Does your child use an AAC or communication device? Halloween is a popular holiday for many children, and there’s no reason why kids with AAC devices can’t participate fully in the fun!
First, you’ll want to program some key Halloween words and phrases into the AAC device. Some devices actually come programmed with a Halloween page, so check for it first! If you can’t find one, you can make one. Here’s an example of a LAMP Words for Life Halloween page used on an Accent 1000 device:
Each device is different, so refer to your owner’s manual for instructions (most can be found online at the manufacturer’s website).
In the Halloween page, consider including the following words/phrases to prompt conversations:
Trick or Treat
May I have?
I’m a ____! (Add your child’s costume)
Also consider your child’s personality and costume and add any other words or phrases your child may want to use while trick-or-treating. For example, if a child is dressed as Woody from the Toy Story movies, “Howdy, Partner!” would be a fun addition.
Ways to Use an AAC Device with Traditional Halloween Activities
ACTIVITY: To build language skills, take your child shopping for the pumpkins and the other necessary materials. Discuss the color, shape, weight of the pumpkins. Even if your child does not respond, they’re likely listening. Make a list of the other necessary objects and use this opportunity to find the items throughout the store (asking questions, discussing common vocabulary, etc).
Target words/phrases while making jack-o-lanterns:
- Simple: more, cut, stop, help
- Advanced: pumpkin, orange, knife, I want, help me, eyes, nose, mouth, scary, funny, seeds, bake, wet, wash, water, cook, top, off, open
ACTIVITY: Try this great visual recipe for Monster Crisp Snacks.
Target words/phrases while baking:
- Simple: make, candy, eat, more, stop
- Advanced: meed + ___, butter, cereal, colors (red, yellow), candy, chocolate, next/then, orange candy/candy corn (will have to find candy under dessert and then corn under vegetable), marshmallow, bowl, mix, help, pour, refrigerator, eat, tasty, sweet, knife, spread.
Practice keywords and be aware of their locations on the device in order to be able to help your child quickly in the moment. If possible, tell neighbors ahead of time that your child will be using his/her device to trick-or-treat and you’d love their participation. You could even prompt them how to respond to your child so that you can practice a response, as well.
Target words/phrases for trick or treating:
- Simple: hi, goodbye, thank you, yes, no, more, all done
- Advanced: candy please, trick-or-treat, I’m a _____ (costume), I like your costume, Can I have candy please?, I am tired, I am all done
With just a little bit of preparation and practice, children with AAC devices can make the most of one of the most fun holidays of the year!
Caitlin Layfield, MS, CCC-SLP
Remember that all Kid’s Creek kids and their siblings are invited to Trunk or Treat on Saturday, October 27 from 10am until noon! Download the flyer for more details.
Image Courtesy Pixabay/Title Added