Some Holiday Cheer for You! Santa's Stockings 3

Happy holidays from Looks Like Language! Get your free color matching worksheets here!
You've made it to the final countdown! Why is the last week always the longest, even though it is a short week?

The last part of the Santa's Stockings Game is ready for you to download! If you missed some of it, start here.

Need some more quick ideas to work on any goal with a holiday theme? Check out this blog post.

Don't forget to try out my mini sampler from my store!
Some free fun from Looks Like Language to make your holiday planning easier!

May your week be peaceful and your holidays be wonderful!

3 Ways to Teach Saying Thank You! Even When You Don't Mean It!

3 Ways to teach children to say thanks- and why it is important! Looks Like Language
Little kids get reminded by their parents all the time: “Say please.” “Say thank you.” This is how we start teaching politeness. Politeness and manners are such important social skills!

When friction develops, manners can keep a situation calm enough to talk it out instead of fighting. In normal every day life, it is practice beginning to be able to take another’s perspective.

Think about it it- who does saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ benefit? The speaker or the listener? Obviously, the listener or we wouldn’t have to work so hard to get kids into the routine of saying it!

Although they may say it faithfully as a learned routine, children with autism may have a difficult time understanding why it is important. Even more difficult- saying thank you when you don’t like the gift!

To help with this important skill, I have 3 ideas for you today!


Young or nonverbal children can benefit from practicing the routine. This adapted book will let you put items that your students like and dislike in the presents to visually teach that we still say thank you. Opening presents is such a fun activity, even when it is make believe!

Get this fun social skills activity here
Saying thank you is so important! Get this adapted book at Looks Like Language!
Using shoebox to teach children to say thanks! Looks Like Language
Of course, having some decorated boxes to open up and see a real toy inside is a great activity to coordinate with the book. You can read more about it here.


Saying "Thank you!" is important! Tips for teaching at Looks Like Language
This free game from my store gets kids identifying how receiving different toys would make them feel and giving an appreciative response anyway. Try it out here

Kind feedback is always appreciated!


This social rules story can help your older children or students to begin to understand why it is important to say thank you for gifts we don’t really want. One page is filled in completely as an example.

Click here to download this freebie as my way of saying,"Thank you for your support!"

The second page is a fill in the blank. You can use this page as a basis for discussion and letting your students fill in answers that are pertinent to their lives.

Discussion questions could include:
* Did you ever get a present that you didn’t like?
* How did you react? What did you do or say?
* How did they person who gave you the gift react? What did they do or say?
* How did your reaction make them feel?
* Is that how you want that person to feel?
* What could you do differently next time?
* What could you say differently next time?
* How can you help yourself sound sincere? Sincere means you really mean it. We show that in our facial expressions, body language and tone of voice.

You can use all of these resources at holiday time or for birthdays! Enjoy!

Some Holiday Cheer for You! Santa's Stockings 2

Santa is still looking for his stockings! Can you help?
At holiday season, when our littles get even a bit more antsy than usual, it is good to have some quick, fun holiday activities to use. Open ended activities can be so helpful!

The children feel like they are playing a game instead of working, but it is easy to sneak your work in!

Try taping pictures of their vocabulary words or their speech targets on the backs of the cards. Then when they ask for a card, they are doing their work! Want to read more about this idea? Find it here.

You can also try asking them a question after they pick a card and let them help Santa answer it. That way, Santa made the mistake and you can get your student to model the correct answer for Santa! Kids love to pretend.

(Sometimes I love to pretend I'm in a quiet place somewhere sunny, myself!)

Have some free Christmas fun at Looks Like Language!
Need some more help? Try out this free mini sampler at my store!

Enjoy your freebie! See you next week!

Some Holiday Cheer for You! Santa's Stockings 1

Hello, friends! The season of giving is upon us, and I have a gift for you!

Happy holidays from Looks Like Language! Download a cheery Santa game!
Anything that can make life easier this time of year is a treat, so I hope that this quick and easy open ended Santa's Stockings color game will help you out! 

You can download the first part here. Come back next week for more!

Remember that my newsletter followers get expanded free sets and additional tips and information. 

Sign up now! 

Be sure to also check out this fun mini sampler at my store!

Have some free holiday fun from Looks Like Language!

Thankful for You!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving feast with family and friends!

Join the #SLPholidaygiveaway from 11-25-17 to 11-26-17! Good luck!
I have a different kind of freebie this week. Since I am thankful for you, I joined in with a group of friends to offer some amazing giveaways! 

Only a few will win the grand prizes, but I promise that you will all be winners for finding these talented SLPs to follow!

We made it as easy as we could- so go ahead and join using the link below. Good luck!

The contest is now over! Thanks for entering! The winners are Reni, Sarah D. and Hailey L. Congratulations!

More Shoebox Play for Autism- Cars

Happy Thanksgiving! Since the feast is upon us, you know that gift giving is coming soon. We often get asked for recommendations for toys from parents. With our more typical students, this isn’t usually difficult. But what about our students on the spectrum?

Does your child with autism just line cars up? Read More Shoebox Play - Cars!
Your student works happily to get some play time with small cars, but when he gets the cars he doesn’t actually play. All he does is line the cars up. Sometimes the cars are in size order, sometimes they are grouped by color, and sometimes there is no apparent pattern. Is there something we should do? And what in the world do we recommend when his parents ask us?

Your student shows that he is able to categorize by features, but he doesn’t get the function piece needed for representational play. How do we change this?

I love using shoeboxes to develop play skills for 3 reasons.

1. They make the play steps and ‘all done’ visually obvious.
2. They stabilize the toys to help with physical manipulation problems.
3. It makes one complete activity that the child can learn to do independently.

Design Your Own 

It is important to design the play shoebox so your student sees what to do and when it will be done from the visual set up. Another important piece is teaching how to use 2 or more objects together in play, since that is where make believe play begins.

Remember that when you are teaching a new skill, this is work! So, your student will work on learning how to play, but will get to line the cars up however he likes once the work is done.

Does your child with autism just line cars up? Read More Shoebox Play - Cars!
The photo shows one possible way to teach pushing toy cars and using them with a ramp to play. The little boy I used this with was nonverbal, with limited play skills, but he was able to learn how to make the cars go up and down the ramps on the shoebox. 

I faded the box by first using just the lid on the table, and then removing the lid. Eventually, he was able to request the color cars and ramps that he wanted and then play independently. 

You know that you have made progress when your student  requests cars and actually pushes them instead of just lining them up!

Does your child with autism just line cars up? Read More Shoebox Play - Cars!

Don't forget to add language skills! 

This photo shows how I put requesting into the activity, but communication is so much more than requesting! 

Add verbs and descriptive language, modeling visually and verbally. Use adapted books and expand the play to toy garages, roads and any other type of car play you can think of. 

But, what about IEP goals and academic standards?

Now, I know that there is great pressure put upon schools nowadays to align all work to educational standards. However, if you don’t help your students develop representational language and thinking skills, how are they going to comprehend higher level academics? 

And if they don’t know how to play, how are they going to develop friendships with their peers? Or the turn taking skills that are a basis for so many social interactions? My feeling is that helping with the language for play and behavioral difficulties are vital to include in your work with students, no matter what IEP goals you also have to address.

Where to start?

1. Figure out the level of your student’s play skills.
2. Pay attention to the toys your student takes out but doesn’t use appropriately.
3. Toys your students looks at, or picks up and sets down, can indicate interest without knowledge of what to do with the toy.

Working with Parents

1. Find out from the parents what kind of toys your student pays attention to at home, and exactly what he does with them.
2. Starting with a type of toy that is available at home has the benefit of offering more chances for carryover.

Suggestions for Parents

1. Buying a toy that is similar to one that your student knows how to play can be a good idea for carrying over play skills at home.
2. It is more beneficial for a student to have a toy he can play with appropriately than to buy a more advanced one that he doesn’t know how to use.
3. Consider asking a parent (who can afford it) to buy a toy that you will work on playing with in therapy sessions and send home when he can play with it independently.

If you found these suggestions to be helpful, you will want to check out my other shoebox play blog post here.

Get started with autism- a free download from Looks Like Language!
And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and get your free download of GettingStarted with Autism now!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

More Building Thanksgiving Sentences in Mixed Groups

Working with mixed level groups is so much easier when you have co-ordinated materials that offer a variety of activities at different levels of support.  Did you download last week's freebie to get a taste of how it can help you out? If not, no worries. Just click here.

Make your Thanksgiving prep easier with this free Building Sentences activity from Looks Like Language!
This week, you can get the last section of the set. I combined them into larger downloads for you this year so that you have more time to use the materials.

Besides building N-V-O sentences to tell about Thanksgiving activities, or sorting nouns and verbs, it is very easy to adapt the activity for using past, present and future tenses. Just use the pictures and add some days of the week and time word cards, and you are all set!

Get this week's free download here.

Use past and present tenses to tell about Thanksgiving in a multi activity set from Looks Like Language!
If your students need more practice, take a peek at Thanksgiving Activities: Past & Present. 

I hope your Thanksgiving preparations are going well!
Enjoy- Linda

10 Practical Tips for Easier Transitions

10 Practical Tips to Help Students Make Transitions
When I was in college, I remember having to read tons of research articles. That, actually, is when I started drinking coffee! Staying up late at night in a hot campus library reading research (since I couldn’t afford to make photocopies and personal computers were science fiction) led to falling asleep; thus, learning to drink coffee.

What does that have to do with anything, you are probably wondering.  Read on, it does! 

When clinic hours would start in the morning, I wondered why there were never any classes or articles giving us any practical information about what to do when the client sat down in front of us.

It turns out, that was a great way to get a strong background in the science, as well as strong motivation to start to developing your own therapy materials, since very few existed then. But I thought then, and agree now, that we all improve our therapy when we have a chance to learn practical techniques that can make managing our students and their behaviors a bit easier.

Clinically based, not necessarily yet evidence based, but that does not mean that that these ideas don’t work or are wrong.

Last post, I gave you 5 questions to ask yourself to start problem solving your students’ transition difficulties. Every student is different, so a framework for figuring it out is helpful.

It also helps to get some practical suggestions that you can try! While you are working on expanding communication skills, here are some adaptations in routines that I found to be helpful.

10 Practical Tips to Help Students Make Transitions

10 Practical Tips for Making Transitions

1. Use songs and clean up routines to give a heads up for transitions when working with little ones.

2. Have young students bring a preferred object from the classroom with them.

3. Have the teacher give a heads up verbally or with their visual schedule to students a few minutes before the session is to start.

4. See if the teacher will try having students finish the current activity and sit in a waiting chair to be ready to transition.

5. Stop by on the way back with the prior student to wave and say you are next, giving them a little warning.

6. Use your photo on their schedule instead of a generic speech symbol.

7. Use a token board, just for transitioning, that lets them choose a preferred short activity when they arrive successfully.

8. Always start and end with a preferred activity to make the speech room a very preferred place.

9. Wait until they complete the current activity in the room before making a request to leave.

10. Show up to get the child with a preferred activity (or a visual for the first activity) to let them see what they will be doing first.

What else have you tried that worked?

Building Thanksgiving Sentences Freebie

Build Thanksgiving sentences at 2 levels for differentiated instruction! Free from Looks Like Language!

A Thanksgiving theme offers so many possibilities for increasing language skills! This week's free download helps with language for typical activities we do for Thanksgiving- food related, of course!

Just like most of my activities, it offers picture support at varied levels.  Whether your students are working on building simple sentences, answering WH questions, or telling parts of speech, you can make planning for your mixed level groups easier.

Get this week's download here.

Make differentiated instruction easier with this Thanksgiving themed activity from Looks Like Language!
Do your students need more practice? Then you might want to check out Thanksgiving Activities: Sorting Then and Now. There are lots of fun activities to make your November planning easier!

Enjoy! Linda

No tricks! More Halloween help!

Treat yourself at Looks Like Language!
Are you all set for Halloween? No? Then maybe these free basic skills worksheets will help you out a little!

Since I wasn't organized this month either, it is your gain! I'm linking up to two downloads at once this week to finish up the set.

No tricks! Get your free treat at Looks Like Language!

You can get week three here.

No tricks! Get your free treat at Looks Like Language!

Week four can be found here.

If you missed the first two sets, click here.

If you missed the Monsters on a Mission open ended Halloween games, click here.

Please thank me by commenting below to tell me what skill you would love to see in a new freebie set next Halloween!

No Tricks- Your Halloween Help is Here!

You are a busy person, I know! Whether you are an educator, a parent, or both, there is always too much to do!
Treat yourself with free Halloween downloads from Looks Like Language!

I'm a busy person, too! So much so, that I lost track of time. Now Halloween is around the corner and I didn't post all of my freebies! My busy-ness is your gain! Usually I hand out one section of a free set each week, but this week you can download two!

This set has simple worksheets for preliteracy skills with a Halloween theme. Maybe it might help you out with homework, or if your kids like to color, it might help you get a chore finished. 

Trick or Treat! Get your treat at Looks Like Language!

Download the first set here.

Trick or Treat! Get your treat at Looks Like Language!

Download the second part here.

Even better, if you liked getting more of the set at once, sign up for my newsletter using the bar at the top of my page. That way, you can get my latest updates and complete sets of the special freebies I offer. I promise- no sharing your email and no spam.

Didn't feel like signing up? No worries- just come back next week for another Freebie Friday! Enjoy!

Transition Problems- 7 Questions SLPs Need to Ask

Your muscles tense as you enter the classroom, waiting for the outburst that you know is coming. You walk up to your next student, who starts to scream and throws himself on the floor when he sees you. Sound familiar?

Even if the version you are dealing with only escalates to students turning their heads away and being non-cooperative, it isn’t the reception we were hoping to have when we became SLPS. Nothing boosts your ego like a student acting out upon seeing you.

The truth is, it may have nothing to do with you, personally or as an SLP. Your student has problems making transitions. But, what we can we do about it?

I brainstormed a list for one of my readers recently and thought this information might be helpful to you as well.

Transition Problems- 7 Questions SLPs Should Ask Themselves

Yes, visual schedules can help- but only if they are being used consistently by the whole team and only if the student truly understands them. 

Transition Problems? 7 Questions SLPs Need to Ask
Ask yourself:

1. Does the student truly understand that the generic ‘speech’ symbol means you? Maybe you need to use a photo of yourself or of your room. Or maybe you just need to make sure the student understands the symbol. One way to do this is to have the student carry the symbol from his schedule and match it to the same symbol on your door.

2. Has the student checked his schedule before you arrive to see that a transition is coming? If not, you are a surprise.

3. Do your students have the language to communicate their needs for this situation?  Think about what a verbal student says to help cope:
“Can you wait a minute? I just want to finish this first.”
“I’ll be ready in just a minute.”
“I’m almost done.”

Maybe you need to teach your student to communicate wait and go, not just to follow directions with these concepts.

4. Have I made my therapy room a place my student wants to be? To do this, you have to have rewarding activities and objects which you intertwine with harder work.

5. Did I try to move my student along at the pace I hoped for, not the pace the student is capable of learning at?  Making jumps in difficulty level that are too big and spending too much of the session at a level of frustration rather than a level of success can both lead to transition difficulties the next session.

6. Did I end the last session on a positive note, with work the student was successful with and a little time with a rewarding activity?

7. Am I working together with my SPED teacher to support the students’ needs? We make great teams, and the teacher is most likely dreading these outbursts as much as you are.

If you can’t think of anything to change in your therapy session, or even if you can, brainstorming with the teacher is always a good idea. They spend more time with the students, and if you are working to support their classroom communication needs, they will support you, as well!
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