Browse Category

therapy materials

Free Download: Colourful Semantics Resource

20160323_230411

This pack of pictures makes the Black Sheep Verbs pack (reviewed on Monday this week) infinitely more useful. Included are individual, colour-coded pictures of all of the subjects, verbs, direct objects and locations in the example pictures, as well as some sentence frames for arranging the pictures into. I’ve used clip art from a range of sources on the internet for this (copyright free material as far as I could ascertain).

20160323_225004

By having the individual pictures to break down the sentences into their component parts, we can:

  • Support children who miss out grammatical words and morphemes such as ‘the’, ‘is’ and ‘-ing’.
  • Put the focus on the verb for children who have limited verb knowledge.
  • Show children how to systematically think about ‘who’,’ doing what’ and ‘what to’ as they go about describing an event.
  • Give children forced alternatives when they are stuck and unable to name an object or action.

20160323_230053

The resource comes in two parts:

  • A 20 page pdf file with the subject, verb, direct object and location pictures.
  • single page pdf file to be printed on A3 paper which has sentence frames that you can use with the pictures.

20160323_224537

Developing language processing skills (2)

neural-pathways-221719_960_720Last week I posted about developing processing skills when the focus is on enhancing the child’s semantic knowledge. This week I’ll look at the phonological side of the coin. There are certain things we know about word sorting / word learning / word finding which play into how we tend to go about boosting phonological form and metaphonological skills:

  • Words are ‘sorted’ in the brain by initial sound, giving us that tip-of-the-tongue feeling when we’re searching for a word. This means that we highlight initial sounds when we’re talking about words with learners, and we require them to do tasks such as ‘I spy’ and initial-sound odd-one-out.
  • Words which rhyme share phonological features. The words ‘hat’ and ‘mat’ have more in common with each other than not, and they therefore share some neural architecture (in terms of their production and in their recognition). Working on rhyme is one thing – showing the child how they can break the onset off from the rest of the word, and swap different onsets in and out. But the real trick is to get them to access their store of meanings as they go about such a task. This is what the task I have been developing is about.
  • Words can be long or short. Traces of word-length and syllable-structure do also seem to come into play in the tip-of-the-tongue feeling. We therefore work on children’s ability to count syllables, to complete words with missing syllables, and to delete syllables from words.
  • Words are composed of individual sounds, or phonemes [fəʊnimz]. Older children are encourage to identify medial sounds, final sounds, to append sounds, to delete sounds, robot talking, and so on.

These are tasks that are designed to support a child’s phonological awareness. Countless studies have proven the link between metaphonological knowledge and reading skills, and there is evidence that working on these kinds of tasks can pay into a child’s development of speech sounds as well.

My new task doesn’t seem particularly innovative, but it is working. Essentially I ask the child ‘think of a word that rhymes with bear which is a piece of furniture’. I also give the child a number of possible onsets to work through (i.e. s, gr, sp, ch, l). The idea is that the child will centre in on the correct answer from both directions at once – one part of the brain is thinking of different bits of furniture and checking them against ‘-air’, while the other is blindly spooling off ‘-air’ rhymes, guided by the onsets that are provided, and checking whether they are a member of the category furniture. I will share the resource just before Easter.

 

Review – Black Sheep Press Verbs Pack

Colouring in. Page after page of black and white resources. This isn’t mindfulness, this is mindlessness. Luckily for speech therapists who don’t have access to SLTAs (or to teenage kids who need to get back in their good books), Black Sheep Press are going through their resources and colouring them in for us. One of the classic Black Sheep press resources is the 3rd edition of Verbs, which is available for download as a 33 MB pdf file for £15 (£18 including VAT).

LIP1_3Verbs-7In their choice of verbs, BSP have found a good mix between words that are acquired early, and those that are imageable. The pack features transitive, intransitive and ‘locative-type’ verbs, specifically: walking, running, standing, crying, waving, pushing, hiding, climbing, throwing, jumping, falling, kicking, cutting, washing, carrying, brushing, eating, reading, sleeping and sitting.

There are six pictures for each verb. The transitive verbs feature the same subject with different objects (so all pushing pictures feature a bear, pushing a pig, a car, a bed, and so on; all washing pictures feature the mum, washing the car, her face, her baby’s face, and so on). The transitive verbs, such as waving, sittingwalking and running, all have contrasting subjects.

LIP1_3Verbs-8Helen Rippon’s art is clear and fun. She chooses what to put in and what to leave out with the type of confidence that can only be found in someone who has presented a lot of picture material to children. On one hand, she puts things in that will stimulate discussion: the bear is running away from a fierce-looking lion, the people and the animals who are being washed and brushed have very cute sad looks on their faces. On the other hand, the pictures are free from the types of spurious, complicating details that tend to make the children get hung up when you use the pictures to stimulate language.

These pictures are so versatile. I use them to:

  • Develop vocabulary and phrase building. Ask the child ‘who is doing something?’, ‘what are they doing?’, ‘where are they doing it?’, ‘what are they doing it to?’
  • Develop use the pronouns he, she and it.
  • Develop use of the prepositions in, onunder and off.
  • Develop use of simple past tense. Simply ask / model ‘what did she do yesterday?’
  • Get the child to think about sequencing, picking up on clues / inferencing, thinking about ‘what might happen next?’

LIP1_3Verbs-6The pictures are introduced with a host of suggested activities such as lotto games and barrier games that can be played with the cards. I find the pictures useful for children aged upwards of about 3 and a half (as long as they have good attention skills). One thing I often do is to marry the pictures with corresponding toys and act out some of the scenarios, in a small group, modelling the language as I go.

Another big part of how I use these pictures is to mix in the Colourful Semantics approach to developing children’s phrase-building. To this end, I have created a resource which has separate, colour-coded pictures of all of the subjects, verbs and objects from these pictures. I’ll share that on Friday.

Minecraft and Minion Progress Charts

I was listening to Carrie’s Clark’s most recent Storm of the Brains podcast (about unresponsive children with ASD) this week. Carrie mentioned using Minecraft characters in a simple progress chart to be used to motivate a child to do something (request bubbles or follow an instruction, for example) more than once. This reminded me that I’d been meaning to make something like this for a little while, so I’ve put some together, featuring Minion Stuart and Steve from Minecraft. Obviously I don’t own any rights over Stuart and Steve, but it’s for the kids, right! You can download a pdf here for free.

20160317_220148

20160317_220237

Making things happen with words

I received a delivery this morning: 10 massive balloons. I’ll take the elastic bands off before I use them. These were just £2.29 from Amazon. They’ll last hundreds of sessions of language stimulation.

I use these in much the same way as I use my bubble trumpet: to elicit basic words from children who really want to make things happen. So this is words such as ‘balloon’ to request for me get the balloon out of the bag, ‘blow’ or ‘bigger’ before each breath for me to make them bigger, and ‘ready, steady go’ for me to let the balloon go for it to jerk dramatically around the room.

This represents a great deal of language from one piece of rubber. The child has to go via me to get what they want, and most children really do want to see the balloon whizz around (I do remember one child who dry heaved while I began blowing the balloon up… I tried something else with that child). There is also an element of cause and effect with the balloon – the child that requests ‘go’ without first asking ‘blow’ will just see me drop an uninflated balloon on the floor.

This type of approach (holding off before you give something motivating, and always expecting a little more from the child who is attempting to request) is ideal for children with autistic spectrum disorder and more generally for those who lack experience of directing the behaviour of others through language. These children are all, to one degree or another, inexperienced or disorganised with using language to request. They might look at your hand, pull your hand, get frustrated, go inert, do a shake of their body, and so on. They might use words, but at the wrong time. All of this can be seen as being partly intentional behaviour. The therapist’s job is to model the words (or in some cases, the signs), and wait for the child to make the leap and use them.

“Give me back my face!”

What is this abomination! A chicken with the head of a horse? A pig with wings??? This is my version of Build a Beetle, which I use as a turn taking game to keep children involved during phonology exercises.

It’s pretty simple really – they say the sound / word / phrase that they’re working on, and I get them to pick a piece of animal out of a bag. The child I worked with here wanted to play the ‘horrible hybrid farm animal’ version of the game – you can also do it in a more sedate manner and race to complete your own animal.

At the end, we build our animals, and invariably they end up fighting: “Give me my face back!”, “You stole my tail”, etc.

These packs (you can get Farm Animals, Jungle Animals and Dinosaurs) are made by US company the Learning Journey. They used to be available in TK Maxx for £4.99 but it seems that TK Maxx are more interested in their products that are more explicitly educational these days (e.g. rhyme bingo, that kind of thing). My previous copy of these had fallen apart so I have just imported them from Amazon USA – costing me around £12 per box. Still worth it.

These are available in my imaginary toy shop in Nottingham high street by the way.