Showing posts with label Autism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Autism. Show all posts

Having Fun Learning Emotions! Week 1 Free Activity Set

Emotions are such a vital part of our communication process. Try imagining how you would feel if you had to go through an entire week with out being able to express how you felt about events in your daily life. What effect would that have on you?


Have fun expanding vocabulary for emotions with this free download from Looks Like Language!
Anger? Frustration? Powerlessness? All of these and more? We know it would not be good.

Many of our students lack the vocabulary to really express how they feel about things that they have to deal with or are requested to do. Even if they can label the basic emotions of happiness, sadness and anger, is this really enough?

I don't believe it is. So, I have made this printable download free and available to everyone as a way to get started expanding your children's or students' skills. You only stand to gain from this, so why not download it now?

My newsletter followers get the complete set in one download, often with exclusive freebies. Interested? Just sign up for my bimonthly newsletter mailing list now. No spam, no sharing emails, and you can unsubscribe at any time, although I hope you will love it and stay with me!

Come back next week for the next section of the set!

Enjoy- Linda

3 Easy End of the School Year Tips- Plus a FREE Summer Homework Calendar for Autism!


The end of the school year is upon us! 
Great tips and freebies for the end of the year and summer carryover!


Whether you are finishing up next week or in June, you are probably noticing that your students are getting a bit antsy with the change in weather. Nice weather makes us all want to be outside!

Recently I read somewhere that nowadays, with teachers getting antsy themselves and starting end of the year countdowns, we are just magnifying the problem. Could that be the case in your school? I’ve been part of the education system for a very long time, and I must say that countdowns didn’t use to happen at one time.

Tips and freebies for the end of the school year and summer carryover!
Tip 1: Minimize showing your own desire for summer to your students.

We all look forward to the summer! But instead of counting down, when testing is over, try to consider this an opportunity! (I know, it is hard!)

Tip 2: Use this time of year to do all of the functional, fun application activities that you used to have more time to do!
Pick a theme and brainstorm how many different skills you can work into activities related to that theme. These are great for summer homework, too!

Literacy activities are basics! Have your students retell the story to check for comprehension  or see how well they are independently using the  sentence structures and speech sounds you have worked on. Have them ask each other questions for a change of pace with WH questions.

Cooking activities are great for following directions, eliciting verbs and spatial concepts, turn taking skills and just plain fun!

Play activities with toys related to the theme are a great way to get language samples and articulation use to check for generalization of skills learned this year.

Word games can be incorporated to elicit category, vocabulary, describing and phonemic or articulation skills. Play I Spy with My Little Eye using a busy picture related to your theme, or play I’m going to __ and I need something that starts with (sound).

Movie or song based activities are great for older students, especially if you let them choose their favorites! Just about any skill you can elicit with literacy activities will also work when using movie clips or song lyrics.

Tips and freebies for the end of the school year and summer carryover!
Tip 3: Change it up!

Whatever your usual working style, step out of your comfort zone and try a change of pace! The end of the school year is a great time for you to explore new ways of working with your students. Not only will it add to your skill base, but your students may like doing something different, especially if you are including activities that require computer technology skills. 

Did you see this post which has links to great websites to explore?

If you are concerned about how to take data with less structured activities think about these ideas:

• The real world is not as structured as a therapy session, so you need to find out if your students can use any of the skills independently. Compare how many times the student used the skill independently during the session now versus what they were able to do at the beginning of the year. Use a rubric to let you ball park the data.
• Many students with a limited skill base are able to produce the desired response largely because of the environmental cues you have unknowingly structured for them. Try going to a different location or even just change how you are sitting in your room. Are they still able to use the skills?
• Think about using the overall information you’ve gained about each each student as baseline data for decision making about next year’s IEP goals.

Whatever you try, have some fun with it! Your students will thank you!

SUMMER TIME HELP!
Tips and freebies for the end of the school year and summer carryover from The Frenzied SLPs!
We don't want our kids to backslide over the summer, and neither do parents. 
Thanks to The Frenzied SLPS for organizing this Summer Speech Carryover to give a variety of great tips to help us all out!

I know that while I was working, I could find plenty of help for my students working closer to grade level, but 
what about our students who are on the autism spectrum and communicating minimally

We certainly don't want them to backslide! The added difficulty for coming up with a summer plan for these students is the uniqueness of their skills and needs.

My free download for maintaining communication and keeping routines at home over the summer can be downloaded here. I hope it is a helpful guideline for parents this summer. It certainly is something I wanted to have but never had the time to create!

Be sure to click here to get more useful tips to help you out this summer from The Frenzied SLPS!

9 Great Tips for Adapting Materials You Already Own!

9 Tips: Adapt Materials for Therapy that You Already Own!

Therapy doesn’t always have to be expensive, if you use materials you already have around the house creatively! It also helps if you have garage sales in your neighborhood or if you know people that have kids. Don’t be afraid to ask them to let you go through their kids’ toys and books before they get rid of them!

Adapting items you have takes a little time, but building up a supply of activities around a theme makes working with mixed level groups much easier! Being able to mix and match the materials for different groups’ needs also keeps you from having to do the exact same activity all day long. These examples have a pet theme; so fun to do in the spring.

Check out these 9 easy to implement tips for adapting materials you already own for therapy!
Tip 1: ORGANIZE AND KEEP COLLECTING!
Buy some inexpensive boxes to keep the toys and books you’ve found for each theme all in one place. Add to the theme as you find inexpensive items.


Check out these 9 easy to implement tips for adapting materials you already own for therapy!
Tip 2: GET SOME PUZZLES!
If you have students with low level skills or minimal language, puzzles that have separate pieces of whole items are worth spending some money for.
Students can:
• Request the pet they want to place. (labeling)
• Find the pet that makes the sound. (auditory skills)
• Find the pet who swims, flies, etc.  (action vocabulary)
• Find the pet who eats carrots, wears a collar, etc.  (word association skills)
• Request a black pet, a flying pet, etc. (describing)

Tip 3: BOOKS! MUST HAVE BOOKS!
Find varied books on that theme with different levels and great pictures. This will let you build literacy skills while choosing the book that is easiest to elicit the specific language each groups is working on.

Check out these 9 easy to implement tips for adapting materials you already own for therapy!
Tip 4: ADAPT


Taping symbols over the book text to adapt it to be a simple repetitive book is simple to do. Just adapt the size of the symbols so that the original text is covered and use a wide roll of clear tape that extends past the paper to hold it firmly in place. The book in the photo is still in good shape after 20 years. Don’t use school tape, though, as it will yellow and peel.

Tip 5: USE BOOKS TO BUILD SYMBOLIC PLAY!
This book has repetitive text for what the pets eat. Use craft glue to put small pieces of the foods in the bottom of empty, clean plastic fruit cups. It dried clear, keeping the pieces from falling out and kids from trying to eat them. After each page, the students could put the toy animal in the matching food cup to ‘feed’ them.

Check out these 9 easy to implement tips for adapting materials you already own for therapy!
Tip 6: MIX & MATCH!

Having many items in the same theme to mix and match is so useful!
• Therapy stays interesting
• There’s lots of opportunities to label and use or expand language skills.
• Combining items in different ways aids generalization.
• Building skills with different play combinations helps students to develop symbolic play.

Check out these 9 easy to implement tips for adapting materials you already own for therapy!
   Tip 7: SAVE YOUR SHOEBOXES
(Honestly, I am not a shoe shopaholic but little kids grow into new sizes quickly!)
Admittedly, it can be a pain to cut through shoeboxes, but they offer such inexpensive ways to incorporate hands on fun and lots of language!

After warming up by labeling the pets with the puzzle, you can have some pretend play!
"The animals are inside, but they are hungry. Let’s take them out."
 "Who wants to eat first?"
"I think I hear “meow.” What is it? Let's open a door!"

You can emphasize concepts, sentence structure, question words, auditory skills, you name it!
Students who are minimally verbal can respond using the pet symbols you made by taking photos of the puzzle pieces, or the puzzle pieces themselves.


Check out these 9 easy to implement tips for adapting materials you already own for therapy!
Tip 8: TURN WORKSHEETS INTO PLAY!
Worksheets with pictures are great to turn into hands on activities.
In the photo, you can see examples of:
• Sticker activities that are laminated and turned into a pet shop game. One set is an enlarged version so that the students had to specify the big/little pet.
• Shape matching pages turned into a game.
• Hidden picture pages put into a page protector to make a matching activity using pet symbols. The pictures of the hidden animal were colored in this set for a student who was just beginning to visually discriminate.
• A trading card plastic page that was adapted with symbols for students to match the associated pet and say the sentence.

Check out these 9 easy to implement tips for adapting materials you already own for therapy!
   Tip 9: USE ANY SUPPLIES YOUR SCHOOL OFFERS!
My school had Ellison cutters and construction paper available. Adding pet photos on the back before laminating made a simple game. Students requested the color cat or dog and then turned it over. 

The visual support helped the minimally verbal students form a sentence while the more verbal students used correct grammar in their productions.


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Adapted-Books-for-Autism-and-Speech-PETS-Themed-Activities-3121563
As always, TpT can save you so much time with high quality materials! 

Check out my Adapted Books: PETS Themed Activities and add your own toys for some interactive fun!


Enjoy!

3 Tips to Help Children Handle 'NO'


How in the world do you teach kids to accept ‘no’? If I had a sure fire way to teach and  guarantee this, my name would be known world wide!

no, temper, tantrum, meltdown, choice boards
My friend, Lisette, over at Speech Sprouts, asked what I did to help kids understand and accept 'no'. It takes a lot of work and very few 2-3 year olds will easily accept 'no' for something they truly want! But there are some strategies you can use to help kids start moving along the path to accepting ‘no.’

Don’t ask a yes/no question! Give choices instead.
Be careful how you word your questions! Asking a child, “Do you want A ?” implies that you are asking them for their wishes. This leaves it open for them to say, “No, I want B.” when B is not an option. Then you have to say “No.”

Instead, try “Today we have A or B. Which one do you want?” While some kids will then reply, “I want C!” this leaves it open for you to say, “I like C, too, but today we get to pick from A or B.”  You notice that this response did not include the ‘N’ word! Sometimes just hearing that word sets some kids off!

Choice Boards
To do this visually, use a choice board! Visuals are important to help kids see the choices, even for verbal kids. While they see the 'no’ symbol, they also see that there will be other choices available. Without the visual, they will hear the 'no' and can have a meltdown before processing the other choices.

Carefully Sequence the Options
First, help your students understand 'no' (whether visually or verbally) in the context of structured activities where it doesn't have an emotional impact. Then build up to hearing ‘no’ when it actually is something that the child wants, after they have seen that there will be other options that are good, even if not their #1 choice.

Note: Some students may just not be able to handle ‘no’ for various reasons, but don’t make the mistake of giving in to tantrums or outbursts by giving them what they want! As painful as it can be to out wait a sobbing or screaming child, you will only be making it more likely that it will continue if you give in!

Work a deliberate sequence of choices into your daily routines, but don't start with your kids' most favorite choices. Here is one way it could be done.

Make the ‘NO’ choice a 'no' for someone else.

See this picture? I  never had a kid get upset when they couldn't feed a make believe chocolate cookie in shoebox play. To read more about this, click here.

no, temper, tantrum, meltdown, choice boards
   •Make the ‘no’ choice something that the child doesn’t like.
This is a great place to start for kids who just react to the word. Hearing ’no’ gets a bit of desensitization when it is used for something unwanted.

no, temper, tantrum, meltdown, choice boards
Make the ‘no’ one of 3 equally liked choices.
Switch them around from day to day.

no, temper, tantrum, meltdown, choice boards
    •Make the ‘no’ the 2nd favorite, where the favorite choice is available.

no, temper, tantrum, meltdown, choice boards
Make the ‘no’ the favorite choice, with the 2nd favorite available.
 It also helps to have an empty chocolate chip cookie bag available for the child to see that there are no cookies in it. This can make settling for 2nd choice easier.

Build sabotage into your daily routines!
One day the crayon box can be empty, so kids have to choose from markers or colored pencils instead.
One day, the Lego basket is empty, so they have to choose a different building toy instead.

You get the idea! Learning that there are changes and new choices to be made in life is tough learning for little ones, especially anxious little ones! But by presenting it in a way where there are positive outcomes as well as negative ones, many children can start to take it in better stride.  No miracles, just slow, hard work.

Good luck!

More Shoebox Play Tips: EAT! A Visual Blog Post

Hi! I'm glad you are here! 


More ideas for shoebox play (EAT!) and how to develop skills from there!
I was so excited to be featured on The Speechie Show and wanted to give you some more ideas about the shoebox play I showed there.

If you missed it, you can see me live here!

If you are looking for more shoebox play ideas, click here for car play and here for playground ideas.

With neurotypical children, the goal of therapy is to develop as many of the missing skills as possible and expand them upward towards a higher chronological age level.Working with kids on the autism spectrum, I found it to be more useful to think of therapy goals as advancing one functional skill as broadly as possible to develop as deep of an understanding and as broad of a functional, expressive use as I could. 

More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!
More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!

These photos show one way to start with a basic set of vocabulary words, determine a symbol level to use, and bring the vocabulary into basic sentence structure.

Add some pragmatics, like requesting, commenting and 'no,' to build in functional communicative uses.

Bring in some literacy and play skills using the same words. You have given your student the visual equivalent of word association skills, building word knowledge and use, adding a slightly expanded skill to the base you started with.

This way, while you are building your student's communicative skills, you are also maintaining what was learned and expanding skills in a way that only adds one new piece at a time. Working in little chunks makes learning less intimidating and frustrating; more achievable and successful.

Would you want to go straight to the final in your most demanding class or learn each step a little at a time?


Many thanks to Barbara Bloomfield for getting me started. Rest in Peace.

Tips for Getting Started with Autism Effectively

Talking about ways to help our children with autism on Carrie Clark's The Speechie Show was a blast! If you didn't catch me live, you can watch the replay on her blog. I show you some of my most favorite visuals and when I would use each!

So, if you are new to my site, welcome! And if you've been here for a while, I'm thrilled that you are reading my blog as a regular!
Free visuals and tips for effective use! Looks Like Language on the Speechie Show!

I hope that you signed up for my Getting Started with Autism Free Guide. If you lost the link, just click here
Once you've signed up with your email, you will have immediate access. I promise to keep your email private!

As a special bonus, I've added a free download of a choice board to add to your set of visuals!  It will come in my next newsletter for all of you who have joined me. 



Get started with Autism free guide from Looks Like Language
Since I truly believe in visuals, I wanted to provide you with a blog post that summarizes the main tips I have for how to use them. See, we all need visuals! 

Tip: If you haven't read my post on questions to ask yourself to start problem solving behaviors, you might want to start here.


Tips for Determining Symbol Level

* Visuals are a great asset, but they need to be taught. They are not an automatic cure. Start with basics and expand from there.

* When teaching a visual system, that is the new skill. Whatever you are having the child do during this instruction should be something that is easy and already learned.

* You need to be sure that you are using the level of symbols that your student understands: objects, photos, icons or words.

* Doing a trial of matching the symbol to the object is one way to start assessing the student's comprehension of the symbol level.

* For students who use pointing boards, AAC or PECs exchanges, you can try having alternative symbol levels available and see which type they use to request. It is usually safe to assume that children will choose what they understand and are comfortable with.

* Another way is to let them request and tell them "Take it." Did the symbol they used to request match the item they took? You know that they took what wanted!

Where to Start

Shoebox play skills for autism- tips from Looks Like Language!
1. If your low functioning students are new to visuals, the best place to start is with an activity that has 'all done' built in, so that the way to do the task and how to know it is completed is built right into the task.

One idea is to use work tasks, like puzzles, sorting or placing clips on cards. Students see what to do and know the job is done when all the pieces are used up. The task disappears and some type of reinforcement is given.

But how to add language based skills into this?
I used a variety of play tasks with a shoebox to help my students develop realistic play using common objects, with symbols to support the language. You can see more about this one in this post.

Using token boards- Getting Started with Autism at Looks Like Language

2. Using token boards, like those you got in the Getting Started with Autism Guide, is the next step for showing students how much work is expected and when they will be done. Students need to have some symbolic communication skills for token boards, since they request what they want to work for, and the tokens symbolize a piece of the task that they are completing.

If your students have limited attending skills, only use the number of tokens that they can handle successfully. Really! Even if it only one token. (Just place all but one of them in the picture, leaving the last token in the lower right hand bottom corner for them to finish before getting their request.) And don't forget to make the activity a simple one, even an enjoyable one! Keep it positive and work on increasing the amount of work they can complete at one time. 


How to use a First-Then board- Getting Started with Autism at Looks Like Language

3. A First-Then board is useful when students can do a complete activity. First, they do the work you are requesting of them, then they get their choice. Again, when first using a new visual, keep the requested work short and easy so that they can experience what the new visual means in a positive way.

Even when students are capable of using longer schedules, a First-Then board can be useful to help a student get through some hard work. We are all willing to put in more effort on a difficult task if we know that it is for a short time, followed by a rewarding break. Coffee, anyone?


Using visual schedules in speech therapy- Getting Started with Autism

4.  Visual Schedules help students see what is coming next, reducing anxiety and showing them what they need to do to get their break.  When students can use first/then boards with two activities in the 'First' section, you can start with a visual schedule. 

There are generic symbol cards in the free download, but you may do better introducing a visual schedule with photos of familiar activities that you student knows how to do. For example, the schedule might show: puzzle, bubbles, students' request, book, play dough, student's request. To learn the schedule, the activities are easy and the breaks are frequent.

I love having the all done pocket on a schedule so that students can check their schedule and place the completed activity in the pocket.  Done= out of sight! Read more in this post.

If you just place a schedule on the wall and don't teach its meaning, it is just a bunch of paper on the wall! The same goes for all of the visual supports that can be so helpful, so be sure to take the time to make them meaningful for your students!

I hoped this helped you to be able to start effectively using your free Getting Started with Autism Guide! Any questions? Comment here, or email me at lookslikelanguage@gmail.com, and I will do my best to help you out!

Enjoy!
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