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Happy Fourth of July! AAC Activities Incorporating Fourth of July Celebrations

The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941. It is celebrated with fireworks, parades, and barbecues!

There are several AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) activities that can be incorporated into Fourth of July celebrations. These activities aim to promote communication, engagement, and participation for individuals who use AAC systems. Here are some ideas:

Vocabulary Expansion: Create a Fourth of July-themed vocabulary board or communication book with relevant words and phrases related to Independence Day. This can include words like "fireworks," "parade," "barbecue," "patriotic," and more. Model the use of this holiday themed vocabulary to communicate about the holiday.

Social Stories: Develop a social story or visual narrative that explains the meaning and traditions of the Fourth of July. Social stories are used to help individuals understand new social situations and concepts. Incorporate AAC symbols or pictures to support comprehension and engagement.

Interactive Games: Adapt traditional Fourth of July games to include AAC systems. For example, play a modified version of "I Spy" where the an AAC user can use their speech-generating device (SGD) to describe objects they see in the environment, such as fireworks, flags, or picnic items.

Collaborative Crafts: Participate in AAC-supported craft activities. Create personalized Fourth of July decorations, such as flags, streamers, or hats, using AAC symbols or visuals. Encourage communication and participation throughout the crafting process.

Independence Day Trivia: Prepare a set of Fourth of July-themed trivia questions and provide multiple choice options or corresponding AAC symbols for responses. This activity can be conducted as a friendly competition, allowing individuals to answer questions using their AAC systems.

Storytelling Sessions: Encourage individuals to use their AAC systems to share personal stories or experiences related to Independence Day. Create a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can participate and listen to each other's stories.

Fireworks Display: If attending a fireworks display, prepare a visual schedule or a sequence of symbols to help individuals understand and anticipate the different stages of the event. This can include symbols for "waiting," "fireworks," "loud noise," and "enjoying."

Remember to tailor these activities based on the communicator's AAC system and their unique abilities. AAC tools can vary, ranging from low-tech systems like picture-based communication boards to high-tech speech-generating devices. Adapt the activities to suit the specific needs and preferences of the individuals you are working with.


Katie Threlkeld, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed, ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist and the Educational Program Developer at Forbes AAC. She has over eight years of experience in AT and AAC assessment and treatment with both the pediatric and adult populations. Katie has presented at the state and national level on AAC topics and she has University teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate level.

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