Saturday, November 21, 2015

ASHA Wrap-Up, Part 2

I was very happy to be an invited speaker this year for SIG 18, Telepractice, along with SLP Nathan Curtis of Waldo County General Hospital in Maine. As I have mentioned, I am not currently doing telepractice (though our practice is considering it), but my background as an instructional tech specialist as well as in SLP has led to some valuable consultations chiefly around the resources and methodologies that can be infused in the telepractice environment.

I wanted to share a few resources from our presentation,"Get Telepractical: Curating Simple, Effective and Engaging Materials, Websites and Apps for Telepractice Sessions" A major portion of our presentation described web resources that can be used over the telepractice portal. As you may know, telepractitioners use software such as WebEx (or many others) to share their screen with the client and generally an adult "e-helper" on the other side. With web and desktop applications, the clinician can truly share that screen and give the client control of the mouse to interact with a website or a program like PowerPoint (to move things around, make choices and changes, etc, and use language in that context). I made a rudimentary sketch to show what that looks like:

Note that both the clinician and client can manipulate the context on screen.

Websites like PBS Kids can be analyzed for language-based content and a list of activities can be curated for future use and sharing with other clinicians on staff. Nathan and SLP Amy Reid at WCGH have created a great list of activities available on PBS Kids which you can access here (note that these activities are also great for face-to-face therapy with the use of a desktop or laptop).

For my part, I discussed how curriculum-related websites could be leveraged in the same way, as they frequently can be mined for categorization, sequencing, and storytelling targets that can be elicited with the use of the activity in the context of topics the client is learning about in the classroom. Resources and strategies we shared in this regard, also useful for face-to-face therapy with a full web browser:
Nathan provided great information about creating authentic materials containing photos and contexts that are meaningful to the child and family. Often this experience is enhanced with some simple tricks in PowerPoint, demonstrated here in this video by Amy Reid (email subscribers please click through to the post to see the video):

We also discussed the use of the iPad in telepractice, both with its limitations and possibilities at this time. Clinicians can use software such as Reflector, AirServer, or connect their iPad directly to a Mac to make the iPad screen "mirror" or appear on the desktop or laptop screen.  However, once sharing their desktop, this does not afford the same opportunity for interactivity as the client cannot control the app from the other side.

Despite this, displaying the iPad in a telepractice session can still be useful for a variety of reasons:
  • The high quality apps available provide a window to many engaging contexts for clients to view and discuss, in the process targeting language goals.
  • The parent or e-helper can be trained in the process of co-engagement and use of language over apps such as those from Toca Boca, Dr. Panda, or others, then transferring these models to use of the family iPad with the child.
  • As indicated above, apps specific to the context of curriculum areas (see the TinyBop apps to start) can also be displayed and modeled for language development within these topics.
  • The use of creation apps such as Pic Collage can be modeled, such that the client and e-helper can later share their own language-enhancing creations. Apps such as Book Creator provide the opportunity for clinician and client to start a book together; the book can then be shared and opened on the family iPad in Book Creator to continue the simple project.
We hope this information is helpful to you and expands your thinking about both face-to-face and telepractice therapy!

Monday, November 16, 2015

ASHA Wrap-Up Part 1

I'm back in Boston and breathing after a whirlwind of visit to Denver for the ASHA Convention. The conference was a great experience in a beautiful convention center and location. However, I discovered I have little tolerance for altitude. Despite drinking TONS of water, as recommended, each day I found myself battling a pervasive brain fog (PBF) and fatigue- overall just not feeling myself! Oh well, I won't be going to a mile-high location again anytime soon!

Even with the PBF, I managed to process the following events:

Kelly McGonigal delivered a terrific keynote on the science of mindfulness. Through a discussion with a friend I learned also of the Headspace app, which offers a free 10-day course of short, simple meditations. I've already enjoyed day 1. You can see Kelly speak in her TED Talk and read some of her posts at this link.

At "Practical Strategies for Middle School & High School Language Learning Disorders," Wallach, Bartholomew and Charlton gave an overview of strategies teaching language underpinnings in the context of MS/HS curriculum, including text structure and sentence combining. Upon arriving home, I quickly bought Don and Jenny Kilgallon's Sentence Composing for Elementary School, a recommended text for getting started with content related to sentence combining.

In this post, I wanted to share information from my first talk, "'Son of' Pairing Picture Books & Apps to Contextually Address Language Objectives," which took place on Friday afternoon. The wacky title springs from the fact that this was the 4th iteration of this presentation at ASHA. I was thrilled with the turnout and enthusiasm of the audience. The upshot of the presentation is that we can select picture books and apps that overlap in context such that both address language and social goals in context. Books with "speechie" qualities-- an identifiable/mappable narrative or expository structure, vocabulary contexts, social concepts, rhyming text, rich and potentially language-neutral visuals to elicit talk and description, and contexts for asking constrained and open, higher-level questions, can be paired with apps that have some of the same qualities or meet FIVES criteria, for the construction of post-book activities that also target language objectives.

A pairing that seemed to be an audience favorite included Todd's TV and Telestory.

In James Proimos' fun picture book, Todd's parents start to rely on the TV for parenting duties. This quickly gets out of hand with the TV taking over and proving adept at "changing the subject" whenever the parents try to reason with it. In the end, they simply turn it off and the book details all of the ways their lives are more fun and connected without the overbearing TV! In addition to an important theme about moderating technology (have kids infer what the message is, or make text-to-self connections), the book is filled with lists: tasks the TV starts to take over, ways the parents try to get the TV to back off, and the benefits once the problem is solved--all mappable using narrative or expository graphic organizers.

A good pairing for this book is found in Launchpad Toys' (makers of Toontastic) free app Telestory. The concept of the app is that you can use it to make a "TV Show" in various genres: news, music, spy, etc. Within each genre are suggested situations and then storylines that provide some structure. When shooting with the simple interface, you can include an enhanced "selfie" mode where costuming tracks the face while using the front-facing camera. Students within a group can play different roles as the app allows for various "shots." Overall this easy-to-use app provides an opportunity to target narrative language, play, and any target you want to include in developing a script or plan with your students for your "show."

Below you can see the (quick and simple) app demonstration filmed during the presentation (email subscribers, a reminder to click through to the post to see any videos):

Thanks to all who attended! Great time! More on our presentation on resources useful in telepractice later in the week...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

See you at ASHA!

After a trip to South Florida (click here for info on our free workshop with UM-NSU-CARD) this weekend, I am excited to head off to Denver, and hope to see many of you there. In case you missed it, check out my article on apps that will help you navigate the convention. I'll definitely be relying as always on TripIt!

In Denver I am honored to be presenting 2 sessions on Friday afternoon:

Session Code: 1416
Title: “Son of” Pairing Picture Books & Apps to Contextually Address Language Objectives
Day: Friday, November 13, 2015 Time: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: Colorado Convention Center
Room: Mile High 1E-1F
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours PDH(s): 2 Hrs
Abstract: A “sequel” to this popular presentation with installments at ASHA 2012-2014 describes all-new pairings of books and apps and suggestions for interventions. The presentation explores research-supported strategies for using picture books in intervention for language development, providing exemplars of contextual book and app pairings serving as visual, interactive post-reading activities.

This is my 4th iteration of this presentation and I am very happy to have been granted a luxurious 2 hours to stretch it out!

Session Code: 1477
Title: Get Telepractical: Curating Simple, Effective & Engaging Digital Materials, Websites & Apps for Telepractice Sessions
Day: Friday, November 13, 2015 Time: 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Location: Colorado Convention Center Room: 301-302
Session Format: Seminar 1-hour PDH(s): 1 Hrs
Presenter(s) : Nathan Curtis, Waldo County General Hosp (presenting author),  Sean Sweeney, SpeechTechie (presenting author)
Abstract: This session is developed by, and presenters invited by, SIG 18: Telepractice. Clinicians engaging in telepractice need not “reinvent the wheel” to find materials. This presentation provides strategies and resources to locate and organize digital materials. Repurposing websites and apps using a speech and language lens provides relevant, engaging and effective activities. Demonstrations of how to individualize authentic materials will be offered.

Though not a telepractitioner myself, I have had a longstanding collaboration with the folks at Waldo County General Hospital, home of a famed telepractice training center, and recently conducted a 2-day presentation with Nathan Curtis. See one of our recent articles here. My role as an instructional technology specialist has been to advise on the types of resources that can be used over telepractice web portals. I am excited to have been invited to co-present this session by ASHA's Special Interest Group 18.

I look forward to sharing some resources from these and other sessions after the convention.