In the next few weeks we’re going to be reading “Sometimes” by Rebecca Elliot. Many of the students I work with have G-tubes and are in wheelchairs. They also, unfortunately, spend time in the hospital. This book is a great story for children with disabilities or their siblings. The main character, Clemmie, and her sibling talk about their time in the hospital and the things Clemmie sometimes has to do.
We’re going to be reading Sometimes using the format from the Tell Me Program. To learn more about how we use the Tell Me Program click here. You can download the visuals for Sometimes here to go along with our visuals book. If you own a copy of this book and would like a copy of the electronic adapted version, send an email to AmandaSoperSLP@gmail.com. The adapted copy contains the pictures only, no text, with background clutter removed for our students with vision impairments. We put each page on a light box or use the PowerPoint on an iPad.
In order to address the “dramatic play” aspect of The Tell Me Program, you can make your own G-tube doll using these materials.
- Exacto Knife
- Baby Alive Doll (This brand allows you to actually feed the doll. Just make sure you buy extra diapers!)
- Mickey Button & Feeding Tube/Extension Set (Amanda got this one by asking the school nurse.)
To insert the Mickey Button into the baby, simply make a small hole in the appropriate spot. Slowly make the hole bigger and test the button as you go, until it is the correct size.
Put the Mickey Button in and use the syringe to insert air into the button to inflate the balloon on the inside of the baby doll. Now you can feed the baby doll using water and the syringe!
A few years ago, I heard Carole Zangari present on the Tell Me Program at a PALSS conference. I was watching live with a teacher and another SLP and we immediately wanted to get started! It took a couple of years until the program was available for purchase through Attainment Company, but it was worth the wait! This year, I’ve worked with several classrooms using this program and have been so impressed with the increase in students’ language and AAC use. Hang in there, this post is a bit on the longer side but has some great resources!
The program comprises of a ten day (two week) learning sequence revolving around one book. The books tend to be simple and familiar. Many have predictable pictures or text. Each two week sequence has:
- Target vocabulary words and a target letter. – We decided to do two target letters per book for contrast. (Check out this post by Jane Farrall where she talks about providing at least two and up to six “letters of the week” for alphabet learning.)
- Shared Writing lessons
- Shared Reading lessons
- Quack Quack Questions – Simple questions that can be answered using target or concept vocabulary.
- Dramatic play. – This has been a favorite component of ours and has encouraged carryover of target vocabulary into other contexts.
There are many other components to the program, but these are the ones that we have been most successful in implementing!
I saw a post on Facebook about how the amazing mom from the “Hold My Words” page, created a chart book to go along with the program. You can check out her video post here. She used a few pieces of poster board to create her chart book and it seems ideal for home schooling or individual sessions. However, using the program at school, we needed to create something that could be easily replicated for several classrooms. With that in mind, we created a visuals book that has the target words on the front and pages inside for the song, who poster, what poster, story map poster, letters of the week, and quack quack questions. For each of the eleven books in the program, we created a unique visuals book that we printed on tabloid paper, laminated, and bound. After the eleventh book, another teacher and I came up with a generic template for the book and visuals. You can download our template for the book and icons! You can also see the book and icons we made for the “I Went Walking” book. If people are interested, I’m happy to share the visuals from the other ten books! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for access to the rest.
We also put together a dramatic play kit for every unit. We make sure to include accommodations for our switch users! This is a great time to work on language carry-over using the words of the week!
Let us know how you use the Tell Me Program in your classroom!