Sunday, January 27, 2013

What Can Pandas Do? Printable book with icons

Happy last week of January!  Here is the latest 'verb' book---all about pandas.  Pandas are very cute, and if my daughters were still little, they would probably want a pet baby one.  That's impossible, so for all of you who work with little kids, here's the next best thing---a book full of cute panda pictures.

For speech therapy purposes, each page has the panda (or pandas) as the constant noun, with a different verb accompanied by an adorable picture illustrating that verb.   I've also made a page of Boardmaker icons so kids that need to match verb icon to the appropriate page can do so.  You can laminate it all, attach velcro, and have fun.  Find a stuffed panda to have the kids act it all out. 


I created this on Tarheel Reader.  You can go there to see it, or you can download from the following links:

Click here to download the book

Click here to download the icons in pdf

Click here to download the icons in Boardmaker


Friday, January 25, 2013


 I don't have any cute speech materials to share right now because my heart is full of pride for my son. He completed police academy and had his graduation ceremony today, reaching his dream of being a police officer in a great department.
 I never envisioned this for him when he was growing up.  Kids, I've discovered, find their own paths which makes life so much more interesting and fun!

Badge pinning


Friday, January 18, 2013

Letter School---cool app for letter formation

A wonderful occupational therapist and I work with a child in his home. He ordinarily doesn't care much for fine motor tasks, letters,  numbers, crayons, or anything involving the use of his little hands.  He's improved, though, over the semester, and today, amazingly when this iPad app was introduced, we heard actual squeals of delight as he was attempting to draw the letter 'C'!

That was enough of a sales pitch for me!   I downloaded Letter School immediately ($2.99) on MY ipad, and can't wait to share this with our EC teachers at school! The app starts out where a mere touch will produce a letter or number, and progresses to where the child draws the item (upper case, lower case, or number) on his own.  Each phase has animations as a reward----this is what our boy loved. 

If you want to read a review, here's one by the Ultimate Autism Guide.

Here is also a video demo.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Supervising Graduate Interns in Speech---Google forms to share

I should have taken more vitamin C!!!!!   I'm not doing too well tonight, but am still upright and inspired to share a couple of templates with you.

As many of you know, I really find Google Forms and Spreadsheets very useful, and now I've learned how to make templates of spreadsheets and forms to share.  With a template, you can use the document and not worry about others sharing the same spreadsheet.
Go here for a tutorial in making a Google form. Even though the tutorial relates Google forms to iPads, you do not need an iPad to record data into a form.

A portion of the form

more of the same form
 One of the uses I have with Google forms is in providing weekly feedback to speech-language graduate interns.  All of the comments and items filled in are sent to a shared spreadsheet.  This is a really nice way to keep up with everything she or he has to learn in my setting.  It's nice to do this weekly because both the intern and the SLP can document growth over time---initially a few boxes are checked and by the end of the semester, the intern has gained skills in many areas.

I've made a template for the two forms shown--one is for skill level in evaluations, and one is for skill level demonstrated in therapy.

I believe you can edit a bit once you get them, but if you need to do a complete overhaul, use this for ideas, and then develop your own forms.
Many of you, of course, work with different types of client needs in different settings. This is for an elementary school setting.

With the links below, click on the 'preview' button, then click on the 'use this template' button in the upper left. The initial thumbnail picture before clicking on those two places may not be adequate (google's fault).

click here to get SLP intern treatment skills form

click here to get SLP intern evaluation skills form 

The second form---Graduate intern's skill with assessments

more of the form

Summary of responses on a Google Spreadsheet.  You can share this easily with a graduate intern.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My New Year's Resolution

new shoes
Since entering the 'running world' back in September (look here for that event!), I've entered three other events, amassing a little assortment of 5k t-shirts.  This new interest has been wonderful, and I've even been getting positive comments about how 'thin' I look.  That's a first!  

My New Year's Resolution is to try to keep doing this on a regular basis---entering a 5k every month or so.  These races keep me motivated to go to the gym, practice running, and keep overall in better shape.  I've even gotten my kids involved!

Holiday 5K at RTP (Ben, me, Vicki)

A race that has now opened its registration doors is the 5K Run for Fitness organized by the Public School Foundation.  I didn't do this last year (fear of failure) but have since found out that everyone wins in many ways, and it will be loads of fun.   I encourage all staff and even their family members to sign up! My husband might even do this!  Walkers, runners, old, young, adults, kids---no one is left out.

Here are a few pictures from last year from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools website.

Who is this?  Kind of looks like Wonder Woman

Date of this year's race: April 27th
Location:  Chapel Hill, UNC Campus

Registration Link Here

I hope to see you there!
The stampede

The mascot race

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tutorial: Enabling the Zoom feature on the iPad

I never know what child will come into my world.  I currently work with children with multiple disabilities, traumatic brain injury, autism, intellectual disabilities, speech difficulties, fluency problems.....the list goes on.  This year, I work with two children with visual impairments.

You also may either work with children who have visual impairments, or such a child  may come into your world tomorrow!  One never knows, but it's better to be prepared than to be caught off guard!   This is a quick and easy lesson on how to enable the zoom feature on your iPad (just in case!)

To get you started, please behold the 'normal' iPad screen of Angry Birds!    The little bird is so tiny that even my 56 year old eyes have trouble shooting the poor little thing into the towers.  Now think of a child who has impaired vision.

 To enable the zoom feature, first go to Settings.

 Then go to 'general' and touch 'accessibility'.

Find 'Zoom' and set to Yes.

Now that you have enabled Zoom, you are probably wondering how to use it.  Basically, if you double tap the screen with 3 fingers, you zoom in.  Double tap again to zoom out.  There's more than that, however, because you want to navigate a screen that's zoomed.  This is where it's best to see a quirky video.  The trick is to navigate with three fingers which might take some practice.

I want to show you an Angry Bird zoomed in.  Kids (and old adults) can now shoot with ease!

There is a blog on my favorites list, by the way--Thomas Marshall Does it All.   This is written by a mom who highlights day-to-day life (joys and struggles) with her son who has a severe visual impairment.  She also writes about iPads, among many other things.  Check it out!

Thomas Marshall Does it All blog screenshot


Friday, January 4, 2013

Tutorial: Disable Multitasking Gestures on your iPad

In my world, children using my iPad don't always have great fine or gross motor coordination.  Sometimes the child I'm with will use a whole handed approach to an app, which makes the iPad screen slide to a previous app.  The child and I don't like this!  :(
sliding to another app with 4 fingers approach

The "changing app" scenario is due to a feature on the iPad called 'Multi-Tasking Gestures'.  I'm sure this is a cool feature for some, but not for me.  I'm sure others of you have this problem too---as a matter of fact, two people were wondering how to turn it off today!   Read on for a solution!

Here's how to turn it off. It's easy!

1.  Go to 'settings'
 2. Go to 'general'.  Scroll down just a little to find 'Multitasking Gestures'.  It will be 'on'.

3.  Slide to 'off'.   You're done!

Have any other problems (with the iPad
and special needs kids?)  Leave a comment.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Virtual Reality Snow! Cute, cheap, fun, easy

A few days ago, I posted a book I made---Snowflakes Everywhere!   This book has been very popular with my kids.  I have since found an app to go along with it. It's called:

Pocket Snow Storm! A Virtual Reality Blizzard! (White Christmas Edition!)

This app is easy.  You open the app, look at something with the iPad, and tap the screen to make desired snowstorm levels. You can also have the camera point at the iPad holder---some kids really like looking at themselves and are intrigued to see snow falling down on them.  Check out the YouTube video for a demo.
      The picture taking feature in the app costs 99 cents--I felt I could afford that (the cost of a half cup of coffee).   I think I'll be using this all month.  It's a very nice tool for joint referencing, engagement and fun.  See some potential uses below.

The results and uses:
  • Even the most disengaged kids loved this.  
  • You can use it for following very simple directions (i.e. "Look at Ms. O!" as the child is looking at the iPad screen viewing the snow falling on things and people in the classroom.)
  • Kids seem to sustain attention to screens, where they don't in real life, even if the screen is mostly real life.  I had one kid make comments on all of the things he was seeing in the iPad screen (when it actually was in his everyday world).  We had a conversation which doesn't happen often with this child!  
  • For the slightly more advanced students, you can have kids help make their own 'Snowflakes Everywhere' book.  See the sample pictures below---simply have the kids point and shoot at their favorite things, print the pictures, make a book, have the child dictate what he sees (or he writes or types the sentences).

My book would have "Snowflakes on my cat."

I guess this would be an after school book.
Sorry, but I'm writing this at 9:30 pm.

Snowflakes on the bananas!

Have a good time with this!   It's a simple app, and lots of fun.  Please comment if you can think of more uses.