Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 2018 Task of the Month

It is the time of year for gift-giving in many cultures. We have discussed in previous posts how our students with learning challenges can enjoy commercially bought toys just as do typically developing children.

There are, however, many cute toys that some of our students cannot yet use as the instructions direct. By our making simple visual adaptations or simplifying how to use the toys, the children can more easily look and see how they can play with them.

In this Lucky Ducks game, children are to pick up a duck that is spinning on the battery-operated pond. Next, they are to look at shape and color on the bottom of the duck. The rules state that the children are to keep the first duck they find and then keep two more ducks with matching shape/color. If subsequent ducks they choose after their first do not match the shape/color of the first duck, the children are to return it to the spinning pond.

Those directions can be complex for many of our students. One adaptation we have used is adding a lotto board with the colors and shapes that match those on the ducks. When students pick a duck moving about on the board, they match it to the board that all the students use. The game would then be over when all the ducks leave the pond and land on their lotto board spot.

In this example, we use the pieces of this interesting toy but change the directions further to an even simpler version. To engage students in an activity not of their choosing, we often incorporate their interests in these adaptations. For this toy, we add water play which many young children enjoy. As these colorful ducks spin about on the Lucky Ducks™ pond, students choose one and let it splash into the water that has turned blue with a dash of food coloring. Children enjoy this game while they also work on their fine motor and attention skills. They grasp, release and fit the ducks into the container. They must sustain their focus until all the ducks are gone from the board and in the water.

Here is another example of an adapted game. This is a modification of Candyland, a Hasbro game. Using a large sheet of poster board, we create a game board with larger spaces and provide chunky game pieces. These adaptations make both easier to manipulate.  Additionally, we redesign the game with easier rules. Children choose a card that has either a colored circle or a food item on it.  They learn to match their men to the next space with that color or food.

Once the student had learned the steps of picking a card; moving a game piece to act on what that card states; staying focused until the game is finished and taking turns, these rules may be generalized to different games.

For more fun ideas and ways to task analyze play activities please be sure to look at our webpage.

We wish all of you a very Happy Holiday season… Merry Tasking!