Any fun weekend plans?
Hi guys, I hope you had and amazing week. I am so excited for the Friday train. We have a busy weekend planned with lots of friends coming into town and a visit to the horse races! I have had back-to-school therapy plans on my mind all week- so I figured I'd share my finds with you guys. Hope you like my short and sweet edition of Friday Faves!!
What do you plan when the students first come back to school?
Any fun weekend plans?
Hi guys, hope you week is off to a happy start! Last Tuesday I shared some of my favorite tools for monitoring progress with your AAC students. Today I thought I would share some of the resources I use to communicate with parents. Often I find that the most challenging step in getting families to use AAC at home is making it approachable for everyone. As therapists we tend to make general suggestions "model during snack" or "use it playing his/her favorite game." While I absolutely think this is great advice, and have said all these things myself, sometimes it helps to break it down even further- to have families visualize what this will really look like in their day-to-day lives.
The first point I always talk about is creating an environment where your child feels heard and validated. Communicating the importance of responding to our kiddos communication attempts is so important for families, we want to remind them that they are encouraging more communication not ignoring all non-AAC messages.
Next up we talk a little bit about modeling and I share some of the plethora of resources on Aided Language Stimulation and places they can go to access resources on their own.
Lastly we talk a little about what this can look like in their lives. From my experience with the Hanen programs, I have learned that more is more. We get down to the nitty-gritty of what they see. (1) When/ what activity is a good time for their family? (2) What do you expect your child will want to say? (3) How will you react and what will you model for you child. Really picturing it helps families visualize what will happen and make it seem much easier to incorporate into their lives.
What do you guys do to help families use AAC at home?
Any good tips?
Good Morning! Today is my first day back at school after summer break. I am in for a day filled with awesome HR videos and planning for the student's return. With that, I have fun games on my mind. As I've mentioned before, I was at a tech conference earlier this month and it was there that I learned about my new favorite app. I don't know about you guys but all my kiddos, from 4-16, LOVE to color (to be 100% fair I know plenty of teenagers who love to color). Enter the QUIVER APP. Below is the video the website provides about how it works, but it's pretty easy:
1. download the app
2. go to the website and print out the coloring pages
3. the student (or you) color the pages however they want
4. open the app on your Apple or Andriod device and hover over the picture you colored
The pictures that you create will come to life and your students can watch their creations turn into little videos. I love that it provides such a strong level of reinforcement without totally relying on technology (like a game or video does). I have also used to to promote group skills, all the kids in the group color the same picture requiring that they communicate with each other and compromise. I have also used to assist in creating narratives either a whole group create a story around one picture or each student colors their own and creates an individual story.
There are a ton of free coloring sheets available on the website, but you can purchase packages as well. It really is a lot of fun for everyone!
What is your favorite reinforcer?
Have you found anything new and exciting to add to the rotation?,
Hi guys, happy Tuesday! While I am relishing my last few days of summer here I know that many of you are back to school and working with the kiddos again! Today I compiled a list of some of my go-to resources for assessing progress for your AAC goals. I am assuming many of you are in the same boat as I am -we do not directly complete the AAC assessments to determine eligibility- however we do monitor progress and work with families and staff members. I found that the most challenging part of quantifying AAC progress was determining targets. Dynavox, PrAACtical AAC, and (of course) Pinterest are great resources for goal development ideas. Once the targets are clear, creating data sheets- or searching for them- becomes easier.
When it comes to more formal or comprehensive assessments I typically use the SETT Framework to develop my assessment plan (the communication portion of the W.A.T.I. also has some fantastic information as well). If you are searching for a standardized assessment (and have access to one) the TASP is full of great information about symbol recognition and grammatical use, however, there are many other options available for informal assessment and progress monitoring.
(1) We have talked about this app before here but the AAC Genie app for iPad is an awesome tool for evaluating different aspects of language development and AAC use.
(2) Linguisystems puts out the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Profile which is a great way to quantify current skills and helps to identify targets.
(3) Lastly, a wide variety of AAC data sheets is crucial to monitoring progress and identifying strengths and potential areas of deficit.
Check out this post from PrAACtical AAC for more great recommendations.
Good morning, I hope you all are half as excited for the Friday train as I am. We have a fun weekend ahead with some outdoor concerts and a beach day on the horizon! In true Friday fashion here are some things we have been loving around the web this week.
(1) Some great ideas for for healthy school lunches. We all know how challenging it can be to find healthy eats that our kiddos will actually want to eat (heck, to be fair I have the same issue with my 30 year old husband!), and multiply that by 1000x when your kiddo has sensory issues or a restricted repertoire! We just loved all the different ideas and lunchtime combinations to switch it up.
(2) These social language checklists and this informal language assessment. Informal assessments are great to review progress and take a peek at areas I may be missing. I am super fortunate in that data is taken on my student's language goals by a variety of teachers in many contexts and I love using tools like these to look at the big picture.
(3) Great resources on YouTube to share with parents or use in therapy.
(4) One more week of summer over here then it's back to school.
(5) Core words books. We share these with parents and teachers to help create lessons teaching core words to my AAC kiddos.
Happy Friday friends! We hope you have great weekend!
In the spirit of back to school I thought it would be fun to share a few things that I have my eyes on for when the students return. We are lucky around here and school doesn't start until the last week of August, but I just can't keep from searching new activities for the kiddos!
What do you have in mind for the first day of school?
Anyone headed back to school this week?
Hello! I am currently attending a conference about technology in the classroom here in San Diego and it has inspired me to share one of my favorite assessment tools with you guys. In the past I have really struggled to describe my student's communication abilities in a way that makes sense and highlights their strengths as much as weaknesses. A few years ago someone introduced me to the online version of the Communication Matrix and I have been using it ever since. The population I work with, primarily, has severe to profound communication disabilities and testing my student's using typical standardized tests yields little information that truly drives goal development.
The Communication Matrix is a researched based assessment tool where you answer yes and no questions about how your student communicates. The tool then creates a visual matrix hi lighting communication skills and showing areas of deficit in four main communication domains or "reasons to communicate": (1) refuse (2) obtain (3) social & (4) information.
Once you answer the questions your student is assigned a level in each category. Levels range from (1) Pre-intentional to (7) Language. This allows you to see scatter skills and areas of relative strength visually.
I, personally, love that the matrix is easy to print out and show to the IEP team. It opens up a discussion about where the student can grow and what is most important to the entire team. While the Communication Matrix is easy to use, you can save your results and come back later, it is a tad long. There is also an option for parents to complete a form, however I find, some of the questions can be a little technical.
Overall, I think this is a great tool that allows you to assess your non-verbal to minimally verbal students in a way that opens up the team for a discussion about goals and what the student most needs to work on.
Cloudprint ... what is this magic?! (watch this video for the full effect)
And finally, ginormous bubbles!
It has been a little while since I had a themed unit for my sessions - being a pizza lover, it seemed like as good a topic as any! A while ago I ordered the book Curious George and the Pizza Party (Margret and H.A. Rey's) and have been meaning to plan activities around it ever since. Here's what I came up with:
I love Curious George and the Pizza Party, because it has something for everyone. While reading it, I have focused on recurring sounds or words, phrases/picture descriptions, predictions; all of the typical stuff. But, this book is great for social thinking too. Since George is a good but curious little monkey, he tends to have unexpected behaviors (like staying in the kitchen to make a giant pizza while all of the other kids leave to play games). Sometimes he even has to make tough choices (like if he chooses not to clean the kitchen then he has to go home but if he does clean up his mess, he can stay and make pizzas)!
...There are all sorts of pizza themed children's books, so take your pick.
Music: "I Am A Pizza"
* bonus inspiration points * if you make a pizza costume first and then act out the song.
Poppa's Pizza Topple can bring some fun into drills. Take turns after a few times practicing target sounds, describing a picture, etc... if you can get more than 5 toppings on the pizza, then you are a better balancer than me or any of my students :).
The Melissa & Doug felt pizza set is one of my favorite reinforcers, whether or not it is pizza week. Kids love to build their own pizza and pretend to eat it. By the time you've assembled the crust and all 4 of each topping, you've had a pretty productive activity.
Pizza Mania is another build-a-pizza game that has lots of embedded motivation. I like to use this one in a few different ways.
Play-doh...Obvi! This is especially fun after reading Curious George and the Pizza Party, because (spoiler) after realizing it was not a great choice to combine all of the little pieces of pizza dough into one giant one, George cuts the dough up into different shapes - making play-doh a natural extension activity. For the younger kids, I like to take the toppings from Pizza mania and put them onto the doh after we roll it out/cut it. I am ardently against color mixing in the speech room, but if you are nicer than I am you could add "toppings" on in different colors.
Arts and Crafts:
Love this pizza craft from Hippiemama
...and this paper plate pizza craft that focuses on shapes
...and these coloring pages that you can incorporate however you want.
"It's always good to go over the recipe beforehand, so you can easily think of the next thing that needs to be done.” - Guy Fieri
Molly and Larissa are speech-language pathologists in San Diego, CA, who are looking to share inventive, inclusive, fun ideas for developing communication. This is also their platform for highlighting the many amazing people and resources in the community.