It's Not Your Run of the Mill File Folder Activity!

If your students on the spectrum are able to play in simple sequential patterns, such as placing a figure in a car and pushing it, or putting a car on a garage toy and making it go down the ramp, then they should have the language to talk about it! Do they? 

Communicative frustration is a very important factor to look at in students with behavioral issues. Wouldn't you be frustrated if you weren't able to make your needs known? There are many other factors, as well, but expressive language skills will be the focus today. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend reading some of V. Mark Durand's work on functional communication and behavior, such as this: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3963649-severe-behavior-problems.
 
autism, AAC, symbol supported, file folder activity, Looks-Like-Language
I have had great success with students producing basic sentences to talk about preferred activities using visually supported, interactive file folder sentence activities. This method has worked with verbally limited students a well as those who are nonverbal AAC users. The first step is to make sure that your student understands the visuals you are using. 

Make it fun! Just have the students request the toys and figures to play with, either verbally or using symbols. Rather than giving them the toy they asked for, give them access to the toys and say something like, “Sure! Take it!” You will see if they understand when they are taking what they requested.

My favorite way to start implementing this technique is in combination with toys I own and the students can play with. If your student plays with the toys first, forming sentences afterwards to talk about what happened during play, you are actually teaching narrative skills as well!

Some students will do better if they form the sentences first, knowing that they get to play when the file folder activity is completed, and that is fine, too!
autism, AAC, file folder, symbol supported, Looks-Like-Language
The graphic shows the steps I take to build the sentences for students with limited skills. I have found the most success with using a backward chaining pattern. 

For example, if I start with 3 symbol sentences, the character and the symbol ’ride’ will already be placed on the top sentence strip. All the student does is choose the toy by placing the symbol on top and point to each symbol in the strip as you read aloud. Then the character head gets placed on the toy and the whole thing goes on the garage. When all of the Velcro strips in the garage picture are filled, it is time for a play break!

If the student did that easily ad is still showing interest in the garage, I might have him place 'ride' and the toy symbol in the top sentence strip in the next round. Be sure to start where the student is successful, work to a little higher level each session and end the activity while the student is still engaged!
For higher level students, the top picture adds all of the choices that might be used to make sentences about playing with the garage. 
If you take pictures of your student’s favorite toy set, making a customized interactive sentence file folder activity is easy enough to do! If you prefer ready made, check out mine here

I hope this gave you some useful ideas! 
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How to Survive the Downhill Slide

The Frenzied SLPs are linking up for the downhill slope! While downhill is usually the easiest and most fun part of the ride, at school it does bring some extra challenges. Many SLPs are drowning in paperwork. Most of us are juggling meetings and therapy. Then, there’s always the cleaning up, reorganizing and sometimes packing up for the summer that needs to be done.

Although the end of the year drags, seeming like it will never come, I actually prefer doing therapy at this point! With the comfort of having progress demonstrated or goals achieved, and behavior management methods worked out, there is some leeway to generalize skills, play games and just have some fun! That was my goal when I was shopping the TpT sale last week: finding some new, fun therapy activities to get through the end of the year. I accomplished my goal! (I hope you found what you were looking for, as well!)

This time of year, I like to loosen things up a little and get away from the therapy table as well. So, I went looking online to find some activity ideas (by skill used) to adapt to meet the needs of my caseload. I think that ESL teachers may have the best job ever- teaching kids with normal neurological skills to talk! Many ESL sites share fun ways to get kids talking. Here are two ideas that I’m looking at now for descriptive language from the site  http://www.teach-this.com/esl-games/describing-games.
slp, speech/language pathology, end of school year

I am thinking of adapting the ‘Swat’ game for my lower level groups and using pictures of words they have learned this year on my board. The first week, I will provide the descriptions and they can swat the words off the wall or catch it on the sticky hands I found at the Dollar Store. The next week, they will get to be the SLP, taking turns giving clues to each other to find the words. To keep them from purposely giving limited information, I challenge them to give better clues than I did, making their combined score of words figured out on the first clue higher than mine was the week before. Games like this let the students use their skills, have fun, and let me do some mindless paper filing/recycling while I am interacting with them, cueing as needed and monitoring their carryover skills.

vocabulary, games, speech/language therapy, end of school year
For my higher groups, the game I am going to try out from this website is called ‘Hot Seat.’ I will adapt this version of a vocabulary game by having the student who is giving the description write the word on a small white board. (If you follow me at all, you will have seen pictures of my favorite dollar store deal before!) The student has to give descriptions of the word that was written on the mini board until the student in the hot seat guesses the word. Then, they switch seats.

Since I don’t have teams, I like to change the rules a bit so that my students are both motivated to keep trying and to not become frustrated. To do this, I will limit my students to 5 clues to get the other to guess the word. If they go over, that round ends. If they get the other student to  guess the word, they get a point for each word. The students will alternate chairs, the ‘hot seat’ being the guesser, each round. For some groups, I may start with a category or a subject area to make the job of the student in the ‘hot seat' a little easier.

So, what are your pet peeves this time of year? What is your most difficult time of year? Mine is the fall. Soooo hard to get back to work. But now, we have a long, wonderful summer to look forward to!


Are you interested in more helpful therapy tips and freebies?  Subscribe to the weekly newsletter or visit on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram: @lookslikelanguage.

For more ideas to help you make it to the summer, check out these links!


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