I think it can be difficult to help AAC users move from using single words to using sentences that more completely express their ideas. Playing games can be a great and motivating way to practice making sentences on an AAC device. These games can be played using core vocabulary pages or you can create a page with words/phrases specifically for the game. I will often use core vocabulary for kids that can direct select the icons by touching them and create pages for kids that use scanning with switches to select the icon. It’s a lot more efficient for kids that use switches if they don’t have to navigate between multiple pages every time they take a turn.
Here are some of my favorite games for AAC devices:
1) I-Spy: Choose something around the room and make the sentence “I spy something that is ____________.” I make kids give me a second clue if I don’t guess what they spy after 2-3 tries so that they get more practice constructing sentences.
2) Guess Who- This game is a great way to practice asking questions. Have your students make a sentence like “Does your person have ________?” or “Is your person _________?
3) Go Fish- Here is another great game for asking questions. Your students can construct questions like “Do you have a ____________?” and statements like “No, go fish” or “I got a match.” You can practice locating different icons on the AAC device if you use cards with pictures of animals, vehicles, or foods to play.
4) 20 Questions- First, think of an item and tell your student if it is a person, place, or thing. Then have your student construct questions about the mystery object. Answer questions until your student can guess what you were thinking of. Then let your student think of something and answer your questions. If it’s difficult for your student to think of his/her own object or to guess yours without a little guidance, you can put out some pictures and choose your objects from them.
5) Scattergories- This game isn’t necessarily the best for making sentences, but it’s great for vocabulary. Your student will have to locate items on his/her AAC device to fit the different categories.
6) Catch Phrase- In this game, you have to describe a word to the other player so that they can guess what you are describing. Your students can construct sentences to give you clues. This is a motivating game to work on constructing sentences because single words probably won’t give enough information for the other person to guess the object. You can set a timer and see how many words you can guess in a certain amount of time (I usually use like 5 min with AAC users)
7) Taboo- This game is similar to Catch Phrase. Each player chooses a card and has to give clues to describe the word at the top of the card. Under the word that you are supposed to describe, it lists a few words that you aren’t allowed to say in your clues.
8) Tell Tale- In this game, you choose several pictures and use the pictures together to make up a story. You can make a story together by having one player make up the first sentence of your story and the second player add the next sentence. Then you can alternate back and forth with sentences. I think this is a good way to play the game for AAC users that need extra time to make sentences because it gives them a little break between each turn to formulate their thoughts.
9) Rory’s Story Cubes- This game is similar to Tell Tale. You roll dice and then make a story using the pictures on the dice. This game also comes in different themes like “actions” and “voyages.”
10) You’ve Been Sentenced- This game is best for more advanced AAC users that are working on grammar endings and sentence structure. You choose cards and make the longest, grammatically correct sentence that you can.
What other games do you play with your AAC users?