Activities for Young Learner Using Proloquo2go (AAC app on the Ipad)

AACmessThis post is just to share example activities we have done with my toddler/preschooler as she is using Proloquo2go to learn to communicate.  As a pediatric OT, I felt strongly about find ways to use the AAC app during normal play activities that were motivating to my child.  I was lucky enough to have a slightly older daughter at home to take ideas from by watch what play activities she naturally used language during.  Here are a few examples of what we did.

Reading books.  Our home is filled with books of every kind.  I was getting disheartened that my youngest daughter wasn’t enjoying reading as much as I wanted.  She loved to hold books on her own and pretend to read, but was resistant to listening to us read to her.  My thought was she needed a better way to participate in the reading activity.

  • Some of the first books children love are books with high levels of repetition that the child can participate by “reading” along.  For example, “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?…” I took a few of these kind of books and replaced the repetitive words with sentences made of the symbols from our app set-up.  I made screen shots and printed them out, then cut them up and taped them to the book.
  • A second kind of book that children love are books with flaps to open.  I used these books as a great way to practice asking questions.  Once again, I printed of screen shots and cut them up, then taped the question words as a reminder on the page.
  • A last way we used books is to expand vocabulary in a fun way.  While I think working on core words is critical, we also needed to expose my daughter to typical vocab for her age.  There are tons of great books that allow for the practice of body parts, emotions, zoo animals, farm animals, and a variety of adjectives (colors, shapes…).  We found that using the screen shot symbols helped build my daughter’s visual skills to learn the symbols and find them on the screen.

“All About Me” book.  This took a bit of time to create, but gave us a chance to use language that was very meaningful to my daughter.  For example, tell her name, family member’s names, pets, age, and favorite things.

AAC play learning toolsPretend Play Props.  Preschoolers love pretend play.  I found that using language during these motivating pretend play games to be very productive.  Once again, I watched my older daughter play and how she was using language during play.  I have made several things:

  • Play menu with symbols from the app.
  • Labels on the doll house, people, and props.

Photo books. Children love to look at photos of themselves, so we took family photos and made short books with labels using screen shots for core words.  We are not worried about verb tenses yet, so it reads a little awkward, but things like “I go playground,” “Daddy help me,” and “I like swing.”  (We also found this to be really easy to do on our smart phones and computer- just pull up the photos folder and start talking about what and who you see while modeling on the Ipad app.  Not as wonderful as giving the visual example to the child, but easy and motivating!)

Cards.  I purchased an online subscription to SymbolStixs and used this to create a variety of cards.  The online program allows you to create and save boards where the pictures are of a variety of sizes.  You can customize them (change the label, symbol, or add you own photos), which as needed to make sure it matched what we used on our device at home.

  • I bought a holder from a teacher supply store and put it on our fridge.  I made 2-3 word phrases each week focusing on target core words and put this up as visual example for all the adults who were modeling with my child.  It helped everyone to know what were reasonable things my daughter could say based on what words she had already mastered.  In the future I plan to make examples like this for my daughter to use as a reminder during tasks (like on a placement during meals).
  • I printed of emotions cards and we use them as a charades type game.  We take turns acting them out and then finding and saying them with the AAC app.
  • I printed out animal card and made them into a matching game, just a fun way to build vocabulary.  We also use these card to pick a card and do animal walks.
  • A ended up getting a second holder because my girls wants to put up their cards, just like I did on the fridge.

AACpottytrainingDaily activities.   I plan to do more with our daily routines soon, such as dressing, eating, bedtime routines.  However, right now they are not motivating for my daughter (they are already high demands times that are challenging enough for me and my children, no need to add more demands).  We did make visual cards for toilet training that matched the icon on the app to start teaching this new skill.

This is still a work in progress at my home… more ideas to come!

Have a great idea to share?  Email me at occupationaltherapy@paigehays.net

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Paige Hays is an occupational therapist who provides in-home, pediatric occupational therapy services in the south metro area of the Twin Cities, MN. She is a mother of 2 girls, avid DIYer, and a highly skilled and experienced OT. She specializes in working in pediatrics, with diverse expertise ranging from cognition and sensory issues to working with children with neuromuscular disabilities or complex medical needs.  www.paigehays.net