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"Face the Sound": An Educational Game for Children With Disabilities

Tim Truzy is a rehabilitation counselor, educator, and former dispatcher from North Carolina.

Playing can help children in many areas of life as they grow up.

Playing can help children in many areas of life as they grow up.

Why Is Play Important?

Playing games can help children prepare for real-world activities and events. According to recent research, children prefer play focused on reality versus engaging in activities involving flights of fantasy. For instance, social skills can be developed in play driven by imitating adult scenarios. This includes taking turns in conversations and improving listening ability. Overall, play can help develop effective communication skills.

In addition, some games can help with mastering academic areas. Participating in games requiring the use of math and reading skills may improve a child’s functioning in school. Games that require a person to keep track of items can help develop organizational strategies as well. Indeed, a minimum level of competition without peer pressure can be conducive to growth for a child.

For these reasons, I created a game called "Face the Sound" for my students while considering three areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).

ECC Areas Considered in Face the Sound

  1. Social Interaction Skills: This area of the ECC involves instruction that must be taught sequentially, consciously, and carefully to students with visual impairments. Mastering these skills can be a determining factor in whether a person with vision loss has a fulfilling life with others or eventually endure isolation as an adult.
  2. Recreation and Leisure: This area of the ECC involves children with vision loss learning about activities and games which they can participate in for fun and relaxation.
  3. Compensatory or Functional Academic Skills: Concept development, spatial understanding, and listening and communicating effectively are included in this area of the ECC.
To create the game Face the Sound, you will need a method for recording and storing vocal expressions.

To create the game Face the Sound, you will need a method for recording and storing vocal expressions.

Necessary Materials

  • Book: You will need a source from which to create questions for your players. The flexibility of the game allows for you to use any number of academic sources. I will be using a literary text as an example during this article. Nevertheless, your creativity is the deciding factor. You may use a book from mathematics, social studies, history, etc.
  • Two sets of index cards: One Set of cards will have questions on them. Use the second set of index cards to glue on pictures of different facial expressions.
  • Glue and scissors: You will need glue to attach photos or images to the index cards; you may require scissors to cut out these images.
  • Source of facial images or a camera: You may want to photograph your own face, a friend’s face with permission, or find a source of facial images on the internet.
  • Method of labeling the cards: You will need a pen, pencil, or printer to write on the back of the cards. Be sure to braille the names of the emotions and questions for your students who read the medium.
  • Recording device: You may use a digital recorder, a computer software program, or smartphone app etc. You will need some way of recording different vocal sounds relevant to facial expressions.
  • Playing area: You will need a place you can play this game: a table, sitting on the floor in a circle, or on the playground.
  • Method of tracking score: Although players will be responsible for their scores, you should have a way to keep track of how many points each player has, i.e. pen and paper, a word processing program, or blackboard. Remember: For this game, you are the "host."
This is happy.

This is happy.

This is worried.

This is worried.

1. Print Out the Photos

First, print out the photos with different facial expressions. The total number of photos you will need depends on how many players are participating. For instance, if you have five players, then you will need five “worried” photos. You will also need five “happy” photos. You will need to create enough of each emotional state facial cards for as many players as you have. Each player will get one “happy” card and a “worried” card for example.

2. Glue the Photos and Label the Cards

Glue the photos to the index cards. One photo should be on each card. Write on the back of the index card what emotional state is depicted. For example, on the back of the index card with a “happy” face, you should write the word “happy.”

On the back of the card, along with the name of the emotion shown, place the points. The face cards should be worth 1–3 points. Each card should have a different point value. For example, “happy” may be worth 3 points; “sad” could be worth 2 points. Place all of these cards together once done. These are your “face” cards.

3. Create the Vocal Sounds

Create the sounds you will need. Record your voice or use another human’s voice to create vocal sounds related to different emotional states. For example, you may wish to laugh for “happy.” You may want to simulate crying for “sad.” You may wish to imitate a deep sigh for "worry." Be sure to store these sounds with “labels” so you can retrieve them quickly.

4. Write the Questions

Now, with the second set of index cards, create questions derived from the book. For example, if the book you have selected is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, you might ask: “Who was Huckleberry Finn’s best friend?”

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Finally, write your questions on this deck of cards (one question to a card) with points on the back of each card. The question mentioned above may be worth 2 points, another question may be worth 4 points. Try to value these cards between 1 and 5 points. These cards will be placed at the center of the group for everyone to be able to reach them when appropriate.

Taking turns is important in this game as much as it is in the real world.

Taking turns is important in this game as much as it is in the real world.

How to Play the Game

  1. Decide who will start and move clockwise. Deal out the Face Cards to the players. For the first player, you say: “Select the picture that best fits the sound you hear.”
  2. Now, play the sound from your recordings. Then let the player select a card from the ones dealt to him/her.
  3. If the player selects the correct Face Card to match the sound from the recording, he/she is rewarded the points on that Face Card. If the player responds with the wrong card for the sound, then he/she does not receive any points. The chance to respond correctly to the sound with the right Face Card moves to the next player.
  4. When a player has responded to the sound with the correct Face Card, he/she may select a card from the Questions deck. He/she must answer the question on the card correctly to receive the points on that card. If the answer is incorrect, then the card is placed at the bottom of the Questions deck. It is the next player’s turn with a new sound.
  5. Essentially, the Questions deck is a bonus situation. A player may provide the right Face card for every sound he/she hears without answering any of the Questions cards accurately. This allows for several strategies to eventually win the game.
  6. The player with the greatest number of points at the end of the game is the winner. The game is finished when all of the Questions cards have been answered correctly by the players.

Final Thoughts

Face The Sound grew out of a need to help my students with visual impairments develop in areas of the ECC. However, general education teachers may wish to use this game along with teachers who instruct children with autism or mild hearing loss. Also, adults and children with mild cognitive impairments may find this activity entertaining. Although this game requires a little time to make, my students really loved this activity, and I saw improvements in all areas of the ECC and the general curriculum. I suspect this game contributed to that development.

Learning to interact with others can occur because of creative instruction.

Learning to interact with others can occur because of creative instruction.


Koenig, A. & M. Cay Holbrook (2000). Foundations of education, 2nd Edition Vol. 1: History and theory of teaching children and youth with visual impairments. New York, NY: AFB Press.

Leary, B., & Schneden, M. V. (1982). "Simon Says" Is Not The Only Game. Los Angeles: American Foundation for the Blind.


Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on April 27, 2021:

I like to use this game to help with reading. I always let the children read the questions aloud. It helps with vocabulary skills and learning about different topics. Thanks for the visit.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on August 12, 2019:

My students enjoyed this game and are looking forward to playing it again. I told them if they do well on a quiz, they can play this game next week. I hope your students like it as well. Thanks for reading.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 06, 2018:

Hi, Sean,

I appreciate your comment. Hope is what I hold on to every day, for me, for these children, and for wonderful people such as yourself. Incorporating fun activities into the work I do helps to make it possible, even believable when there is no reason to do so. But I know we have all been given a gift to reach out to others.

Much respect and admiration and may your Christmas holiday be satisfying and blessed,


Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on December 06, 2018:

I am so glad and hopeful, my brother because people like you live in our world! You are a great hope! Thank you for your struggle.

May God help you always to be a beacon!


Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 05, 2018:

Thank you, Ms. Dora,

Your comment is welcomed and correct when you point out most teachers enjoy including play in instruction.

I'm of the belief that teaching should be fun and as an adult I should try to make it enjoyable for the students.

Many people forget that some of our first learning experiences, with mom and dad, were playful.

Thanks for your comment from a respectable, prolific, and admirable writer,

May your Christmas be peaceful and rewarding.



Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 05, 2018:

Thanks for sharing this educational help. The fact that you can vouch for its effectiveness makes it appealing. Most, if not all, teachers appreciate the value of play.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 05, 2018:

One group of individuals which this game may benefit is English as Second Language learners. This could help with vocabulary and developing overall comfort levels for these individuals in a country. I thought about this as I watched a program on tv and the Spanish speaker could not come up with the proper word to describe "frustration" immediately. The commentator had to help her.

Thanks for reading this article.



Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 04, 2018:

Thanks, my friend,

I'll remember that. I appreciate your feedback, Eric. I'll be visiting your work after this comment.

May God keep you safe and prosperous.



Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 04, 2018:

Hi, Eric,

It's reading wonderful articles created by people like you that keep me motivated and thinking, trying to reach out to those young minds because they are our future.

In fact, reading one of your articles about how you cleverly use competition when helping your children made me realize that maybe I was doing something similar and hadn't thought about it.

To an insightful, talented, and prolific author,

Thank you for dropping by and contributing.

And I salute your wife for being in the healing wards for so long.

God bless you.



Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 04, 2018:

Thanks, Flourish,

Excellent points. Statistically, special education teachers have the highest burn-out rate among teachers because I've yet to meet one who hasn't given their heart, mind, and all of their energies to help their children. It's bewildering some days, but it's one of the toughest job a person could love.

You, Eric, and Pamela are going to laugh at this: When Lori and I get a little frustrated, we pull up the ancient TV show: "Welcome Back Carter," and have a great roar. Yes, it's not our school we went to, but we certainly relate to all of those situations from that old show.

Thanks for dropping by and contributing a wonderful comment.

Much respect always,


Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 04, 2018:

Hi, Pamela,

When I created this game, I really was thinking about how often I have heard there has been a dropped in the ability of adults to negotiate, compromise, or hold debates properly without resulting to nonproductive behaviors. We have seen so much of this.

I wanted to help these children develop the skills to detect what people may be feeling to improve communications in the long-run. I wonder: How many instances of unexplained negative incidents could have been avoided if more people had some idea about what a person was considering by looking at their facial expressions or listening to the tone and vocal phrases of their voices?

I appreciate your comment, Pamela.

I truly like playing this game with my students.

Much respect and admiration,


FlourishAnyway from USA on December 04, 2018:

Children with disabilities are so fortunate to have a creative and engaged teacher such as you. You're right about incorporating play into learning no matter who is involved. The extra effort that a teacher expends in making a lesson fun and interesting pays off in learning dividends as kids pay better attention, process the information more deeply, and are motivated to retain it. I'm glad you are sharing your gifts.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 03, 2018:

Sometimes we just reminisce about what life would be like without these loving hearts in our lives. Who knows? But they have sweetened our very core. I don't know if you can get it across but this may help. Thanks. (my son and I just did "gallant" . Teachers are such.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 03, 2018:

This sounds like a very clever game for these children with impairments. I think the results for the children would be very positive. This is truly good article with such detailed descriptions Tim.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on December 03, 2018:

Hi, Eric,

From reading your articles, one thing I do know: you practice what you preach with regard to people. There is nothing phony about Eric.

I love these kids, Eric. I never know what surprises they may have in store for me by the end of the day. My wife and I have some of the funniest stories, and some of the best uplifting moments we have ever experienced come from these children.

To a talented, prolific, kind and thoughtful writer,

May your evening be peaceful.



Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 03, 2018:

What a blast Tim. My first wife did special education teaching for 25 years. Heck she brought a student home about every month. She worked more with "criminal lock up types". This raises us up us, and hopefully them.

God puts these wonderful baskets of joy to sweeten our lives here.

Thanks for this buddy.

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