by Leslie Timlin
One of my older students with autism is working on explaining ideas & concepts to his peers, so I had him choose a game & change the rules, then teach that game to another student.
He chose Headbanz and instead of using the blue plastic bands, we made it into a card game that has become a new speech favorite for all of my kids!
We deal 5-7 cards to each player, turn over the center card, and then each person must make a connection to the center card with a card from their hand.
If they can't, then they draw a card. The connection can be as obvious as they are both clothing, animals or food, or more specific such as they are both desserts, made of wood, farm animals, pets, live in the water, have gills or whiskers, etc.
To get more creative, we made a rule that you can't have two of the same connection in a row (otherwise you'll have a quick game of all "Foods"!)
You'll be surprised at what your students can come up with, such as "they both have strong odors" (socks & bacon!) All of my kids prefer to play Headbanz this way now and I don't have to clean those pesky blue bands all the time!
For some groups we lay our cards out on the table and help each other find matches or connections.
We sometimes still play it the "old" way and I have a "cheat sheet" for the wall to replace the question cards that are included in the game.
My sheet has prompts such as "What category is it?", "What does it do or what do you do with it?", "What does it look like or does it have any unusual or obvious characteristics?" and "Where would you find it?"
Headbanz is one of my favorite speech tools as a school SLP because I can address so many goals, from artic to language at one time and manipulate the variables to address each child's needs, all while having fun!