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AAC and Exercise: A Fun Way to Model and get the Family Fit

Download this AAC activity as a PDF here: AAC Everyday_ Exercise

Without their regular dose of physical activities, kids are likely to channel their energies elsewhere. Structured activities also satiate their adrenaline cravings.

Exercise not only engages kids but can also lift your spirits up as it’s a great stress buster. How about making exercise a family activity? Even better, how about using exercise time to communicate and model language using AAC? This way, you’re getting two of your important goals met at the same time. 👍

Say Hello to Your New Instructor 

Break down the exercise time into mini workout sessions and let your child lead the family in one of those sessions. Create a separate folder in your high tech AAC system and include icons for the individual routines such as jumping jacks, bear crawl, skipping etc. 

For example, if your child is great at hula hooping, let them take control of that session and get you all spinning the hoop. You can include phrases in their AAC system that allows them to dictate what you do.

Spin faster 

Spin clockwise 

Talk to them about what other things they would want the family to do with the hoop.

Spin two hoops 

Remember to pay heed to their orders and give it your best shot even if you can’t find a way to keep the hoops from falling to the floor 😂

If your little one is into dance, then let them take charge and teach you a few awesome moves. Choose the soundtrack they would like the family to work out to.

What music would you like?

This BTS song sounds interesting

Conversation Ideas

Build the conversation from your child’s individual interests.

Can you jump as high as I do?

Who is your favourite dancer?

Remember, I used to walk in the mornings with your mom everyday?

It’s fun working out with you and your sister

We must do this everyday

This is so much better than working out at the gym.

Doing exercise everyday keeps you healthy

What activities did you do during gym at school?

Did you like gym class?

You are an amazing dancer

Do you want to take dance lessons? I can look for a few online lessons for you.

Core words

Here are a list of core words that can be modelled during this activity

Arms up over the shoulder 

Arms down

Breathe in

Breathe out

Can you do this five more times?

Want to do the plank again?

Now lift the other leg up

Do you want to stop now?

I’m going to do jumping jacks five times 

Would you like to rest for a few minutes ?

I can feel my heart beating fast 

Communicative Functions 

For emergent communicators, AAC is often used only for questions or requesting. Here’s a range of communicative functions you can use AAC for while doing exercise together:

  • Question: How many times do you think you can squat?
  • Comment: Dancing is fun!
  • Describe: Your skipping rope is pink. I have a blue skipping rope
  • Instruct: Don’t bend your knees
  • Request information: How long did you do the plank for?
  • Express feelings: I feel relaxed after the workout 
  • Joke: You know why the line works out? To get in shape 🤣 🤣

Exercise time can be a great opportunity to teach action words such as skip, jump, hop, run, walk, etc. Try and model a few words everyday while you’re warming up or while you’re cooling off post-workout. Here’s wishing that your family stays fit and healthy as your child’s AAC learning is on course.

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