Snakes and Ladders

Children with ASD often have limited play skills which interferes their ability to interact with peers. Structured games, such as board games and cards games, are one of the ways that children usually play. Teaching children with ASD to play structured games may give them additional opportunities to interact with peers. However, the standard materials are often too complicated and distractive to most of our students in initial teaching. This “Snakes and ladders” material, a printable and simplify chess board will be helpful to teach our students.

Recommended age: 4+


  1. Teach conversational strategies
  2. Develop a means for social interaction, making and sustaining friendships
  3. Teach students to attend and respond to verbal input of others


  1. Print and cut out materials.
  2. Fold the paper dice into cube. Or you can use your own the dice and stand.
  3. Laminate the chess board, ladders and snakes.
  4. Place the ladders and snakes randomly on the chess board.

Break down:

Phase 1:
Use the chess board without any snakes or ladders.
Roll the dice and call the number. No need to move the stand.

Phase 2:
Use the chess board without any snakes or ladders. (Template 1 or 2a or 3)
Roll the dice. Move the stand according to the number. Student can get the reinforcer when he reaches the goal. Start with setting the goal at “10” and gradually increase the goal to “50”.

If student can’t follow the number on the board, we may need to teach him to follow the direction of the arrow while moving. (Template 2b)

Phase 3:
Use the chess board with ladders only. (Template 2b or 3)
Introduce the rule of ladder. Move up to the top of the ladder when the stand stops at the bottom of a ladder.

Phase 4:
Use the chess board with snakes only. (Template 2a or 3)

Introduce the rule of snake, slide down the snake when the stand stops at the head of snake. If the student has difficulties to identify the head of the snake, you can put some color at the head to highlight it or you could teach the student to identify the head and the tail separately.

Phase 5:
Use the chess board with both snakes and ladders. (Template 3)
Play the game with all rules.

Phase 6:
Take turn to roll the dice and play the game with therapist, parent, or other adults. We can prompt the student to take turn with verbal instructions and gradually fade the prompt.

Phase 7:
Play the game with 1 peer.

Phase 8:
Play “Snakes and Ladders” with normal chess board and could play with more than 1 peer.

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