Valentine’s Day Activities
Fun ways to participate in the holiday of love this year!
Stacking Conversation Hearts game
See how many conversation hearts you can stack using your hands, tweezers or chopsticks during a timed period. Whoever stacks the most hearts is the winner!
Learning AAC for “I love you”
Discuss different ways of communicating with your child (see the included article!) and teach them how to say, “I love you” using sign language.
Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt
Facilitate a scavenger hunt game and search for Valentine’s-themed items around your house! Ideas include: something heart-shaped; something red; a picture of someone you love; flowers; and a card from someone special.
TouchChat (free Lite version; $149.99+ full version)
Words, phrases and messages are spoken by a built-in voice synthesizer in the TouchChat app (by Saltillo) available for iPads, iPods and iPhones. Compatible iPad/iPhone devices can support head tracking, and a variety of touch access features are available. Pages, layout, buttons, messages and symbols are fully customizable, and personal photos can be added. In addition, text generated with TouchChat pages can be shared on social media or sent via iMessage or email with a wireless connection.
Proloquo2Go ($249.99 full version)
Proloquo2Go is a symbol-based app that is designed to support all users, from beginner to advanced. Features include customizable vocabulary levels and folder organization, regional vocabulary and accents, pre-programmed grid sizes, over 25,000 images and the ability to add your own images. An especially nice feature is that as the user’s vocabulary expands, core words stay in the same place to assist in motor planning.
Sono Flex (free Lite version, $99.99 full version)
Another Tobii Dynavox product, Sono Flex is available via iPhone, iPad, PC and select Tobii Dynavox devices. Core and topic-based vocabulary can be combined with over 11,000 symbols and 50 pre-set phrases. It is designed to be flexible to meet the unique needs of the user.
Many parents are intially hesitant about the use of AAC devices for their child, as they worry that its use will inhibit verbal speech further by “replacing” speech and/or making its user unmotivated to attempt speech. Research, however, does not support these worries. AAC devices, when used in a multimodal approach is shown to improve natural speech when therapy simultaneously focuses on natural speech development (Millar, Light and Schlosser, 2006; Sedey, Rosin and Miller, 1991). In a study comparing children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who used speech-generating devices (SGD) to children with ASD who did not, those with access to a SGD exhibited increased spontaneous and novel utterances (Kasari et al., 2014). Additionally, multiple studies—and countless parent feedback—have indicated that the use of a communication device significantly decreases challenging behaviors that often result from a child’s frustration with being unable to communicate effectively.
To learn more about AAC and discuss whether a speech-generating device is appropriate for your child, reach out to your child’s speech-language pathologist. Together, SLPs and parents can research the device/app that will best suit each individual child’s unique set of skills and needs.