Friday, November 24, 2017

Dispatches from ASHA, Part 3

A third session I attended at ASHA leads me to a tech-tie-in on this blog and was called Consider the Big Picture: Using Classroom Expectations to Guide Assessments and Develop Educationally Relevant Interventions (Chinen and Ireland). A take-away from this session was that diagnostic activities such as dynamic assessment and language sample analysis are essential to supplement testing components of evaluations.

Now, I'm a HUGE narrative person, so consider that bias (if a focus on functional communication can be considered a bias). But as I was hiking through a park in LA with some friends I hadn't seen in awhile, I got meta for a moment. I thought about how much of the welcome and meaningful experience of hanging out with them again consisted of narratives. Spoiler alert: all of it.

One resource recommended by Chinen and Ireland is called SUGAR (Sampling Utterances and Grammatical Analysis Revised), and a couple of keystrokes brought me to a brand new article from July, 2017 with updated research, language elicitation protocols and norms for ages 3-7;11.

You all know how to read a research article, so besides a few points I will just say: PLEASE READ IT. The article would also make a great study-and-apply activity with colleagues

Pavelko and Owens' aim is to make these vital assessment processes easier for busy clinicians, and they do:
-"LSA (Language Sample Analysis) may be 'the only assessment measure that captures a speaker's typical and functional language use.'"
-A recent survey of school-based SLPs revealed that only 2/3 had used LSA in the last year and of those, about half had only done so in no more than 10 cases.
-The authors recommend using digital recording tools rather than attempting to transcribe live, which is stressful, inaccurate, and probably hampers clinicians' ability to elicit in a functional context. I like the Voice Memos app on my iPhone or Voice Memos for iPad. Tip: try to "rewind" as little as possible. Transcribe and get what you can. Then re-listen and edit.
-Protocol and techniques are offered for eliciting (among others):
"Ask process questions 
How did/do…
What happened…
Why did…
Use “Tell me…” or “I wonder…” statements. 
Use Turnabouts 
Comment + cue for child to talk
Use Narrative Elicitations 
Build on what the child says or what you know.
Begin with 'Your mom says you… that sounds like fun. Tell me what happened.'
'I know that you… Tell me what happened.'
'Did you ever… Tell me what you did.'"

So, the tech tie-in. Pavelko and Owens demonstrate simple uses of word processors to help clinicians quickly calculate total number of words, mean length of utterance in morphemes, words per sentence and clauses per sentence, and provide normative data for all of these for ages 3-7;11. These involve using the numbering feature and word count of MS Word; I would also point out that the same features are available in Apple's Pages and Google Docs.

Clinicians might also benefit from the File>Duplicate option or Make a Copy in Google Docs when working with the sample and taking different measures, so as not to be confused by the required edits to the sample (e.g. using spaces to mark morphemes).

In Google Docs, some of the techniques suggested:

An important read. If working with older students I also recommend Hadley's Language Sampling Protocols for Eliciting Text-Level Discourse and Heilmann and Malone's Rules of the Game.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dispatches from ASHA, Part 2

My second session (I was super lucky this year!) at ASHA revolved around visual supports and the ease through technology tools of...

Co-engagement: presenting a visual material and scaffolding language around it
Co-creation: using a tool that allows us to make something (an image creator, animation tool, book maker, video shooter) and scaffolding language through the process of using the app (not worrying so much about the product).

I stressed that we need to continue to provide visual supports to our students across the lifespan. Since everything to me is narrative in some form, I shared that when I arrived at the convention center I felt very dysregulated and confused by the layout, and that it was helpful for me to make a visual support of where my sessions would be over the two days!

One type of visual support I discussed is the 5-Point Scale, which I have talked about here before. A theme of the presentation was that simple visual tools such as PowerPoint, Google Slides or Keynote are great for making visual supports because (feature-matching for us!) you can easily add images, text, and whatever and move them around. I sometimes make visual supports live with students on these tools and use the Apple TV to engage them visually and verbally (you can do this via a projector or interactive whiteboard in a classroom situation as well).

I made a new 5-Point Scale for a group I have that is occasionally having difficulty with Tone:

An additional visual support is to create comics, which also can be done using technology. I described how I find Pixton (web only, won't work on iPad) to be a still useful tool because it (feature-matching!)
-has a simple mode for you to make a comic
-has built-in characters and settings 
-once you make a comic, you can copy it and change aspects to show nuance/reaction change.

I integrated Pixton into a discussion context with my group (co-engaging over 5 comics showing the different levels) and a game with Kahoot. Kahoot can be both a visual and interactive support as you can add photos and videos to your questions. At my presentation session we viewed these comic examples and the whole crowd played the game:

Hope it was helpful for you to see this snippet of this session. Thanks to those who made it to this or my other session!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dispatches from ASHA, Part 1

ASHA Convention was quite a production in Los Angeles this past week. I wanted to share a few snippets from my own presentations as well as some tech tie-ins from others', so I will be posting those over the next week or so.

My session Setting up the Sequel: Pairing Picture Book Series & Apps to Contextually Address Language Objectives focused on using picture book series along with apps for pre- or post-book activities. One key idea is that we can use narrative teaching strategies and other language scaffolds in the process of using both books and apps.

I presented some ideas about working in context within interventions, including the following:
  • Context allows for easier planning and semantically/narratively deeper intervention.
  • Contextualized language intervention is supported by studies such as (Gillam et al, 2012): “signs of efficacy in an intervention approach in which clinicians treated multiple linguistic targets using meaningful activities with high levels of topic continuity.”
  • SLPs should maintain “therapeutic focus” (build skills and strategies) within meaningful context- book series are one way to approach this (Ukrainetz, 2007, Ehren, 2000).
  • We can analyze series for characteristics between books (or apps) that lend themselves to language interventions.
One series I reviewed was the Sally sequels (by Huneck, available with your free educator account in the app/website Epic! Books for Kids. The "Speechie" characteristics of this series include that they are simple narrative action sequences that can also be told at higher levels of narrative (see stage model in this article and this figure), they include many different settings, figurative language, and opportunities to scaffold cognitive verbs--Sally the dog "thinks about" many different things, decides, realizes, discovers and so on. Books like these that give many openings to language elicitation--where the illustration might prompt more verbalization to go beyond what the text states--are also good therapy tools. In the same way, apps that have language-neutral visuals without a lot of talking or noise are good candidates for our use. Take the Toca Life series (with a Farm, Vacation, School, Office, City and Town, Stable and Hospital) as one that has embedded language opportunities with categories in each scene, opportunities to demonstrate actions and create stories.

Toca Life: City pairs well with Sally Discovers New York (Huneck)
An additional main point of this session is that stories can be told in many different ways (see the developmental sequence link above) and found almost anywhere. Since we were in Hollywood and talking sequels I provided a tie-in to "bad" sequels and analyzed them with different narrative forms. Check out this "climactic" (strangely boring and seeming to affect only the 10 people they cast in the film) clip from Speed 2, and an analysis via Story Grammar Marker's 6 Second Story™, which we can use to scaffold a kernel of conversation:

Consider therefore how we can use different levels of narrative development to scaffold elaboration using fun and motivating contexts such as film clips as well.

Gillam, S. L., Gillam, R. B., Reece, K., Nippold, M., & Schneider, P. (2012). Language Outcomes of Contextualized and Decontextualized Language Intervention: Results of an Early Efficacy Study. Language, Speech & Hearing Services In Schools, 43(3), 276-291. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/11-0022)

Ukrainetz, T. A. (2007). Contextualized language intervention: Scaffolding PreK-12 literacy achievement. Pro-ed.

Ehren, B. J. (2000). Maintaining a Therapeutic Focus and Sharing Responsibility for Student Success: Keys to In-Classroom Speech-Language Services. Language, Speech & Hearing Services In Schools, 31(3), 219-229. doi: 10.1044/0161-1461.3103.219.

Saturday, November 4, 2017


newsela is a very nice resource of electronic news articles designed with education in mind, another e-resource to have in your toolkit along with EPIC! Books and ReadWorks. The site offers quite a lot to educators for free, and a "pro" tier is available. You can access it through a web browser or free app for iPad.

News articles serve a number of purposes in speech and language interventions:
-context for use of graphic organizers teaching narrative or expository language structures
-opportunity to pose questions and elicit discussion with use of discussion webs (see Hoggan and Strong's mention of discussion webs as a narrative teaching strategy)
-newsela is geared around "text sets" and themes as well as daily news, and also allows you to change the reading level of each article
-within each article is scaled vocabulary known as "Power Words"- these are presented with student-friendly definitions that align with Isabel Beck et al's recommendations for building robust vocabulary.
-presenting this material digitally will add a level of engagement; newsela integrates nicely with Google Classroom.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Sessions at ASHA Convention 2017

Hope to see some of you at ASHA Convention next week! My two sessions are as follows- Advance Handouts are available on the ASHA Planner.

Session Code: 1324
Title: Setting up the Sequel: Pairing Picture Book Series & Apps to Contextually Address Language Objectives
Day: Friday, November 10, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Marriott Room: Diamond 5
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours PDH(s): 2 Hrs
Abstract: Another “sequel” to this popular presentation with installments at ASHA 2012-2016 describes pairings of book series and apps serving as intervention contexts. 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.
Topic Area: Language and Learning in School-Age Children and Adolescents
Learner Outcomes:
Learner Outcome 1: Identify language structures and contexts within picture book text and illustrations
Learner Outcome 2: Evaluate apps for key features indicating applicability in language interventions Learner Outcome 3: Describe session plans pairing books and apps based on contextual correspondence

Session Code: 1621
Title: "U Ought 2B in Pictures:" Creating Visual Supports With Apps Across a Range of Interventions
Day: Saturday, November 11, 2017
Time: 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Los Angeles Convention Center Room: Concourse 152 (Lvl 1)
Session Format: Seminar 2-hours PDH(s): 2 Hrs
Abstract: Creating visual supports is a process of co-engagement and co-creation that aligns easily with best practices and key methodologies in language intervention. This presentation will model resources for creating simple visual supports via apps, along with examples across a range of treatment areas and ages, including interventions for compliance and self-regulation, vocabulary, syntax, narrative and expository language and social cognition.
Topic Area: Language and Learning in School-Age Children and Adolescents
Learner Outcomes:
Learner Outcome 1: Describe 3 roles of visual supports in language interventions
Learner Outcome 2: Differentiate between co-engagement and co-creation while using apps in visual support activities
Learner Outcome 3: Identify 3 features of apps facilitating ease of use in creating visual supports