Live Speak Love, LLC

Lisa M. Geary, MS CCC-SLP lisa@livespeaklove.com

Simply Speaking February 27, 2012

Want to learn my newest, most fabulous idea for keeping up with data logs for each student? Read on right here!! I am very excited about this discovery, and for the potential it has to make my world a lot easier. Keeping up with the logs in the course of busy day of therapy is no easy feat. My school district requires us to keep data on all students, every time we see them for therapy. Our data is kept in computerized logs using Microsoft Excel, so all therapists are using the same log system across the county. Many times during the week I conduct classroom-based interventions and whole group lessons. Other times I have three to four students around my therapy table, making meaningful data entries/anecdotal notes difficult to write at the end of our sessions. And with sessions back-to-back with little time in between to consult with faculty, write reports, plan or even use the ladies room…life gets crazy and I often find myself playing catch-up, transferring written notes from a spiral notebook onto the computerized logs (translation: working at home long hours to keep up with data!)

So what’s the Time-saving Tech Tool? All you iPad and iPhone users might be out of luck on this one…Voice-to-text data entries using my Android phone (so far not available on Apple devices, I believe.) This idea is so simple and so ingenious, I am still overwhelmed at the significance of this discovery. WHY I didn’t think of this idea sooner is beyond me! I use my phone’s voice action feature to complete many other tasks already — why not speech-language logs??? Check out this video for a quick overview of how voice-to-text with Android works:

Using this voice-to-text feature, I can enter student therapy data into a file by simply speaking. With some students, I may input data in a quick moment in between therapy sessions, or even when walking down the hall to get my next group. With most students however, I can input the data at the end of the session during the time I would review progress anyway. A simple, “Ok, it’s Adam’s turn.., ready, listen!” And then I can speak a quick sentence or two into the phone to summarize the data (e.g., Given picture scenes, Adam formulated simple sentences using is/are auxiliary verb forms with 70% accuracy and minimal verbal prompts. Progress and strategies reviewed with student.”) To ensure student understanding, I can then  summarize the note, “Wow, Adam, that means you used those helping verbs correctly in 7 out of 10 of your sentences! Keep up the great work!”  And it’s done, all while maintaining student engagement. Students seem to enjoy this chance for extra attention, and it provides opportunity for additional review and feedback. My voice entry is saved into the document on my phone, and it’s done. I am using Quickoffice Pro to create, edit, and store and transfer student data into files. Here is a video about the features of QuickOffice Pro and the potential it has for working on the go:

Are you ready for the best part??? Here it is…Dropbox. Some of you may be using this online storage tool already, but the combination of voice-to-text, QuickOffice Pro and Dropbox is a powerful case management tool that has changed my working world. QuickOffice Pro allows you to instantaneously transfer your updated files to a “cloud” storage. With QuickOffice Pro and Dropbox, my Excel files are instantly saved and uploaded, and those same changes are automatically stored on all of my computers and mobile devices.This means that the log entry I dictated into a student’s Excel spreadsheet while walking down the hall is already updated and saved on my computer when I arrive in my therapy room. I can dictate those last few notes while waiting in the carpool line at my daughter’s school, and the notes are automatically updated and stored on my work and home computers without me even being there. The files are secure and in compliance with HIPAA requirements, with Dropbox’s 256-bit SSL encryption. Is anyone else impressed by the significance of this discovery?? Check out the Dropbox video for an overview of the possibilities:


Click here to get more info on using Dropbox.

If you are a busy therapist (like ME) struggling to meet the demands of a large caseload while still maintaining accurate, data-based documentation, then this type of tool may be just what you need. It certainly is just what I needed! Let me know what you are using to track student data — I am curious to know if similar technologies are being used. Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!

EDITED FOR UPDATE:

I wanted to update that I have actually changed the office program I am using on my Android device. While Quick Office Pro is a very useful program, I did run into some difficulty with my spreadsheet template and the formulas it involved. I am now using Office Suites Pro, which preserves the formulas and transfers the documents seamlessly from mobile to desktop versions.

About these ads
 

Come on In! February 24, 2012

Inspired by SLP and fellow blogger, Jenna Rayburn of Speech Room News, I decided to respond to her Anatomy of a Speech Room challenge and take some pictures of my therapy room. This challenge came at a good time because I have been playing around with the configuration of my little room a lot this year. In the past, my tiny room has been overpowered by my desk, two large file cabinets, and a large round table that sat smack in the center of the room. This arrangement left very little room to stand or move, which proved a bit tricky in some of my therapy sessions (picture me, children with wheelchairs or walkers, a graduate student intern and an additional adult assistant all wedged in around a circle table — yes, can you say CROWDED???) Earlier this year, my super-organized and ambitious student intern helped me brainstorm a bit to come up with a better layout. We packed old files into boxes to rid the room of a file cabinet, traded out the round table for a small rectangular table (a feat which involved me following our building custodian into the boiler room storage  area– seriously, that “room” is straight out of Nightmare on Elm Street; Freddy Krueger just may have been lurking in the shadows! But, I got my table.) Suddenly, the room seemed much larger and brighter, and my groups could all fit in the room without experiencing claustrophobic attacks. I could also access therapy materials or files without fear of gouging my leg on a file cabinet drawer (yes, that actually happened to me. Ouch.)

All was well until earlier this month when I got my new ActivPanel interactive smartboard (note: I am NOT complaining about this gift, but setting up the device and adjacent laptop did require some more shifting.) After some trial and error with cords, placement of the ActivPanel, student access methods and ways to connect to the Internet, I think I finally have a room layout I like.   I am feeling pretty happy about the space — even though it’s small, I think about how the room is a big step up from the room I had right out of graduate school, when I shared a book closet with the school psychologist! (That was another creepy Freddy Krueger space…dark and dingy with stacks of books all around me.)

Check out the pictures below for a tour of my new and improved, geeked-out therapy room!

Here is my room as you walk in the door. I have the therapy table and also a (new) rug where I do floortime play with some of my little ones (as young as three years old.) 

Once inside the room, you can see the table and the ActivPanel set-up, with my chalkboard and the visuals I keep handy.

Here is a closer look at the ActivPanel and the board. The lower right quadrant of the board is where I write my objectives — definitely a challenge in groups with varying skills and goals, but I usually try and write something all-encompassing so that they have an idea of what we are doing:

Underneath the ActivPanel (housed on an old, door-less cabinet) I keep printer paper, construction paper, and bins for easy access to lesson plan materials:

At the table, students sit on one side and the end (enough for 4, which is my largest size pull-out group,) and I sit on the side with the laptop and board. This way, students can all see the ActivPanel and they can walk up to it when it’s their turn. I previously had the ActivPanel sitting at the far end of the table, but students were reaching across each other, and trying to get close enough to the board to use the stylus was difficult. So far, this new set-up is working out very well. The laptop sitting to the left of the smartboard provides input to the smartboard. I also use the laptop to enter student data into log spreadsheets (which is actually difficult when I have the students there with me, so really I end up entering data into my log files later…but I do try. More on that topic in a subsequent post.) I also have frequently-used supplies within reach in the space around me while I conduct therapy sessions:

The shelf behind my therapy table (on the left in the above picture) is covered in fabric. I attached fabric to the shelf unit using heavy-duty velcro as a way to hide visually alluring items from easily-distracted and/or impulsive students. When needed, the fabric is easily removed to access books, puzzles, and a variety of games I use to target speech-language skills:

To the right of the chalkboard, I have a vertical file on the wall where I keep picture schedules, low-tech communication boards, core vocabulary boards and other useful visuals. I also have an emergency clipboard I keep handy for fire drills and other emergency procedures:

Here’s my desk (ok, I admit I did organize the surface of the desk a bit before I snapped this picture! I often have IEPs, reports and other papers in a stack, among other things. I am trying to make sure the desk looks at least this neat before I leave each day.) The wall behind my desk technically leads to another office, and you can see there is a two-way mirror there. My “neighbor” has her side covered with paper, but I have grand visions of having the whole office suite to myself, creating a therapy room and separate observation room:

To the left of the desk, I have a storage cabinet covered in fabric, my printer, and a pocket chart with visuals I have hanging on the wall (door.) The fabric keeps the toys hidden until they are offered, and the pocket chart allows easy access to visuals I often use to prompt students for behaviors.

                                         

Toy bins under the fabric:

At my desk I also have a Pinterest-inspired place to store my Team notebook (holds parent questionnaires, assessment logs, and anything else I may need at Team,) and activity files/other materials that I am currently using (activity files not in use are stored in the file cabinet underneath this desktop storage.) I got the dishrack at a thrift store for $1.00…works for me!

I even use the space underneath my desk — a “shred” bin for those confidential papers, and a rolling file cart that houses a “working file” for each student on my caseload. I use these files to store individualized therapy materials, most-recent progress report and a current copy of the IEP. Some of my students have speech-language files several inches thick that date back as many as six years; this working file system rolls out when I need it and helps keep current information easily at my fingertips.

Beyond my desk is a built-in shelving unit that is not quite accessible, due to the large file cabinet I needed to put about a foot or so next to (in front of) it. I store mostly books and materials I don’t need that often on this shelving unit, accompanied by pictures of my kids and other trinkets:

I also have a built-in cabinet where I house art supplies, story board characters and pieces, cooking supplies, picture cards (ones I do not use frequently,) seasonal items and miscellaneous therapy supplies. The cabinet is spacious and holds a lot of items in an organized fashion:

At the far end of the room, I have a refrigerator (my own) with some storage on top. In the storage drawers I keep things like glue sticks, stickers, game pieces, dice, and magnetic chips. Markers, crayons, pens and pencils are also within reach:

Above the refrigerator, there are some open shelves where I keep enticing toys (up out of reach so that students have to make verbal or picture requests. No rewards for pointing in this room!) I also have free-standing therapy mirrors, and roughly two-ton pottery pieces that my sons made at pottery camp many years ago; I can’t yet bear to part with them…perfect top shelf office decor! :)

To the right of the refrigerator (and behind my therapy table,) I have a bulletin board atop the shelving unit. I use this board to display our school-wide behavior plan poster — a nice reminder for the students and a nice way to prevent me from having to continually update bulletin board displays!  Look closely on  the lower right side of the bulletin board and you will see some visual prompts I keep on pocket rings…I use these often with students who need behavior supports; many of these students have their own pocket rings I gave teachers use with them throughout their school day.

On the counter below the bulletin board, I keep my artic cards, picture vocabulary cards and other Fun-Deck materials. I also keep binders with adapted reading program materials, Core curriculum standards and other resources.

Well, there it is. My small but sweet therapy space where amazing things happen! Hope you have enjoyed this up-close and personal tour of my home away from home. I would love to know how this room compares to rooms that other SLPS use — I am grateful for this space but always wishing for a bigger room to allow for even more creativity (I’m thinking circle-time area, play house, puppet theater, pretend store, gross motor area and more!) A girl can dream, right?! Thanks for taking a peek and for visiting LiveSpeakLove!

 

Ode to the Doc February 22, 2012

Filed under: Free Downloads,Holiday Theme,Resources — livespeaklove @ 10:33 pm
Tags: , ,

I didn’t forget…his birthday is almost here. Most people who work in an Elementary school know exactly who I am talking about.  THE Doctor. The ultimate genius in early learning, phonemic awareness and word family skills. Yes, the inspiration for celebrations like Read Across America and Tasting Parties featuring green eggs and other foods…You guessed it, Theodor Seuss Geisel; A.K.A., Dr. Seuss.

I received a few messages asking me if I have any Bingo Boards with the Dr. Seuss theme. Of course!! Every SLP could have their own as well, with the fabulous creation tool (Boardmaker) and the ever useful “shuffle button.” If you have ever created even one Bingo board in Boardmaker, you just need to edit the pictures to reflect your new theme; save as; highlight the buttons; shuffle; save as (repeat 4 more times to make a set.) That’s it…seriously SO easy and the creations can be used to target a multitude of skills. I will say that I am using Bingo boards and similar activities less often now, with my focus on incorporating  interactive technology and multi-media resources into my regular therapy. But I firmly believe that every holiday deserves a good Bingo Board….and so, in honor of the Doc himself, here you go…

My Birthday Bingo Board Based on Books Poem:

 

So, without further debate or delay,

I bring you this resource, a game to play.

Just click and download each Bingo file

For you and your kids to enjoy awhile.

The pics are great; the pics are grand

And help kids express and understand

So play; discuss, with smiles and looks

A birthday game that’s based on books.

This game is more than Mother Goose…

We are talking Dr. Seuss!!

 

 

Question-able Material

Many students on my caseload have language difficulties impacting their ability to answer simple questions — a deficit that has the potential for considerable effects on a student’s ability to perform successfully in their educational environment. Think about a typical classroom activity, and the types of things a teacher might say…odds are pretty good that a majority of a teacher’s utterances involve a simple or higher level wh question word (what, where, who, when, why, how, what if?)  Reading comprehension is especially dependent on these powerful words (Who is the main character? What happened at the end of the story? Why did they make that decision? What do you think will happen next? Where did the story take place?)  Math is also tied to these questions (What is the first step? When do you combine groups?)  Because teachers continually elicit responses and assess skills, questions are routinely asked and answered in the classroom. Students with wh question difficulties need training on exactly what the individual words mean and appropriate referents that can be used as an answer. When asked a simple question like, “what did you eat for lunch?” a student with comprehension deficits might answer, “I eat my lunch.” Many times correct answers can be elicited with scaffolded supports such as yes/no questions or given choices. Systematic practice on these types of questions help students to more automatically comprehend the intended meaning and successfully respond. I often use visual supports to provide cues and structured practice on choosing appropriate referents.  Here is a visual prompt that I use to prompt students in therapy activities and also to use in their classrooms as a resource during instruction:

Simple WH Questions 

To help students differentiate between the types of simple questions, I often use a sorting activity (this activity works very well on my Promethean ActivPanel, where students can drag the pictures to the appropriate column. I also send home the hard copy for practice using verbal responses, or to use as a cut-and-paste activity):

And here are several practice activities I made to address simple wh questions:

 

 

I have had good success using simple, Boardmaker-created activities like these to provide structured training on wh question comprehension. As a student becomes more proficient at answering these types of questions, I extend this skill to simple picture scenes, story sequences, and eventually, story recall and comprehension in the classroom. I also spend time educating staff in using wh questions whenever possible, rather than simpler yes/no questions  or even just plain directives. For example, instead of saying, “Put that paper in your folder please,” a teacher might instead present, “Ok, where do you think the paper should go?” Embedded opportunities to practice these comprehension skills throughout a student’s day help to reinforce the therapy activities and promote generalization of skills. Finding opportunity is really not a difficult task…questions are everywhere!

Enjoy the resources — click the images to download and thanks for visiting me at LiveSpeakLove!

 

American Girl Dreams February 20, 2012

Filed under: Thoughts and Inspirations — livespeaklove @ 11:00 pm
Tags: ,

I almost didn’t post this entry. I admit that I am probably over-dramatic, and posts like these probably detract from the competent, professional image I often try to project. But I am trying to be authentic in my blogging efforts, and perhaps admitting that I often feel rather incompetent in the scope of my work is very authentic indeed. No downloadable resources in this post; sorry…today is a day for a bit of reflection. Enjoy, or not….this is me, doing my best to LiveSpeakLove.

******************************

Today I entered the beautiful, picturesque world of American Girl. After years of playing super heroes, dragons and ninjas with my older boys, I was now perfectly delighted to sigh and squeal in delight at exquisite eighteen-inch dolls and their miniature shoes, clothes and numerous accessories. I had no idea how inconspicuously captivating this world would be. Visiting one of their stores today was admittedly a sensory-rich experience, with endless displays of distinctive dolls in various poses. Their charming accessories, furnishings, pets and attire all documented their participation in the most wonderfully enjoyable activities. Slumber parties, sports games, music & theater performances, cooking extravaganzas and acrobatics…these American Girls were apparently living the American Dream. I watched my own American Girl, her eager smile and glazed expression slowly taking in the scenes around her. The hours she had previously spent in  “research,” poring over each page of all the catalogues that came in the mail could not have prepared her (or me) for the hypnotic confections that surrounded us as we walked through the store. I watched her eyes dance and shine, her breath catching a bit as she glimpsed one item after another which brought delight to her mind and heart.

My girl carefully but adamantly chose the doll with glasses, Molly, and a cooking kit so Molly could bake cupcakes (generous gifts from her grandmother.) We then lunched in the Bistro with Molly, who sat in a high chair provided by the restaurant. The day was carefree, fun; full of wonder and possibility. We cheerfully left the store feeling happy and content. As we drove home, my girl clutched her doll tightly and whispered to her throughout the ride. My thoughts drifted to the scenes of the day….my mind recalling the swarms of girls entering the store; group after group all having similar, wonderful experiences. All of the girls beaming with excitement to share in this real-yet-make-believe world.

My mind then drifted to my students at work, and it dawned on me that many of the girls in my school might never have even a similar experience. Never. I took note of this abject disparity –as a mom, I felt grateful to share days like today with my girl; her pure delight in this perfect, childhood experience warmed my heart. As an SLP working with some complicated kids, I ached to give these same experiences to all of the children on my caseload. My thoughts acknowledged that many of my students could not have tolerated the sensory input of the store, and many of their families could not have afforded the gifts that we were given today. The SLP in me sat thoughtful for a long while, dreaming for a way to make things different.

Dilemmas like this one strike me every so often. I wish there were a way to help my students, in all of the ways they need to be helped. The work I do with and for these children is often over-shadowed by clouds of paperwork, federal IEP timelines, caseload management constraints and factors over which I know I have no control. While I do my very best to give students engaging, differentiated therapy experiences to promote growth and success, I always wish that I could do more. I wish I could fix the disorders; dissolve the difficulties. I wish I could give disadvantaged families the money they need. I wish I could give parent-less students a stable home life. I wish I could erase harsh moments that forever shadow a student’s life. I wish I could give them all exactly what they need; give them everything they need, with lives as abundant  and rich as the fictitious characters of the American Girl world. But I know I can’t.

Tomorrow, I will go to work and immerse myself in the therapy activities I have planned; collecting data, writing reports and helping each child to the best of my abilities. My work will help them progress toward mastery of IEP goals and objectives. Their skills will slowly improve.  Tomorrow I will teach, and my students will learn. But today; right now, I wish that I could take each child on a trip to the American Girl Store.

 

St. Patrick’s Day Fun February 19, 2012

It’s a nice , three-day weekend for most school-based SLPs! If you are like me, weekends  (especially long ones) are a time to relax, yes, but also a time to plan lessons, catch up on paperwork and reflect on students’ progress. Looking forward to the month of March, I have many St. Patrick’s Day activities planned to target a variety of speech-language goals. Feel free to download the resources; just leave a comment if you can. Thank you!

First, I made a quick, introduction video using Animoto to educate students about St. Patrick’s Day and related vocabulary. Animoto is a wonderful resource to create dynamic videos set to music that will engage students in learning activities. I created this multi-media resource using my own mp3 file and Google images. This video will be used in various flipcharts I will develop for use on my therapy room smartboard (ActivPanel.)These flipcharts can target a variety of levels and skills using a fun, St. Patrick’s Day theme. (Pre-made smartboard resources using a St. Patty’s Day theme can also be found at Smart Exchange.) Here is the short video I made:

If you are interested in using Animoto for yourself, click here.

Other activities planned for various groups include four-leaf clover templates to target word knowledge, wh question comprehension and story elements. Here are some examples:

Template (use an idea below, or adapt for your own activity):

Here is an example of how I used the template for brainstorming object attributes (very important foundation skill for teaching students to compare and contrast.)

Here is the same template used as a graphic organizer for wh questions. This activity could be used to discuss objects and object functions, etc., or it could be applied to stories to teach identification of story elements.

Here is a vocabulary page for introducing/reviewing simple vocabulary words related to the St. Patrick’s Day theme. This page could be used as a low-tech board for St. Patty’s Day games, or as a visual word bank for worksheets and activities:

A fun game that my students always love is Memory. Just print out duplicate copies of the Memory Card page onto cardstock, laminate and you are ready for an open-ended game that could be used to target a variety of speech and language skills. On each turn, students can practice sentence formulation using the vocabulary words, or they can identify similarities and differences using the picture vocabulary. Students can also give their peers “mystery clues” about their chosen cards and see if the rest of the group can guess what the pictures are. You can adapt this game into differentiated activities to address just about any objective:

And, if you are not yet tired of Bingo Boards, feel free to download the set I made using Boardmaker. Take a look at a previous post  for a summary about how I use these board to target a variety of skills:

For more ideas, check out these links for books, stories and crafts you could use in speech-language therapy sessions:

Wishing everyone a happy, safe rest of February, and a wonderful start to March. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Visual Supports for Behavior February 17, 2012

I was trying to think of a clever title for this entry…some alliterative phrase  that captures the essence of my theme. I quickly decided to stick with the matter-of-fact title, “Visual Supports for Behavior,” because matter-of-fact is what my message is intended to be — children often need visual supports for behavior. We know that certain students respond particularly well to visual supports. Research documents the need for visuals with the autism population, and there are many great options for visuals to use throughout these students’ school day. But what about students who do not have autism? Might they need visual supports as well? Absolutely!

Using visual supports in a school environment targets diverse needs across student populations. Visual supports can tap into the learning styles of students with a preference for visual presentation, assisting them in the processing and storage of information. Visuals can also increase comprehension in students struggling with auditory comprehension, providing a visual prototype that can hold meaning for them in a confusing world of fast-paced direction and instruction . Students with attentional difficulties often need visual supports as well. For a student overloaded with environmental stimuli in a busy classroom, visual supports can help capture their attention and give them a concept on which to focus as they process verbal information.  In addition, many students with executive function difficulties (related to attentional difficulties) might appear to grasp a concept well during group instruction. Students can follow along with information as a teacher visually demonstrates a concept and walks the class through tasks in step-by-step fashion. However, when asked to apply that same skill to complete individual seat work, students with attention and/or executive function  difficulties often flounder. But visual process charts and graphic organizers can help students complete tasks with independence as they practice the skill. A great site for graphic organizers is found here, but I often make my own to meet individual students’ needs.

One way I frequently use visual supports is to address (or prevent) behavior problems. Many students with special needs have deficits that can trigger behavior issues. Students with language difficulties often have difficulty expressing how they feel, or what they want. Issues with impulse control may interfere with classroom routines and social interactions. Students living in poverty or unstable homes may have difficulties coping with the demands of  a structured learning environment. Little three and four year-olds without any prior school experience are now attempting to navigate the social world of new people and new expectations. They long to interact with peers but do not yet know how to properly initiate that interaction. Sitting on the rug at circle time is a challenge when they are accustomed to free play and exploration. All of these issues can cause negative behaviors to emerge, behaviors that can interfere with the learning of others. SLPs are frequently involved in the problem-solving process and are uniquely skilled at developing materials to address such behaviors. Social stories, super pictures, behavior charts,  incentive charts, picture schedules and communication boards are all strategies SLPs keep in their toolbox so that students can make progress in the classroom.

 Here are a few of my favorite visuals, resources that I specifically designed for students needing visual input to assist with comprehension of expectations. I have experienced great success using these simple but powerful tools.

Visual display to help students express how they are feeling (sometimes they don’t even know until the visual seems to “match” what they are experiencing):

 

Another visual display that was made for a student to keep on his desk so that he could express the emotions he was frequently experiencing: 

Often students need individualized prompting during instruction time to follow classroom rules and expectations. Younger students and/or students with impulsive behaviors need one-step verbal commands to remind them of what they should be doing. These pictures can be cut apart, laminated and placed on a key ring for portability and easy access, or they can be enlarged and cut apart to use as a super-picture presentation. I keep these pictures and other similar visuals in a pocket chart on the wall in my therapy room:

One of my FAVORITE, most often-used visual is the First-Then board. I am posting one template below, but I have many other styles I frequently use. I have also been known to grab post-it notes in a therapy moment when necessary, and draw pictures depicting the first-then expectation. I verbally use this terminology to communicate expectations, even with my own children. “First homework; then T.V.”  The idea is to state the expectation, and when it is finished a more preferred activity can be completed. The first-then chart posted below was used most successfully with a high-functioning student with autism who could complete his classwork with assistance when he tried, but he often became overwhelmed and refused to attempt anything. The classroom teacher and I worked together with the student to identify a list of brief, preferred activities that could be used as a reward after he finished his assignment. The student chose pictures of the preferred activities to place on the bottom row of the chart each day (things like get a drink, color a picture, take a walk, say hi to people in the office, etc.) For each activity he was assigned, he chose one of his preferred options and placed it on the “then” spot. (e.g., First – math worksheet; Then – color a picture.) With a motivating goal easily within reach, the student was able to complete chunks of work and take mini-breaks for rewards throughout his day. His meltdowns literally vanished within a day or two of introducing this tool:

For students needing a visual reminder of how to make “happy” choices, I often use these supports:

A great tool to give (positive and negative) feedback to a student while you are teaching is a non-verbal signal or visual — no need to stop instruction and give negative attention to a child who is misbehaving. With older students, a simple thumbs up or down could work. With younger students, I like to use the happy face/ sad face flip visual. Just cut out the two circles, laminatend tape to opposite sides of a craft/popsicle stick. Present any student with nonverbal feedback as you continue with your lesson. I have witnessed more than a few students break their cycle of negative behaviors by experiencing confidence and success when they are rewarded positively with the “happy” side (catch them doing something positive whenever you can — it works!)

The beauty of visual supports is that they can be tailored to exactly fit the situation at hand. Programs like PowerPoint, Boardmaker, ActivInpire, MS Word, and many others allow for creative design and image selection. The internet hosts a wealth of ideas, templates and other resources to help in the process. The bottom line? Many SLPs and teachers encounter students who are struggling to meet curricular and behavioral expectations. Can we eliminate what is causing those issues?  Unfortunately, not usually. But visual supports are a wonderful tool (and in my experience, sometimes the solution) to helping these students move beyond barriers that block their progress. Increased comprehension, independence and compliance result in better learning opportunities for students, and better relationships with those around them.

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 524 other followers

%d bloggers like this: