical AAC at home and on our mini-vacations:
Before We Leave
- Create a personal participation story (modified social story) so ALL the children can SEE the language for the trip. Here’s something that surprises the beginning clinicians with whom we work: Even good changes can produce anxiety. Although we both think our weekend plans are the coolest, best ever, there have been years in our kids lives that they might not have agreed. They had to go with us, but it was better that they knew the plans in advance.
- Use a monthly calendar to show when we are leaving and when we return from our trip. Sometimes just the day is represented while other times both the day and time is needed.
- Create a Visual Packing List so ALL children can be active participants in getting ready. The lists will vary depending upon the ages of the children involved.
- Creating and/or or reading a Memorial Day story so ALL thechildren learn about the true meaning of Memorial Day. We choose a story that is at or just above the level of the learner. News-2-You usually has some great stories and activities about Memorial Day but you have to have a subscription to have access. Vizzle (visual language app/computer program) also has some Memorial Day lessons and you can subscribe to a free 14 day trial if you are not already a member.
During the Weekend/Trip
- Create a picture-based scavenger hunt/checklist. We often do this as a word document with clip art symbols, but we have been known to use boardmaker, our own writing/drawing, or even the hotel brochure or website pictures
- Have the children take pictures of items found on the scavenger hunt list for later stories or discussions
- Take cool pictures of people and events from the vacation for later use in talking picture albums or literacy activities. We also let the kids of ALL ages be the picture takers (thank goodness for digital pictures because film was much more expensive)
- Use daily schedules that are sometimes very general and sometimes more specific depending upon what is needed
- Use mini-schedules especially with new or less familiar activities (badminton, hiking, etc).
- Try & give visual choices of activities, foods, clothes when choices are available (it is the kids vacations too)
After the Weekend/Trip
- Re-read the Memorial Day story and reflect on some of the key concepts about Memorial Day. We might paste some pictures into a notebook titled Memorial Day 2012.
- We often use rating scales to decide what we liked best and least about the Weekend, with ALL activities having to fall someplace different on the scale. Worst———-——Best
- Create talking picture albums using an app like Pictello or Tapikeo or going old school and using a regular talking picture frame
- Look at the monthly calendar and lament/vent/think aloud about how fast the weekend went by and look for when the next vacation will arrive.
Filed under: PrAACtical Thinking
This post was written by Robin Parker