Spring is a wonderful time of year full of new growth, fresh starts, and warmer weather. As I approach this season, I love considering how I can incorporate spring themes into language and learning activities for my students. I have also been using alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) systems with my little ones (even if they do not have a dedicated device yet). I find that all students benefit from language being modeled verbally, through auditory and an added motor component! If I am using an iPad and TD Snap to model for a student who needs the language support, I invite their peers to also use the device. Often, it’s the adults that are uncomfortable with using the device, kiddos jump right in! And what awesome modeling and inclusion. There are many ways to communicate, and I think modeling that on the daily is so important. Read on below to see how I incorporate some spring activities and AAC into mini lessons!
Spring Errorless Learning & Matching Books
Errorless learning is a teaching strategy that minimizes the risk of errors and maximizes the chances of success. This approach is particularly useful for students who may become frustrated or discouraged by frequent mistakes. In basic matching activities, individuals are presented with a stimulus and asked to identify the matching response from a set of options. This type of activity is ideal for teaching early vocabulary and basic concepts. Errorless learning can create “positive behavior momentum” which is when we know the student can easily complete the activity and feel more confident about trying a harder task next! Sometimes I naturally do that with myself when there’s a larger task, I am worried about completing, I might do something a little less daunting and get myself going! I love The Autism Helper Easy Weekly Workbooks-Spring Edition to practice basic learner skills! You can find them here.
To incorporate a spring theme, consider using pictures of spring flowers, birds, insects, and weather patterns. For example, you might show a picture of a butterfly and ask the individual to match it with another picture of a butterfly. To reinforce core language concepts, use high-frequency vocabulary and concepts such as colors, sizes, and shapes.
Infusing AAC to build a bunny!
For students who use AAC systems, make sure to be using their dedicated device to support communication during ALL activities. Students can participate in basic matching activities by pointing to or selecting the matching response using their communication device. For example, they might select the picture of a bee to match with the picture of a flower! Or maybe you are working on a bunny activity, and they find the bunny on their device and next you get up and hop around like a bunny. In this activity, I found some sticker bunnies at the Dollar Tree store and created a board on TD Snap to support the specific pieces.
Incorporating a spring theme into errorless, basic matching activities and core language and AAC concepts is an engaging way to support language and communication development for students who need language supports or who use AAC systems. Young learners can benefit immensely from visuals and/or auditory output for both expressive and language skills. By using high-frequency vocabulary and reinforcing basic concepts, students can learn new skills and engage with the world around them in a fun and interactive way. I love watching ALL my young learners interacting with different types of AAC support (both low and high tech). Remember that we are modeling the language and not making the child touch the screen or manipulate a button. If your learner does not yet seem interested or unsure, having other peers give it a try can be very encouraging! KEEP MODELING! See the video below for some AAC in action! Happy Spring Learning!
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