Download our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide today! Find the perfect gift for your special child

Around the holidays, parents often get calls from grandparents, friends and relatives asking for gift ideas for children with special needs. Our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide will make it a bit easier for everyone to find something special for the special child in their life. Our trusted consultant Sam Blanco, MSEd, BCBA has put together some of her favorites that are sure to bring delight. From our Different Roads family to yours, we wish you all the joy and happiness of the season.

Holiday Gift Guide

DOWNLOAD OUR 2014 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE NOW!  

AND we’re slashing the prices of the toys and games in our Holiday Gift Guide, so be sure to apply or mention our promo code GIFT14 to save 15%* on these featured products!

 

6 Tips for Preparing for a Smooth Thanksgiving Celebration

Holidays can be challenging for everyone in the family. Your to-do lists get longer, your routines are switched around, and all the little stresses can be especially difficult for your child with autism. Here are a few tips to ease the difficulties related to Thanksgiving.

Tell. Prepare your child for who and what they will see at Thanksgiving. This may include creating a social story or showing photos of people your child does not know or see often.

Help. When possible, have your child help out. This may include prep activities such as helping with decorations or measuring ingredients for a recipe, but it could also include giving your child a job, such as answering the front door or setting the table.

Access. Be sure your child has access to foods he or she will eat and to a designated quiet space for breaks. It’s helpful if other guests or family members understand where this space is and its purpose.

Notify. Inform guests who aren’t familiar with your child or with autism about what to expect and how to best interact with your child.

Keep it fun. Add in a couple of activities during the day that you know your child really knows. This may include family games or traditions.

Schedule. Provide a schedule of the day’s events for your child so they will know what to expect. This can include a visual schedule or a written schedule.

Lastly, remind your child why you are thankful for them and enjoy your holiday!

Join us at the Long Island Behavior Analysis Conference with Keynotes Dr. Mark Sundberg and Dr. Patrick Friman: December 5, 2015

December 5th, 2014

We are so excited to be a part of this upcoming Long Island Behavior Analysis Conference! The conference will be held at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, New York. Registration information can be found here.

With keynote speakers Mark Sundberg, PhD, BCBA-D and Patrick Friman, PhD, ABPP, this 2-day conference will be a great opportunity to hear about what is going on in the field of ABA. Sessions include “Teaching Language and Social Skills in a Child’s Natural Environment”, “The Role of Play in ABA Programs: Analysis, Assessment, and Intervention” and “That’s Not What I Recommended! Merging Treatment Integrity with Reality to Support Caregivers with Behavioral Recommendations in the Home.”

Come say hi! We will have a table at the conference, where we will be selling the VB-MAPP, Teaching Language to Children With Autism, ABA Curriculum for the Common Core: Kindergarten, and a number of our other favorite titles and products – all at discounted prices!

This conference is geared towards ABA professionals, with Type 2 CEU’s available. There is also an alternative track for parents interested in attending.

For more information, visit the ELIJA website here.

Pick of the Week: “I Feel Angry When…” – A Social Skills Game to Teach How to Express & Respond to Anger

I Feel Angry When… teaches children the important skills of learning how to express their anger in a nonthreatening way, and to respond in positive ways when they feel angry. This week, we’re giving you 15% off* your order of the I Feel Angry When… game by applying our promo code IFEEL at checkout!

With this game, kids learn how to use I-Messages – a verbal template that offers a way to communicate how you feel and what you want without offending others. This method, when combined with basic anger control strategies, gives children an opportunity to express their anger in a calm way without resorting to aggression.

As they respond to anger-provoking situations described on game cards, players learn how to use I-Messages to communicate their feelings. They also learn 12 anger control strategies that help them retain their composure in the moment anger erupts. Simple and straightforward, this game gives children the skills they need to keep their cool. The game comes with 2 Anger Control Spinners (one for ages 6–9 and one for 10–12), 1 I-Message Guide Cards, 200 Reward Chips, 54 Situation Cards, and 6 “Tell Me About It” Cards. This game is recommended for children ages 6 to 12.

Don’t forget to use promo code IFEEL at checkout this week to save 15%* on your set of I Feel Angry When…!

*Offer is valid until 11:59pm EST on November 25th, 2014. Not compatible with any other offers. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at check out!

Different Roads to Learning Celebrates the Release of the “ABA Curriculum for the Common Core: Kindergarten”

We’ve just wrapped up a successful event in celebration of BCBA Sam Blanco’s newly released ABA Curriculum for the Common Core for Kindergarten. We couldn’t be more grateful and proud of the work that Sam has accomplished in creating this robust and one-of-a-kind curriculum kit with us. We’d like to thank all of the educators, professionals, parents, and friends again who joined us this past Wednesday.

The ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit: Kindergarten and other raffle prizes. (Masao Katagami)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guests had the opportunity to connect with each other over an autumnal arrangement of hors d’oeuvres, delicious sushi, baked sweets, and wine, while looking through all the materials and components of the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit. A special raffle was also held, during which guests had the chance to try their luck at winning any of the 4 raffle prizes: one Language Builder set and the Curriculum Book for the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core, one Time Timer PLUS and the curriculum book, the What the Heck Does That Mean?! Idioms Game, and last but not least, the entire kit for the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core: Kindergarten. Congratulations to the raffle winners  Alicia, Meaghan, Linda  and of course, the big winner of the kit, Debbie!

Party attendees mingle over food and the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit: Kindergarten. (Masao Katagami)

 

Sam Blanco, MSED, BCBA tells guests about the curriculum and kit. (Masao Katagami)

View all of the event photos on our Facebook page here.

For more information about the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit: Kindergarten, please email info@difflearn.com. Requests to arrange a demonstration or training with the curriculum kit can be directed to Abigail at (212) 604-9637 or abigail@difflearn.com.

Simplifying the Science: Addressing Vocal Stereotypy or “Scripting”

Many parents and teachers struggle with addressing vocal stereotypy or “scripting” in children with autism. Since stereotypy is frequently automatically reinforcing, (meaning that the behavior is maintained by the sensation produced by the behavior) it is especially difficult to address. While this type of behavior does occur in typically developing children (think of a young child singing the same song repeatedly for several weeks or a toddler repeating a newly learned sound) there is concern that this behavior persists in children with autism and other developmental disabilities in such a manner that it interferes with learning.

In 2007, William H. Ahearn, Kathy M. Clark, Rebecca P.F. McDonald and Bo In Chung published a study in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis entitled Assessing and Treating Vocal Stereotypy in Children with Autism.” The study defined vocal stereotypy as “any instance of noncontextual or nonfunctional speech and included singing, babbling, repetitive grunts, squeals, and phrases unrelated to the present situation.” It focused on four learners (two boys and two girls) who had autism and were referred for the study because their vocal stereotypy interfered with their ability to learn. The children ranged in age from 3-11. Three of them used speech to communicate while one used PECS.

The study describes potential interventions from previous research before introducing its goal of interrupting the vocal response then redirecting. This is called RIRD – Response Interruption/Redirection. In RIRD, when the child made an inappropriate vocalization, the teacher blocked them by interrupting immediately, then redirecting them to another behavior. The redirection involved prompts for vocal behavior such as saying “Where do you live?” or “Say ‘red.’” When a child made an appropriate vocalization, it was always followed by a teacher comment.

RIRD produced substantially lower rates of stereotypy for all four of the children and an increase in appropriate vocalizations for three of the children. One thing that is striking about these results is that “sessions were 5 min in duration, and two to three sessions were conducted 3 days per week.” This is a degree of time commitment that is replicable in the home or school environments.

If your child or student is presenting with stereotypy that interferes with learning, it is valuable to look at this study, as well as similar studies by Cassella, Sidener, Sidener, & Progar (2011) and Athens, Vollmer, Sloman, & Pipkin (2008). Consult with a BCBA or ABA provider for assistance in implementing the intervention.

Pick of the Week: ABA Curriculum for the Common Core for Kindergarten

We’re thrilled to introduce this pioneering curriculum kit containing both the materials and programs to teach each Kindergarten Common Core standard for both English Language Arts and Math. Authored by Sam Blanco, MSEd, BCBA, the curriculum has been created exclusively for students in special education settings using the evidence-based principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

We’re offering this robust curriculum kit for a limited-time introductory price of $499.95.

Completely unique, this kit contains a curriculum book that drills down into each standard and breaks it into teachable steps. Programs are presented in a format that supports data collection and ease of use. Each Common Core standard is presented on its own page with clear instructions detailing the Teaching Procedure, Discriminative Stimulus (Sd), and Materials required for teaching. Each standard lists several targets that demonstrate the component steps and skills required for mastery.

A thorough “how-to” guide presents the main tenets of ABA, giving staff an accessible understanding of Motivation and Reinforcement, Pairing, Prompting, Generalization, Natural Environment Teaching, Preference Assessment, and Data Collection. In addition, comprehensive Data Sheets are included, along with samples of how to complete them.

Our ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit comes with more than 24 quality, versatile manipulatives, flashcards, games and tools. The curriculum book explicitly explains how to use these materials to teach and generalize each standard. The materials included in the kit have been carefully selected to not only assess and teach each standard and prerequisite skill, but also be wonderful additions to any classroom setting. The materials can be used during more intensive group and one-to-one instruction, as well as during center time and independent play.

The goal of this curriculum kit is to make the Common Core standards accessible and relevant to students with autism and special needs. Additionally, by breaking each standard down and drilling into the prerequisite skills, the opportunity exists to use these Kindergarten programs for older students who are not developmentally able to meet grade-level standards. By equipping teachers with teachable steps for each and every standard and pairing the teaching with motivating, versatile materials, the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit puts Kindergarten students in Special Education on the path to achieving success.

 You can also purchase today the Curriculum Book separately for only $64.95 $59.95. This curriculum book is best utilized in conjunction with our ABA Curriculum for the Common Core Kit: Kindergarten and explicitly explains how to use the materials presented in the kit to teach and generalize each standard. Soft Cover, 176 pages, by Sam Blanco, MSEd, BCBA.

 Special educators and consultants are already finding this to be an invaluable resource in the classroom.

 Advance Praise for the ABA Curriculum for the Common Core

 “ABA Curriculum for the Common Core is bound to be the type of reference book every special educator will be reaching for. With its comprehensive, accessible, and task-analyzed programs, ABA strategies, and data collection sheets, Sam Blanco has created a compilation dream for all educators working with children who have special needs.”
– Val Demiri, PhD, BCBA-D

“This highly organized and comprehensive curriculum is a must for all special education teachers working to implement the common core standards in the classroom. Every teacher and student need is anticipated and planned for. With this curriculum as a resource, the common core standards are no longer an obstacle, but instead an accessible program of study for all students.”
– Linda McSorley, Special Education Teacher

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Different Roads to Learning’s “What Goes Together?” App is Now Available on Android!

What Goes Together?Our very own app for matching and sorting What Goes Together? is now available for Android devices*. Find it available now in the Google Play Store, on Amazon, and in the Barnes & Noble Nook Store.

This interactive game develops language, discrimination, and reasoning skills in young learners. Clear, colorful images of everyday objects promote an understanding of functions and the relationships between items that children encounter on a daily basis. With built-in reinforcement and error correction, this game provides a solid foundation in building critical expressive and receptive language skills.

Screenshots captured from a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

In What Goes Together?, images are prompted with the question “What goes together?” Students then drag the prompted object to the correctly associated object among the 3 shown across the bottom of the screen. Correct responses receive visual and auditory reinforcement, while incorrect answers are corrected by a visual prompt of the correct answer flashing. After all targets have been seen once, they are reintroduced in a new, randomized order. The app takes data for the percentage answered correctly across rounds as well as sessions in which the app is in use.

*What Goes Together? runs an Android 2.2 platforms and up. This app is also available in the Apple iTunes Store.

Tip of the Week: Easy Modification for Promoting Functional iPad Use

The iPad is a highly motivating item for many kids. But many parents and teachers find it frustrating to teach kids with autism to use the iPad functionally. Here are three tips that can help you promote functional use.

  1. Lock Rotation – Some learners with autism like to watch the screen rotate as they move the iPad. This prevents them from using the iPad to complete tasks, create visual or audio products, or play games. There is a small switch on the side of the iPad that is factory preset to mute the volume. You can change the function of this switch to lock rotation, preventing your learner from fixating on rotating the screen.LockRotation_Image
  2. Guided Access – When providing access to the iPad, it’s a good idea to give your learner options of particular apps to engage with instead of providing free access to everything available on the device. For example, during a teaching session, I might say, “When it’s time for a break, do you want to play Match or Simon?” When it’s time for the break, I open the app the learner chose, then activate Guided Access, which makes it impossible for the learner to switch to other apps.GuidedAccess_Image
  3. Timed Play – Sometimes I want to limit the amount of time a learner spends on the iPad. When I am providing a student a break during a teaching session, frequently I limit the time to 23 minutes. Parents may allow their child to play on the iPad for 30 minutes. You can set the iPad to immediately shut off at the specified time. I like to use this function because it prevents the end of an preferred activity from being associated with me.TimedPlay_Image

**Unfortunately, the iPad is the only tablet with which I am familiar. If you use another tablet and have tips such as those above, please share them with us!


WRITTEN BY SAM BLANCO, MSED, BCBA

Sam is an ABA provider for students ages 3-12 in NYC. Working in education for ten years with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental delays, Sam has developed strategies for achieving a multitude of academic, behavior, and social goals. Sam is currently pursuing her PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis at Endicott College.

Different Roads to Learning’s “What’s That Sound?” App is Now Available on Android!

We’re thrilled to announce that our very own app for auditory discrimination What’s That Sound? Learning to Listen and Identify Sounds is now available for Android devices*. Find it available now in the Google Play Store, on Amazon, and in the Barnes & Noble Nook Store.

Simple auditory processing skills lay the foundation for learning how to read, speak, and spell. What’s That Sound? is an interactive game that helps develop auditory discrimination and processing skills in young learners. In this game, players will improve their skills by matching objects and their associated sounds.

Reinforcement with balloons shown above.

Screenshots captured from a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

In What’s That Sound?, images are prompted with a spoken question “What makes this sound?” and then a sound. Students then tap the image of the person, object, or animal correctly associated with the prompted noise. Correct responses receive visual and auditory reinforcement (see screenshot of balloons above), while incorrect answers are corrected by a visual prompt of the correct answer flashing. After all targets have been seen once, they are reintroduced in a new, randomized order. The app takes data for the percentage answered correctly across rounds as well as sessions in which the app is in use.

*What’s That Sound? runs an Android 2.2 platforms and up. This app is also available in the Apple iTunes Store.