Tuesday, June 28, 2011

To Point or not to Point

I take pointing for granted.  When I want one of my own college-aged kids to take out the trash, I extend my right hand with the index finger --pointing out the full bin (with a stern look, of course).  If I'm at a sushi bar and don't know the name of the item on the menu, I point to it (usually saying something like "I want this one!").  It seems so easy and it works!

    In ESY (Extended School Year), I have the pleasure of meeting all types of children.  Some I've seen for several summers in a row, and one little girl's mom specifically asked about the possibility of trying out the iPad.  My assumption was that this 8-year-old knew that pointing got results.

     After consulting the mom, my graduate intern and I programmed one cell on Proloquo2go---'cat'.  This was chosen because the little girl actually recognizes this animal and sweetly says 'Meow' when seeing one.  I raided my daughters' room for her old collection of stuffed animals, finding one that actually resembled a real cat.  Then, I discovered that just because she can actually label them with a word doesn't mean she really likes the critters---the little whiskers on the stuffed animal were a tad prickly, so after staring at it for a few seconds, she threw it deliberately to the floor, looking distressed.  No requesting 'cat' for her! The next item was candy sprinkles---we quickly took a picture, programmed the iPad, and set it in front of her.  We modeled pointing to the picture of the candy sprinkles, did a little hand-over-hand, and waited for her to point to the picture, activate the cell, which would then gain her a treat.

    She was motivated to eat the sprinkles, reached for them, and even said the word 'off' (wanting the container opened).  When presented with the iPad with the choices of a candy photo and cat photo on it..........
This is what she did---no pointing today!  The iPad was a little drum.

A few days later, I did a little research by reading app reviews on this wiki developed by a talented nationally renowned group of people. Take a look at it!   Anyway, I found a cute little cause and effect app called Peekaboo Barn.  and I got the 'lite' version which was free.  She loved it, and check out this cute little pointing finger! 

So in the future for this child, my graduate intern and I need to continue to reinforce the pointing finger, and add in pointing for making requests with pictures, voice output devices (iPad), or objects.  (In case you are wondering, 'picture exchange' has been on her IEP for at least 3 years---and it's been a bit of a challenge.  I'm not her regular SLP, but she looks at the iPad more consistently than she looks at photos for picture exchange.)   I'll send any data I get to her regular SLP but this girl's mom specifically asked about her response to an iPad.

I'll keep you posted on her progress!   I see her for 4 more weeks.

Any suggestions?   I'm open!

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