In this video, speech-language pathologist Carrie Clark explores ideas for group activities that can be conducted in a self-contained autism classroom to improve speech and language skills in children with varying skill levels.

Book-Reading Activities:

Read one book but have different expectations for every student in the class.

Possible skills to target:

  • Sitting with a quiet voice and quiet body
  • Participation: filling in repeating lines
  • Following basic directions (point to the ____, imitate an action from the book)
  • Answering basic questions about the story or pictures (wh- or yes/no)
  • Vocabulary: asking students “what’s this” or giving them specific words to listen for
  • Speech sounds: having students repeat certain words or phrases with their target sounds

Cooking Activities:

Have one visual recipe with enough steps for everyone to participate.

Possible skills to target:

  • Tolerating hand-over-hand and staying with the group
  • Following simple directions (visual and written)
  • Answering questions about what is happening
  • Recalling and sequencing events to the activity
  • Tolerating touching, tasting, or eating a new food

Sensory Activities:

Bring in a sensory-heavy activity that everyone participates in, like a bean box with small objects hidden inside.

Possible skills to target:

  • Tolerating hand-over-hand and staying with the group
  • Following directions with the sensory medium
  • Vocabulary: labeling objects as they are found
  • Answering questions about what everyone is doing and finding
  • Using descriptive vocabulary to talk about the experience
  • Giving clues to guess what object was found (describe something that you’re feeling inside the beans)