Ice Cream Truck

September 22, 2008

Here’s a play activity for kids who use AAC and a wheelchair (although the wheelchair is optional). The wheelchair is an ice cream truck.

What is great about this play scenario is that it encourages interaction, follows a predictable script that is easy to program into AAC, is rather gender neutral (which is a plus, since most of my brainstorming ideas are very boy-centered), and involves pretending to do a favorite activity.

ice cream

List of things you need:

plastic ice cream

play money

stickers, velcro, or magnetic signs to decorate the wheelchair

AAC system programmed with–

annoying music– Turkey in the Straw, The Entertainer (seriously; what fun is a noisy toy if it doesn’t irritate the grownups in the vicinity?)

The script:

“You want ice cream?” “What kind?” numbers 1-10 “__dollars please.” “you’re welcome” “here’s your change”

The thing that people miss is that pretend play requires drama. And drama comes from conflict. To prolong and add depth to the interaction, you need to work within the social script, but add some conflict to the interaction.

“We’re out of that kind.” “That’ll be one million dollars.” “That ice cream is poisoned!”

These kinds of silly improvisations are things that children do on their own naturally, but our AAC kids are at the mercy of our programming. They can’t say something unless we’ve given it to them. As a result, our voice influences their voice. And let’s face it, we’re boring to play with; this is why kids don’t play with us. As long as our AAC kids sound just like us, kids aren’t going to want to play with them either.

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3 Responses to “Ice Cream Truck”

  1. alltogether Says:

    That ice cream is poisoned! Classic.

  2. Kimberly Says:

    I get sideways glances from teachers when I supply AAC devices programmed with messages like “Set ’em up!” for bowling, raspbeerry sounds (for any game),etc. They also complain that the kids ‘stim’ or perseverate on the messages. I just explain that the kids seldom get to say these things in any other way — they are PLAYING (imagine that!). It’s music to my (SLP) ears. Thanks for the post.

  3. adambowker Says:

    Because kids without disabilities NEVER repeat the same thing or make fart noises over and over and over just because they think it is funny. But when our kids do it it’s “stimming.”


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