Category: Assitive Technology

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! 🙂

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).

Roller Girl                              El Deafo                                        Amulet

                      

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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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…)

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses//Video Book

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I love Pete the Cat books! They are about a fun character, contain positive messages, and come with great songs and videos. I saw the newest book when I was at Barnes & Noble last week and had to get it. Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses is a wonderful story about optimism and a positive outlook. It also fits right into summer activities because of those COOL, BLUE, MAGIC sunglasses.

Yesterday, I downloaded the video that goes with the book on the Pete the Cat website. Using a few hyperlinks and the  video trimming tool, I was able to make a fun video book. You can download it here by clicking either picture below.

Book Cover Book PageAfter a quick Pinterest search, I also found this website with printable templates to make your own glasses. I envision a fun writing activity where students make their own glasses and then choose 3 adjectives (Pete’s are COOL, BLUE, and MAGIC) to describe them. The class can make a book with the sentence “Look at my _____, ______, ______ sunglasses.” with a photo of them wearing their sunglasses.

I would love to hear back from you when you use this activity!

AAChronicles #13

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On Wednesday, one of the fabulous teachers we work with asked her student, “Let’s write about Father’s Day today. What do you want to write about your grandpa/uncle?” The student immediately responded “funny to play, little, love” on his Accent.

Hope this put a smile on your face at the end of a long week!

#SeeMeSeeMyAAC Twitter Bulletin Board

I love seeing pictures people have posted with the #SeeMeSeeMyAAC. Unfortunately, due to privacy protections for our students we have been unable to participate. The other day I was thinking that a lot of the adults and students in our school could benefit from seeing photos of students doing typical activities with their captured voices in the photo as well. Amanda and I created a bulletin board explaining the #. Click here and here to download the documents.

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We then sent a template out to teachers and therapists asking them to post pictures of their students with a short blurb about what they were doing when the picture was taken.

Twitter Board 1 Within the hour, one teacher added several pictures of her students giving presentations in class.

My favorite addition is a photo of a teacher and student having lunch after the student said “Should we lunch [Teacher’s name]?”.

Let us know if you decide to start a #SeeMeSeeMyAAC campaign at your school!