For some learners, I introduce the game without the cards. We just take turns shaking the popper and counting up how many of each type of popcorn.
You may want to create a visual cue such as this to help with labeling the types of popcorn. For learners who struggle to learn new words, we'll start with labeling them by color.
For learners who struggle with scanning, introduce a field of 4 of the same color of popcorn. The learner shakes the popper, counts up the yellow popcorn, then matches that number to the correct card.
As the learner masters the skill of scanning, introduce additional colors. Have the learner match each color to the number shown in the popper.
Players can use 2 or more cards to match. For example, 3 pieces of "caramel" popcorn are shown on the popper. The learner can match the card that shows 3 or can combine the cards that show 2 and 1.
Introduce the action die. Explain each side of the die. If necessary, provide a visual cue.
I frequently introduce "POP" from the action die early on because my learners are frequently highly motivated by shouting out "Pop!" whenever it shows up in the popper.
When played as designed, each player has 4 cards face up. Take turns shaking the popper. Each player gets to keep any cards that match the amount on the popper.
Game variation for some learners: All cards are placed face up on the table. Players take turns shaking the popper and racing to be the first to collect cards that match what's shown in the popper.
Your learner does not have to master all the steps in order to engage in play with others. Your ultimate goal is to increase opportunities for play with siblings and peers in motivating ways.
For more information on modifying games for learners with autism and other developmental delays, visit www.samblanco.com.