Teach Through Games: Pick-a-DOG

Teach Through Games: Pick-a-DOG

Age level: Preschool, Early Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School

Description: Based on a simple premise of finding just one difference between two cards, this game is not only more challenging than it might first appear but is highly motivating for both my students and their family members. Each card shows a dog with five attributes: size, color, one or two arms, with or without sunglasses, and with or without popcorn. On “Go!” each player is in a race to find cards with no differences or only one difference from the card he/she currenly has.

Skills & Modifications: This game is very easy to modify to meet the needs of your particular learner. It’s also easy to quickly increase the difficulty so that your learner can participate in the game as it was designed to be played with either peers or family members.

– Comparisons/Alike and Different – The game is designed for players to quickly find cards that are identical or are differentpick-a-pig-pick-a-dog in only one attribute. For learners who struggle with these skills, I may just present two cards and have the learner explain what aspect is different. Some learners do need textual prompts (such as a list he/she can refer to for the five attributes.) For learners who are stronger with this skill, you may present a smaller field of cards (for example just putting out ten cards instead of 30 cards as described in the instructions) for the learner to scan. In either case, I try to quickly increase the difficulty so the learner can play the game as described.

– Scanning – When played as designed, the game requires strong skill with scanning. If your learner is motivated by the materials, you can modify it as described above by reducing the number of cards the learner is scanning, then systematically increasing that number until your learner is playing the game as designed.

– Quick Responding/Playing with Speed – Many learners with autism struggle with playing games that require speed. This is a great game for encouraging the skill. For some learners, you may need to remove the speed element until they’ve fully mastered the skills required.

Pros: I introduced this to several children between the ages of 7 and 13. Without fail they found humor in the illustrations and were motivated to try the game. I also appreciate there is a Pick-A-Pig version that can be played on it’s own or in conjunction with this game to increase the difficulty. Another thing I appreciate about the rules of the game is that they include an “Examination of Cards,” meaning checking your work is built into the game. This is a great way for learners to take ownership of their responses, identify mistakes, and make corrections as necessary. Finally, the instructions also include rules for a single player game which may be beneficial if you are seeking activities for your learner to engage in during leisure time.

Cons: I love this game. The only con is that for learners with autism who struggle greatly with scanning skills, this is probably not a good fit.

Cost: $11.99 You should invest in this game if: you are seeking fun games for the whole family, you are seeking age-appropriate materials for higher-order scanning skills, or you in need of games that will appeal to a range of ages.

ABLLS: A10, B18, C38


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