As the new school year gets rolling, I have been rolling out the social narratives.

The classrooms that I serve specialize in supporting preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Social narratives - not to be confused, as they too frequently are, with the trademarked Social Stories - are effective, evidence-based behavioral supports for teaching appropriate social responses and skills to individuals with ASD. You can read about social narratives and how to write them on the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (NPDC on ASD)'s website here.

This year's preschool titles include, "I Play and Talk with My Friends," "I Go To School," and "I Play with Kids Outside." Each is individualized to meet the needs of a specific student and catered to his or her language/literacy level. I know they don't sound like bestsellers, but seriously, they work.

I typically create mine using Boardmaker (Side note: best investment I've made so far. I also added a coworker's Picture This... and it's seriously life-changing), and supplement them with actual photos of peers or the child's environment.

If you want more information, the Kansas Instructional Support Network (KISN) is a great resource that maintains a bank of downloadable social narratives and other quality classroom support materials for students with autism spectrum disorders. :)

Move Like a...

Our current preschool unit is 'Animals' and I have several kiddos working on following directions, so when I found a link to these adorable Animal Action Dice on Pinterest, I was dying to make a set for my classrooms. I love how the activity also hits on vocabulary, counting, movement, and (especially for three-year-olds) some serious motor-planning. A multitasking score!

The game and template are from Investigate PreK, and I tweaked the instructions to make easily referenced "How to Play" cards. Rather than gluing the animals to a die, I pasted the images into a blank paper cube template and made my own:


We play the game two ways. For a large group activity, one student rolls the number die to determine how many repetitions the group will do. Another child rolls the animal die to determine the action. For a transition activity, individual students roll just the animal die and do a single repetition of the action before lining up to go outside or washing hands for snack.

Simple and super fun!

Dear Zoo

The preschool program that I work in supports dialogic reading and, with each unit, I present a single book as a whole storybook journey. We read the same book daily for several weeks, beginning with a picture walk (labeling and discussing the things we see: objects, characters, actions), acting out the story with props, answering questions, and ending with story retell and sequencing activities. This method of repetitively presenting a book in a variety of ways elicits lots of language and supports significant growth in the area of literacy for both typically developing little ones and those with speech and language needs.

For our animals unit, we are exploring Rod Campbell's Dear Zoo. I love this book because I can target not only animal vocabulary, but introduce lots of adjectives. Too big! Too fierce! Too tall! Too jumpy! I can further emphasize adjectives as we discuss the unique containers that each animal arrives in.

We are loving this musical rendition of the story: 

I like the back and forth question and answer dialogue added to the song, "And what did you get? A what? Did you keep him?"

For a sequencing and retell activity, we are working on these story wheels:

I present them in three parts. First, I create a model that the kids use to follow along with the story during the first week of introducing the book. Next, being an interdisciplinary program, we work on labeling colors, grasp, and cutting skills as each child individualizes their set of animals. For the last activity, we glue on the animals and assemble our wheels. Then it's happy "reading" and story-sharing at home!

I made two versions; one with black and white pictures for students to color, cut, and glue, and another with color pictures already in place. You can download the pieces to make your own Dear Zoo story wheel here.

What? No Webbers?

One of the hardships about being a new therapist is that you pretty much start at ground zero in terms of building your collection of materials. I realized early during my first year that many of the supplies I took for granted during my graduate school clinical placements, such as Webber Articulation Cards, suddenly required out-of-pocket purchasing.

I supplemented my shopping by creating articulation cards for some of the popular target sounds on my caseload. 

I printed the pictures on heavy-duty cardstock, cut them apart, laminated them, and voila! Easily emailed or copied for additional practice at home. :)

Download your own initial /f/initial /k/ and /g/, and initial /s/ and s-blends cards and let me know how you use them!

Do Re Mi

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...

As I begin my second year as a Preschool Speech Pathologist, I've been asked to create a collection of artifacts that illustrates progress toward my annual goals...

I'm a talker. Great at pinning ideas to my Pinterest boards, creating sticky note collections, and making to-do lists. I am a much less effective executer. This blog is about doing. And in a timely manner.

Loves handwriting, loves color, loves hot glue. Working in a transdisciplinary environment means that I am often a Speech-Language Pathologist/Teacher/Early Childhood Special Educator/Occupational Therapist/DHH Specialist/Person to Spit At. Innovation, my friends.

Let's face it, I'm a HUGE perfectionist and I simply need to learn to share.