Foamy, Fuzzy, and Bumpy Books!
A couple of
blogs ago, I wrote about several new therapy techniques/strategies/programs
that I was trying with my students this year. Now that it is nearly the end of
the first marking period (Friday!), I think I've had enough time and experience
trialing these programs to give you my opinion of each in this blog. One of the
four new methods I'm using is by far my absolute favorite, so I have to share
this one first!
At the ASHA
convention last year, I attended a workshop by Linda Schreiber entitled,
"Building Literacy in Students with Moderate-to-Severe Disabilities Using
Stories." The presenter discussed adapting books to make more meaningful
literacy experiences for students with severe and/or multiple disabilities (for ASHA members who want more information
on this presentation, do a search for the title on their website, and you'll
get a link to the pdf containing the PowerPoint slides and a blank lesson
this was such a great idea to try, as I had sat through many story readings in
a mixed life skills/multiple disabilities class in which the most severe
students were really limited in their ability to participate, and in all
honesty, get anything functional out of the stories! This school year, when my
elementary school opened a new class strictly for students with multiple
disabilities (I'll refer to this as the MDS class/MDS students for convenience
sake), I knew that I had to try adapted stories with them!
resource for adapting stories is from the actual program on which the ASHA
presentation was based. It is called "Building With Stories" and is published
by Attainment Company. I will admit, I do not own the actual program; however,
I use the basics when adapting books and sharing them with my students. There
are some excellent video clips on their website showing how to adapt a book and
what a lesson in class looks like. These videos demonstrate the program better
than I ever could explain it! See this
I don't necessarily
use this approach 100 percent how it is recommended, designed, or intended --
don't we all modify therapy to suit our students' needs? I currently have six
MDS students in my language and literacy group. The paraprofessionals in the
MDS classroom are all present for the lesson.
It takes about 30-45 minutes from start to finish for me to preview the
story, read it through once, have the students help me tell the story, and then
answer questions and wrap things up.
adapting books for the six students in my group, I need to consider the following:
three have moderate to severe visual impairments, one has severe motoric
impairments, and all of them are non- or minimally verbal and use no-, low-,
and/or high-tech AAC to communicate.
attached some pictures so you can get an idea of what my adapted books look
- Highlighted title -- with glitter
glue -- I should note, the kids loved this book
the best out of all of them so far!
- Multi-sensory page -- fuzz balls
for each monster, raised/textured numbers.
- Text-pointing page --
How would an
average SLP working in schools with students with moderate to severe
disabilities begin using this approach in literacy activities? A few things
I've done in the last few weeks that have made implementation of this approach
- Ask around for books! I put out
an "all call" email to all the teachers in my building asking if anyone had any
picture books that they don't need/wouldn't mind if I modified. Sure enough,
within minutes, a first grade teacher told me about the mountains of books she
inherited when she got her current classroom and showed me the location of the
boxes/stacks of books!
- Do not be concerned if you lack
artistic ability. I cannot even draw stick figures, but I've managed to be
"artistic" enough to adapt books!
- Go to a dollar store for
inexpensive crafting items. I've found glitter glue, feathers, foam shapes,
fuzz balls ... you name it! Think outside the box, too -- when I needed leaves
for a particular page, I went out my front door and pick some off one of my
plants to glue onto it.
- Get yourself a hot glue gun! Very
handy for gluing on page turners (I've been using an ancient box of clean,
non-wrapped tongue depressors that I found when I moved offices for my page
- Choose books that have vocabulary
that can be functional for your students. So far in the books I've chosen, we've
focused on yes/no, sunny/rainy (since they do the weather at circle daily), and
- Don't hesitate to repeat books.
Even typically-developing kids love to hear the same stories over and over. I've
adapted three books so far -- I've repeated two of them and will be repeating
the third this week. Share your books with your students' classroom teacher! My
intent has been to present the book on the day I'm in the room and have the
teacher re-read the same book each day for the rest of that week.
advice I can give anyone who thinks this might be a good approach for their
students is do and have fun! I absolutely love adapting books and thinking of
ways to make the pages multi-sensory. I love sharing the stories with my
students even more! It's amazing to see how engaged the students are in the
literacy activities with this approach. Feel free to post on ADVANCE's blog
page or their Facebook page
with any questions, comments, or personal experiences with adapted books!