Hair Salon Dramatic Play Kit

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I often see people asking for ideas to teach language through play in AAC groups on Facebook.  What I most commonly see as the suggestions are cause and effect toys like light up toys, wind up toys, sensory items, etc.  Frequently people write that their students with autism aren’t motivated by play and I almost never hear about students with severe physical disabilities engaging in play other than to direct it using their talkers.  I’ve thought a lot about this and came to the conclusion that this didn’t feel right.  Why are we not providing our students with disabilities with the same play opportunities as their peers?

With that in mind, I started to order toys for dramatic and pretend play.  I started using them with lots of different groups of students and guess what, they ALL love them.  Even some of my super tough to motivate to play, kids with autism are having a blast playing with these kits!  The most important piece, I think, is that I facilitate the play and never expect to just leave the toys with a group of students and see them successfully play.  It doesn’t always go smoothly the first time but it often does in subsequent sessions.  I play with these kits in individual sessions or in small groups with no more than four students at a time.  They are a HUGE hit.  I promise!

The first kit I decided to share is my hair salon kit.  My SLP intern and I have had so much fun playing with this kit in sessions.  It was our first “hit” and was loved by both boys and girls.  🙂  There are a bunch of accommodations so students with severe physical impairments can use switches to engage in pretend and dramatic play!

Students can use an adapted pourer and switch to “wash” the doll’s hair.  I attached velcro to the shampoo, conditioner, and a brush.

Students can “braid” or “twist” the doll’s hair using an adapted pourer and a switch!  I attached hard velcro on either side of the switch plate.  If you press a doll’s hair tightly into the hard velcro it will stick.  Then use the switch to have the pourer go around and around while it twists the hair!

Students can cut the dolls hair using adapted scissors and a switch (or any kind of adapted scissors).  I bought hair extensions (they were fairly cheap) and I let students cut the extensions so we don’t end up with dolls with no hair!

Students can blow dry her hair using a Powerlink and switch.

Here’s my PowerPoint with lesson ideas, accommodation explanations, etc.

Everything in the kit is labeled for easy use!

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Icons are available along with an eyegaze board to accommodate students who need to make choices using pictures.  These icons are also used to label the switch during switch adapted play.hs3
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Here is a link to items I bought.   Some of them were donated by a family member no longer using her American Girl doll items!

Enjoy!  Don’t hesitate to send an email if you’re interested in making this kit to use with your students or children! More to come! 🙂

Adapted Book Kit – Bill the Duck and the Ladybug (CVI)

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I recently saw an awesome post on the Paths to Literacy Website from Deena Recker about books for students in different CVI phases. Check it out here.  It’s a great post as she outlines different characteristics for Phases I, II, and III.  She also provides free downloadable books to be used for students with CVI.  I downloaded this fun one, Bill the Duck and the Ladybug. My SLP intern and I decided to make this into one of our adapted book kits!

We adapted/ included a few things in this kit.  First, my intern put the story on a black background.  Next we found a rubber duck and a light up ladybug (it’s Easter time so CVS is packed with tons of little spring light up toys like this).  My intern has been reading this with one of our students who has characteristics of CVI Phase I.  He’s been very clearly looking at the pictures in the book and saying “turn” to ask her to turn the page with his talker!  She also reenacts the story using the story props.

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Next we made a simple counting book to go along with the story.  We followed the same guidelines and kept the text on one page and the picture on the other.  We kept the background black, used bright text, and added some glitter to our spots to make them more visually attractive.  On the last page of the book, we made a ladybug with removable spots.  The Velcro on the ladybug is painted red so that it blends in.  We did this so that it would not get confusing when counting “spots” on the ladybug if there were less than 5 black spots on.  Then we made black spots with some glitter on them (again to make them more visually attractive).

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We provided teachers with a few ways to work on numbers and counting while using this interactive activity.  We included ideas for labeling numbers on a student’s talker, following directions with numbers, and counting.

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You can find the PowerPoint with the instructions for our adapted book kit here.  Enjoy!

Adapted Book Kit – Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

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It’s been forever since I posted!  Things have been pretty crazy this school year but I think I’m finally getting back on track.  More posts to come 🙂  I recently have been doing a lot of individual sessions with some of my more complex kiddos with a focus on AAC and literacy.  I frequently use the Bridge Protocol to assess where my students are with regards to emergent literacy.  I love this tool because it really breaks down emergent literacy skills and allows you see progress in smaller increments.  It also has helped the teachers and paraprofessionals that I work with to have a better of idea of where their students are at and what skills they need to provide more opportunities for.  (I was getting pretty sick of everyone only writing goals for “turning the page” as an emergent literacy skill with NO other ideas!)

A few weeks ago, I was at Barnes and Noble I spotted this sound story version of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.  I am in love with it because it has a cute, quick story that goes along with the sounds on the side.  So often, sounds books are either short (in pages)and have no real story line or they have a story line that makes sense with the sound symbols but it is SO LONG.  This one is perfect!

I looked at the Foundations of Reading and Oral Language areas of the Bridge Protocol to keep myself on track while adapting.  I really wanted to work on how my students handle/interact with books and increase their engagement.

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With that in mind, I decided to texture adapt the sound symbols to give students (with and without vision impairment) something more to interact with.  My SLP intern and I tried to be very purposeful with what we chose and worked hard to make sure the textures make sense with what the symbol represents.  Here’s what we came up with.

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We also decided to include the plush toy that goes along with the book to encourage interaction for some of our students who have not yet discovered a love for reading!

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You can find the PowerPoint that goes along with the adapted book kit here.  Enjoy!

How To Adapt Graphic Novels in PowerPoint

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Earlier this year, I found out that my beloved Baby-Sitters Club books had been turned into graphic novels. I immediately thought of a few pre-teen girls I know that would love to read these books on their eye-gaze devices. In our previous post, we discuss using Office 365 on Accent Devices to display adapted PowerPoint books. This would also be possible using the PowerPoint App on the iPad.

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite realize how daunting it would be to adapt the entire chapter book. I promise that it will be available for anyone who can demonstrate proof of purchase for the book when I it is complete. Until that time, I thought I would provide some instructions for how to I adapt graphic novels (I have listed a few suggestions, provided by a very helpful Barnes & Noble employee, below).

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Continue reading for step-by-step instructions for adapting graphic novels in PowerPoint.

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Eye Gaze PowerPoint Book Template

PowerPoint can make adapting books a breeze. We recently took the same features we use when making books for the computer or iPad and created a book for an Accent 1400 with NuEye. The Accent 1400 allows the user to download Microsoft with PowerPoint 360. This opens up the endless activity possibilities available through PowerPoint.

AlphaOops! H is for Halloween is the first book we tried this with and it was a hit!  Each slide contains 4 icons that the child can click to turn the page, hear audio of the page, go back, or exit the book.

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Continue reading for a free template and step-by-step directions.

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Writing Activities Using Instant Messaging Apps For Kids

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An important rule in implementing comprehensive literacy instruction is that children need to be presented with multiple opportunities to write for multiple purposes (click here to read a great post from Caroline on the 3 T’s of Writing). When I reflect on my own day, I can include communication through text message and social media as two of my main forms of written expression. I made a Facebook Status Writing Activity a few months ago, and wanted to explore text messaging apps for kids next. I downloaded Roo Kids and PlayKids Talk, but will only be sharing information about Roo Kids, due to the security features of PlayKids Talk preventing Amanda and I from trying it (PlayKids Talk uses a photo of the user’s parent to determine if they are old enough to use the app and apparently Amanda does not pass for over 21).

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ISAAC 2016 Session Handout

We are so happy to share some of our ideas for integrating language and technology for students with multiple disabilities at ISAAC 2016. You can download the handout from our presentation by clicking here. 

Most of the activities that we shared during our session are available through our website. If you are searching for a specific activity and can’t find it please let us know through email and we will point you in the right direction. If you are looking for a book that is not available on our website due to copyright reasons, please email us with proof that you own the original book and we can send you the adapted version.

Thanks!

Lauren and Amanda

ISAAC Take-Aways: Day One

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  1. We are so excited about the resources currently available on the Project Core Website.  The resources for Universal Core Vocabulary Systems will be sure to help many!  And we can’t wait to see how their research progresses while developing a comprehensive implementation program for core vocabulary instruction.project core
  2. Loved Caroline Musselwhite’s and Gretchen Hanser’s presentation on predictable chart writing.  They suggested using a document camera to show the class what students are saying on their AAC systems.

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3. Vikki Haddix, Mary Shannon Marcella, and Laura Henry shared how they developed a team of people knowledgeable about AAC in their district.  Their 1x/month, 2 hour groups reviewing research studies/ papers and discussing their own tough AAC cases sounds like a great model for professional development.

4. Caroline Musselwhite and Gretchen Hanser made the point that typically developing children get FOUR years to scribble before they begin to form letters and words in their writing.  Why do we have different expectations for individuals with CCN, especially the older students who have never been given a chance to write?   scribble 1 scribble 2

5. Kate Anderson recommended providing parents and educators with “hot” and “cold” knowledge about AAC.  Parents tend to prefer “hot knowledge” such as information given during a social interaction (i.e. conversation, online forum).  So we should provide that in addition to the “cold” knowledge we typically provide in the form of handouts and pamphlets.

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Adapted Pop-Up Pirate Boardmaker Game

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We have been slowly chipping away at the stack of games and toys got to adapt through a grant. The most recent game has been Pop-up Pirate. I am still figuring out how I am going to adapt the actual game pieces (maybe some built up handles) but I went ahead and adapted it for a touch screen on Boardmaker. Click on any of the pictures below to download the file from Boardmaker Share.

Pirate Game (more…)