We use language in a variety of ways in our everyday lives – to start conversations, to give opinions, to tell jokes, to persuade people to our point of view, to make other people feel better and to criticise something we do not like. Working with all children, especially those who have Autism, it’s important to think about how we are giving them the opportunity to generalise language skills in lots of different practical situations.
There are lots of food and cookery based apps available. Here are some ideas for how to use them to support meaningful language skills.
Giving instructions to others with Toca Kitchen Monsters (free). A lovely app for giving simple instructions to direct others. Take turns to choose an action e.g. “boil the broccoli”, “fry the steak”, “blend the lemon.” At a basic level, you can encourage the child to give one word instructions e.g. the type of food (e.g. tomato/mushroom/sausage) or the cooking process (e.g. blend/boil/fry/chop). This could work as a paired or group activity.
Teaching someone what to do with Cake Doodle (£0.79). Similar to above but emphasising the skill of giving coherent instructions step by step. The ability to describe steps in a logical way form a key foundation skill for developing narrative. The child can ask what type of cake you would like to make and then tell you all the steps for what to do e.g. “first you squash the banana, then break the egg, then pour the sauce.” Alternatively, make the cake first and ask the child to tell you what they did.
Finding out what someone would like to eat or drink is a basic social skill. In Toca Tea party, you can set the place for three people and encourage the child to ask others what they would like to eat and drink. Chosen drinks and food can be dragged into the correct place.