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!


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!

9 Tips: Adapt Materials for Therapy that You Already Own!
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 at any time of the year.
Garage sales are great for getting together a theme.


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 moreinexpensive items.


Puzzles with separate pieces are worth spending some money on.
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 on.

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)


Adapt your books and collect containers for play.
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 group is working on.

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!
Playing 'feed the animals' is fun!

The book in the photo 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, students put the toy animal in the matching food cup to ‘feed’ them. It makes reading fun and brings the language to life!


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.

A shoebox makes a great pet house for play!
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 with 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.


Turn worksheets into interactive fun!
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.

Construction paper is a basic school supplied material- use it!
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.


Thematic materials are great for building speech/language skills!
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: Teaching Core Vocabulary EAT!

Your student picks up the toy and sets it back down again. Maybe he lines them up or maybe she tries to roll them before ignoring them entirely. Since we know that developing children's play skills is vital for expanding cognitive skills needed for communication growth, what is an SLP to do?

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.

Tips for how to teach core vocabulary across multiple skill areas.
Working with kids on the autism spectrum, it may be more useful to think of therapy goals as advancing one functional skill as broadly as possible.

Developing a deep understanding of a skill or idea and as broad of functional, expressive use of the skill in many different contexts helps the child with autism to be better able to generalize skills.

The photos in this post 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?

Tips for how to teach core vocabulary across multiple skill areas.
Try basing as many of your therapy goals as possible around a functional core word.  This post demonstrates a way to build skills based around the core verb ‘eat.’



Start with a set of toys and a nice sturdy box to visually show how to play. 

Shoeboxes are great, but any sturdy box can do!




Determining symbol level
You also have to determine the symbol level the student understands so that you can add communication skills to the play task.

This photo shows a way to use a ravioli plastic and play food in a simple matching activity. The symbols are at varied levels, from cut out photos or TOBIs (True Object Based Icons that show the object’s shape,) to photos, and then symbols.

When asked to ‘match’ the fruits, the student is likely to choose the most meaningful symbol for matching.


Determining symbol level
In this example, the student matched the play fruit to the TOBIs, so that is the type of communication symbol I would use in the activity.

Another matching activity to try out is to have the student match the toy fruits to the real versions. 

Toys are easier to use in play activities, but students need to understand that the plastic banana represents a real banana for the concept of ‘eat’ to be developed.


determining symbol level


Notice that this student correctly matched the fruits to the icons, including matching the purple grape toy to the green grape icon rather than the purple grape photo. 

This shows a higher level of symbolism than in the last example.







determining symbol level
If this student understood the direction, “Match.” and this result is typical, it seems that the student is not yet at a symbolic level.  Assessing if the student uses actual objects correctly and working on developing a symbolic communication system for basic desires may be the way to go at this point in time.

Students who don’t comprehend any pictorial symbol system may benefit from using an object system, such as using a spoon to request cereal.


determining symbol level
Here you can see the box that has been decorated with a hungry child who has a huge mouth cut open to place foods inside to feed him.

Pointing at the symbols as you say them, whether they are paper symbols or symbols on an AAC device, is a vital teaching method for students using AAC. Seeing the symbols as the word is said can help the student assign meaning to the verbal words, as well as modeling how to express the ideas.



Determining symbol level

To build expressive communication skills, have the student point at each symbol in order as you say the sentence.

This is a strategy to help build joint attention. The student should be looking where he is pointing, and hearing the word said verbally as he points to the symbol can help him learn to connect the oral word with the symbol.



Checking discrimination
To check comprehension and symbol discrimination, occasionally make sure to tell the student, “Take it.” and offer them an array of food toys after reading the sentence aloud. 

If they correctly discriminate the symbols, they will take the food toy that they chose to finish the sentence.

As students become more familiar with the activity and more adept at formulating sentences, students can have access to all of the foods to feed the shoebox kid one food at a time.

Adding varied communicative functions


Either immediately before or after feeding the shoebox kid, the student can formulate a sentence to tell what the kid ate. Notice that this fulfills a different communicative function! 

Instead of filling in the last food as a way of requesting what to feed the toy, the student is now formulating a complete phrase to comment on what was/will be eaten.



Teaching no
When your students understand and produce basic sentences around the core word ‘eat’, don’t be too quick to move on only to a new core word. Think about how else this skill can be used in a different context to deepen word knowledge.

In this photo, you see an activity that works on the core word ‘eat’ in a different communicative context- learning that sometimes we don’t or can’t eat even if we want to. This reinforces and gives continued practice to the core word ‘eat’ even if other activities in the session are introducing a new core word.


Moving to 2D play
As students become more skilled at using 3D objects in play, start fading the shoebox if the student has the motor skills to manipulate toys without the stability the box provides.

As you move on to teaching new core words, it is important to continue to review and expand the previously learned skill sets. Maybe the student enjoys this familiar play activity now and might request it for a work break.




Building sentences in play
Maybe it is time to expand the activity to a higher symbolic level with a 2D version of the concepts. 

When a student is able to enjoy and participate in paper play activities, adapted books are great materials to use in therapy! 




Adding adaptive books


Reading a book and then playing an associated activity is a great technique for reinforcing the language and plot of the story.

This photo shows the cover of a simple adapted book that starts students using the core word 'eat' in sentences to communicate about varied foods.

Use their favorites to make skills functional


Notice that initially, the symbol for 'eat' is in a field of 3 with familiar non-food symbols to help the student discriminate easily. Errorless learning is a good way to go!

Helping your students make sentences to share information about their favorites is a great way to keep their attention and build functional skills!







Increasing symbol discrimination demands
When students master a step, build the difficulty incrementally, depending on the student's learning rate. This photo shows an additional verb symbol being added in place of one of the object symbols.

Moving the symbols around helps the student keep scanning, but new studies show that competent communicators using an AAC device express themselves more fluidly by using the location of the symbol on the device rather than always scanning the page.


Varying the symbols in adapted books
Now the adapted book has 'eat' as a choice along with 2 other verbs. One looks similar to 'eat' and the other is different in appearance, making discrimination easier than using 3 very similar action symbols. 

Many students do not need this level of discrete steps to make progress, but if you have a student who is becoming frustrated you may need to build skills in incremental steps such as these.



More shoebox play ideas from Looks Like Language!

I was so excited to be featured on The Speechie Show! I wrote this post to give you some more ideas about the shoebox play I discussed on the show.

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.

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