UNO for Kids with Autism: A Game Adaptation

by: Rose Griffin, SLP, BCBA


Are you working with students who are struggling to engage in play-based activities with friends? This can be so very isolating for our students. It can also be isolating for our students in the home environment, as they may have very limited activities that they enjoy sharing with their parents and siblings. So how are we to help them increase these very vital and socially significant behaviors? Modifying leisure so that it can be fun for all is a great first step.


At times play and leisure type activities can be difficult for our students to engage with, that is why I have modified many every day activities. This helps our students feel successful, and allows them to work on increasing their social skills. Working together in a cooperative group allows our students to work on a variety of social skills to include but not limited to: engaging in a cooperative activity, waiting, taking a turn, following game directions, commenting during play, etc. Below I describe modifications for a game that is popular with students of a variety of ages.


  1. UNO is a very popular game and one that most of us already have on hand. There are 2 ways to modify UNO so that learners of all levels can enjoy it.
    1. Some students may be confused by the direction cards that are included (I.e. draw 2, wild, reverse, skip). For students at this level, I take out the direction cards and play the game without them included.
    2. Some students may have a hard time holding their own deck of cards and knowing when to pick a new card. For students at this level of play, I put one card of each color out on the table. The students pick from a central pile and match the card color that they have picked to the colored card on the table.
Here is a video showing what the game adjustments look like! This is just one of the many ways UNO (or any game) can be changed to target specific skills to help improve.


Want to more free tips and resources for helping students with Autism? Check out my blog at


About the author:

Rosemarie Griffin, MA, CCC/SLP BCBA, is an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She divides her time between a public school and a private school for students with autism in Ohio. She’s presented at the national, state and local level about systematic and collaborative language instruction for students with autism. In addition to these interests, she is the creator of the action builder cards. This nationally distributed therapy product provides professionals with a means of delivering evidenced based language therapy. They can be purchased at, AMAZON and . Her professional mission is to help all students expand their communication step by step.


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