Technology and all the wonderful tech tools that are out there to help our students is amazing. But I’m not giving up my printed core boards any time soon.
🧡🧡🧡 I love core boards because:
- They help make an abstract word visible by giving it a symbol and a location
- Visuals can focus a student’s attention and help them filter out distractions
- Many kids with disabilities have strong visual skills
- They help give language visible structure and a visual pattern
- It gives a visual foundation of frequently used words
- They work
- A big board is great for everyone in preschool classrooms, special education classrooms and in your speech rooms too.
If you are looking for help with core boards, then download your condensed guide to core boards here. You’ll find links to popular AAC boards, along with tips to get started.
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I learned so much at the ASHA convention in Los Angeles that I just had to share it with you. After attending outstanding presentations on AAC, I have to let you in on some of my biggest aha moments and takeaways. These five free AAC Resources will make your SLP life easier.
1. AAC for students with visual impairments
This year I’m working with several students who not only have complex communication needs but they also have a visual impairment. These are the kids that I think about a lot. Trying to strategize and come up with some type of a communication system for them is really challenging.
Laura Stone gave an amazing presentation that included resources for purchasing tactile communication systems using Core Vocabulary and suggestions for how to create your own.
STACS: Standardized Tactile Augmentative Communication Symbols Kit is available online
Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired has standardized a Tactile System (FREE guide) http://www.tsbvi.edu/images/attachments/Tactile-Symbol-List1.pdf
And you can make your own symbols too using corrugated plastic or cardboard. I’ll be diving deeper into this subject in an upcoming interview with Laura.
2. Low-tech AAC Gems from Gail Van Tatenhove
” Low-tech doesn’t scare the crap out of people.”
” Low-tech is a rich environment in which you can do language.”
” You can have more than one motor plan.”
” Low-tech can temporarily reduce the cognitive load.”
” Look at access, intentionality, and motivation.”
Learn more wisdom from Gail Van Tatenhove, the Queen of Core at https://gvantatenhove.wordpress.com/
Kristen from The Daily Dose of Speech and I with Gail Van Tatehove
3, 4 & 5. Classroom-wide Core Vocabulary from Project Core
Project Core is a Stepping Up Technology Implementation Grant, directed by the Center for Disability and Literacy Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. Here are a few of the highlights.
- Teach teachers and classroom staff how to teach AAC (this is huge and something I’m always working on)
- “Encourage communication without requiring it.” ~Karen Erickson
- ” It’s not a model, if the child doesn’t see you do it.” ~Karen Erickson
- Make sure there’s a worthwhile topic to communicate about.
- Project Core uses Communication Matrix (which I’ve been using for the past 3 or 4 years) This is a FREE assessment tool that I find invaluable. I’ve included a link on my Resources
- Project Core has free professional development modules http://www.project-core.com/professional-development-modules/
- And FREE posters http://www.project-core.com/teaching-core-vocabulary-posters/
I hope you can use these AAC resources. I know it can be a confusing area with a lot of different resources, devices and vocabulary sets. We just have to keep ourselves informed, reach out to other SLPs, look at evidence and use our best clinical judgement.
I think one thing that all the AAC experts agree on is the importance of Aided Language Stimulation or Modeling.
So, let’s hold that point,
Looking for a fun, engaging, interactive, FREE speech app for your toddlers, preschoolers, and young students with special needs?
I found an awesome one called Speech Blubs
This subscription-based app is free for SLPs for use on one device. Children mimic sounds and words while looking at videos of engaging kids. My primary functional skills classroom loved it when I used it as a reward activity during therapy. A couple of my students that generally won’t try to imitate words, actually tried this. I was sold right then and there.
The kids really enjoy seeing the kids in the app. It’s just so natural for them to imitate other kids.The colorful images are clean, super-fun and engaging. When you activate the camera the kids can see themselves on screen, which they love (it’s like looking in the mirror). In the Early Sounds section, the kids imitate an animal noise. When they do this, fun things happen. Donkey ears appear on their head or maybe even a duck.
You have to see for yourself in this short little video I made.
Isn’t that great?
If you feel you can use this with your students, go to the App Store and download Speech Blubs. Follow the prompts and make sure you indicate that you’re an SLP so you can get your free copy.
Guess what? For a limited time, I’m giving away 10 free codes for you to share with the parents of a student. I think this would be so great for practice and interaction at home. The code is good for a 6 month subscription. If you’re interested, just comment below with your favourite animal from the app. I’ll choose ten winners on Monday, September 18, 2017.
Do you love planners as much as I do? I created a special SLP summer planner just to help you make sure your summer doesn’t slip away.
And the best part…it’s FREE!
WE made it through another year! Now for a well-deserved summer break. If you’re like me you start the summer with very well-intended plans of projects, revamps and things-to-do. Sometimes the transition from flat out running and wrangling kids all day to summer relaxation can be a little tricky. SLP Summer Planner to the rescue.
So you take a few days to adjust. You make some vacation plans and you sleep in. Binge watch Netflix and before you know it, summer’s over. If you’re happy with that then great.
But… what if you start the summer knowing how you want to feel at the end of it? What if we a take little time to reflect on the past year and celebrate our successes? Let’s make time for what we really want to do with these precious months and use the SLP Summer Planner to make it happen.
What can you do to take care of yourself and refill the well? Who do you want to spend your time with? Figure out if you really want to do projects. If yes, pick ones that will make you feel good. Maybe you just want to sit under a tree and get lost in a book.
Give yourself what you need. The work you do is so very important. You really do make a difference. Because you “SLP”-ed Like a Boss all year, you deserve to be the boss of your summer.
I hope you use this SLP Summer Planner with a sense of play and intention. Then when summer comes to an end (which it always does) you can use the final sheets to transition into the coming school year.
Wishing you an incredible summer,
Beautiful Speech Life
P.S. Watch for the SLP Like a Boss School Planner coming soon.
Want to do something for Better Hearing and Speech Month (every May) and don’t have time to prepare something? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a school based SLP who decided May was the best month for this.
I’ve got you covered with these free handouts/posters. There’s a black & white version or four pretty color options. Use them as posters or handouts, they’re actually great all year!
Better Hearing and Speech month is the perfect time to place these posters in the staff room, on your speech room door, and anywhere else that teachers may congregate. These are actually great to use as handouts (the b&w version). They’re also great for in-service days to help new teachers understand how we can all work together.
After working in the schools for many years, I’ve noticed several common factors. Teachers are over-worked. SLPs are over-worked. Teachers have too much paperwork. SLPs have too much paperwork. Teachers want the best for their students. SLPs want the best for their students. [spacer height=”20px”]
The students who make the most progress are generally the ones who have a team behind them.[spacer height=”20px”]
The more we can work with the teachers to help our students take their newly learned communication skills into the classroom, the faster our students will have success across all environments.[spacer height=”20px”]
I hope these handouts will spark ideas and stimulate discussions. I know there are some great teachers our there who fully understand what a speech language pathologist does and how we can work together. I also know there are some well meaning teachers who think we “just work on articulation.”[spacer height=”20px”]
It’s our job to help bridge that gap.[spacer height=”20px”]
I hope this helps you out. Remember summer is almost here, we can do it![spacer height=”20px”]
Happy Better Hearing and Speech month,
P.S. Need a fun low-prep year end activity that will take you through at least two therapy sessions and works for multiple goals?
Have you been working your nicely manicured fingers to the bone? I know I have, it’s just that time of year.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Loads of IEP meetings, evaluations and always progress reports (ugh).[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
I’m giving you a few handy resources. You can give these to parents, your team, or share them with a CF student you’re supervising…and they’re FREE.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
First click here
for those colorful Spring Speech Punch cards, there’s a colored version and b/w.
While some of you may have seen them in my TPT store, a lot of you are new, so I wanted to make sure you knew about these.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Use this as a poster or handout to share with your team at school!
Created to celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month, May 2017; this is a great tool to promote understanding of the role of Speech Language Pathologists in the school setting. Collaboration is key![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Did you know there is a developmental order of prepositional acquisition? Here’s a handy little FREE chart you can show to parents and teachers. Use this to help determine what preposition your student is ready to learn next.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
This FREE download explains the difference between speech and language. We SLPs know there is a huge difference. I created these posters/handouts using parent friendly language and visuals for use when you need to give a brief explanation. Perfect to use as posters in the speech/language room, teacher’s lounge, and school conference room. Also great for use when explaining evaluation results to parents.
I hope this helps!