Supersize Your BIGmack

Communication is a powerful tool. Helping a student access functional communication is extremely rewarding. Assistive technology can help students with disabilities increase independence as well as access their education. For some teachers and SLPs, working with non-verbal students or students with limited verbal abilities can often be challenging and at times, overwhelming.

Selecting the appropriate aided communication system or device is important in promoting daily use and implementation from the user and communication partners involved. There are numerous levels of technology from low to high tech to consider when selecting a mode of communication. One option to consider when introducing functional communication to new learners, is a single message speech generating device such as the BigMack. This will help demonstrate the power of communication to the user.

I know what you're thinking. If I was only able to communicate a single message all day or all week, I might get a little frustrated; however, if you unlock this power for a non-verbal student, the reward is abundant and their world will be changed forever. So, how do you "supersize" or get the most out of your target words/phrases? When selecting a message, there are a few questions that are important to consider. 
After you've consider these three factors, you are ready to select your target words/phrases. Here are my top five words/phrases to target when introducing a single message button. 

1. Greetings/Social Phrases/Farewells (i.e., "Good morning," "Hello," "How are you doing today?")

These words/phrases are verbally reinforced immediately and can be targeted frequently throughout the student's day. Be creative with the locations that you teach and target these words/phrases. Greet the librarian, office staff,  and nurse. Having the student help out at the crosswalk is another great location that will provide multiple opportunities for greetings.

2. "More"

This word can be targeted during multiple activities throughout the student's day and easily carried over to other settings.  You can introduce the target word while doing a puzzle and have the student request, "more" pieces to complete the puzzle. Addressing this target word while playing with play-doh also provides multiple opportunities and immediate reinforcement. 

3. "Finished" or "All done"

My students love this one, especially is it's during a non-preferred task. This target allows the student to feel in control and can quickly teach the power of communication.

4. "I need help" 

When initially teaching this target phrase, sabotaging the activity works very well. Intentionally giving the student a "locked" iPad or placing desired toys in a closed container will prompt them to request help. 

5. Repetitive story line or verse in a song

While reading a repetitive story or singing a song, allow the student to participate by pressing the button for the repetitive line. One of my students loves, "The Wheels on the Bus." I programed the button to say, "all through the town," so that he is able to participate while the group is singing the song. The "Pete the Cat" series and "There Was an Old Lady" series are great books for repetitive lines. 
(Interactive adapted book was created by Jenna from Speech Room News)

Keep in mind, with any word or phrase that you select, modeling and repetition will be extremely important in the success of the student using any form of aided communication. Hope this post helps the task of introducing and targeting functional communication less overwhelming for you and more powerful for your student.  

Halloween-Themed Language Tricks & Activities

Hey Everyone! I am so excited to be linking up with the Frenzied SLPs to share a few Halloween activities you can do this week in therapy.

My students love telling me about their halloween costumes and currently, the sales ads are full of costumes! This is the perfect opportunity to develop multiple language skills including comparing and contrasting as well as describing.    

For this activity, students select two costumes to compare and contrast. Students are prompted to provide the similarities and differences in the characters' super powers, abilities, location, mask vs. no mask, etc. Student can also describe the costumes (i.e., category, function, size, colors, etc.) using the sales ads. 
How cute are these pumpkin stickers from Hobby Lobby!? This is a great activity to target requesting, body parts and location words (i.e., top, middle and bottom). I also use them as a quick reinforcer while targeting articulation goals (i.e., "Say 10 words and earn a body part.")
Who's hungry? My students love any activity that involves food! These spooky eyes are super easy and fun to make during your therapy sessions. You'll need Oreos and brown M&Ms. This activity provides a great reinforcer for students that can identify one of their "'EYE' (I) CAN" targets for the day.

Last, I am targeting inferences this week with a Halloween twist. This inference set includes 18 inference cards and a "How to Make an Inference" poster to review with your students! 

Game Rules:
1. Print, cut and laminate all cards and “Trick or Treat” bags (one per student).
2. Use the “Inference Poster” to review concepts, if needed. 
3. Place all cards face-down on the table. 
4. Have students take turns turning over the cards and making their inference. Once they’ve made their inference, instruct students to place their card in their “Trick or Treat” bag. 
5. Watch out! If a student turns over a “Monster” card, they lose a turn.
6. Once all cards are claimed, the student with the most inference cards in their “Trick or Treat” bag, wins the game! 
One last treat...Pumpkin Poo! My students love this treat and laugh every year I give it to them! It's cheese balls in a snack-size bag. This is a fun alternative to giving them MORE candy! :) 
Click HERE to grab the label as my special treat to you!  

Thank you so much for stopping by! Check out other great Halloween therapy ideas at Doyle Speech Works!  

Dallas Blogger Meet Up

This weekend was amazing! I loved reuniting and meeting so many friends that share my passion for blogging and creating for TpT. I love following these wonderful people on social media and it was so fun to meet up with them. Everyone was so sweet and I am very thankful to all the attendees.
The preparation stated by assembling an amazing group of ladies who dedicated countless hours requesting donations, sending emails, making reservations, creating tags, games, names badges and so much more! Thank you to Ashley from Teach Create Motivate, Ally from Loopin' Littles and Sarah from Yeehaw Teaching in Texas for all of your hard work and making this weekend so awesome!
This year we reserved The Cheesecake Factory for the meet up. We loved this location and the restaurant offered a great area for socializing with everyone. The food was delicious and of course we had to have a slice of cheesecake!  

We played a game with Starbursts to learn a little more about each other. We placed the Starburst on the table and instructed everyone to grab two Starbursts (different colors). Then, each person matched the Starburst color to the heart on the sign (below) and shared that interesting fact with the group! Who knew so many people enjoy watching Scandal!? ;)

I loved this opportunity to reunite with friends as well as connect to new ones! We discussed everything from "new mommy" struggles to teacher must-haves for the classroom. Hearing the amazing success stories from teaching and TpT was a huge blessing. Thank you so much to everyone that attended! 
Carrie from Adventures in Kinder and Beyond
Bryce from The Teaching Texan

Wow! We are so grateful for all of the amazing donations! Everyone was able to win TWO prizes. We all have giving hearts and we loved the opportunity to bless everyone with teacher treats. Thank you so much to the following companies and individuals that donated:

Carrie from Adventures in Kinder and Beyond
Princess from Teaching, Love, Cupcakes
Ashley from Sweet Southern Speech
Bryce from The Teaching Texan

I absolutely loved our favors this year. Each attendee received a delicious Texas cookie from J. Rae's Cookie, an adorable canvas tote from Hobby Lobby and Go Noodle swag! 

Thank you so much again to everyone who attended, donated, and shared our passion for blogging. I am so excited to start planning our next meet up! If you were unable to attend this year, stay connected for updates on our next Dallas Blogger Meet Up.  

Monday Made It

Hey everyone! I am so excited to be linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It! This week I used paint chips to create resources for the classroom. Guess what!? Paint chips are free at your local hardware store! 
First, I selected wider paint chips to create color books. For this activity, students can find and cut pictures from magazines that match the colors on the paint chips. Then, you can add a cover (grab it HERE) and attach to a binder ring. Students can complete one paint chip per day/week as they learn their colors.

Next, I selected paint chips with multiple shades to use for a color bulletin board. Grab the crayons for free HERE!
The paint chips with the square cutouts are perfect for this next activity! I added strips with consonants and vowels behind each square. Students can then shift the letters to create multiple CVC words. This is great for kindergartners learning to spell! I created a recording sheet that you can grab HERE

For my last "Monday Made It" I created an interactive activity for students to learn about shares and practice their fine motor skills. I used my 1" hole punch to cut out one circle from each shade. Then, I glued the circles on the end of clothes pins. This activity is so easy to create and perfect for a center in a pre-school or kindergarten classroom. 

Thank you so much for stopping by! Head over to the link up to see what others have created this summer!