Organization Help for Back to School!

Getting started can be stressful, what with scheduling, new students, new IEP goals and just generally too much to do. Being organized does help reduce stress. I can help you with that!

Giveaway! September 2017 at Looks Like Language
Every Friday in September, I will randomly choose 2 winners to receive a binder with 25 page protectors, multiple data sheets to try out, and a surprise! All you have to do to get a chance is sign up on the bar at the top of the page.

Congratulations to Freya and Shane, this week's winners!

Want some tips for various ways to collect data? Check out this post. It has links to lots of free data sheets, as well.  Read some tips for assessing baseline skills to determine therapy goals here.

Need an easy way to neatly label your binders? Grab this freebie!

Start collecting data with students who have autism with some help from the Getting Started with Autism Guide.

How about some conversation help? Many find taking data for these goals tricky, but you can Get Started with Conversation Skills.

LOOK FOR THIS!
Don't forget to sign up for a chance at winning a binder with data sheets, page protectors, and a surprise!

When Grief Strikes- 9 Tips for Helping Children

What Can We Do When Grief Strikes?


My heart goes out to all of those affected by the storms we have been experiencing, as well as the frightening terrorist attacks that are happening all over.  The world just doesn’t seem as safe anymore.

Tips for helping children when grief strikes from Looks Like Language
If we feel this as adults, how does it affect children? I have not been in either of these situations, fortunately, but I have experienced a great loss and am drawing on what I learned then to give these tips.

My Story


When my son was just about to enter kindergarten, my daughter was diagnosed with a fatal, degenerative genetic disease. At the same time that I was coping with my grief and watching my one year old start to deteriorate, I also had to learn what I needed to do to keep my bright, inquisitive 5 year old feeling safe and growing up as normally as possible.


It was before the internet, so I started with trips to the library to get books, reading about grief counseling for myself and with children, as well as reaching out to therapists. It was a very long, difficult 3 years watching my daughter lose all of her skills and pass on, while still working and attempting to keep a normal home life for my son.

What did I learn that can be helpful to you?


1. Be sure to keep your young child’s comfort toy, blanket or security item with you. This is a good parenting tip even when your life is calm!

2. Young children get their sense of security from the adults around them. The better you are at accepting the changes and keeping as much of their routines intact, the more likely children will continue to feel secure.

3.  Children do not grieve the way adults do. They can be playing, seemingly happily, and then run to you for comfort or to ask a question. Remember their attention spans are short, so answer questions briefly and factually.

When they have received the information they were looking for, or the hug they needed, they will run back to whatever they were doing as if it had never happened. If you see your child’s eyes glaze over or they start to fidget, they are saying 'too much.' Give the important information first!

4. If you are having problems coping, your child will, too. This is totally understandable when dealing with major issues. Just be sure to reach out and get help for yourself when you need it.

What about if you are working in the schools with children affected by drastic  events?


1. You are part of their safety net, so try to keep your school routines as close to usual as possible. When you can, laugh over the minor things you are having to do to cope with changed circumstances. Laughter is needed!

2. Listen and respond calmly and factually when students ask a question or bring up a difficult topic. If they go back to work right after, then you have met their need at the moment.

3. It is okay to respond that you don’t know, but you will try to find out for them.

4. It is okay to just acknowledge how difficult this is, and how they must be feeling. Pay attention to the child's body language, facial expression and tone of voice. Then, specifically label the emotion that they are feeling, so they have the language for it.

5. If some of your students are more withdrawn, more emotional, or just somehow not right compared to the general population, be sure to reach out to get them help. The whole family may need support to help them through this tough time.

While I wish we weren’t experiencing difficult situations, I hope these tips will help you cope! And I am so very grateful to say that my son did grow up to be a wonderful adult! I am thankful every day for my healthy children.

The Give Away Continues! Love FREE?

I'm thrilled to announce this week's winners! Amanda and Becky, congratulations!

And congratulations to me, too! I feel like a winner when I get to talk to one of my blog readers. Getting to know you better helps me help you!

Give away time at Looks Like Language!
So, I told you that I have a pile of stuff I've brought home and decided to do a give away. The photo only shows a piece of it (unfortunately!) Interested in a chance to win one of my binders, with page protectors, data sheets and a surprise?

Just sign up at the top of my blog for a chance to win! Need more details? Check out this post.

Good luck!

Back to School Giveaway! Plus a Surprise!

Back to school time is so hectic! This is my first year that I'm not gearing up for school, but believe me, I understand!

I was looking at the mess I made of my quilting room when I brought tons of stuff home from school last June, and trying to figure out what I was going to do about it all. You see, I don't like to throw serviceable stuff into the garbage. I usually donate things, but this was stuff you might be able to use! 

So, I decided to do a GIVEAWAY!

September 2017 Giveaway at Looks Like Language!
I have 10 binders in good shape with 25 page protectors, so there will be 10 lucky winners by the end of September! 

If you want to see why I love page protectors so much, check out this post.

Now, what good is an empty binder? It needs to have something in it! So, I am sharing my newsletter exclusive data sheet set. Want to see a great post with lots of links to FREE data sheets? Click here.

Do you like surprises? I know I do! So, every binder will have a surprise for you! Something loved that you might be able to use- think garage sale for free!

What's the hitch? All you need to do is sign up and hope you are one of the lucky ones! Use the bar at the top of the page to join this contest. The winners will be chosen every Friday in September with first names listed in my post. I will contact the winners by email to see where I can send your prize.

Good luck!

6 Thought Provoking Tips for Planning Autism Therapy

Yes, you can take lessons learned from hiking and apply them to planning goals for autism therapy! But before we get into that, let me reassure you that I am not an exercise diva.

Planning autism therapy with some hiking insights! Looks Like Language
Every summer, for many years now, I’ve climbed Mount Pemi as my husband warmed up for the 4,000 footers he climbs. This year, I was pondering what I’ve learned over the years of watching my family look like nimble mountain goats compared to me. 

As I thought about it, I realized these ideas work for planning therapy steps for autism as well.

1. Have a goal in mind

Hiking:  It is that beautiful view that keeps me going. When the climbing gets rough and I am working hard, I know it is worth it!

Autism:  We need to have that beautiful end goal in mind for our students to make all of their hard work worth it!

2. Look a bit ahead to make plans

Hiking: I realized a while ago that looking straight down at where I currently stood  was not the most efficient way to go.  Climbing works much better when I look a bit ahead, plan a path, and trust that my feet will take me there.


Autism: Look at and document where the student is right now, but progress is only made when you look ahead a bit to where you want them to be, and plan a path to get them there.

3. Sometimes you need little steps

Hiking: On the flatter sections, I can keep a steady pace. But sometimes it gets rocky, and little steps are necessary to get me through. Sometimes, I need to look around and modify the path I thought I wanted to go on.

Autism: When learning stalls, or behaviors emerge, smaller steps are needed in the activities to keep your student moving along the path. Sometimes you need to take another look at that path you planned. If it isn’t working, modify it!

4. Stop to take a break

Hiking: I get hot and out of breath after a steep section, so I need to stop and rest a bit. While I am catching my breath, it is good to look around and enjoy my surroundings!

Autism: Our students work hard for every accomplishment.  After they have achieved even a small step, stop to take a break. Review some easier tasks. Stop and enjoy something fun!

5. Enjoy the view!

Hiking: Reward yourself for your hard work. Look all around to see the beautiful view and enjoy it! You worked hard to get there so don’t focus on the next mountain you want to climb.

Autism: Reinforce your student for the hard work! Look all around you to figure out ways to help your student apply the skills in functional tasks. Make sure they can enjoy and use the new skill in as many ways as possible before attacking another skill.

6. Don’t compare!

Hiking: I took a heck of a lot longer to get up the mountain than the guy I saw jogging his way up. But, my view was just as beautiful!

Autism: Some students need so many more steps to get to that final goal than others do, but once they can do the task, it can be even more beautiful!

Finally, I wouldn’t climb a mountain if the view wasn’t worth it.
Don’t make your students climb a mountain if the outcome isn’t functional and worth all of their efforts!

P.S. Here’s the view!

Is your therapy outcome worth the work? Autism tips from Looks Like Language

Did you get the free Getting Started with Autism Guide yet? Check it out by clicking here! Don't miss this helpful freebie!

Free Fun Fall Activity for Multiple Speech & Language Skills

Get this FREE, fun fall freebie from Looks Like Language!
It is back to school time, so fall isn't far behind! We have to do a lot of informal assessments to get started on the right track, so why not make your planning easier with a fun fall freebie?

This photo game set and writing worksheet will let you address a multitude of speech and language skills, whether you are in the classroom or working in your office. Try it out here!

5 Reasons to Assess Narrative Skills- Back to School

Are books a vital part of your planning? I can't imagine doing without them, personally, but teaching your students internet literacy is just as important. If you teach students from disadvantaged homes, they may not have the same level of access to computers, so they especially need it included in every aspect of school life to gain digital skills.

The other bonus for us is that we can try out books online to see if our students engage with them, purchasing the book only if we decide it is one of our favorites to use over and over again!

One of my students introduced me to this YouTube video last year, and it has become one of my new favorites! Although I love the paperback version of Don't Laugh at Me by Steve Seskin, the song version is a great way to introduce it.  At back to school time, as students are getting to know each other, it is a natural time to find out about their likes, dislikes, and characteristics and incorporate a theme of acceptance of our differences. Give this one a try!

5 reasons to assess literacy skills plus links to free online resources! Looks Like Language
Checking students' narrative skills is on the top of my list for back to school assessments. Whether you do this orally or in a written format, there is so much information you can gain to help your students make progress over the year!

Beside the fact that this is an essential basic skill for conversations, discussion and writing, you can see how well they
* retrieve and organize information while staying on topic
* if there are word finding issues
* the level of sentence complexity
* grammatical errors
* how well they carried over skills from the previous year, including articulation skills.

There are so many fun, free websites at all levels of skill that can help you do this with little planning! Check out this post to get a comprehensive list! I double checked- all of the links still work.

What is your favorite book or website for literacy?


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