Break the Ice in Group Sessions with Nice to Meet


The following tips for breaking the ice with groups are written by a professional partner of Feeloty, Rebecca Eisenberg, Speech Language Pathologist and Certified Autism Specialist. 

Nice to Meet Feeloty cards are ideal for both individual and group therapy sessions as well as an informal game at the family dinner table.

The cards are divided into three different colors based on difficulty. Begin with green, then blue and finally purple. The green cards are more concrete (e.g. winter/summer), blue cards are more descriptive (schedule/whenever) and the purple cards are more difficult and abstract (audience/on stage). Based on your child and their specific strengths and areas of difficulty with language, the colors of the cards can help plan a family session. 

Ways to use the Nice to Meet cards in a group session:

Target commenting and reasoning 

I recommend encouraging your students to tell the group WHY they would choose one picture over another. For example, why do you like sailing versus flying? This can be a good opportunity to work on commenting and expressing themselves.  Also teaching the concept of “opinion” is so important! 

Target literacy concepts 

When each student draws a card, have them read the words on the card. For emerging readers, use print referencing by pointing to the word as you are reading it. Also define words that are unfamiliar to your student such as “give” and “receive” by giving examples in sentences. 

Target social skills with “wh” questions

After one person takes a turn and chooses a card, that individual can ask others “What do you like better?” For example, an individual chooses “alone” or “together”. They answer the question, “I like alone because it’s quiet.” Then they can ask the others in the group, “What do you like better, alone or together?” This type of back and forth exchange can be excellent practice for learning to have a conversation. 

Work on math concepts 

With a group, it’s easy to keep a tally of what people like/don’t like. For example, if you had a group of four, take a vote. What do you like better, camping or staying in a hotel? Tally up the votes and work on the concepts of less/more, equal. Take it a step further and create a simple graph of the votes. 

Work on recalling information

For many students with varying disabilities, recalling and sharing information can be difficult. As you discuss different topics, write them down on a board. When the group session is over, move the board aside and ask your students if they remember what you discussed. Use different cues and prompts to help with recall (e.g. drawing out a picture, gesture cues, phonemic cues, etc.). 

There are so many ways to expand with the Feeloty cards! I hope you find these tips helpful for your next group session!


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