Adaptive Don’t Break the Ice

10 Oct

 

 

Don't Break 1

During my career there have been certain students who have made a lasting  impression on me and aided in my growth as a speech language pathologist. It seemed that fate  crossed our paths so that we could learn from each other.  I am thinking in particular of a  student who I met in her Kindergarten year.  Her disability prevented her from speaking or using her arms and legs effectively although eventually she learned how to use her head to control a motorized wheel chair and a laser to activate an Alpha Talker and then a Delta Talker. This is when the field of  augmentation communication was beginning to blossom with more advanced electronic devices.  This child did not have the outward appearance of much ability other than a beautiful smile.  However with her devices her true personality could shine.

I will never forget the time I worked  with her at her home during extended summer services. She would be going into first grade when school resumed.  Her mother reported she had something to tell me.  She proceeded to tell me she had seen the movie Pocahontas.   That doesn’t seem that unusual except she used her Delta Talker  to do it and she had programmed the name Pocahontas into it  herself.  Those of you who have worked with min speak realize this involves not only getting into the programming mode but also selecting a symbol sequence to represent the name.  She did all of this using a laser attached to a head band.    She had learned the programming  by watching me during other sessions.  I learned not to underestimate her abilities when motivated.

She would be in her twenties now.   I lost track of her after her elementary years but I think of her often.  She reminds me that our first impressions of a student’s capabilities are not always correct.

break ice colors

How does this get us to Don’t Break the Ice  you ask?   Well it was difficult for her to play with her peers and have  normal interactions.  I was always searching for games I could adapt.  Don’t Break the Ice was one of the games I adapted so she could play too.  I basically took the orignal game and put masking tape along two sides.  I then color coded the rows. This allowed her to tell another student what block of ice she wanted to be hit out by saying two colors.   Where the colors intersect is the block chosen.  She used her voice output  system  to communicate.  The set up was also useful for other students  using a communication board.  You can color code  a dice or spinner.  Students roll a dice and then say what color they have or will hit out.   It is good for I want, I have, I need statements.

 

Don't break board

 

 

Mouse Books for Language Samples

8 Aug

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Recently, I was looking for new books to add to my therapy collection and noticed that a favorite series of mine are still available.   It is the Mouse Books by Monique Felix.  I have 2 of them and I see there are more in the series now.  I bought mine years ago so the covers have changed.  They are still very reasonable in the $12 range.  I originally bought  mine for $3 which is very telling to  how old mine are.

The books are great for getting language samples  because they do not have  words, only pictures.   I have used them frequently for  my younger students.   The mice are engaging.   The books  are great at eliciting comparison and descriptive vocabulary.  Because they tell a story in a sequence of events I can also get a variety of verb tenses.  I can tell if the student recognizes there is a story sequence.  This is all valuable information to get informally to compare how students do with standardized testing.  Because I use them frequently, I can tell what the average student can do and when they are struggling.

Here is a bit of an inside view of The Opposites book.  There is a white mouse and a dark mouse that do opposite things throughout the book until the surprise ending.

 

IMG402    IMG405

 

The Colors book illustrates the antics of a mouse in an art studio and explores mixing colors.

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If you are looking for  new books, you will not be disappointed in the number of ways you can use these.

 

 

Free Trial: Reply to a Comment Task Cards

31 Jul

Comment cards button

 

Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Back to School Sale on Aug 4th and 5th. If you are waiting for the right time to get back to school materials, now is the time.  Don’t forget to use the Promo code when you check out to get the full discount.

In a previous post I mentioned how I worked with students to recognize comments and questions and how they should make a reply.  I made comment and reply cards last  Spring.  I have since updated them to include  pictures.  I’m putting a trial set here for my readers to try out.  If they look like something you could use, the full set is on Teachers Pay Teachers.

free trial button

Reply to a Comment trial set

 

Quick link to Teachers Pay Teachers.

TPT button

Poppa’s Pizza Game Adaptation

28 Jul

 

Poppa's Pizza Topple.

I have some of my therapy games home for the summer since I had grandchildren visiting.  I noticed that I missed putting this one up on the blog.   Poppa’s Pizza Topple is a game I found at a garage sale a few years ago and I think it is still being sold in a few stores. It is a game  my students enjoy no matter what their ability level.  Pizza seems to be a favorite food of most children. I have used this game with students who are working on basic communication skills such as turn taking and making requests.  It can easily be adapted for students with limited verbal abilities by adding a communication board.    It also works well as a simple reinforcement for doing therapy tasks. At the most simple level, just use the pizza crust and have the student request ingredients and place them on the crust.  At the most difficult level, students place the ingredients on an unsteady pizza  crust propped up on Poppa’s finger.  They pick up the ingredients  according to what is rolled on the dice.   I recommend picking this game up and adding it to your collection if you get the chance.

Poppa's Pizza Topple.                                                                         pizza board

I had a request to show the communication board.  I do not have Boardmaker available on my home  computer to open this board. I ended up taking a picture of it. It will give you an idea of the symbols used.

Grand Opening

24 Jul

We did it.  Hopefully you have found yourself at the new web site.  You may be finding yourself here because of a redirect from the old site.  Please change any book marks you have to reflect the new url address.  Subscribers have been transferred over so you should not have to subscribe again.  There may still be a few glitches but I think you will find most of the material that was on the old site has been transferred here.  Let me know if you can’t find something.  There may still be some glitches but I think we are fully operational.  I hope you find this site easier to navigate and enjoy not having the ads pop up.  Thanks for being patient while we made the changes.

fireworks

The Art of Having a Conversation

25 May

Comment cards button

 

Students are sometimes referred to  Child Study Team (CST)  because of difficulties relating to peers. Concerns revolve around the student saying inappropriate things, being picked on and  starting   fights on the playground.   When you talk to the student, you may  find they have limited interests and talk excessively on one topic.  They have difficulties taking turns during a conversation.  In their attempts to enter a  conversation  they say something that can be  perceived as an  insult or bragging.  This results in a fight or peers not wanting to interact with them.  The student then  feels picked on or shunned.

Sometimes these students have a diagnosis of Aspergers or high functioning autism and are on our caseloads. They may need direct instruction on how to have a conversation. Learning  the art of having a conversation can help alleviate some of the difficulties.  However, it is a very difficult skill to teach without structure.    Left to their own devices,  the a session may go something like this.  A  student will start a topic of high interest to them. The other students  interrupt  to make off topic comments. One student dominates the topic with multiple comments until another student manages to derail to another topic with  multiple comments.  It becomes   a competition to control the topic rather than enjoy an exchange of information.  No one feels they have been listened to and arguments occur as they interrupt each other.  Each student  feels that only their topic and comments are right. I have actually had a student say they won because they had the most papers out.

How do we provide structure so it becomes a learning task?  It is  important  to break down  skills in in smaller increments  so they can understand and  practice.  I have used colored  paper shapes as visual cues to illustrate turn taking, topic changes and questions and comments.

Conversation strip 1 and 2

Can you guess which conversation is interactive with multiple people talking about a topic.  Which conversation is more likely  people talking for themselves?

During this process I have discovered  many of our students do not know how to start a conversation or recognize when another student is giving them an opening to start a conversation.   They may not see  the differences between a question and a comment and do not understand the hidden expectations of both. When a comment is said, they may misinterpret its intent and  not  respond appropriately.  I made comment and reply cards so that my students could work on this directly.  There is a full set at the TPT store.  You can reach them directly by hitting the button at the top of the page or the button below.

TPT button  There is also a set of  trial cards here.  free trial button

The Value of Playing Cards

20 Jul
playing cards

playing cards

Before we had smart phones and iPods many of us remember playing cards when waiting any length of time with a group. Sometimes it is good to look at the old traditional card games because there is a reason why they had staying power.  Children still like playing them. Card games such as Go Fish, Rummy, Old Maid, Crazy 8 and UNO can meet a lot of different therapy needs as well as provide a recreational activity for disabled students to mix with non disabled students. You may remember we used a game of UNO in our “Circle of Friends Group” to work with a student who performed on academic grade level but was severely impacted socially by Autism. http://cjmonty.wordpress.com/category/circle-of-friends/.

Card games have the advantage of engaging a number of students of different ability levels within a structure. They provide lots of opportunity for modeling by peers in predictable interactions.  The use of card games provides a training ground to reinforce social skills some students need to develop in order to participate in a group and have a conversation. It also allows the peer group to interact with a disable student and see them as a person they can develop a friendship  and play with.

Our high needs students benefit from some preparation such as communication boards, video modeling and visual cue cards. Many of my students I work with  in the Life skills Programs  are working on skills such as maintaining focus with a group, staying on topic, realizing their turn, the turn of others, perspectives of others, and appropriate emotional control with unexpected events.  In addition, they may be working on vocabulary and following directions.

I have collected free downloads of some traditional card games.  I hope this will make it easier for some of your planning for next school year. Some of these have the advantage of using specific themed vocabulary.

UNO

There are some creative variations on the internet. However this particular game is under copyright so I didn’t feel I could post them.  The regular game is very useful for working on following directions.

This is a board that is a tech speak overlay but I just use the board without the device for my less verbal students. http://www.boardmakershare.com/Activities/Search?SearchText=uno

Old Maid

I have used cards that come in pairs such as opposite cards, and plurals.    Just add a blank card that does not match with the others for the old maid.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Opposite-Sort-Freebie-702983

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Ocean-Plurals-Freebie-670212

I Have, Who Has

This is a fairly recent card game that seems to have a lot of potential for small groups.  Students need to maintain focus to stay with the group and participate.

Animals created by Ashley Hughes

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-Have-Who-Has-Animals-197698

Food by Ashley Hughes

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-Have-Who-Has-Food-30-Cards-198322

Winter vocabulary by Kindergarten Squared

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-Have-Who-Has-Winter-Vocabulary-Freebie-460163

Synonyms by Dee Bibb

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-haveWho-hasSynonyms-587727

Halloween Vocabulary by Mandy Neal

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-HaveWho-HasHalloween-360098

Back to School Vocabulary by Simply Speech

http://kcummingsslp.blogspot.com/2012/07/back-2-school-i-have-who-has-freebie.html

Go Fish

http://www.boardmakershare.com/Activity/1729317/Go-Fish-Cue-Card  communication board

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pronoun-People-Go-Fish-570158 (pronouns)

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Go-Fish-for-Irregular-Plural-Nouns-230009 (plurals)

http://www.filefolderfun.com/Pages/PreschoolPictureMatch/GoFishGame.html   (Feelings)

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pet-Shop-Go-Fish-Card-Game-230710  (Pets)

http://bogglesworldesl.com/cards.htm    (a variety of flash cards for vocabulary building.)

If you need help remembering the rules this is a good place to look them up.

http://www.webterrace.com/family/games.htm

Most Useful Apps

28 May

The school year is coming to a close and it will be time to return  the iPads to the technology department.  We don’t always get the same iPad back in the Fall.  If  the technology department has completed updates it is possible they come back  wiped clean.    I didn’t keep a list of apps last year and I regretted that.  I decided to post my most used apps on the page now called Videos and Apps. Maybe you will find one you haven’t discovered yet.  They were all free when I originally downloaded them.

I thought I would also write a bit about how I use what I call my Pretend Play apps.  Three of my favorites are Toca Hair Salon, Toca Monsters, and PlayHome Lite.   I use these boards  frequently with my students in the  Life-skills programs.  I have found I need to create a lot of structure and routine or it becomes the student making a lot of random hits on the screen and basically zoning me out.  If there are two students, it is often difficult to get one student to  give up their turn to the other student.  I don’t find a session very fruitful under these conditions. Maybe you have had that experience too.   I have found that adding activity based communication boards to go along with the apps  adds the structure and the control I need.

I use Boardmaker to make the communication boards and usually start with a pretty basic framework.  My pronouns and nouns are on the left side of the board.  The next section contains the verbs needed, then prepositions and adjectives.  I leave the right side for my  My Turn, Your Turn, Finished, exclamations like Oh-no, and Do it again. By keeping the basic framework the same, the student becomes familiar with the icons and knows where to look for them. You do too which makes it easier to model the sentences.    If you keep your framework similar, you can make new boards easily by using the same framework and only replacing the vocabulary you need for the new activity.  I use plastic protectors and just slip the new board in.  This has saved me from laminating.

Quite a few of my students are working on using  two to three  word phrases using carrier phrases such as “I have____”, “I want____”,  “I need____”, and turn taking.  I require them to use words or the communication board before manipulating something on the iPad.  They then indicate Your Turn to the next student.  I model this behavior as I play with them and it isn’t long before they are talking with me in a more natural context.  It also works if you are working on subject pronouns and verb forms.  I model which tense of the verb I want them to use such as future tense on something they “will” do. I am posting pictures  of  two of my boards  I use with the apps “Play Home Lite” and “Toca Hair Salon”.  Has anyone else discovered this works for you?

playhouse

Toca Hair

Before and After Picture Sentence Cards

26 Mar

 

button before and after.

 

It is Spring Break for me.  I have time to get some creative juices flowing.    Just before break, we had our annual book fair.  One of the  hot items was a “Top Secret UV Pen”.  I was lucky enough to get one before they sold out, although teachers were saying it was one of the main items they had to confiscate later after multiple reminders to put it away.  Maybe I should have just waited and one would have come my way.  Anyway they are pretty inexpensive, in the $3 range.  Book fairs are not that different from school to school so maybe you have seen the pens too.  I know you are itching to try it out so I am providing the perfect opportunity.

When  I saw this item an idea came to mind.   I knew my students enjoyed a Super Duper item that had a decoder light.  I thought I could make some of my cards more motivating by using it in the same way.   It would be perfect for my before and after cards.   Many of my students have difficulty with the semantics of when to use before or after.   I made  a deck of before and after cards with pictures for my non readers quite a few years ago.  They were lost in my move last Spring and  I dearly missed those cards.  Unfortunately they weren’t digital. This pen motivated me to make  another set.   This time I left a frame where I used the UV pen to  write before and after depending on the sentence.  The students can light up the answer to see if they are correct. The cards are still very useful even if you don’t have the UV light.

I made a free set of 9 cards on 3 pages for you to try out.  If you have the UV light you can add the light the answer feature.  I am not sure if the UV will work if they are laminated.  I’ll have to see when I get back to work.  Anyway try out these free cards and if you want more I’ll have a set of 30 at the TPT store. Click on the button at the top of the page and it will take you directly there.

WordPress before and after free set of 9 trial  cards

BA WP

Making Descriptive Sentences for an Easter Activity

16 Mar

I have five days left before Spring Break and I realized Easter is coming faster than I thought.  It will be done when we come back from Spring Break and I haven’t even pulled out the plastic Easter eggs.   The  Easter eggs always add a  little variety to the speech therapy sessions. In preparation for this,  I updated the Descriptive Sentences Activity that is in the Expressive Language section.  It now has 20 basic sentences and I added color and visual cues to the spinner.  It is free at the TPT store here. TPT button  I will print out the basic sentences and insert them in the eggs.  The students will pull them out and spin the spinner to make  more elaborate sentences.  If they succeed they will keep the egg.  If not, it will get thrown back into the basket.  I will give some sort of little prize to the person with the most eggs.

descriptive spinner