Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Toddler Jukebox---Augmenting apps to enhance communication

Hello Blogger Friends!    First of all, my blogging rate subtantially slowed once summer hit.  Even with ESY, I found myself referring back to my past blogs for ideas of what to use in therapy.  I became my own resource!!!!  We made cat puppets, crafted ants, and read all of my tried and true adapted books---all of which have already been blogged about.  The kids didn't mind.  With no new materials, it was difficult to post about speech therapy much, and for some reason, I didn't feel inclined to be madly creative on July evenings.  Wait until August 27th!    My creative juices will crank up again, I promise!

For now, I want to share an app I found that was perfect for some of the children I worked with, particularly the younger set.  During ESY, I worked with several children who needed help with basic verbal requests.  The iPad was a motivator, but most apps are a bit busy, to say the least.  I found one that combined very familiar songs (e.g. The Wheels on the Bus) with making choices.  The name is Toddler Jukebox, and it was exactly $1.99.    One person in the app review section of iTunes called it 'lame'-----that was perfect for me.  My kids needed something that had very simple graphics, and was easily understood.  They needed something that had some familiarity to it--in this case it was the music. To use the app, the child merely has to touch the picture of the song he wants.  A little graphic in the middle makes slow circles.....mesmerizing to some kids.

communication board made from a screenshot.
You may wonder how I used this in speech therapy sessions.  I like to augment iPad use with communication boards.  In this case, I took a screenshot of the app itself, printed it, and used the picture as the communication board.  In this manner, the child points to the picture of the song he wants, and uses a word if possible.  Only after this communication takes place is he able to touch the iPad.  I maintain control, but he is rewarded.     The kids loved this app, and we all had a great time.  This wasn't my entire speech therapy session, but possibly a 5 minute choice-making session at the end.  The session then ended on a positive note, and learning to make choices was practiced in a motivating activity.  I  try to keep in mind that the iPad app is not the goal; expressing choices in some way is; the iPad is the tool to get there.
The iPad is the joint reference

Extended School Year has ended, by the way!   I had a great time, but am really looking forward to time off.     


Monday, July 16, 2012

Another Mystery Food

Summer school lunches continue.
Guess what this is? This is as it was initially served with no bites out of it (kid was under the table in a rejecting frame of mind).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fish and Friends---printable book and icons

I've been a little slow with postings this summer.  Maybe it's due to the 105 degree temps, or maybe I'm out of ideas.  I will say that I've met some great kids in ESY, one of whom has inspired me to launch into the 5k club.  That will be September 15th.   For those of you who live around Chapel Hill, and who like to walk or run, this race is for a wonderful cause.  Read about it HERE.  I'm sure this will be a future blog entry.

For now, I just want to say that I've continued with the ocean/beach theme this summer.  Last summer, I wrote about a book I used, but that was before I discovered how to share Google Docs.  Now I know how, so I uploaded both the book and the printable icons to go with it.  Print all, laminate, bind, and velcro, and you have a book to use with lots of kids.  Sample pages are shown below.  This book is slightly similar to my other book (Yellow Fish, Yellow Fish, What do you see?).  If you wonder why, it's because I strongly believe the kids need repetition, with slight changes the next time concepts are presented.  It's all about joint action routines.  They learn the language for an activity, then the activity is changed a bit, but not completely different.  They then learn some new things, but review the old.  Have fun with this---download away!!! 

My actual book with a real kid's hand!




Printable icons

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Yummy Honey Chicken Kabobs---Gluten Free

Marinade for a couple of hours, then skewer.
I visited my inlaws and was appointed head cook for the evening!  Lots of fun here, and I decided to cook up some chicken shish kabobs (with the help of my kids).  

The recipe was taken from All  with the main ingredients being soy sauce (I used gluten free), honey, oil, chicken, vegies, black pepper, and garlic.  Very easy! 

View HERE to see the recipe.

I followed the recipe, but did use gluten free soy sauce.  Also, during grilling, we brushed on San-J Asian BBQ Sauce.  It turned out perfectly.  All of the kabobs were gone at the end of the meal. 
ready to grill!
When I went gluten-free, I thought my life had ended in terms of good food.  I totally was wrong.

finished product!   Yum!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Here--Have more sugar! All in the name of Girl Scouts

I was driving to Brevard today, and had to stop for coffee at little quick-stop.  A new Girl Scout candy bar greeted me at the door.  It's too bad that Girl Scouts can't promote fitness and healthy eating.  Why this?   Weren't cookies enough?

I've been involved in Girl Scouts for many years.  It's a great organization, but with the trends in childhood obesity, and the fact that many of the girls in scouts struggle with weight, you would think the trend for this organization would be to promote healthy lifestyles.   I was very disappointed to see these 'limited edition candy bars'.     

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Case Against Assistive Technology

I lifted this video off of another blog---The Assistive Technology Blog

Normally I try to think of my own topics or write about a small but important moment of my day.  This Don Johnston video, however, was powerful, and all of you who work with children with disabilities should watch it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Take a kid to a Festival!

Today was the first day for the annual Festival for the Eno---so Alana, Vicki, and I went.  It's best on these hot days to go early, so we left a little after 9, parked, hopped on a shuttle bus, and got there right when it opened at 10.  Pictures say all.

For those of you who are Blue Ribbon Mentors, kids 12 and under are FREE!!!!   Teens have a reduced rate.  This will be going on Saturday and Sunday---pack a lot of water and check it out!  

Owl from the Piedmont Wildlife Center

The girls caught these in the Eno River

Bee lesson

corn snake

Spotted Salamander

Wading in the river, catching critters with nets

carving a giant sand castle