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

FREE Social Skills Problem Solving Unit!

Do you have problems finding appropriate materials for solving problems with your older special needs students? If the level is right, the problems may be too young. If the problem is is right, there isn't enough support for the language skills. 
If your teens with language problems need help with problem solving, download this free unit!

The story in this freebie is about a girl whose 'friend' picks a fight in the middle of the cafeteria one day. It is short and sweet, but allows you to address a lot of problem solving and social language skills. Try it out! 


If you download it and love it, please consider kind feedback as a thank you!


Enjoy! Linda

Autism: Teaching Play Skills with a Shoebox- Playground

What about play skills for your kids with ASD who don’t even know how to play? You know what I mean if you’ve seen your students do these:
•      Look at a toy and touch it, then walk away.
•      Use a toy inappropriately.
•      Play only with the same toy over and over.
•      Instead of playing, just lining up the cars/figures/blocks.

Tips for expanding the play skills of your students with autism!

To begin building their play skills, they need 3D play items all the way! 

So you have an excuse to go buy a new pair of shoes! Just joking, but be sure to save some shoeboxes.

Autism: Using shoeboxes to teach play skills by Looks Like Language
WHY A SHOEBOX?

Placing toys on a shoebox to demonstrate play has a few benefits:

* It stabilizes the pieces for kids with fine motor issues.

* The velcro helps the kids see where they need to move the figures.

* The hole at the end makes the pieces disappear to show that the task is finished.

The box stores all of the pieces nicely. Just take out two figures to start: one to model with and one for the child to move.

Increase the number of figures as the student learns the task. Then work on fading the box out of the play routine if the child’s ability to manipulate has improved with practice.

Shoebox Play for the Playground


Scrounge around for playground toys and figures that go with them if you don’t already have them. If you are lucky, you may find some inexpensive pieces at flea markets and yard sales!

Autism: Using shoeboxes to teach play skills by Looks Like Language
Your main playground piece goes in the middle. 
Leave room for 3-5 figures to fit on the box as if they were waiting in line to play.  

After you have them placed, draw a box at the other end for the figures to exit into. Having a visually clear ‘all done is SO important for working with ASD students, as it makes new tasks less overwhelming for them.

If the set up is clear visually, your students should be able to either imitate your model or move the figures with hand over hand physical prompting. This is not a following directions task! 

Once your students show that they have the idea, fade out whatever prompts you were using and then shoebox, as well! 

The photos to the left show two different playground play sequences for teaching kids who have very limited play skills and need steps broken down. 

Autism: Using shoeboxes to teach play skills by Looks Like Language
The sliding board photos show what the sequence of play could look like when your student is ready to have the shoebox removed. Notice how all of the figures disappear after the play sequence?

Once the physical movements of the play sequence are easy, it is time to add the language! 

The first step is using photos of your play sequence to make an adapted book and add the language there. 

Then move on to different play sequences. Adapted books and file folder sentence activities are my preferred way to go!

Don’t worry about adapting the toys with velcro, since your higher level students can still use them to play. Just take them out of the box! They may ask you at first why there is velcro on the toys, but then they ignore it. 

Warning: Don’t do what I did and store the pieces with velcro in a hot attic like I did and get a sticky mess! :(


Getting Started with Autism- free download 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!

Enjoy! Linda

Practical Tips for Treating Echolalia

Echolalia in autism is a unique disorder to treat, and one that can be frustrating to work on. It definitely helps to have some basic information!

Basic Types of Echolalia


- Immediate echolalia is when a child with autism answers your question by repeating the question or echoes whatever you just said. 

- Delayed echolalia happens when a child with autism repeats something that was said earlier in time, often a statement that has been heard frequently or even sections of a favorite TV show or movie

Echolalic statements may or may not have communicative functions.

Helpful Resource Links

It is no wonder that echolalia can be confusing to the treating SLP!  You might find it helpful to read the research by Dr. Barry Prizant, which indicates that echolalia can occur for a variety of communicative, interactive and non-communicative functions. If you prefer to read his original research, click here for a free download.

If you’d like a more reader-friendly version, there’s a great condensed version at Indiana University Bloomington.

If you are looking for a parent-friendly version of echolalia and what can be done, this WikiHow article is excellent.


My Success Story


Get some practical tips for treating echolalia from Looks-Like-Language!

Using visuals is the best strategy I have found in working with students on the autism spectrum. Did you figure out the statement in my picture, courtesy of Smarty Symbols? A picture is worth a 1,000 words!

I have had success personally in treating young children who demonstrated immediate, communicative echolalia. Instead of answering questions, the only strategy these children had was to echo the question. 

This seemed to be a positive event that indicated that the children actually understood that they were being asked a question since the echolalia did not occur when they were given a simple direction that was understood or asked a question that they knew the answer to.

Because of this, my feeling was that the echolalia meant they couldn’t process the question they were being asked and formulate a response, but they understood that a response was required.

Activity Tips

Visual supports are an important part of the strategies that work. 

* Make sure the child is looking a directly at what is happening (joint attention) and then use simple language that tells about what is being done.

* Make sure that the language literally and directly relates to the ongoing activity.

* Model the language multiple times, pointing at the visual support, before ever asking for a verbal response.

* Repeat one action, providing a model yet again, and then ask a question to elicit the response, immediately modeling the response verbally and visually by pointing at the words or word symbols.

* If the child still echoes the question, model the language with a little more emphasis and stop the action.

* Don’t start the action again until the child gives the desired response. Use the visual to help the child point at the pictured words in the response if you don't get a verbal non-echolalic answer.

* Repeat the question and the response as the action begins again, with more emphasis on the answer than on the response.

* Repeat as needed! Practice, practice, practice!

Literacy Tips

Literacy tips for autism and echolalia from Looks Like Language.
Using pictures in a literacy activity, where the pictures show exactly what the words being used meant, is very helpful since pictures last for processing time.

* Find a book with repetitive text that models the same language you are using in your activity.

* Make your own, if needed, using a set of pictures that show variations of the activity while the language remains the same. It is great to include photos of the child doing that activity!

* Don’t downplay the importance of written text and/or visual symbols even for young non-verbal students. Children with autism who are nonverbal can be hyperlexic and may make sense of the written words first, using that as their cue to understanding the oral language.

Involve Parents!

I made a personal book for a student I had who could answer “What is it?” by labeling nouns, but had no other functional language and immediate echolalia.  Every day, therapy culminated in gluing a picture related to the day’s activity in his book.  

The related question was on the left-hand side of the page, with the pictured activity and a phrase or sentence written under it on the right side of the page. This book became his bedtime story every night. The parents used my modeling technique at first, but by the end of the year, my hyperlexic two year old read the entire book himself and used that language functionally.

Use Visuals and Scripts

* Use the list of possible functions for echolalia from Dr. Prizant to make a hypothesis about what the child is using the echolalia for. This will help you determine a more appropriate way of communication to model.

* Make your modeling visual as well as verbal! Use pictures that SHOW the language.

* Use scripted words, phrases or sentences with symbols and/or written words.  Scripted basically means a functional, communicative phrase or sentence that is visual and modeled/practiced in a communicative context until the child can use it to communicate independently.

* If the words are being used for non-interactive and non-communicative functions, using procedures to extinguish this behavior during interactions and activities may be the way to go, while also working on expanding communicative and interactive skills.

* If there is a communicative function in the way the child is using the echolalic utterances, do the same thing we do for all of our students with language needs!
Set up the situation, model the desired response, pause, model again and wait for a response. Just be sure to provide a visual way to respond using pictures, symbols and written words to match the verbal words you are modeling. 

* Pointing to the visual while modeling the auditory often helps students with autism make sense of the words. It also gives you a way to physically prompt the modeled response, with assisted pointing, before the student becomes too frustrated.


Get Started with Autism with this free download from Looks Like Language!
Did you get the FREE Getting Started with Autism Guide yet? Check it out by clicking here

By supplying your email, you are agreeing to receive the Looks Like Language newsletter (No spam- I promise!)

Don't miss this helpful freebie! 

Enjoy!

Change Can Be Hard! 7 Tips for Students


Teach 'CHANGE' in a non-emotional context- Tips from Looks-Like-Language
Change can truly be hard, even as capable adults, so it is not surprising that it is even more difficult for kids. Add on some communication difficulties, sensory problems, and a struggle that is already in place to make sense of a world with rules that are not understood, and it is no wonder that some of our kids have meltdowns when there is a change. 

In the northeast, spring can be a time of very visible change. In therapy, I like to make use of this to help my students understand what the word 'change' means in a non threatening context. It helps them to see that some changes can be positive, and handled, to help them make a bridge to coping with less welcomed changes. 


I'm sharing some photos of activities that are well loved and well used to let you see an example. The bottom left photo is an activity from a very old Sesame Street magazine. My students just loved it and learned that change can be fun! If you know about current places to get these types of activities, please comment with your resource. If they aren't available, I might give a try at making some because they work so well for eliciting this language!


A GOOD BOOK

I always try to start with a good book. One I love is White Rabbit Color Change by Alan Baker, which can be found as a read aloud on YouTube. Mine has been adapted and models the vocabulary 'change.'


Hands on fun to talk about change! Looks-like-Language
HANDS ON 
Next you need a good hands on activity! If you have a small caterpillar and a butterfly stuffed animal set, follow the picture directions to make a fun hands on activity! You just need a paper towel tube, scissors and tape to make it.
Here are the steps: 
1. Cut the paper towel tube in half lengthwise.
2. Cut the tube in half across the width.
3. Tape the pieces back together to make a cocoon.
4. Hide the butterfly inside.
5. Push the caterpillar into the cocoon and watch the change!

ADAPT A WORKSHEET
How about turning a worksheet into an activity? I love this one adapted from a Frank Schaffer worksheet where they can change a picture scene of winter to one of spring by placing the new scenery on top. To play this game, the students need to request which picture they want to change! Requesting a change may be a new experience for some of our kids, but it is functional for them to use when they don't like something that is going on. 

A LITTLE SABOTAGE

A follow up activity is to have them color the picture afterwards, but sabotage the situation by giving them the wrong color or the kind of marker/crayon/colored pencil they prefer the least. Prompt use of the word 'change.' "Oh, you didn't want blue? You want to change the color?" 

SILLY PICTURES

For older kids, it is fun to use silly pictures. After they identify what is wrong in the picture, have them explain how it should be changed to make it better. 

CARD GAMES

How about a card game? Matching games with pictures of natural changes also work. Changing caterpillars to cocoons to butterflies and solid (snowman) to liquid (water) are common examples.

SOME REAL LIFE

These games can also lead to a discussion of changes kids like versus changes they don't like. Start with the less personal examples, like cold weather versus warm weather, and then move to examples from during the school day. Think about bringing in possible negative changes:
* schedule changes
* teachers being absent
* fire drills
* disappointments over trips being cancelled
* lunch menu suddenly changing to the least favorite food
* no recess
* anything you know could be difficult for your students

Be sure to include positive changes:

* teacher deciding 'no homework'
* a birthday party
* a fun special, like a performance
* the lunch menu suddenly changing to your favorite food
* getting an award or prize
* anything special that happens at your school

When students have the language to think and talk about change in positive as well as negative ways,  it is a necessary stepping stone to having more flexible thinking and problem solving skills to help them cope when changes occur.


What are your favorite ways to teach about change?

Do Your Students Have these Vital Life Skills?

Are your students limited to one connection when it comes to cause-effect reasoning and social problem solving skills that are so necessary for functional life skills? This isn’t a problem when students are young, but in middle and high school they need to be able to think and plan a bit further than that to develop independent living skills.

Are yo teaching your students these crucial skill sets?

Making the Connections

Being able to predict multiple possible causes and consequences is part of what helps us make decisions about the correct response to have. And being able to see the impact these actions have on others helps us to live in groups.

For example, my student, ‘R.’ could answer, “What happens when you leave the pizza in the oven too long?” with “It will burn.”
But, when asked why else this is a problem, he couldn’t see the bigger picture and provide anything else that would happen.


Say, for example:
Now there is nothing for dinner and we will be hungry.
If the pizza stays in too long, it could cause a fire.
It will make smoke and we will have to open the windows.


His partner in the group, ‘M’, however, could come up with examples of why burnt pizza was a problem, but couldn’t tell why the pizza was burned in the first place.

Why your students need expanded cause-effect skills.

This group worked out quite well as they both looked at the same picture sets and discussed the events with each other, helping to fill in the gaps.

Of course, students need to have an experiential basis for a variety of situations (although I wouldn’t burn the pizza on purpose) but pictures and practice can help fill in some of the gaps.

CAUSE-EFFECT Activities

‘Cause and EffectActivities’ was developed to help the students be able to expand these critical thinking skills.  As always, the pictures were dependent on those available at the time, but the visuals for building skills follow a format that works. 

Build student skills using visual strategies from a picture level, to sentences, to figuring out cause-effect, to explaining in short problem scenarios, all in one set designed for multiple levels of the same skill!


Get your concrete thinkers to expand skills and come up with multiple causes and effects to help them problem solve both real-life activities and social scenarios. The problem isn’t always just in the burned pizza, it is a bigger problem because of all the other effects that could be occurring at the same time!

Sharing the Love! Autism Week Daily Tips!

Tips for Autism

Did you see my autism tips on Instagram? In case you didn't,  I thought I would share a little more information about each tip here with you! If you don't yet follow me on IG, just search @lookslikelanguage. Easy! See you there!
A week of autism tips from Looks-Like-Language

This week's tips have information I learned while working with low functioning students with autism at an ABA school. I don't really know how much background you get in college now regarding autism, but there was nothing back in the day when I went to school. NADA. 

So, everything I know has come from a combination of watching wonderful special education teachers, reading, taking many inservice courses and practical experience.  

I thought I'd share some of the important take-aways and aha moments I had. Maybe they will be new to you and help you with a student you have. Maybe they will just remind you of what you already knew. But either way, I hope they help!



Tips for autism from Looks-Like-Language

Communicative Functions

In functional behavior analysis terms, what happened just prior is called the antecedent. We look at the antecedent behavior for a variety of reasons, including for figuring out what triggered the inappropriate behavior and how to eliminate it. 

We need to work together as a team in the best interests of our students to reduce or eliminate inappropriate behaviors, but SLPs do have something to add from our specialty in communication. 

While the incorrect behavior needs to be stopped, if there is a communicative intent that the behavior serves, we need to replace that behavior with an appropriate way to get those needs met. Looking carefully at what was going on prior to the behavior can possibly provide us with clues as to what the communicative intent may be.


Tips for autism from Looks-Like-Language
We also must consider what happened immediately after the behavior, called the consequence in functional behavioral analysis. If our student gets something desirable after an inappropriate behavior, that behavior may actually become the way to request the desired item. Again, the behavior needs to be corrected and we need to help the student learn an appropriate way to communicate.
Tips for autism from Looks-Like-Language

Improve Communication

By the way, this always sounds easier on paper and in examples than it hardly ever is in real life, so I'm not even going to bother with an example here. Just keep working at it, readjusting your plan, until there is progress! It is the most important thing you can do!
Tips for autism from Looks-Like-Language

Practice While Calm

Students never learn while they are upset! After you have a hypothesis about the communicative function, work on setting up situations to give the student as many trials as possible to practice the replacement communicative behavior while calm. Work with the team to follow the behavioral program while you are teaching the new communication skill. 

The inappropriate method of communicating did not develop overnight, and the new way won't be learned that quickly either. Careful data can help you tell if you are moving in a positive direction and keep your motivation levels up.


Tips for autism from Looks-Like-Language

Sensory Issues

In my experience, children who are cognitively low functioning with autism usually have some problems with sensory integration. They will have some sensory modalities that they crave- toys and activities that fall in this category can be great for reinforcers and for breaks.  


 week of autism tips from Looks-Like-Language
They also have sensory problems that inhibit them from being able to handle a variety of activities. The child who is sensitive to noises is a prime example. You might see him covering his ears when it doesn't seem particularly loud to you, and he may not even be able to function during a fire drill.  Getting an array of sensory toys will help you determine this pretty quickly, as well as giving you important information to use in planning therapy activities.


 week of autism tips from Looks-Like-Language

Play Skills

My students had a lot of self stimulatory behaviors and very few to no actual play skills. They lacked the knowledge of what to do with the objects around my room and tended to use them as an extension of their favorite stimulatory activity. I found that if my students engaged with objects or traditional toys in any way at all, from looking or touching briefly to actually picking it up and interacting (inappropriately) with it, it meant they were interested. 
a week of autism tips from Looks-Like-Language

I started with the toy that got the most interest and matched their preferred sensory modality to teach them how to play.  When skills are achieved with one type of toy, expand it to a similar toy!


Click here to read more about teaching play.

If you'd like a little more help, click here to check out my free Getting Started with Autism Guide!

Don't miss out on this helpful free guide!

5 Reasons to Use Visuals Now!

Here's hoping that you have the Best.Year.Ever! I'm linking up with The Frenzied SLPs to give some tips about visuals to help you achieve the best year ever.

Visuals Aren't Just for Autism!


1. Visualizing is a well known memory aid, but it isn't an automatic skill! Learning to keep a visual memory of a picture we have seen is one way to start practicing building your own mental picture. Just think of all those What's Missing? pictures where kids need to remember the details of the original picture. It is a fun way to build memory skills!

2. Visuals help with auditory processing. When a student has a picture that is related to the words he is hearing, it is easier to make sense of the message. The picture can help connect the words to the concepts and retain the main idea in working memory.

3. Visuals help with expressive language skills. When a student uses pictured words to formulate sentences, she can begin to see the pattern of the sentence structure, especially when repetitive practice is given that just switches out key words.

4. Visuals help with articulation skills. With decreased linguistic demands for sentence formulation, the student can put all his efforts into the motor aspect of sound production in connected speech and be more successful.

5. Visuals help everyone to function! What would you do without your calendar and planner?

Links for Visuals

Do you have my free visual Getting Started with Autism Guide? Get it here!

Here are links to some free downloads, written from an autism perspective:
http://www.dcc-cde.ca.gov/documents/25%20Reasons%20for%20Using%20Visual%20Strategies-my%20original%20article.pdf

https://www.autismspeaks.org/docs/sciencedocs/atn/visual_supports.pdf 


http://www.aiu3.net/uploadedFiles/Teaching_and_Learning/IDEA_and_Training_Consultation/Intro%20to%20Visual%20Strategies.pdf

http://www.sdparent.org/web/site_2825_files/files/1425914623_Visual_Strategies_in_General.pdf


This link is very informative about using visuals in instruction for the common core:
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ccia-10-visual-literacy-strategies-todd-finley

This link has free templates for many visuals:
http://www.educationworld.com/tools_templates/index.shtml

There are so many free resources for graphic organizers, one of the most popular ways to use visuals:
http://freeology.com/graphicorgs/ 

http://www.educationoasis.com/printables/graphic-organizers/


http://www.vrml.k12.la.us/graphorgan/older/graphic_organizers.htm


When educating students, so much of our efforts are put toward increasing comprehension skills, since that goes along naturally with teaching curriculum. As SLPs and special educators, though,  it is so vital to remember to help give our students a voice! Whether they can use pictures, words, or a combination of both, helping kids to be able to express their needs, wants and ideas is a core skill.

The newest set in my File Folder Sentence activities line, Apple and Pumpkins, may provide just the practice your students need to understand what to expect on your fall trips and be able to communicate about it! I've included a bonus social sequence page to show some steps for going on bus trips.

If you like this idea, be sure to visit my store tomorrow, August 22nd, for the TpT Bonus Best Year Ever sale. My whole store is 20% off! Use the code 'oneday' to get an additional 8% off everything!

SLP friends, if you have a product with great visual supports, feel free to add a link in the comments. Let's have the Best.Year.Ever!




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...