Friday, February 14, 2014

AAC Bingo Activity and Ideas

Over the past few years, I've gotten quite a few augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) users. While there are many different devices and software out there (my students included), almost all communication devices are set up similarly (there are definitely exceptions). But, for the sake of this blog post, let's say that your users have page sets with various vocabulary, expressions, and personal information (likes/dislikes, wants/needs, vital information).  The nice thing about most communication devices (apps/programs/software) is that they have pre-programmed pages.  So, what's the hard part for teachers?  Getting students to turn on their devices and use them functionally during classroom discussions and activities.  My job is to show, teach, and collaborate with the classroom staff on how to program and actually use the communication devices.  If you've ever programmed even just one, then you know how time consuming this can be.  So, what I thought I'd do is share with you some ideas on how to incorporate AAC into an activity.

Print 'N Play by Mayer Johnson
One of the vocabulary games that I see (and play) often in the classroom is Bingo.  I bought the Mayer Johnson Print 'N Play Games which works along with Boardmaker.  The nice thing is that I don't really have to create any boards and that most communication devices already have these PCS symbols or other similar ones.  Don't forget to check Boardmaker Achieve (formerly Boardmaker Share) or Pinterest.   There's a ton of free stuff like this on there!  What's great about Bingo is that the entire class can play.

So, how do AAC users come into play?  
Let them be the Bingo caller!  
Depending on the level of the student, I do this in one of two ways:
SMART Notebook
  • One-button switch users--For these students, I'd either use a Step-by-Step Switch or a Bluetooth Super Switch. Using a Step-by-Step Switch is fairly simple.  All you do is record every vocabulary word.  Then have the student placed in front of the room and prompt them to "call" the Bingo words.  Now, if you're talented, you can use a one-button Bluetooth Super Switch paired with a computer that is hooked up to the SMART Board.  I do this one often because it's both very visual and there is an auditory component (it sounds like the Price is Right wheel).  To do this, you hover the cursor over the "select" button and make the switch a mouse click.  Obviously, you'd have to have a SMART Board (and a Bluetooth Super Switch) to do this.  If you do have SMART Notebook, then you can search for "random image chooser" in the gallery.  You can drag and drop pictures quickly into it.  (If you don't have SMART Notebook, try the free online version SMART Notebook Express.  Here's the Winter Bingo file to download beforehand.)
  • AAC device users--This provides a lot of repetition for finding the correct page and locating the vocabulary word.  Of course, you'd want to set it up to the user's level--meaning, you might only have one page available (e.g. Bingo page).  For more advanced users, you could have them navigate each time to the word.  I've done this with students using Proloquo2Go app, Prentke Romich software, GoTalk Now app, The Grid 2 software, and Tobii software.  Again, you could either provide them with the prompt (which word to select for the class) or you could let them randomly choose the words.  It really depends on the student.  If you were really savvy, you could even make a scene page using the actual bingo board and make hot spots for each picture.  
Playing Bingo isn't just about saying or locating the words.  Think of all of the social pieces of playing the game.  What else do people say?  How about the Bingo caller?  All right everyone,  does anyone have four in a row? Anybody getting close to a Bingo?  We've got a Bingo!  Get creative and make it fun!  
Do you have any activities or games that you use to get your AAC users involved?