Wednesday, October 23, 2013

'Talking At', or 'Talking With'-- Visuals to Use with our One-Sided Conversationalists

I have a couple of little friends at school who are a bit on the spectrum, and who just love to talk, a lot!!!  Whether it's rambling on about the latest Bruins game or more tangential rambling about the animal species facts of the day, talking is their favorite thing to do.  All they need is a warm body to be sitting near them (such as a friendly speech pathologist) and the trivia and facts roll off their tongues, with only ever so occasional pauses for the 'listener' to say a couple of words.  Needless to say, it's getting a bit tiring.   When I talk to these children's parents, I see the haggard looks, and whatever the boys are doing at school, it's tenfold for home. 

To help teach the children the difference between tangential monologues and actual conversations, I made a simple visual.  In my world, simple is good.
I used this visual to teach one of my students the difference, along with showing him five different YouTube videos.  Each video illustrated either Talking At, or Talking With.  I asked him to decide which each illustrated.  I'm proud to say, he achieved 100%.

Judging videos and actually learning to self-monitor conversations are two completely different tasks, so I made a small poster with the visuals above for his classroom and for his parents.  They will use this vocabulary with him at appropriate times to help him reflect on his own behaviors.  I'll also use this in our social thinking group.  You can grab the visuals here.

Here are the videos.  My student didn't need to watch the entire length of any of them--just a minute or two---he was very attentive, and actually remarked on his own that 'Talking With' was the better way.

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Click here for this video example

Video 4---Start at 1:18

Video 5


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Guess the mystery school lunch fruit

Here's the latest edition of mystery school lunch food.  The kids got little containers of fruit.  Some chunks are pineapple, but we were confused about the white pieces that look like white jello, and the gray piece in the middle.    The menu indicated this was tropical.  Any guesses?

  For some reason, the kids didn't eat this.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

In case you didn't know--Pumpkins are Round

A circle is a round shape, but not all round shapes are perfect circles.   Circles are two dimensional, but the world is three dimensional. Sphere is a very hard word to say and that's my geometry lesson of the day!

I'm slightly tired of all the Halloween speech therapy blogs, but as I was thinking about one last gasp of a pumpkin book, I stumbled upon a Tarheel Reader story about round things, of which one was a pumpkin!  What a nice way to tie in the features of pumpkins, and visually present the concept of 'round' to my kids who need concepts presented at the most basic of levels.  Ideally, a topnotch teacher or therapist would teach this concept 3D first---bring in objects that are 'round', and 'not round' to sort. Although the concept of 'circle' seems drilled into kids, the concept of 'round' is often forgotten.   After sorting, introduce the book!  Icons and a sentence strip are included.  Everything is free as usual!

Link is below.  The nice thing about this book is that you can use it all year long.  

 Click here to download book and icons.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gobble Gobble--Thanksgiving Preposition Bingo (free printable as always)

Hello blogland friends!  Too bad I'm not going to ASHA or I would actually get to meet some of you!

    I want to let you know that I had a great day today!  One of my little school friends did a fabulous job using her social thinking skills in the classroom.  The teacher told the class to find their own partner for a social studies project. (Normally this would be a daunting task for a child with autism.) She immediately looked across the classroom, made eye contact with a peer, and asked (using a quiet voice and appropriate body language) in a sweet voice "Will you be my partner?"  The girl said 'Yes!' Then they followed all the directions together, getting a laptop, and researched their assigned topic.  My little friend actually did the writing for this assignment with an actual pencil.  (She has CP, and a year ago, would have tantrumed when asked to write.)  Maybe this Social Thinking curriculum is actually making an impact!!!!  I hope so, time will tell,  but for now, I'm in my happy place.

  When I'm happy, I want to celebrate, and what better way to celebrate than to make some more materials to share.  Here is 'Gobble Gobble--Thanksgiving Preposition Bingo'.  Halloween will be over before the blink of an eye, so I'm looking ahead. 

This is similar to my other bingo games.  There are three somewhat different Bingo cards, and one calling card (cut it up and the kids can take turns picking a card and describing what they see).  If you notice, I didn't put in Pilgrims and Native Americans.  Hope you don't mind.

Click here to download in Boardmaker

Click here to download in pdf.

Have fun!!!!!!


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Spanish version of "Orange Pumpkin, What do you see?"

My new friend, Lindsey Leacox, has come through again, and has translated a popular Halloween book into Spanish.  Click here for the original English version of "Orange Pumpkin, Orange Pumpkin, What do you see?"    What I have here is the Spanish version (with English along with it).

 I did not write the original version of this book. I picked it off of Tarheel Reader, and the printed version, along with icons to match, has remained a big hit with my kids.   Now, thanks to Lindsey, our Spanish speaking kids can take it home to share with their parents!  I envision a large library of take-home adapted materials posted on this blog for our Spanish families of EC kids!  Developing literacy skills is crucial in both languages.

Click here 

to download the Spanish 

version of "Orange Pumpkin"

Here are some icons to go with the book.  Let me know would like these in Spanish too. It's easy to do (just not on a Sunday morning, as it is now).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

I love kids' art; I love special kids' art; and I love Nara Strickland (our art teacher) because she brings out the best in those extra special kids who I love at my school. (She also inspired my daughter years ago.)  This year, she is submitting five of my kids' stunning pieces to be on display at the North Carolina State Fair!   I am in awe of the art (several of these children are nonverbal) and I'm so thankful for Nara for going the extra mile to bring out their inner selves! 

This guy has been my student for 6 years!  To go from being almost nonverbal to painting scenes on canvas is amazing to me.  

 This girl spent her formative years in a primitive refuge camp in Thailand.  Now she battles some health and learning problems--and is very expressive with colors.

Very interesting stencil art by young boy with severe autism!
Always great with letters and numbers--I wonder how he sees the world?

I love the owl in the tree!  This student was new to all of us this year.

One of my favorite young artists.....painting and drawing are very calming to him.   After every speech session, he makes a picture for me.  He's nearly nonverbal, but with art? He's phenomenal!

Nara's room for inspiration

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Peace Corps update--English club and another wedding

From time to time, I post my family life news here.  This is one of those times.  I want to give a brief update on my daughter, Andorra, who is volunteering in the Peace Corps in Indonesia.  Time seems to be flying by!  She is to serve for 27 months, and already 6 months have passed.  Here are a few tidbits:
  • She's teaching English at a high school in East Java (Mandiun is the town)
  • She's made some friends, and the little kids around where she lives also recognize her and call her by name.  
  • She is now allowed to travel away from her town, so she is visiting with former Peace Corps members this weekend in a town named Solo.  I have no idea about anything related to Indonesian geography or town names or languages, by the way.
  • She has updated her blog---check it out here! 
  • She's enjoying the food there, but misses things like Italian cooking.  I mailed her some Italian spices--shipping to her town is very expensive, ($9.00 for a few ounces, and it seems to take 6 weeks if she gets it at all)!
  • I communicate with her frequently through Google chat, or Facebook chat.   This is a vast improvement from the 60s and 70s when loved ones had to rely on actual letters.

I miss her terribly, but she is being wonderful doing what she is doing.  I plan on traveling there in August---and I can't wait!!!!

Andorra is leading an English Club---I'm in awe
Find Andorra at this traditional Indonesian wedding pose!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pumpkins Everywhere---printable book

I am eternally grateful to all of my blogger and Facebook friends who fully funded my Donors Choose project in 36 hours.  I'm overwhelmed by how nice people are!

As a small token of appreciation for everyone, I've created a simple book, but instructionally effective in reinforcing simple sentences, vocabulary, and positional concepts----Pumpkins Everywhere!  If you think you've seen similar books before, you are correct!   I'm a believer in using similar activities, with slight changes.  Kids learn the routines and language for one, then expand slightly in language skills for the next.  You don't need to completely change out what you are doing, because the children need to build on what they already know.

So here is the book.  It's simple and repetitive.
You can print it, laminate it if you have the equipment, and have the children match the icons.  Use the sentence strip if needed to have the child say a sentence for each picture.  Use the last page as a springboard into making a jack 'o lantern craft of some kind (or actually carving a pumpkin!)

This book is also good for teaching commenting.
I tried to intersperse them throughout.  Ask the kids for other appropriate comments the characters could be saying!

Click here to download the book in Boardmaker.

Click here to download the book in pdf.   I'm in the process of switching pdf files to Smarty Symbols (which I pay for). If you have Boardmaker, this book is free to you.  If you need pdf, this is a modest price on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I'm not ashamed!

I'm not ashamed to ask for donations!!!!

From time to time, I post Donors Choose requests and here is one.  A class I work with really needs another iPad. I'm not asking for the fanciest one---an iPad 2 would suffice.  For those of you who love my FREE materials, think of this small donation as a token of appreciation for my many books that have been used to teach children all over the world! 

Go here to donate.  Even a few dollars would be appreciated.  If you donate before October 8, your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.  Type the word INSPIRE into the payment screen.