Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Toca Boca Kitchen

So far, I have not been disappointed in any Toca Boca app that I have purchased.  It hardly depends on which app it is, my students love Toca Boca apps (as do I)! One of the great things about Toca Boca apps from a speech therapy perspective is that they lend them selves to elicit novel language and increase utterance length. In general, most of the Toca Boca apps allow for a variety of specific choices using descriptive language.  The types of descriptions can be modified depending on the goals of the student (e.g. long/short, fast/slow…. blue man with orange hat and orange glasses, cut finely, cut coarsely etc.).  For a full list of Toca Boca apps, check out:  http://tocaboca.com/ (...and be ready for hours of entertainment!)

The latest app I have downloaded is called Toca Kitchen.  The purpose of the app is to feed a character. Using perspective taking and (Michelle Garcia Winner's) "smart guesses" on what the person/character would like, you select food from the kitchen. The food can be cooked and processed using a variety of kitchen tools, which is a great way to practice using a variety of functional cooking verbs.  There is a free version of the app called Toca Kitchen Monsters which is equally as great, however has less options of characters to feed. 

I use these communication boards (can be found on boardmakershare.com) to encourage students expand utterances, diversify verb use and specify descriptions. 

I love apps that use food because it is a great way to teach “likes it/ doesn’t like it.”  It is also a great way to practice reading body language and interpreting non verbal vocalizations.   When you try to feed the people or characters  they either like the food a lot and have a big reaction (using big facial expressions and loud vocalizations), or like it a little (more subtle facial expressions and vocalizations), or do not like it at all and refuse the food. This activity lends itself to working on reading body language and nonverbal communication, an activity that is often more challenging for my students with autism. 

As usual with Toca Boca apps, there are no written (or spoken) words in the app, it is easily adaptable to be multilingual and loved by kids (and adults) of all ages. 

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