101+ Ideas for using the BIGmack…

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…or other single message voice output communication aids

  1. Spelling ‘Merry Christmas’ at a Christmas party by a group of adults with learning difficulties including those with no speech on BIGMack.
  2. The BIGmack can be used for games such as:  ‘Chase’ – with the message “You can’t catch me!”  ‘Duck, Duck, Goose’ – this works better with a Step-by-Step. ‘Hide & Seek ‘ – “Ready or not here I come!”
  3. For young children, use a lot of messages to initiate physical contact with them such as:  “bounce me”, “tickle me”, “rub my back”, “brush my hair”. Obviously, you need to be conscious of whether they like this type of touch or not.
  4. BigMackPut a BIGmack up by the door for people to hit when going to the toilet.  Particularly useful for those who do not ask.  It can be set to say whatever you feel is the most appropriate.
  5. Use the BIGmack at meals to request “more” or “finished,”
  6. You could use the BIGmack and have the child’s name on it, so every time it is mentioned in a story or at registration or similar, the child could use the switch instead of the teacher reading it!
  7. Use BIGmack to “order” at a restaurant.
  8. Tell mum and dad “I love you”
  9. Ask for a hug
  10. Say prayers
  11. Call everyone to dinner
  12. Sell items
  13. How about a girl who had a BIGmack attached to her horse and when it said “giddy up” the horse did just that!!!
  14. Hang one outside your room so that friends and visitors can leave messages.  Particularly useful for people in residential settings.
  15. Turning on a radio or cassette player with appropriate introduction (and when attached to a mains controller)
  16. Giving a compliment to a friend,
  17. Singing Happy Birthday?
  18. In the toilet to be pressed when the person has finished.
  19. During story time or drama for sound effects, repetitive parts of the story, with lines from the script or as a turn taking exercise.
  20. Record ‘Come here ______’ on the BIGmack and then the child has to call the person who comes over and makes a fuss of them.  Good as an exercise in controlling your environment.
  21. Use two devices to make choices, differentiate between two different qualities (‘lovely’ and ‘horrible’) or to give two separate commands.
  22. Use two devices inside and outside the front door.  ‘Hello, how are you?’ and ‘Bye bye’. 
  23. Use the BIGmack as a switch to turn on hairdryers for drying up or drying hair, water pics for watering the plants or washing the windows, liquidisers etc (again, attached to a mains controller).
  24. Sending a pupil to another classroom or the office with a message e.g.; its time for my medicine, Mrs. Crawford needs the three-hole punch, etc.
  25. Put a BIGmack outside the door of the room to tell visually impaired pupils which room they’re outside.
  26. Record the day or date on it during circle time so child can “answer” the question “what day is it today?”   Or record the weather so the child can answer that question.
  27. Record child’s verbal output – even if it is just a sound. – Eg.  One child is beginning to say “B_B_BB_  for his name, Bobby.  Record it and he plays it back when he wants to.
  28. Ordering food, requesting shoe size (bowling), greeting bus driver
  29. Telling what was done in therapy or other withdrawal session.
  30. Giving a direction in a group activity (put it in, pick it up, take a turn)
  31. Indicate when finished, need more materials during work
  32. Use two BIGmacks, one red and one green, to play “Red Light, Green Light”. This allows the AAC user to be the “leader” of these common children’s game. You don’t even need to add symbols, as the colours speak for themselves.
  33. One idea is to use the BIGmack for taking a break.  Having it programmed to say “I need a break” could work nicely for verbal and non-verbal pupils. It can help teach them to tell you when they are tired or getting frustrated.
  34. Use it as a home book so that the pupil can be involved in playing back what they did today to their parents.
  35. Early scanning skills:  using two or three photos, pictures or symbols in a row, either point to them or shine a torch on them in sequence.  The pupil presses the BIGmack to say ‘That one’ when they get to the one they want.  Can be used for choosing activities as well as for communication or literacy.
  36. Saying ‘Good morning’ to the others in the class.
  37. Place the BIGmack in various locations in the school.  Record special messages or a brief song related to the month’s theme or season on them. They could relate to a notice board or tell the lunch menu for the day.  Put pictures or symbols with the BIGmack whenever possible. 
  38. Use the BIGmack when a child wants to request more swinging.  We have a hook in our classroom so we can use a variety of swings. They have become pretty clever, they figured out that they can use their foot to reach out and push the button and don’t have to get off the swing. 
  39. Use the BIGmack to have the child tell the teacher to turn the page in a book.
  40. To play tag. Used with a child in a wheelchair, wheeled her around.  When we got up to the person she pressed it to say, “you’re it”, then we ran away.
  41. To tell jokes.  (Programmed in a joke and then had the person tell it to different staff).
  42. Use to turn on Christmas lights or lighted make-up mirror
  43. Have the pupils with speech record messages for staff or visitors.
  44. Introduce a song title at the Christmas Play
  45. Ask another student to dance
  46. Ask for “more” when a wind up toy stops.
  47. Ask for a sweet after the teacher has eaten an M&M in front of the child and has tightly closed the container without offering any to the child, etc.
  48. Say your line in the play.
  49. Announce activities as they occur in class.  “Everybody line up”,  “snack time”,  “storytime”, etc.
  50. “I want to go out”, BIGmack left by your door so that people can tell you when they want to leave the room.  Particularly useful for the sort of pupil who finds the classroom stressful.
  51. ‘I’m sorry that person is not available and none of us want to buy anything you are selling’ – message on a BIGmack that you can hit every time you get a telesales call.
  52. Large plate switch attached to a BIGmack. Switch left on seat of car.  Remind significant other of what they need to pick up on the way home.
  53. Record different tones on 4 different colour BIGmacks and play a game of Simon Says.
  54. Share information about upcoming events, the day’s activities or a special experience.
  55. Give steps to an activity such as telling a recipe.
  56. Programme songs, or segments of songs such as “Happy Birthday” or a special Christmas song.
  57. Programme emergency information for the user to communicate over the phone to emergency services dispatchers.
  58. Call the family pet.
  59. Help conduct a spelling test or give maths problems to classmates.
  60. Students independently say “Here!” when attendance is taken.
  61. Deliver the morning announcements.
  62. Direct students at lunch and in the playground.
  63. Help to solicit participation in the school fundraising activities.
  64. Give a report in a group presentation.
  65. Announce members of a team as they run out onto the court or pitch.
  66. Name a classmate to take a turn.
  67. Participate in a political campaign “Vote for…”
  68. Cheer for a favourite player at a sporting event.
  69. Become the “caller” at a square dance.
  70. Select and order food at a favourite restaurant.
  71. Give clues during a treasure hunt.
  72. Greet customers at a department or grocery store.
  73. Deliver messages to co-worker.
  74. Inform customers about the in-store specials.
  75. Request more work.
  76. Initiate a conversation with friends and family.
  77. Offer a range of options from which the user can select.  Use symbols for easier selections.
  78. Signal for attention.
  79. Give directions to care givers.
  80. Share a joke with friends or family.
  81. During opening “circle time” (e.g., the child activates a message to sing his or her part in the greeting song)
  82. At transition times (e.g., the child activates a recording of someone singing the cleanup song or of a voice saying, “Time to clean up!”)
  83. Whenever a request for continuation or turn taking is appropriate (e.g. the child plays a recording that says, “More, please” or “My turn”)
  84. Any time the schedule dictates that a specific activity take place (e.g., in the morning the child plays a recording that says, “Take my coat off, please”)
  85. During any activity that requires a leader to announce movements to be performed by the other children (e.g., “Put your right foot in, put your right foot out,” “Simon says clap your hands”)
  86. Any time an interjection during an activity is appropriate (e.g.,”Wowee!” “Cool”)
  87. Participating in specific events that require contextual messages (e.g., singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” to a co-worker, singing “Happy Birthday” at a party)
  88. Conversing on the telephone by activating a single message – a nice way or beginning communicators to keep in touch with friends and relatives.
  89. Greeting (e.g., “Hi, how are you today?”) or saying farewell (e.g., “Good-bye”, “Good to see you,” “Let’s get together soon”)
  90. Making single requests in predictable situations (e.g., “I’d like a cheeseburger and small fries, please”)
  91. Initiating conversations or introducing topic (e.g., “So, how was your weekend?”)
  92. Making introductions (e.g., “Hi, my name is George; what’s yours?”)
  93. Ask a friend to play.
  94. Ask for help.
  95. Ask questions (What’s your name?  What time is it?  When can I play with it?)
  96. Ask to do it again.
  97. Ask to read it again.
  98. Ask what do you want to eat/drink at snack.
  99. Call for an appointment.
  100. Call the cat or dog.
  101. Comment on own new haircut, shirt, glasses, etc.
  102. Draw attention (Look what I did).
  103. For emergency message by telephone.
  104. Give directions such as stir in cooking class.
  105. Give directives (Show me how to do that).
  106. Have a speaking part in a skit.
  107. Indicate that work has been finished (all done).
  108. Indicate the need for more work.
  109. Indicate weather and what to wear out to play.
  110. Indicate what is next on the daily schedule.
  111. Introduce family or friends.
  112. Issue invitation to a party, or to go out or for a visit.
  113. Make interjections or funny noises in a song.
  114. Make or modify a game so that it talks.
  115. Order a pizza over the phone.
  116. Order at a restaurant.
  117. Participate in a game (My turn).
  118. Personal information (name, address, phone number) to be carried with       the person
  119. Say a Bible verse in Sunday School or recite a verse from the Koran.
  120. Say grace.
  121. Say poems and rhymes.
  122. Select a story, video or game.
  123. Send a message to school or work.
  124. Share a secret with a friend.
  125. Share menu for lunch.
  126. Share the outcome of a game.
  127. Share a song.
  128. Sing the chorus of a song.
  129. Start a conversation (What did you do this weekend? What did you think of the game?).
  130. Take a survey.
  131. Tease others.
  132. Tell a riddle.
  133. Tell about their Show and Tell item.
  134. Tell something about themselves (favourite TV show, colour, story, activity, etc.).
  135. Tell what age at lunch, dinner, on outing, or at party.
  136. Tell what did at school or work that day.
  137. Use as labels for areas or centres in classroom.  Hide one in a display so that it makes a noise when you press it.
  138. Use as teaching prompts.
  139. Use exclamations or interjections (Yeah, uh, oh, You’re silly).
  140. Give directions what to do next.
  141. When meeting new people, tell his/her name.
  142. When switch connected to select item, say what the item is or make comment.
  143. When used with puzzle switch, indicate all done/great job.
  144. Wish people Happy Christmas, Eid, Diwali, Rosh Hashanah etc.
  145. Wish someone a Happy Birthday.
  146. With switch under carpet or mat indicate where person is or what is happening.
  147. With switch under chair pad, indicate person has found right chair or good job or sitting.
  148. Record a sound effect of a police car or other siren so that a wheelchair user can indicate other people should get out of their way.
  149. Use as a timer – record ‘Start’ then a timed gap then ‘Stop’.
  150. Attach it to a fan and then blow bubbles or blow out birthday candles whilst singing ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘I’m for ever blowing bubbles’.
  151. Record a word or number on the BIGmack.  The user has to find the picture, the number or the word that matches it from a choice.
  152. Use two BIGmacks to indicate ‘Stop’ and ‘Go’ for a favourite activity.
  153. Use two BIGmacks to indicate ‘bigger’ and ‘smaller’, ‘hotter and ‘colder’ and others when working on these areas in class.
  154. Connect the BIGmack to a switch operated car and knock down someone’s tower – whilst telling them you’re going to!