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39 minutes | Jul 27, 2021
#031: Parent Training and Speech Therapy with Nikki McRory
The family-centered approach is a key component of therapy at Nikki McRory’s facilities, McRory Pediatric Services. Nikki is on the podcast today, sharing how she uses a transdisciplinary approach for speech therapy. She uses the Behavior Skills Training framework in her early intervention programs with both the parents and the learners.What are the steps for Behavior Skills Training with parents?Step One: InformationExplain what the skill you're working on is and why it is important. This can be verbal and written. Step Two: ModelModel and discuss this skill. While demonstrating the specific skill, talk about what you're doing and provide further clarification.Step Three: PracticeRole play with the parents to give them the foundation for the skill, but also allow them to practice with their child.Step Four: FeedbackBe sure to let parents know what they are doing well, but also let them know what to change or improve on. Keep repeating steps 2 and 3 until they are where they need to be.When working with parents, Nikki looks at the whole picture for the family. This means taking into account their cultural, linguistic, and social-emotional differences. Her formula to train parents is directly embedded into her early intervention programs. Every Friday, parents are pulled from the therapy to work on a new skill together with clinicians and will practice with their child in therapy the following week.If you’re a professional feeling nervous about telling parents what to do, remember that parents are the expert on their child, but you are the expert on speech and language. You are in the best position to help parents help their children. Nikki leaves us with a special sentiment for parents about the long haul of therapy and the importance of self-care!Be sure to check out the resources we’ve shared, I hope this has helped professionals get an idea of how to facilitate parent coaching and given some inspiration for parents to get involved in their child’s therapy!What's Inside:The Framework for Behavioral Skills Training.Robust Parent Training Component.What is a Family-Centered Approach?Helping Parents Interact and Communicate with Their Children.
36 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
#030: Functional Social Skill Instruction - A Chat with Ashley Rose
Social Skills are more than just etiquette and manners. Ashley Rose, founder and clinical director of Mission Cognition Social Skills Development Center, is here with me sharing about the importance of social skill instruction. Ashley describes social skills as the inner workings of social interaction. She takes a very individualized approach when deciding exactly what to work on by learning what exactly is making it difficult for an individual to have positive interactions with themselves or others. Ashley’s centers provide the perfect atmosphere for individualized groups. She has three leveled groups, Group A being the developmental play group, for individuals with emerging language. Groups B and C are best suited to individuals with more language skills, and is her more signature Behavior Skill Training group.The planning for Ashley’s groups focus on individualization. Ashley has developed 15 Global Focus Areas that she uses to target training in her groups. She has also developed an in-house assessment tool to identify these areas. For each group, she uses templates such as Group at a Glance, Student Snapshots, and Goal Sheets. The idea behind all of this is rationale, every group facilitator should be able to explain the ‘why’ behind the goals selected for any individual. The end goal for every play group, whether it be developmental play or behavior skill training, is to give the participants autonomy and allow ease of social interaction in their natural environment. We also touch on the topic of Masking. Autistic voices are speaking out against this practice as harmful and unethical, and Ashley tells us why. At one point, the idea of teaching Masking was to help individuals with Autism reduce the appearance of self-stimulatory behavior to help them “fit in”. However, this behavior is actually a self-regulation tool. Another way Masking has been used is to teach scripting in social situations. Instead of relying on scripting, Ashley teaches language use in a more natural template. Her goal is always to give her students the most autonomy and individuality as possible.Self-advocacy and Independence are the words of the day that Ashley leaves us with. No matter the age, it is important to give your child the tools to communicate what they want and need, but equally what they don’t want. Ashley shared some great resources today and gave some awesome tips for parents and professionals for creating ease in social situations and interactions that will affect their children or students every day. What's Inside:Social Skill InstructionSelecting and Setting Social Skills GoalsIntake, Assessment, and DevelopmentFramework for Planning GroupsPlanning for Generalization, Applying Skills in the Natural EnvironmentMasking
36 minutes | Jul 13, 2021
#029: Play-Based Therapy - A Conversation with Emily Cohen
Play-Based Speech Therapy can open the door to so much interaction. My guest, Emily Cohen, talks about using Play-Based Therapy with her clients and all of the benefits it can provide. Emily Cohen works with families with children as young as 15 months old, coaching the parents. We talk about all the elements of play, interaction, and language and I share some pretty cute anecdotes from my therapy experiences with play. Engagement is such a huge part, and the more they are engaged the more meaningful their learning will be. Imitation and nonverbal imitation can be the start of engaging in play. Emily shares the idea of a mirror “game”, sitting in front of a mirror practicing making large body movements, and even using hand over hand when needed. Patience, flexibility, and following the child’s lead is key when creating an engaging play space for therapy. Kids may not always use or interpret toys or activities in the way we expect things which can make for even more enriching experiences.Stay away from toys that have batteries. When we are interacting with a child and a toy that has all the bells and whistles, moving and making noise, the toy ends up doing the work. Go back to basics and allow the student to use the toy as a prop so that you can truly build new and meaningful interaction.Interaction comes before language, so there are so many opportunities for skills in play even nonverbally. As a speech therapist, Emily coaches parents on playing with their children and working with their kids to find these opportunities. Her advice for parents is to remind them that they are their child's best teacher, every time their child is watching them is an opportunity for learning.What’s Inside:Play-Based Speech TherapyFollowing the child’s leadOpen-Ended ToysFacilitating social, play, and language interactionInteraction before language
33 minutes | Jul 6, 2021
#028: The Power of Language Samples For Assessment and Intervention - A Talk with Marisha Mets
We have school-based SLP, Marisha Mets with us today. Marisha talks with us about the benefits of using language samples, her tips and tricks, as well as resources from her blog SLP Now. She talks about the origin of these resources, that many teachers and SLPs can relate with. A heavy caseload and a necessity to be efficient led Marisha in the direction she is now to share these tips with other SLPs.We discuss the basics of what a language sample actually is, snapshots of the students' use of language in a functional manner in their natural environment. Marisha highlights that we can use many types of samples including play, conversation, story retell, story generation, expository, and persuasive. All of these samples will elicit varying levels, giving unique information on student performance according to the context.When looking at language samples versus assessments, Marisha talks about the differences in the data. She tells us the importance of knowing not only what students can do and say but if they are making it functional. Task-based assessments can too often lead to confusion when a student can do something on paper but not in their natural environment. We share some times and places to check-in and get a look into a student's natural language function.We talk about how language functionality is a key point in setting goals for students with autism. Students may have the words but not know how to use them. Using language samples can pinpoint this as well as set goals and targets on what we can plan for them.Marisha also shares ideas about how to get these language samples and how to track them. She shares resources she's found along the way as well as those she's created and can be found on her blog. Marisha answers my end-of-episode question with her best advice for other SLPs!What's Inside:What are Language Samples?Why is Language Samples important?How to collect Language Samples?Free Resources
41 minutes | Jun 29, 2021
#027: Early Intervention Tips - Embedding Language into Everyday Routines With Kimberly Scanlon
Today I have Kimberly Scanlon, licensed and certified speech-language pathologist, best-selling author, and fellow busy parent. She has written two great books in the world of speech therapy, Toddler Talks and My Toddler’s First Words. Kimberly works as a private practice speech therapist doing primarily home-based visits and she is here giving us some tips on how to build early interventions into day-to-day life.Because Kimberly is a home-based therapist, she has less barriers in communicating with parents and families. This allows her to relate to being busy and just trying to fit that language development in.The ideas and advice Kimberly shares today focus around these central questions: What does your day look like? What is your typical routine? What do you like to do with your child? When is the best time of day for you to reach your child?We discuss ways to embed language and early intervention into your routines by finding connection-building activities that don't take away from your daily life. This makes each activity symbiotic with various parents’ personalities, cultures, and what they are at a base level comfortable with.If you’re already cooking or doing laundry, think twice about setting your child in front of a screen. Instead, think about how you could be getting them involved. We discuss how there are so many language opportunities in everything we do and our toddlers just want to be with us. Make chores fun and make them learning opportunities with these tips! Don't be afraid of this undertaking, you don't have to have them participate in the entire chore just a small part.Kimberly leaves us with this special advice, reminding parents to do the best they can and not worrying about being perfect. Take several moments throughout the day every day to just enjoy your child, judgment, and worry-free to be fully present and enjoy the moment!What's Inside:Early intervention and language strategies for busy parentsSimple ideas for embedding language practice into daily life.Kimberly’s special advice to parents.
34 minutes | Jun 22, 2021
#026: Parents as an Important Part of the Therapeutic Team with Lindsey Nitake
Speech and language development is more than just the words being produced and children need to be emotionally supported and encouraged to communicate. Parental involvement is critical, but professionals are often so focused on the kids that they don’t notice the parents are depleted. Lindsey Nitake uses her Help Me Grow Speech social media accounts to get information out there.Every family is different and unique and the tools we offer need to be adapted to fit with a family’s style, so listening to feedback from parents is important. Sometimes parents are overwhelmed by the wealth of information. They need help to figure out which resources will work for their child.Social media is a great way to provide parents with educational support. It’s the most effective and efficient way to spread the information because it allows you to share resources more widely. It’s particularly useful when in-person sessions are not possible. Lindsey uses TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to share information.To be better professionals, we need to listen to each other and support each other as well. As a profession, we can be quite combative with each other. It gets very emotionally charged. BCBAs and SLPs may have different approaches but collaboration is important so professionals need to have a team-based mentality.New SLPs have to learn a lot on the job. It’s really hard being a new SLP. Oftentimes, when you start working with kids, you find out that it’s not what you learned in graduate school. You need support to figure out a treatment strategy to help them. Social media is a nice way to provide mentoring.When you’re working on communication, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Communication is more than just words. It’s the environment and relationships with people. You have to consider the child and their environment as a whole, and the family unit is a big part of that, which is why having parents on board is so important.What's Inside:The importance of parent involvement in speech-language development.Parent education and support.Sharing SLP resources on social media.Mentoring new SLPs.Collaborative services.
32 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
#025: Where to Start with Communication Intervention with Lori Frost
Lori Frost is a traditionally trained speech-language pathologist who has spent most of her 40-year career in public schools working with preschool and elementary kids. She met Dr. Andy Bondy when she was working in the Delaware Autism Program and that’s when she began learning about applied behavior analysis. This fundamentally changed her practice and made her more aware of what was leading to good outcomes and what was leading to poorer outcomes for the students she worked with.When she was working with Dr. Bondy in the Delaware Autism Program, they were helping a little boy who was non-speaking. They tried a range of things including speech imitation, sign language, and picture point systems but he made little progress. When he wasn’t able to communicate, he displayed challenging behaviors. It was only when Lori presented individual pictures carefully selected to be of interest to the child, let him touch the picture, and pass it to his communication partner, thus doing something very overtly to communicate, that he made progress. This was the beginning of PECS or the Pyramid Educational Consultants in 1992 where it grew to have 6 phases in its protocol, offices in 15 countries and made the manual available in 16 languages.The long-term goal for the kids is to be as independent as possible and independence is only possible if you initiate, so teaching the kids to initiate communication is the first skill taught in the PECS protocol. The starting point always has to be tailored to each student’s likes and the things they enjoy. It can take time to figure this out. If kids start with PECS at the right time, they usually transition to a speech-generating device quite easily. This normally coincides with phase 4 of the PECS protocol when the kids have mastered the following skills:InitiationPicture discrimination Able to make some picture sentencesEven after this transition, PECS remains a useful backup for when technology fails or is misplaced or forgotten. PECS has great results with younger kids. Around 80% of kids who are six and younger who are on PECS for nine months to a year start to talk.Lori’s most important advice for parents or professionals supporting autistic kids is to listen to the kids and be guided by their wants and needs. What's Inside:How PECS began.How PECS has grown.The importance of initiation of communicationHow useful are speech-generating devices as communication tools?When should speech-generating devices be introduced?
40 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
#024: Apraxia of Speech- Characteristics, Resources and an SLP Mom’s Journey with Laura Smith
Laura Smith was a speech-language pathologist, mostly in elementary education, before her children were born. After her daughter was born, she realized that she wasn’t reaching her developmental milestones. She crawled and walked late and feeding, dressing, and speech were also delayed. When her daughter was diagnosed with apraxia, she focused her professional interest on learning everything she could about it and started her private practice specializing in childhood apraxia.For many parents, the diagnosis of apraxia feels devastating. They wonder if their child will ever speak. What does the future hold? It’s normal to feel sad and to grieve and there should be no guilt about having these feelings. Once you have a diagnosis, you can have a plan.Early Signs of Apraxia:Lack of babbling - a quiet baby.Vowel sounds but a lack of consonants.Lack of a word by age one.Pop-out words - words that a child says a handful of times and then never says again.Word sounds morph into other word sounds.A “go-to” sound - a sound that is frequently repeated.How to find an appropriate therapist:Search on Apraxia-Kids.org for a therapist in your area.Find a therapist through The Prompt Institute.Ask the right questions using the list on SLPMommyofApraxia.com.Resources for speech therapists and parents:Apraxia-Kids.org is full of articles and on-demand webinars.Dr. Strand’s free online course, Diagnosis and Treatment of CAS, is packed full of useful information.Dr. Edwin Maas’s webinar, Principles of Motor Learning and Childhood Apraxia of Speech, is a great place to get an understanding of the basic principles of motor learning.Laura’s most important advice for parents of kids with apraxia:Recognize that this is a lifelong neurological disorder.Early and appropriate intervention promotes the best outcomes.Don’t be scared to advocate for your kid.Have a growth mindset and be willing to learn.What's Inside:Laura’s personal journey of having her child diagnosed with apraxia - testing, assessment, diagnosis, and intervention.Diagnosing apraxia - early signs and characteristicsHow to find an appropriate therapistResources for speech therapists and parents
36 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
#023: Reading Strategies for All Learners - An Interview with Chloe Hill
Whether you’re a professional or a parent, you can use these strategies from Chloe Hill in the classroom, in therapy, or at home. As a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, Chloe’s focused on pre-reading or emerging reading skills. She works with students to help them develop phonological awareness. For young readers, it can be as simple as:Becoming aware of lettersUnderstanding that letters stand for somethingExposing them to booksPointing out print while out in publicChloe and I also cover some of our favorite reading strategies in the classroom. Chloe loves the CROWD strategy which stands for:C- Completion promptR- Recall promptO- Open-ended promptW- Wh questionsD- Distancing promptWhat if a book is too hard for a child to understand? We also cover strategies you can use to adjust it for a child’s level. This episode is chock-full of so many early learning resources that can help any parent or professional who is looking for inspiration. Check out Chloe’s TPT store or follow her Instagram account for more ideas too.What's Inside:A book can be a window or a mirror into a different world, and we should consider the diversity of our literature collection for the children we teach.How Chloe uses the CROWD technique to teach different reading concepts throughout a story.We should be mindful that reading progress looks different for everyone.How is reading development taught to children with complex communication needs?
41 minutes | May 25, 2021
#022: Autism as a Family Experience - An Interview with Michele Portlock
Michele’s oldest daughter’s first word was “calculator”. Because she was highly verbal and seemed to need less intervention, Michele struggle to get a diagnosis for her. Her second son’s presented quite differently, but Michele suspected that he too had autism. Knowing that early intervention was key, Michele was so disappointed to realize that it took until they were pre-teens to get help. She just wanted to understand why her children behaved the way that they do, and this sent her on a journey to get a Master’s in Behavioral Therapy.Michele speaks directly to parents in her podcast Navigating the Spectrum. As a mom and an ABA therapist, she knows that an autism diagnosis can have an emotional pull on parents. For her though, the diagnosis was a relief since it means that she could get to work helping her children.In this episode, we have a great conversation about some of the negative perceptions about ABA therapy, and how she approaches those challenges in her practice. She points out that you can do speech all day when you’re in the office, but that it only starts to click when the child also does speech at home with their family. One of the major reasons that she approaches therapy as a whole family event is that she knows exactly what it’s like as an autism mom herself. She practices inside Colorado, and outside the state, she provides teletherapy services.We are putting together a top-notch teacher of ABA therapists and SLPs to provide teletherapy beyond Ohio. I am so excited for this new venture that will be able to help more children and parents around the world. Check out my website for more information.What's Inside:For girls and highly verbal children, getting an autism diagnosis can be especially difficult since they don’t present like the checklists that most doctors are working from.Because she knows that there may be a team outside the school system, Michele works hard to include parents in the IEP goals so that everyone can be on the same page.As a parent and an ABA therapist, Michele would like Speech-Language Pathologists to know that she doesn’t always understand their lingo.
37 minutes | May 18, 2021
#021: Learning and Living an Adventure Filled Life with Her 2 Sons with Autism- A Talk with Kelsey General
After Kelsey’s son started seeing a speech regression at 15 months old, she started on the journey to have him diagnosed. Pretty soon she realized that her second son was also exhibiting many of the same signs. Kelsey moved from Alaska to Canada because she hoped that universal healthcare would help her, but the waitlists in Canada were so long that she soon saw that without taking a more active role in therapy, she wouldn’t have good services for her sons.When the local therapy center told Kelsey, “Brentley cannot come if he doesn’t wear a helmet”, that was the last straw for her. Because there was no plan for how a helmet was going to help him or what the plan was to eventually remove the helmet. It was just their quick solution to an immediate problem. That’s when Kelsey decided that she could use Mary Barbera’s courses and her own strategies to help Brentley.I’m really into teaching my students lifelong leisure skills for maximum life enjoyment. For families, there can be a lot of barriers to enjoying activities together. I love following Kelsey on Instagram because she’s made it her goal to teach her sons to enjoy the outdoors safely. There are a lot fewer social rules outside and it’s a low-barrier activity.There are parents like Kelsey all over the world. Parents who want the best for their children with autism, but don’t have access to resources or services. Whether it’s a waitlist that’s holding you back, a rural area, or any other of the dozens of reasons that parents can’t get the help they need, I want you to know that I see you. We’re going to be offering more teletherapy services very soon. I’m putting together a dream team so we can expand and help even more people. Check out my website for more information!What's Inside:One of Kelsey’s main goals in therapy is to make sure that her sons aren’t isolated, and that’s really driven her to get outside of her comfort zone.Living in a rural area with limited resources helped Kelsey realize that she can be a primary resource for her children’s services and therapies.Performing what she calls “low-key assessments” lets Kelsey constantly keep tabs on where her sons are at developmentally.
44 minutes | May 11, 2021
#020: Generalization and Embedding Communication - A Discussion with Braxton Baker
How do you differentiate your speech therapy work from your autism work? Does it even matter? Serving the whole child, Braxton Baker, an SLP, and BCBA is a huge advocate of the big picture approach to therapy. For him, ABA gave him the vocabulary to describe what he's doing, which he can, in turn, apply everywhere. For me, after ten years of being both an SLP and BCBA, I can agree with him. ABA is just how my brain works now, and it helps me approach life with a better understanding of the learning processes.In this conversation today, Braxton shares some of his therapy philosophy. He starts off IEPs and therapy goals with what the end result needs to look like in the natural world. Because he believes that if you’re not focused on the end result, then you miss the entire point of therapy services. You’re going to hear about how he brings in what he calls the 5 Ps into creating better goals and IEPs for his clients:Creating processesGiving them more purposeCreating more possibilitiesMore overall progressMaking more peaceSometimes emotions can run high at an IEP meeting, so Braxton’s approach is to diffuse the situation with “Do you think that this person or anyone here would have intentionally done something to be harmful?”. If the answer to this question is yes, then you have more than a communication problem; you have a trust problem.Braxton’s approach is authentic, and it fits well into the real world. You can connect with him on Facebook. And if you love social media, check out my new TikTok channel!What's Inside:The questions you can ask in an IEP meeting to make sure that all stakeholders are on the same page.How to make your sessions less rigid and embrace flexibility to meet your students’ needs better.Braxton prefers to think of ABA not as a therapy technique, but as a way to describe the world.If generalization doesn’t occur, did you actually teach a new skill?
34 minutes | May 4, 2021
#019: The Power of Teletherapy to Help Students Here and Abroad - A Talk with Erin Long
Since July 2010, Erin Long has been the president and founder of Worldwide Speech. Parents who are living abroad may find themselves seeking specialized speech therapy, but for whatever reason, they’re struggling to find speech-language therapists in the countries they’re living in. That’s where Erin’s company steps in. Her services have expanded over the last decade, and she calls herself “a special ed company for anyone living abroad”. Erin spent a lot of time proving that teletherapy can work, but now it’s what people want.Have you ever dealt with the paperwork for moving an IEP abroad? Erin says that it loses its status as a legal document since it’s created under the auspices of American law. Sometimes companies are reluctant to send employees overseas if there’s a child in the household with an IEP because complying with it in a foreign country can be incredibly hard. Erin’s company provides speech therapy, OT, and special education for children all over the world, no matter where their parents’ jobs take them.Even for rural Americans, teletherapy is a viable option. Children with mobility issues can benefit from virtual services, and older teens who may be reluctant to admit they still go to therapy can see a therapist privately from their home. For some of Erin’s clients, virtual services offer support and a lifeline for the main caretaker who was previously isolated in a community that had no services of any kind.Therapists and teachers have had to adjust in the last year, and it’s been inspiring to watch that pivot! If you want more tips and strategies on how to use teletherapy effectively, sign up for my FREE webinar on supporting children with autism virtually.What's Inside:Rehabilitative services all over the world are just not equal to American standards, so the demand for American therapists is high.Providing services across multiple time zones can lead to some interesting scheduling problems, but with a little planning, families, and providers can flex with this challenge.Even stateside, virtual services can fill a niche for students who aren’t mobile or who live remotely.
31 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
#018: The Importance of Dreaming Big and Listening - An Inspiring Chat with Landria Seals Green
Landria Seals Green’s mother says, “A child’s education is as good as the adult in front of them.” With that as her mantra, Landria became a medical-based SLP. For 20+ years, she’s focused on AAC technology, and she’s done a lot of AT work. At a Verbal Behavior workshop, she saw Dr. Vince Carbone present what she describes as speech therapy on steroids. She felt confident about her work as an SLP, but in order to become the best kind of therapist and to improve her marketability, she knew that she needed the BCBA certification.What really drew Landria to the dual certifications was the method of collecting data. Becoming a BCBA made her more finite in her methodology and gave her more tools to help her students. And as a therapist who is looking for any tool that will help her understand the child and see where they’re at, Landria has loved the possibilities that have opened up for her students.Are we working with families to make sure that all of the funds and services they receive actually benefit the child? Landria sees the therapist’s role as a bridge to the child’s future. She listens to the family’s dreams for the child because she has what you might call a “greeter” theory. Is everything that you’re working on with the child only going to land them a job as a greeter at the store? And is that what the family wants for that child?I think you’ll love this big picture approach to therapy that sees the child as a whole person rather than the small parts you might see in your weekly sessions. For more inspirational and fun-filled ideas about SLP and BCBA strategies, follow Landria on her social media channels as SLP Guru.What's Inside:Why Landria prefers to find features on an AAC that fits a student rather than trying to make an AAC work on the student.By focusing on the “rhythm of communication”, Landria teaches students how to respond appropriately to peers, teachers, and casual strangers.Helping students find authentic social connections is a challenge that Landria takes on with a unique out-of-the-box approach.
29 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
#017: Creative Ideas for Therapy with Older Students - A Chat with Chris Wenger of Speech Dude
Chris Wenger, whom you might also know as Speech Dude, comes from a family of educators. He started off as a special ed teacher, but he moved into the speech-language field when he realized that the tools he needed to help students were in speech pathology. Because he’s been on both sides of the IEP table, and because he was a teacher first, he’s seen a wide variety of students and he knows how to write an IEP that ropes in parents. Today we have a fantastic conversation about creating a curriculum that teaches older students how to interact online or with their peers on social media.Starting with the phrase “How you do anything is how you do everything”, Chris’s interactions with his students online often inspire his TikTok videos and Instagram posts. Students need to be able to make inferences and they need the ability to perspective-take. If you see a picture that you like, you comment once on it. But five times? People will wonder what’s going on with you. If you comment on a really old video or post, it can give away that you’re doing a deep dive on a person’s profile. These are the kinds of scenarios that Chris identifies so he can teach his students how to interact appropriately online.What’s a digital footprint and why should students care? Even for kids in the AP classes, they still need some explicit instruction on online “netiquette” so that they understand that what happens online can affect their offline life. The idea that kids today instinctively understand online behavior doesn’t help kids who actually don’t. That’s where Chris tries to fill in that gap.Chris’s best advice for a future or present SLP is simple: You don’t have to be a perfect SLP; just do your best to be a happy one. Your positive vibrations can be felt throughout your classroom. Check out Chris’s social media channels or his Boom Learning store for more strategies or curriculum for older students.What's Inside:How to get a teen to turn their camera on when no one really wants to.Chris teaches his students about “the hidden curriculum”, or the unspoken rule about how to act online.If you want more engagement out of a classroom or an audience, Chris’s positive energy and approach fires up participants.
32 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
#016: Creating Environments For All Autistic Individuals to Communicate | Interview with Nathan Morgan
As a young child, Nathan Morgan was diagnosed with autism. Along his journey of speech therapy, IEPs, and occupational therapy, he felt inspired to give back to his community so he went into social work. Today, through his day job and his self-advocacy work, Nathan supports families who are trying to navigate what autism means.Within the autism community, people have different ways they like to interact with other people. Some may prefer a blend of verbal and sign language, or only verbal, or some verbal but mostly some form of technology. Unfortunately, verbal communication is still the communication that most people want to push, and this leads to some tension over how to encourage inclusivity when everyone may prefer a blend of communication methods.The pandemic has been an awesome opportunity for individuals with autism to connect with others in ways that make them feel the most comfortable. Nathan approaches this with the question, “What can we take moving forward that will help us improve our community?”. From virtual conferences to Facebook groups to face-to-face game nights, Nathan shares a variety of ways that the autism community is interacting and communicating with each other throughout the pandemic.If you’re looking for more ways to engage and communicate with your students, check out my FREE April webinar called 5 Strategies to Help Your Students with Autism Engage and Communicate. Everyone who attends the live session will receive free therapy material and a certificate of participation. See you there!What's Inside:Knowing that communication is going to look differently for different people, Nathan has created group interactions that allow adults and teenagers with autism to communicate in the way that they feel most comfortable.Nathan shares his thoughts on how autism can be weaponized in language and discusses both his professional opinion and personal perspective on whether to say “autistic” or “person with autism”.For adults with autism, it can be harder to find resources, especially when you combine that with the myth that autism is a childhood disease, so Nathan is taking on that challenge with his Facebook group.
23 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
#015: Help Me Find My Voice Course
Are you nervous before a therapy session because you don’t know how it will go? Let’s make therapy fun and functional again by giving you the tools you need to reach every single one of your students. If you have students with autism and they’re not making a lot of progress, or you’ve used every trick in the book to help a student and you’re stumped, my course Help Me Find My Voice is a great next step for you.Inside Help Me Find My Voice, you’ll learn:Assessments to use with studentsCommon SLP terms explainedSimplified goal setting conceptsEasier data collectionHow to plan therapy sessions for students with emerging skillsYou’ll also have lifetime access to this course, plus access to a private Facebook group where you can collaborate with other SLPs.This course is geared for speech-language pathologists, but it also benefits anyone who’s working on communication issues with students. Enrollment is open now, but it will close on April 14th. And I don’t know when I’ll open this course again.We’ve had over 400 people join us already for this 5-hour ASHA-approved course because the bite-sized modules mean you can fit your learning into your busy day. The cost is $99, and we will send you the proper CEU certificates upon completion.I also have a FREE webinar on April 6th, 7th or 13th called 5 Strategies to Help Your Students with Autism Engage and Communicate. If you attend live, you’ll receive free therapy material and a certificate of participation.What's Inside:When you’re seeing a student with autism or with complicated needs and they’re not communicating on their own, what can you do?If you need ASHA CEUs, but don’t have time for a course, I’ve structured this course to meet your current time constraints.Come and collaborate with other professionals to help you breakthrough any roadblocks you might have on difficult cases.
33 minutes | Mar 30, 2021
#014: Autism Diagnosis and Intervention with Help Me Find My Voice Alumni- Deidra Darst (SLP)
Recently, Deidra Darst was able to take her son who has autism to get his first big haircut in four years in a salon. Using tips she learned in my Help Me Find My Voice course, Deidra’s son has really grown in his communication abilities. As a Speech Language Pathologist, Deidra has seen first hand how ABA techniques can blend or enhance the work she does with clients. You’re going to love hearing how BCBAs and SLPS can collaborate to help students find ways to share their voices.In her work as an SLP, about half of Deidra’s caseload was students with autism. But it wasn’t until her own young son was diagnosed that she got a true window into what a parent was experiencing. She realized that 30 minutes of therapy a week just wasn’t enough, and she wanted to help parents take a more active role in therapy. Since then, she’s learned how to support parents better in her SLP practice, and she leads with the phrase, “If you have questions, ask”.How can SLPs and BCBAs learn from each other? This idea of collaboration is one that Deidra and I really explore. What we’re doing is similar, but we’re calling it different names. And we miss out on the chance to collaborate positively when we can’t understand each other. Deidra and I talk about some techniques in each of our respective fields that can enhance the work each professional does for a child with autism.Be sure and check out the Help Me Find My Voice course that helped launch Deidra’s success, and send her an email if you have any questions.What's Inside:Using vocabulary that parents and other professionals can understand and improve the chances that our goals are aligned and everyone’s headed in the same direction.Teletherapy has had a surprising benefit for therapists because it’s given them more contact and communication with parents.Deidra’s advice for parents and professionals working with autistic children.The hardest part of therapy is actually communicating with the team and making sure we’re all on the same page.
37 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
#013: Strategies for Generalizing Language Skills with Katie Castro
How do we help our students generalize their language skills in the community and the larger school environment? Fellow “unicorn”, BCBA, and SLP, Katie Castro is an alumni of my Help Me Find My Voice course, and she’s also a clinical director of speech therapy at Children’s Autism Center.You can’t just hope that a student figures out how to generalize on their own. As therapists, we can build a system that helps lead them to generalize. Generalization is teaching students to apply skills in different environments and circumstances. We may not realize that when we teach a word, there are many different examples of that word. For example, how many kinds of dogs are there? If we show a picture of a Labrador and only that kind of dog, it doesn’t teach a child the variety that is inside the word “dog”.It’s hard for therapists to have the resources they need to teach generalization which is why I ended up creating some. Katie talks about how she uses multiple examples and teaching loosely to help a child learn a less strict definition of a word.It’s important to keep really specific data when you’re working with students, but when you combine specific data with IEP goals and first trial data, it can be difficult to keep track of where a student is progressing. If you want to make your progress reporting easier, then Katie and I have some techniques to streamline the process.For more SLP strategies, be sure to check out my FREE webinar 5 Strategies to Help Students Engage and Communicate. Register now for this April event.What's Inside:How I use a variety of flashcards to expand the concept of basic vocabulary words like dog, cat, or car.Maintenance goals can feel like a drag for a child, so I share ways that I keep it fresh for that child.Collecting and reporting data might feel complicated, but Katie and I have both streamlined the process so that it’s easier and takes less time.Katie incorporates parent training to help reinforce what a child learns in speech therapy, and that has actually been made easier by the pandemic and telehealth sessions.
28 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
#012: Autism Therapy and the Importance of Play with Liz Willis
There are times I feel stressed as a therapist because I want to get through all of the goals for my therapy session, so that’s why I love Liz’s playful approach to therapy. Liz Willis is an SLP who went back to school for her BCBA so that she could provide speech therapy and ABA services. Her dual degrees have made her feel more confident in the services that she provides, and you can really see how they inform how she structures her therapy sessions.It can be tempting to jump straight into the language piece of an IEP, but Liz suggests that you consider focusing on the social and play piece first. Every interaction begins with social engagement, and when therapists nail down the basics of engagement first, expanding into other skills can reap dividends.Liz is passionate about supporting teachers and providers, and she shares some of her favorite strategies including:How to use play centers to teach language skills.Her favorite assessments and why you should use more than one.How to encourage play in students who only like one kind of play.As an educator or service provider, there are going to be times when you just don’t have the skills your students need. Liz says that you need to recognize when you don’t know something and refer your clients out to someone else. There are so many pieces to the therapy puzzle, and collaborating makes your job easier. If you’d like to connect with Liz, you can reach her at her website, on Instagram, or at Liz@communicationandbehaviorsolutions.com.What's Inside:How early learners who have autism may play differently from their typically developing preschoolers, and why that matters.Does every moment need to be language enriched?Which comes first: engagement or play? Liz gives her thoughts on this chicken vs. egg dilemma.
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