Cooking - A Great Way to Encourage Participation, Communication and Language | SPD - Singapore

Cooking - A Great Way to Encourage Participation, Communication and Language

As we all know, food is Singapore’s national past-time, and therefore a great motivator for our clients.

Cooking is a great activity to teach vocabulary, practice communication and increase participation and independence. Cooking is also a functional activity and enjoyable for all ages. For our clients who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices, cooking is a great way to get opportunities to practice using vocabulary, turn taking and overall communication.

Assistive technology (AT) also allows the participants to directly control electrical devices, increasing independence participation and autonomy.

Here are some ideas of how we can use cooking activities for -


The Power Link is an environmental control unit which allows participants to have switch access so that they can actually participate in the cooking activity itself. Also, since they are now able to activate the electrical devices themselves, it’s a great opportunity for them to ask for a turn, or to tell you whether they want to activate the device or want someone else to do it.


Teaching Vocabulary, Turn Taking, Communication

For participants who use AAC devices, cooking is a great way to practice vocabulary and generate communication.

Before cooking

This a great opportunity to use language to plan. You can introduce sequence words such as 'first', 'you do this' and 'next'. You can also teach future tenses like ‘I will pour’.

During the cooking

There are great opportunities for turn taking, (I need a turn). You can also place the utensils further from the participants so that they would need to request for it. It is also a good opportunity to introduce action words like 'pour', 'mix' and 'stir'. You create a situation where the participant has to initiate a request for help. This is also a good place to teach continuous tense, such as ‘I am pouring’, and using prepositional words like 'in' and 'on'. Writing down the recipe also gives the participants practice in relating what needs to be done in a way that is clear and can be understood. You can also get the participants to taste and say whether they need ‘more’ ingredients.

After cooking

Tasting the food gives great opportunities to use describing words such as 'sweet', 'sour', 'bitter'. Serving the food also gives an opportunity to ask questions such as“Would you like to drink?”, and also to make requests like “Please come here”. There are many ‘after cooking’ activities that can be done!

Finally, you can affirm the cook on a ‘good’ or ‘great’ job!

Next, we will post Nate’s Virgin Mojito recipe and a possible script on how to generate vocabulary and encourage participation and communication.


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