Behavior-It’s All about Perspective: Funny Time in the Funny Area

July 21, 2012 by - 2 Comments


A ‘funny area’ is not a technique or strategy you will see in a behavior or speech-language therapy text-book.  But here is how we came to know and love ‘funny time’ & the ‘funny area’ A Little Background Tommy, a 9-year-old boy, seemed to be getting the ‘giggles’ each session. The graduate student clinician was not sure how to ‘control the situation’.  Tommy typically worked hard using his Vantage Lite to build long and complex sentences for communication during natural age-appropriate activities (i.e., golf, art, and reading).  But then the ‘giggles’ would start… and less and less communication was getting done. Initially, the clinician spent time redirecting Tommy.  She would have him sit straight, pay more attention, and re-focus, but in the long run it would be more about what the clinician wanted then about Tommy communicating.  We prompted the graduate student to think about how more could be accomplished,... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , ,

Power of the Visual Planner

July 20, 2012 by - 3 Comments


Power of the Visual Planner

We need to continue to talk about scheduling…..especially as we talk about tools for positive behavioral supports.  We know that having monthly, daily, and mini-schedules make us ALL feel more competent and calm.   We have written a lot about visual schedules and visual schedule resources because we have seen schedules reduce or eliminate so many  behavior challenges. They have helped with transitions, wandering away during activities,  activity completion, asking repetitive ‘‘when are we going ________ questions,  and with meltdowns during a less preferred activity. We also continue to write about schedules because there are still myths suggesting schedules might hinder independence when exactly the opposite is true.    We personally continue to use  a combination of no-tech to high-tech visual schedules, but we are loving mobile schedules especially during the summer when we are traveling and moving around from place to place even more frequently than usual.  We gathered together... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , , , , ,

PrAACtical Suggestions: Writing Goals for People Learning AAC

July 18, 2012 by - 8 Comments


PrAACtical Suggestions: Writing Goals for People Learning AAC

This post was inspired by a budding young professional who loves AAC and is DETERMINED to provide best practice services for the young students she serves. (See?? This is why we love being clinical educators!) We were chatting about a youngster on her caseload who uses an eyegaze SGD and is making some good progress with the technical aspects of it. Our conversation turned to goal setting. – First, a word about how to talk about AAC in the goals and objectives. For people who use SGDs, there are pros and cons to naming the actual device in the goal. Some SLPs favor that, while others prefer a more flexible approach and describe the device features. More about that another time. A more general concern about writing AAC goals is the tendency to focus more on operating equipment than on becoming an effective communicator. Clearly, we advocate the latter: AAC... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , , , , , , , ,

Role Models-Look No Further than the Paralympics 2012

July 15, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Role Models Look No Further Than The Paralympics 2012

Have you met Mandeville and Wenlock?   Think Paralympics and Olympics.  These mascots were created by Grant Hunter in collaboration with children.  They were made with children in mind to help encourage participation in Paralympic and Olympic sports.  We love that Mandeville and Wenlock are encouraging ALL children to aspire to be  world-class athletes. Not only are the Olympics a big deal (See our Olympic PrAACtical AAC perspective), but the Paralympics are also a big deal.  Paralympic Althletes  impress most everyone and provide an opportunity for children with disabilities  ALL over the world, to have role models who might look or sound like them.  We love it when everyone can be inspired together. The Summer Paralympics will take place in London, England, in 2012, from August 29 through September 9. They will be the biggest Paralympic Games ever featuring 4,200 athletes from 160 countries who will compete in 20 sports.  These... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , , , ,

5 Under-Used Strategies in AAC

July 14, 2012 by - 2 Comments


5 Under-Used Strategies in AAC

1. Partner-assisted scanning (PAS) offers great flexibility and spontaneity. Don’t want to take your SGD to the beach? A print-out of the screens and PAS is a great option. Missing key messages for the trip to the doctor’s office? A minute of brainstorming and the use of PAS may just save the day. No way for your client to access her device once she’s in bed? A communication board/book and PAS just might do the trick. – 2. Voice banking: For people are likely to lose their speech due to a degenerative disease, like ALS, the option of saving samples of their speech and having it digitized for future use seems to hold great appeal. We’d love to see more SLPs familiarize themselves with this strategy and the tools to implement it, so that this option is more widely used about individuals whose speech is deteriorating. – 3. Qualitative rating... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , , , , , , , , ,

Enough with the Big Buts

July 12, 2012 by - 4 Comments


Enough with the Big Buts

Buts, buts, buts. Everywhere we turn these days, there are buts. – – Buts about kids   “AAC is fine for some kids… …but my student is too ‘low functioning'” …but my client doesn’t have the motor skills” …but the kids I work with aren’t interested” …but I don’t want to give up on speech” …but my children are too young” – –Buts about adults “AAC is great for some situations… …but the parent/teacher won’t use it at home/in the classroom” …but I didn’t learn that when I was in  grad school” …but my principal doesn’t support it” …but our practice uses an oral motor approach” – Buts about resources “AAC is a great idea… …but we don’t have that kind of funding” …but I’m too busy to make all that stuff” …but we’re lucky to get a laminator” …but I’m spread too thin as it is” …-. Enough with... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: ,

PrAACtical Tips for Passing the SLP PRAXIS on the First Try, Part 3

July 11, 2012 by - 4 Comments


PrAACtical Tips for Passing the SLP PRAXIS on the First Try, Part 3

The SLP PRAXIS Exam: No big deal or VERY big deal? You’ll find graduate students and clinical fellows in each camp. Yes, there are lots of new grads who did well on it and swear that they hardly studied. We cheer loudly to welcome them to our ranks. There are others, however, who quietly regret not having gone the extra mile to prepare. We hate regrets, so our SLP PRAXIS prep posts are geared for those who want an extra measure of safety when they go in to take their exam. – In Part 1 and Part 2, we talked about getting prepared and setting a study schedule for the SLP PRAXIS. In this post, we wanted to share some resources that have been helpful to our students. — Online Flashcards There are many sites that offer the ability for users to create flashcards, use them to study, and/or print... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , , , , ,

92 Free or Lite Versions of AAC Apps

July 10, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


92 Free or Lite Versions of AAC Apps

We’re back again with an updated list of free and lite versions of AAC apps that includes many additions for the Android platform. As in the past, we’re including some additional resources and excerpts from previous posts related to AAC app selection and the larger context of AAC assessment. We’ve appreciated the feedback on first draft of RELAAACs, our attempt to quantify some of what we look for when we try to compare AAC apps based on their language and communication features, and continue to welcome your suggestions. We do have plans to revise and update this once we get through the summer semester. (The trimester system is a killer!) —————————————————————————————————– – Thanks to all who’ve given us great feedback and suggestions on our list of free and lite AAC apps. If you’ve been following our blog, you know that we have mixed feelings about the AAC app revolution. More specifically, we’ve... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , , , , , , , ,

Visual Schedule Round-Up

July 9, 2012 by - Leave your thoughts


Visual Schedule Round-Up

Summer is not the season we typically connect with routine, predictability, and structure. Nonetheless, if  strategy really works to make someone’s life better, we try to use it whenever possible. Visual schedules work. They REALLY work. So whether you’re using them this summer or just preparing for the fall, we hope you enjoy this round-up of our past posts on Visual Schedules. – Riddle Me This (clinical rationale) Tech it Up’- 5 Visual Schedule Apps (tools) Visual Strategies 411 (implementation) PrAACtical Mini Schedules (implementation) Ideas for Teaching the Use of Visual Schedules (implementation) Object Schedules (video) Strategy of the Month: Types of Visual Schedules (implementation) Visual Schedules in Action (video) Building Complex Schedules (video) Schedule Changes (Video) AAC at Home: Visual Schedules and Supports Schedules and Choices (implementation) Visual Schedules & Inclusion (video) A Myth About Visual Schedule Lives On (implementation) Visual Schedule Wrap-Up  (implementation + resource list) –

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , , , ,

Thank You for a PrAACtical Giveaway Celebration

July 8, 2012 by - 1 Comment


Thank You for A PrAACtical Giveaway

We wanted to sincerely thank everyone for making our  first ever giveaway a true PrAACtical AAC celebration.  It was so much fun (Thanks Speech Tree, Tech in Special Education, and Rafflecopter).  We hope to be doing more very soon.  We feel like we got to know so many of you and are very appreciative for your participation and interaction.   Congratulations to Jennifer, who is our  winner! We know that our  giveaway was about  AAC and since everyone could not win, we searched for other opportunities that would give you another chance to win or get funding for an AAC app. The iMums The iMums website has a Speech Tree App Giveaway until July 11th. iTaalk:   App Facilitator Program iTaalk has a program that will grant apps to applicants with a minimum cost of $25. There is an application process and not all requests can be accommodated but they try very... [Read More...]

Filed under:

Tagged With: , , ,