Friday, November 26, 2021

ASHA Wrapup

ASHA Convention was different, but it happened! Thanks to all the organizers for providing a safe and very educational event. I was honored to present on Thursday to a great in-person crowd. 

The focus of the session was on "playful" activities for language and social interventions across the age levels.

A few resources I presented:

Improv games are supported in our literature and mirror the format and communicative behaviors of conversation. Be sure to teach the nuance of "yes, and..." and couple with lessons on when we say no, and that it is OK to disagree (avoid ableism and support neurodiversity)..

Books are their own therapy tool and give you great ideas for playful followups. In this case Spencer's New Pet gives lots of opportunity for nonverbal situational interpretation and narrative development. (see this post for tips on using Youtube to present picture books). Balloon Animals! app made a nice pairing for a playful post activity here, following a quick lesson to pre-load some social strategies. See my free booklet on Pairing Picture Books with Apps!

You can use game contexts (e.g. Minecraft, Pokemon) without ever actually playing those games. A recent example: I have been leveraging a student's interest in Pokemon to use Pokemon Adventure comics (available via my public library on Overdrive which exports to the Kindle app) for nonverbal and emotional interpretation, narrative retell, and identifying and working with vocabulary. The vocabulary words need not be in the text to be relevant and motivating!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Free Options for Group Games

I have previously written about the motivational and engagement value (thus promoting communication) of "room based" games. Now that we have transitioned back to in-person groups, we are incorporating some distanced card play, but this tech-mediated piece still serves a purpose (kids can use their own devices, stay far apart). Jackbox is a bit pricey and I wanted to share a few free options I have tried out. 

VXN's Mutter Nonsense and Drawn Out offer good potential for building communication skills in a fun way (including joining in a paced manner, using humor, visualization, association).  Here's a trailer for Mutter Nonsense (think Apples to Apples).

I also recently discovered that Jeopardy Labs has millions of pre-made games that you can choose from, including many related to vocabulary and social skills. Choosing and using group topical interests can also be a great way to use a resource like Jeopardy Labs. Don't fully love the content of a board? Clone it and make some changes. Do I have anything else to say about Jeopardy? Stay tuned...

Speaking of play, if you're headed to ASHA Convention, come see my session next Thursday!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Come See me in DC!

I'll be presenting in-person at the 2021 ASHA Convention in Washington, DC! I hope that if you are attending, you'll come by for my session on Thursday, November 18. This presentation is listed in the Telepractice category, and is partly informed by my experience earlier in the pandemic when that was the only option, but I assure you has many tips, tricks and resources applicable to in-person interventions. See you there!

Play on Words: Thoughtful Uses of “Game-Based” Apps and Resources In Language-Based Interventions 

Session Description
Playful activities provide an avenue for targeting language skills, social cognition, and executive functioning across the grade levels. This session will demonstrate how technology resources across several platforms can be “gamed” via pre- and post-activities to engage clients in developing skills across the domains of listening, speaking and thinking. Apps, webtools, and Alexa skill games will be discussed along with task analyses and sample lessons developed in real-time telepractice during the COVID-19 emergency. Activities particularly target group social interaction, participation, planning, organization, time management, and self-monitoring. The session will also discuss research and resources in our literature supporting the use of play in interventions across the grade levels, and how technology can be used thoughtfully within these contexts.