One of the things I love about being a Speech Language Pathologist is that we never stop learning. Nowadays, with technology and all of the amazing social media sites, keeping up to date is easier than ever. All you need to do is find the time, which I know for many that may be problematic. My next set of blog posts will be a compilation of my top favorite sites and resources. They can help you keep up with the ever-expanding learning curve limiting the time you spend searching and rather use that time to continue learning.
Do you ever miss the college experience? I do. Are you looking for some easy ways to continue the college experience on topics you are interested in learning more about? Absolutely! Have you ever dreamed of attending Yale, but didn't quite make the cut or in our case they didn't have a Speech - Language Pathology program?
Well, here's a resource that makes it easy for you to do just that any time you want-Podcasts! To listen and watch Podcasts that meet your learning yearnings, all you have to do is go to iTunes and click on iTunes University. There you will find University lectures and videos on thousands of topics. I'm particularly interested in MIT's lecture on Autism, Theory and Technology and the UC Davis MIND Institute's courses on iPads as Assistive Technology Tools. You will find lots of topics to match your own special interests, and most of them are free. Listen to a few. And please share your favorites so I can be sure to check them out!
Introduce AAC more effectively! Here are 3 tips to help you do just that: No. 1 - When you are using AAC apps on an iPad, iPod, or iPhone, always utilize Guided Access. When enabled, Guided Access prevents the students from exiting within an app. This helps them focus on communication instead of trying to exit from the app to explore other apps — which has had a tremendous positive impact on my students. Guided Access is one of my favorite features!
No. 2 - Model, Model, Model — How can we expect our students to use their AAC system without first teaching them how to locate, construct, operate and use language?
This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the AAC teaching process — and it's easy to do. When you are modeling you are showing them how to use the device.
No. 3 - Introduce a new core word each week. l like to introduce the word each week while doing therapy in the classroom. That way I can model the word and let everyone know that this is the word we are highlighting. I have found that introducing new concepts in small chunks helps with implementation. Too much information all at once is overwhelming for everyone and often ends up being abandoned.
Remember to also praise and highlight all accomplishments the AAC user makes. It's important that everyone on the team recognizes accomplishments and praises the AAC user along the way. We all appreciate well-deserved praise, and recognition makes learning that much more satisfying for our students.
To enable Guided Access, update to iOS 6.0 and click here to follow the easy directions.
Read Modeling, AAC Style by Carole Zangari to learn more about the importance of modeling.
A fun way to get everyone using AAC and also teach core words.
Read more features by returning to the ADVANCE for SLP’s home page.
Teaching core words is an important and essential part of the AAC process. To learn more about core words you can read my previous blog post.
Recently, I discovered a free app that I love using when teaching core words, it's called Sight Words for Reading HD by Rock n Learn. This free app is available on both the iTunes and Android markets which is great because more people can access and use it.
Here are the words it teaches:
One of my favorite things about this app is that it teaches the words using videos and it includes two videos along with a flashcard section. The first video teaches the words separately and the second video combines the words (e.g., "Go down", "Come up" etc.). After you have had spent time learning the words you can u se the flashcard portion of the app.
Here's how I use it:
I first start by playing the video to teach each of the words. I like how you can pause the video as I do this frequently to practice teaching the concepts.
After the video, I bring in objects to generalize the learning outside of the app with three fun activities.
1. For up and down I use a big balloon and my students tell me to put it "up" or "down". I also do this with bubbles and provide choices on which way to blow the bubbles.
2. Using a tunnel my students practice going "in" and coming "out". We also had fun putting items in and watching them come out.
3. We take turns telling each other to "come" and "go" to different locations.
I encourage you to install this app and share the ways you are using it in therapy to teach core words.
Find it for the Android, here; and in the iTunes store, here.
I can't believe that 2013 is finally here!
In reflecting back upon the previous year, I have decided to post the 5 blogs on which you have commented the most. For me, thinking back on these posts has sparked new ideas for future blog posts in 2013, and I'm sure they will inspire you, too.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year and a creative, and productive 2013!
#5 3 Tips for Using Your iPad in Speech and Language Therapy; and 3 Ways to Use QR Codes in Therapy (This was a tie.) Expect more to come for the iPad in 2013-the possibilities really are limitless!
#4: Expanding Communication Skills? There's an App for That! - I still love using this app during my Birthday Theme Unit which is coming up soon.
#3: Core Words: Are You Teaching Them? - If not, read this blog and start teaching them now. It's never too late!
#2: Free Book App - Still a favorite, but this app has been rebranded and is now called Starring You Storybooks. They offer 1 free book app, Dancing Feet, and they have previews of all of their other book apps available. This app is still available only in the US app store. `
#1: Screenshots: An Easy Way to Create Visual Supports - This continues to be one of my favorite tips to share.
Farewell to a good 2012 and hello to an even better 2013!
One of my favorite apps to use when teaching verbs is Noodle Words Action Set 1. This easy to use app is one of my students' favorites and provides multiple opportunities to teach verbs in a fun and motivating way. As verbs are taught, I like to bring in objects that help students generalize what was learned outside of the app.
Below are the materials and step by step instructions I follow when using this app. As you read the list of verbs think about the materials you currently have that you could use to reinforce the learning outside of the app.
Verbs Included in the App:
spin, sparkle, stretch, laugh, pop, drop, dance, grow, blow, bubble, jump, pump, surprise, shake, eat, run and wave.
1) I start by taking a screenshot of this page, printing it, and providing each of the students a copy. To learn how to take a screenshot, you can read my previous blog on this topic by clicking here.
2) Touch each word then select go. Every time you touch a word, the word models the verb it represents. If you select the noodle buddies at the bottom of the screen they act out the verb.
3) After showing the verb I bring in objects that do the same action.
Examples of Materials and Ways I Expand the Learning:
Spin: Wind up toys that spin, tops that spin, I spin, I have my students stand up and and spin.
Sparkle: I bring in worksheets with the word sparkle on it and my students have to add glitter to each letter and make their picture sparkle, I bring in items that sparkle.
Stretch: I bring in fidget toys that stretch and we take turns stretching them, I stretch my arms and my students join in.
Pop: I blow bubbles and we pop them (this also reinforces blow).
These are just a few examples of how I expand the learning outside of the app. You can think of many more!
Return to the ADVANCE home page.
Quick Response (QR) Codes have been a fun and exciting addition to my therapy sessions. I'm going to share 3 ideas for using them in therapy and the easy steps to make your own.
QR codes are advertising codes that you can view on your iDevices (e.g., iPhone, iPod Touches, iPads, iPad Mini's) and Androids. If you scan the code it will take you to an internet site.
Here are 3 activities using QR codes:
1) Articulation Practice Sheets - I generated articulation practice sheets for my students. They used my iPad to scan their paper and bring up their target sounds to practice.
2) Story Telling - My students had to scan the items on their page and as they did I had the actual pictures printed. They then generated a story about the pictures.
3) Expressive Language - I have used them to expand app learning. As an example, to go with Toca Band I created QR codes of the instruments and band members. To encourage communication I drew different color boxes around each code to encourage choices and requesting. So my students had to first tell me which color box they wanted to scan, and then they had to tell me what appeared on the iPad after they scanned it.
Here's how to get started using QR codes:
1) Download the free SCAN app, that is available on both the iTunes App store and the Android Market.
2) Create your own free QR codes, on Kaywa's website . Once the codes are created print them out and start using them in your therapy sessions.
After you have downloaded the scan app I encourage you to scan the QR code that is included in my blog. It's got a special message for you!
Did you know that "Go Away Big Green Monster" by Ed Emberley is an app that is exactly like the book? The book app has 3 settings, Read Along with a Friend, Read Along with Ed and Sing Along. Some of the goals I addressed using this app were: sequencing and retelling, body parts, colors, describing using the attribute of color + body part, commenting, requesting and asking for help.
Here are 3 activities I did to help expand the learning outside of the app.
1) We created our own monsters. Here's a picture of a few of our finished products. I took a picture of each student with their monster and made a slideshow of all of them on my iPad using the photo library.
2) Using the Doodle Buddy app we worked on describing, retelling and explaining the steps to re-create the Big Green Monster. My students told me to draw each of the parts of the monster. This was a fun way to work on their descriptive language skills. They loved seeing the monster come to life right before their eyes.
3) For a group activity I hid Mister Potato Head body parts in a bin of beans. I had my students take turns finding a body part, telling me what they found and then putting it in the green Play-Doh face. They had so much fun with the beans and Play-Doh. I made sure the lid was closed and they had to tell me to open and/or ask for help.
Since we did this activity in the classroom the teacher decided to also expand the learning outside of the app and she created this amazing bulletin board. I love how she included the labels and also the open-ended sentence strip (i.e., The big green monster has _______).
As you can see we have been having so much fun with Go Away Big Green Monster and expanding the learning outside of the app!
Toca Boca recently released their newest app, Toca Band. After thoroughly reviewing the app, I am thrilled to report it can effectively be used for speech and language therapy. Here is a lesson plan I recently used:
Here's how the app works:
1) Select your band members from 16 available choices. Each band member plays their own instrument and/or vocals.
2) Select the location on the stage. Different locations on the stage result in different performances. The top of the stage is the most active while the bottom of the stage the characters are the least active.
Goals that can be addressed using this app:
1) Begin by modeling the app and talking about each character and the instruments they are playing.
2) Model the characters in different locations on the stage (i.e., top, middle and bottom rows).
3) Then I give each of my students their own screenshots of the stage along with the characters. They then create their own band using their screenshots and characters.
4) Using the app, each of my students takes turns creating their band. Here they have to communicate to me in order for their band to appear on the screen. I then put the characters in the desired locations that they requested and together we watch and listen to their band being played.
Expanding Beyond the App:
I made a big stage (that looks like the one below) and use the characters from the app (by taking screenshots). My students take turns choosing a character and then place them on the desired location on the stage. Then when all of the spaces are filled we re-create it on the iPad. I have the iPad and my students tell me what to do, with the end goal of having both stages look the same. There are so many fun language activities that you can do using Toca Band!
The start of the school year is an exciting time for school based SLP's. This school year in particular I keep reading and hearing more and more about how school districts have purchased iPads for student and staff use. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones who have received an iPad this year, here are 3 tips to help with incorporating the iPad into your speech and language therapy sessions.
1. App Selection: Be selective when choosing apps. Just as you would with any therapy material be sure the apps you select are aligned with your students goals, learning preferences and are of high quality. Once you have selected an app, spend time using it before you introduce it to your students. Explore all of the features and settings of the app and develop a plan on how you are going to use the app in your therapy session.
2. App Use: Use screenshots as visual supports to elicit the most language out of the apps. Screenshots can also be used after you have used the app as they provide a visual support to assist students with their retelling skills. Be sure you are in charge of the iPad and are using it interactively to elicit the most language and communication out of your students. Monitor iPad screen time. As a general rule, I like to use my iPad in therapy for about 5-10% of the session. Think of creative ways to generalize the learning outside of the app.
3. Always have a back- up plan if your iPad or app doesn't work. Technology is a great tool to use in therapy, but remember it can break, your iPad battery may have drained or you may find the app you selected is not yielding the results you expected. Always be prepared with a non- technology back up plan.
Do you find yourself searching for material to use when beginning an AAC evaluation? If so, I have good news for you, now you can use 1 app to help with this process. The AAC Evaluation Genie is an informal tool that provides valuable information that can help with the AAC evaluation process.
Here's how it works.
It has 14 subtests that can be administered all at once or pre-selected on an as needed basis.
1) Visual Identification - examines the ability to visually track and identify an icon ranging in size (from 5" to 1").
2) Visual Discrimination - examines the ability to visually track and discriminate icons ranging in size (from 5" to 1").
3) Noun Vocabulary - examines the ability to identify nouns.
4) Function Vocabulary - examines the ability to identify the function of nouns.
5) Verb Vocabulary - examines the ability to identify verbs.
6) Category Recognition - examines the ability to identify categories.
7) Word Association - examines the ability to ide ntify a noun by it's associated function or feature.
8) Category Inclusion - examines the ability to identify nouns by category inclusion (i.e., "Which one is an animal?")
9) Category Exclusion -examines the ability to identify nouns by category exclusion (i.e., "Which one is not an animal?")
10) Pixon Core Vocabulary - examines the understanding of core words.
11) Unity Core Vocabulary- examines the ability to identify core words using Minspeak symbols.
12) Unity Icon Patterns-examines the ability to identify vocabulary organized by Minspeak Unity semantic/linguistic patterns.
13) Picture Description - examines the ability to describe pictures using AAC with MLU calculated in the data section.
14) Word Prediction - examines the ability to read text.
An added bonus is the comprehensive data collection system that can be opened in iBooks, saved in Dropbox or printed. Each time you start a new session the data resets for the new client.
This comprehensive app allows you to use it with AAC users of varying abilities. I have found this app to be a helpful resource with getting started in the AAC evaluation process and I'm glad to have this app in my AAC toolbox.
Have you ever tried sending documents, videos, or pictures but weren't able to because the file was too large? Did you ever forget to bring your flashdrive and as a result didn't have access to your documents? If this is the case, then you are going to love using Dropbox. Dropbox is a service that allows you to save and share your documents, photos and videos.
Here's how it works:
1. You join Dropbox and set up an account. Create folders that contain your documents, photos and videos. An internet connection is required to use DropBox.
2. Invite other to join your folders. By doing so they will have access to everything that's in your folder.
Ways I use Dropbox:
1. I use it to share PowerPoint presentations (and other large files) with others.
2. I share screenshots of apps I use in therapy with other teachers and SLP's that are using the same apps, all they have to do is print them.
3. I have photos in a Dropbox folder that I use to elicit descriptive language and conversation skills with my students. Using Dropbox on my iPad I can access the photos and use them without having to waste ink, paper and lamination.
4. I share sequences that I created in the Making Sequences app.
5. I have easy access to all of my work related documents from anywhere (as long as I have a computer and an internet connection) so it makes it easy to finish reports from home.
With Dropbox you will never again be without a desired document, photo or video and will be able to easily share large files with others from a Mac or PC. Start the new school year off by using Dropbox!
As the Olympics approach, this occasion provides a great opportunity to teach language related concepts such as team work, types of athletic events, describing, commenting, using compliments and much more!
News-2-You http://news2you.n2y.com// has a free and easy to use summer resource featuring pre-made lesson materials for preschool, elementary, intermediate, middle, high school, and even transition.
Here are some of the concepts you can teach pertaining to the Olympics:
Sports Related Vocabulary: swimming, diving, track and field, gymnastics, rowing, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.
Describing and Commenting: He/She is a fast swimmer! Wow, I like that, He/She runs really fast!, Nice shot, My favorite event is..., I like..
Compliments: Awesome, Way to go!, Nice job! They did it!
News-2-You makes it easy for therapists and teachers by providing ready to use materials. I like to send the printables home so my students can continue the Olympic discussion outside the therapy room and keep the discussion going. The elementary unit is perfect for my students and I can't wait to start preparing them for the Olympics. I like how the leveled books contain repetition, core words and make learning about the various sports and trying your best. The comprehension worksheets that accompany each of the books are a nice addition and a way to check for understanding of the items reviewed in each story.
Now is the perfect time to start talking about the Olympics!
The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATiA) recently published "The Critical Need for Knowledge and Usage of AT and AAC Among Speech-Language Pathologists.
The publishing surveyed various SLP's and found the following (to see the complete list please refer to their paper):
- 86% need more information on the range of AT and AAC services.
- 74% reported that they didn't receive enough education regarding AAC while in school.
- More than 90% want more information about tablets and their possible role in AT and AAC.
Based on this report, I felt it was important to provide SLP's with a resource that can help them learn more on this topic.
1) PrAACtical AAC
Created by Carole Zangari and Robin Parker, two SLP's and University professors that teach on the topic of AAC. The website provides a continual wealth of practical AAC techniques that you can use immediately in therapy including video examples and AAC teaching techniques in action.
Here's a video and a few blog posts I found very useful.
2) Webinar Learning: "Using iPad in School Based Therapy:
I will be hosting an ASHA CEU webinar titled "Using iPad in School Based Therapy" on July 28 @ 10:30 EST . This webinar teaches evidence based strategies to use the iPad as an educational tool. To learn more about the webinar click here.
Feel free to to read ATiA's white paper and let me know how you feel about technology by commenting in the section below or on the Facebook page. Also, I would love to hear what you found useful on PrAACtical AAC's website.
Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA). (2012). The Critical Need for Knowledge and Usage of AT and AAC Among Speech Language Pathologists. Retrieved from: http://www.atia.org/files/public/ATIA%20SLP%20Survey%20White%20Paper_6_12_12.pdf
As summer approaches, many SLPs will use this time researching the 650,000 plus apps currently in the App Store they can use for the upcoming school year. If this is the case, I am about to add a few extra pool days to your vacation by saving you LOTS of time.
Here are 5 fantastic resources that provide quality app reviews, app videos, price drop alerts, giveaways, and some exciting promotions.
1) Apps For Children with Special Needs (a4cwsn) They are currently doing a giveaway of 40 iPads in 40 days. SLP's can register for this promotion by clicking this link. Be sure to sign up and hopefully you will be one of the lucky iPad recipients!
2) iMums Be sure to check out their Children's book event starting June 23 -30. The week will be filled with book app deals that you don't want to miss.
3) MomsWithApps Every Friday they host "Appy Friday" which features family friendly apps either free or at reduced prices, definitely worth checking out every Friday.
4) Smart Apps For Kids They are offering a continual iPad giveaway, who couldn't use a free iPad?
5) Technology in (Spl) Education They are sponsoring "Appy Summer of Fun and Learning" where they will be highlighting summer apps for kids.
I encourage you to "like" these 5 pages on Facebook, pin them on Pinterest and follow them on Twitter. By doing so you will be provided with a constant and continual stream of app and iPad information and giveaways. And most importantly you will have more free time to spend at the pool!
"The Biggest Pizza Ever" by JibJab Jr. is a fun book app that you can use to work on answering "wh" questions, teaching verbs, stating emotions and much much more.
Here's how it works:
- Choose who is going to be the main character of the book and then choose Create Character and add photo, name, and skin type.
- Now you are ready to go (here's a picture of my daughter Mya as the main character.)
How I use this book app:
- Since only one student can be the main character at a time, this provides an excellent opportunity to practice problem solving skills. In one class a solution everyone agreed on was to do a raffle and pick names. There is no better way to learn how to wait then with a super fun story.
Some of my favorites features of this app:
- Ability to add your own pictures is what helped maintain and sustain my students attention throughout the entire book. My students loved seeing themselves and their friends doing all of the fun things in this app. They got to ride a bike, drive vehicles like a forklift, operate a dump truck, operate a grab crane, and fly a helicopter (here's my daughter Gia flying her helicopter) all while in pursuit of making their giant pizza!
Provides an opportunity to act out the verbs in the story by:
- flipping the pizza
- rolling the dough
- looking for the perfect location (using binoculars)
- pouring the pizza sauce
- sprinkling the cheese
Provides an opportunity to express a full range of emotions, such as:
The problem and solution were simple and provided a great way to practice asking for help.
Ideas to Expand Beyond
- Have students choose other people they would like to see as the main character. Some possible choices include family members, teachers, peers, or even favorite characters.
- Since this is a free app it's a great one for families to read at home.
I encourage you to try out this free and super fun app!