The weeks of November are flying by and I am struggling to keep up! The weekend is here but I will be going in to school to finish progress reports, evaluation reports, medicaid logs, and an IEP or two. Enough self-pity.
Let me show and tell about the great week we all had together!
Rotating toys is a great idea. Not only does it help children learn how to play with toys in new ways, it also helps therapists learn how to use toys in new ways. The Fischer Price Little People A to Z Zoo Animals Playset mysteriously reappeared in Room 99 over the summer. I guess I let someone borrow it and then forgot about it. It was like getting a new toy!
For the student who struggles to engage for just 10 minutes, this toy kept him talking and playing for 30. For the student who is working on joint attention and asking/answering questions, the zoo was perfect. For more info on toy rotation go to http://www.littlestories.com and read Shopping in Your Toy Closet and Toy Rotation: The Rest of the Story.
For a refresher on Whole Body Listening that was needed with the 1st grade Lunch Buddies group, I got out Whole Body Listening Larry at School.
When new students start attending Larry’s class, he helps them learn all about the concept of Whole Body Listening. As I read the book, I saw what a great peer mentor Larry is. He gently shows and tells the new students how he does it. What a great friend! I will use this book with the Mentor Club training too.
Next, I used the Princess Social Skills activity created by Mia McDaniel over at http://puttingwordsinyourmouthbymia.blogspot.com and available for purchase at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com.
The girls’ special interest in Disney Princesses is so motivating and the social scenarios on each card are grade appropriate. I don’t think they would get bored if we used these cards every Friday.
The book, What is a Thought? is so versatile.
I used it in Book Chat this week. I wanted the students to become aware of the power of a thought and how everything we create comes from a thought. I used two of the activities from the CD that comes with the book. The students used the power of a thought to create a picture. They also put their thoughts into words as they wrote a sentence about their favorite place pictured in their brain. They received some very positive feedback from the adults in Book Chat to reinforce putting their thoughts into written form.
What do we do when we realize that a student has become prompt dependent? Here is a terrific article titled Dear Kids with Autism, Prompt Dependency is Not Your Fault by Deb Leach, at http://bringingaba.blogspot.com. I had a brief chat yesterday with the parent of one of my students about how we could handle her daughter’s prompt dependency. Since then, the wheels have been turning…this student is already self-monitoring and reminding herself to keep her brain in the group. I think it will be easy to fix this prompt dependency if the adults make the necessary adjustments. I think I will use literacy-based behavioral interventions such as social stories and specific books that teach expected behaviors (such as thinking with your eyes to look at classmates to see what they are doing). I think I will also seek out a peer mentor. Check out this article at http://www.autismspeaks.org titled Peer Training Outperforms Traditional Autism Interventions.
I need a brain break! Heading out to the deck to remove some leaves. Maybe a little physical work will get me ready for more school work.