5 Essential Resources for Your ABA Program

Our focus here at Different Roads to Learning is always on supporting the language and social skills in children on the spectrum through evidence-based interventions. We’re staunch believers in Applied Behavior Analysis and we’ve built our extensive product line around the tools that will best support these programs. As we continue to focus on Autism Awareness this month, we asked our BCBA Sam Blanco to choose five of her go-to resources and tell us a bit about why they’re integral components in her work. This week, we’re are also offering a 15% discount* on these five essential resources from our catalog. Be sure to use our promo code ESSABA5 when you check out online or mention it when you call us at (800) 853-1057.

* * *

When you work with children with autism, you typically are focused on four goal areas: developing language and communication skills, improving social skills, increasing independence in both academic and daily living tasks, and addressing any maladaptive behaviors. While there are a wealth of resources available to help achieve goals in these areas, there are five resources I really can’t live without.

VB-MAPP: The Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program by Mark L. Sundberg, Ph.D. is essential. It’s easy to use, provides a wealth of information in a relatively short period of time, and allows you to prioritize the unique needs of your particular learner. Beyond the milestones assessment, I love that the VB-MAPP provides a way to assess and measure barriers to learning such as aggressive behaviors, prompt dependence, and defective scanning skill. Finally, as a special educator, it can be difficult at times to know how your student is doing compared to his/her peers in a general education environment. The Transition Assessment portion of the VB-MAPP allows you to assess and measure progress towards specific skills necessary for transitioning to a less restrictive environment.

Language Builder Picture Cards: After the VB-MAPP, these cards are the first investment you should make if you’re working with learners with autism. They are designed to help you teach a wide range of skills including receptive language, expressive language, matching, sorting by category, and identifying feature, function, and class. I use these cards to play games with my learner to practice prepositions (such as hiding a card picturing a frog and having the learner find it by listening to directions like “the frog is under the pillow.”) I also use the cards as prompts for a “What am I thinking of” game. For this game I can look at the picture, then give the learner clues so he/she can guess what I’m describing (such as “I’m green. I have four legs. I hop.”) I then trade turns, and the learner has to look at a picture and provide clues for me to guess what is pictured. All in all, the Language Builder Picture Cards provide so many opportunities for language development you’ll never regret the investment.

Time Timer: I love the Time Timer so much that I actually own the 3-inch, 8-inch, and 12-inch models. For young learners, the clear visual indicator of the passage of time helps prepare them for transitions, complete transitions with greater levels of independence, and begin to understand the passage of time. Older learners use it to manage their time better during tasks, regulate their own behavior, and increase independence in both academic and daily living skill tasks. For all students, it helps facilitate a better understanding of the concept of time. When I taught in the classroom, I used the 12-inch model so that it was clearly visible for all students. I love the 3-inch model for older students who still need the visual tool.

A Work in Progress: When I first began teaching learners with autism, a colleague recommended A Work in Progress to me, and I have come back to it again and again over the years. It provides strategies and a curriculum for addressing the needs of learners with autism, including topics such as self-stimulatory behaviors, sleep problems, eating problems, toilet training, and social play. Most importantly, it describes how to meet the needs of learners with autism in language that is accessible. The curriculum portion of the book describes in detail what a teaching session should look like and how to run discrete trials. It also provides comprehensive instructions for dozens of programs.

Verbal Behavior Targets: Unlike A Work in Progress, this book is not a curriculum, but, as Luckevich states in the introduction, a guide to selecting targets “to meet the unique language goals of each individual child.” Verbal Behavior Targets provides hundreds of targets for each stage of language development (split into 6 chapters: words; multiple words; instructions and questions; sentences; category, feature, and function; and conversation topics. I know there have been many moments in the past, especially when I was first starting out, in which my learner would master a target skill and I would struggle to come up with additional targets. This book helps you continue to push your learner towards independence by providing a vast number of targets in developmentally appropriate sequence. And did I mention she also included data sheets?

As a therapist, finding quality teaching resources can be challenging. There are so many products to choose from and the choice and cost can be overwhelming. The items described above are not only high-quality, but are essential to providing the best possible learning environment. Investing in a few versatile, solid products saves you money over the long term, makes both teaching and prep time more efficient, and helps provide a vast range of possibilities for student learning.

* * *

This week only, you can save 15%* on any of these products on Sam’s list of 5 essential ABA resources by using promo code ESSABA5 when you check out online.

*Offer expires at 11:59pm ET on April 22, 2014. Not valid on past orders or with any other promotions and offers. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at check out!

Pick of the Week: Early Intervention Resources

It’s a fact that Early Intervention leads to positive outcomes for our children. Understand the key principles of Early Intervention approaches with our two newest additions to our early intervention books, The Early Intervention Workbook and Early Intervention Every Day! These reference books cover evidence-based intervention approaches, as well as the best practices on implementation.  Buy one or both of them this week only and save 15%* by using our promo code DRLEI15 at check out.

The Early Intervention Workbook: Essential Practices for Quality Services was written for current and future early intervention providers of all disciplines who are looking to maximize their efficacy. The entire early intervention process is broken down into seven key principles with detailed tips, activities, and strategies on both what to do and how to do it. The workbook covers referral, initial visits with the family, evaluation and assessment, IFSP development and implementation, and supporting a smooth transition out of EI. The authors strive to empower professionals to make positive change happen on both a personal and systemic level by identifying and focusing on successful evidence-based intervention approaches and providing guidance on actual implementation. This is a comprehensive book for group training or independent work, and a great reference.

Effective early intervention doesn’t stop when the provider leaves a family’s home. For parents and caregivers, Early Intervention Every Day! is a practical sourcebook packed with research-based strategies that demonstrate how take a consistent, active role in supporting young children’s development. Targeting 80 skills in six key developmental domains for children birth to 3, this guide also gives professionals loads of ready-to-use ideas for helping families embed learning opportunities into their everyday routines. The guide empowers families to work on IFSP goals during recurring activities, such as grocery shopping or riding in the car, and to give children opportunities to practice and reinforce new skills throughout the day, along with many other strategies for helping children with developmental delays participate more fully in family life.

Remember – this week only, you can save 15%* on your order of either or both The Early Intervention Workbook or Early Intervention Every Day! by using promo code DRLEI15 when you check out online!

*Offer expires at 11:59pm ET on April 15, 2014.  Not valid on past orders or with any other promotions and offers.  Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at check out!

Introducing Modified Instructions for Roll & Play

We’re excited to bring you the third installment in our new series of Modified Instructions, created by Sam Blanco, BCBA.  Sam’s Modified Instructions present 3-4 additional ways to play a mainstream game to make it most useful and accessible for our students with special needs.  These alternative instructions break down each adapted game by:

  • Age/Skill Level
  • Number of Players
  • Object
  • Skills Required
  • Materials Needed
  • Prep
  • Instructions
  • Considerations

We’re thrilled to introduce Modified Instructions for Roll & Play, one of our favorite games. This game helps reinforce patterning skills, creativity, and gross motor skill development in your student.

Roll & Play gently introduces young learners to play patterns and rules of a game through interactive activities that encourage creativity and active play. Roll the big, plush cube and identify which colored side faces up. Then, choose a matching color card and perform the simple activity shown. Players will be asked to “Make a happy face,” “Moo like a cow,” and “Find something red.” Activity cards in this game cover 6 categories related to early development: Emotions, Counting, Body Parts, Colors, Animal Sounds, and Actions. Included with the plush cube are 48 cards, 8 in each category, and 1 Parent’s Guide.

Don’t forget to download our free Modified Instructions for Roll & Play today!

Pick of the Week: The Incredible Flexible You Preschool Curriculum

Help your young  learners develop the skills they need to be flexible social thinkers and problem solvers with the brand new Incredible Flexible You Curriculum: A Social Thinking Curriculum for the Preschool and Early Elementary Years. Because Social Thinking is a thought-based approach that is explicitly taught through describing and demonstrating concrete concepts through structured play, it is best utilized with students who have the capacity to learn through language. To help you get started on the Social Thinking curriculum with your early learner, we are offering a 15% discount* on your next order of The Incredible Flexible You Curriculum set. Just use promo code DRLTIFY1 at checkout!

In this curriculum, the authors describe the social development process in easy-to-understand terms. Students will learn about the social mind, social expectations, their own thinking, and that of others, to help them make better decisions. Better yet, teachers and caregivers will learn how to explain these abstract concepts to them.

Detailed instructional lesson plans, complete with Teaching Moment specifics, motivating in-classroom structured activities, educational plan goals, and learn-at-home family letters give educators and parents the knowledge and tools they need to help young children develop better social skills.

The set consists of a 200-page curriculum manual, 5 story books, a CD, and tote bag. This curriculum is specifically for use with children ages 4-7, as it combines a social learning framework used in schools with music and dramatic play activities that appeal to early learners. Play is the learning environment of young children, and this curriculum capitalizes on this idea.

Don’t forget – you can save 15%* on your set of The Incredible Flexible You Curriculum by applying our promotional code DRLTIFY1 at checkout!

*Offer is not valid on previous purchases or with any other offer. Promo code expires on April 1, 2014 at 11:59pm ESTBe sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at checkout!

Pick of the Week: Snap Shots Critical Thinking Photo Cards

Promote higher-level thinking with these cards that combine critical thinking and visual literacy to teach students to look at the “big picture” as they investigate complex ideas and reach reason-based conclusions. Save 15% on your order of the Snap Shots Critical Thinking Photo Cards this week only by entering in our promotional code SNAPSH6 at checkout!

Sample

We have two beautiful sets of photo flashcards available for students in PreK and Grades 1 and up. The photos on these cards are all brain-teasing, eye-sharpening scenes that press students to look a little deeper as they develop complex ideas such as cause and effect, predicting, and making inferences. Each photo flashcard depicts a scene on the front and contains four accompanying questions on the back of each card. Over 150 prompts in each set encourage personal responses from students and help boost speaking, listening, and writing skills.

The PreK set contains photo cards that depict scenes of young children in various playtime, home, and classroom activities, such as cooking, reading, gardening, blowing out birthday candles, playing piano, and much more.

The photo cards in the Grade 1 set depict scenes of nature, as well as children and adults in various situations and settings, such as hitting a baseball, packing and moving, cooking, grocery shopping, and much more.

Remember – this week only, you can take 15%* off your purchase of one or more of the PreK and Grade 1 levels of the Snap Shots Critical Thinking Photo Cards by using code SNAPSH6 when you check out online.

*Valid through March 25, 2014 at 11:59pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in the code at checkout!

Pick of the Week: Circle Time Learning Activity

Teach math skills in an active way! Sharpen early math skills, along with shape, number, and color recognition through a variety of kinesthetic games with the All Around Learning Circle Time Activity Set. Gathering for circle time has never been so much fun. This week only, save 15% on your order of the All Around Learning Circle Time Activity Set by entering in promo code ALLCRC7 at checkout.

Circle Time Set

Learning through play will help encourage gross motor skill development and group cooperation skills, as well as increase self-esteem and positive attitudes in your students. This set includes: one lightweight, wipe-clean vinyl mat that measures 4 feet in diameter and folds easily for storage; five inflatable cubes (5 inches each); five canvas bean bags in red, orange, yellow, green, and blue (3 inches each); and an Activity Guide that offers suggestions for activities, such as Color Find, Circle Around the Colors, Number Line-Up, Number Toss, and more. This circle time mat is a wonderful addition to the classroom and in the home for more structured learning.

Don’t forget – this week only, you can take 15% off your order of the All Around Learning Circle Time Activity Set by using code ALLCRC7 when you check out!

Pick of the Week: “Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents”

Executive function in individuals with autism has become a hot topic, and this is the bestselling guide that helped put executive skills on the map for school-based clinicians and educators.  This week only, you can save 15% on your copy of the second edition of Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents.  Just use our promotional code EXECSK5 at checkout.

This manual explains how these critical cognitive processes develop and why they play such a key role in children’s behavior and school performance. Concise and practitioner-friendly, the manual provides step-by-step guidelines and practical tools to promote executive skill development by implementing environmental modifications, individualized instruction, coaching, and whole-class interventions.

Included in this book are sections on developing behavioral objectives and measuring intervention effectiveness, strategies to intervene at levels of the student and the environment, routines in getting ready to begin the day, collecting homework, writing papers, studying for tests, managing open-ended tasks, managing anxiety, and much more. With these strategies, you will be able to address executive skills such as task initiation, sustained attention, working memory, planning, organization, time management, emotional control, and response inhibition, among others. More than 24 reproducible checklists, questionnaires, planning sheets and assessment tools are also included to empower readers to immediately help teach executive skills.

We’ve also included a sample chapter on our site so you can have a sneak peek at this edition!  Don’t forget – take 15% off your order of Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention by using EXECSK5 at checkout this week!

Pick of the Week: Should I or Shouldn’t I?

New from the Social Thinking team, Should I or Shouldn’t I? encourages players to think about their own behavior choices and compare how their perceptions match—or don’t—those of others. The game is built on the idea of perspective-taking and explores social behaviors from different viewpoints to help develop understanding of how these affect relationships with others. The object of the game is to have players think about their own thoughts and behaviors and those of others in various situations. This week, we’re featuring both the Middle/High School and Elementary School editions as our Pick of the Week with a 15% discount to your order. Just enter in promo code SHOULDI3 to redeem your savings at checkout.

The brand-new Elementary School edition fosters important discussions about social situations that elementary-aged students ages 8-11 may encounter at home, at school, and out in the community. Between the ages of 8-11, the social demands placed on kids begin to change. Teachers expect kids to be more socially aware of others and be more independent in monitoring their own social behaviors. Kids of this age are also expected to successfully navigate unstructured social experiences such as recess and lunch. For many, this is difficult. As kids move through grades 3-5, play also changes from being imaginative to being competitive. Kids “hang out” more, which often translates into increasingly sophisticated conversations where group members must figure out other people’s motives and intentions. Overall, social nuance becomes much more complex.

This game gives kids a chance to explore this shifting social landscape and learn how their own views compare/contrast with the way their peers view things. The Prompt and Challenge cards address a wide range of age-matched situations that arise at school, during down time together, or in the community. However, it is always wise for parents or therapists to read through the cards and remove those that may be inappropriate for any of the players or that are mismatched to their level of social functioning or social understanding.

 

The Middle/High School edition is designed to give preteens and teens a fun and motivating way to improve their social sense, practice taking the perspectives of others, and discuss relevant teen issues in a nonjudgmental setting. Questions posed on the Prompt and Challenge cards address a wide variety of teenage-related situations, such as interacting at home, at school, at a friend’s home, the mall, the grocery store, at a party or the library, at the movies or on a date.  For some alternative ways to play, check out Sam Blanco‘s set of Modified Instructions for the Middle/High School edition of this game.
Each edition can be played 1-on-1 with a therapist or in a group of up to 6 players. Each set includes: 100 Prompt cards to practice perspective taking; 50 Challenge cards that help generalize learning; 6 sets of Voting Cards; 6 copies of the 5-Point Behavior Rating Scale; and a Teaching Guide that provides in depth instruction for preparing students to play and meeting the unique needs of each individual learner.Should I or Shouldn’t I? will be perfect if you are looking for structured activities to teach complex social skills to elementary school-aged and teens with autism or other developmental delays. Don’t forget—this week only, you can save 15% on your order of the Should I or Shouldn’t I? Elementary School Edition or Middle/High School Edition by entering in SHOULDI3 at checkout.

Pick of the Week: Inchimals

We couldn’t be more excited to introduce these versatile, beautiful animal blocks into our product line. We’ve been playing and talking about the Inchimals and all of the ways you can use them to teach myriad skills to learners of so many ages. Beautifully crafted and thoughtfully designed, Inchimals contains 12 wooden animal blocks measuring anywhere from 1″—the tiny ladybug—to 12″—the towering giraffe. This award-winning game is a fun and effective way to teach measurement, number concept, addition, subtraction and pre-algebra to children of many ages. And this week only, you can save 15% on the new Inchimals by entering promo code INCH25 at checkout.

With exact inch segments, written numerals, representative dots, and cute animals, Inchimals is a multi-purpose toy that encourages creativity, interaction, logic and mathematics mastery. And even better, it comes with a write on/wipe off puzzle book that features 100 puzzles to use in conjunction with the blocks!

With Inchimals, you can:

  • Practice counting
  • Sequence Inchimal blocks from the shortest to the longest
  • Introduce vocabulary – shorter, taller, longer, height, length, distance, perimeter
  • Explore individual segments, numbers & dots on each Inchimal block
  • Learn addition and subtraction concepts
  • Master pre-algebra understandings and balance equations
  • Stand Inchimals blocks side by side or stack neatly to promote fine motor control
  • Invite creative thinking, language & dialogue, and dramatic play

Let us know your favorite use of the Inchimals and don’t forget – this week only, you can save 15% by entering INCH25 at checkout!

Modified Instructions for “All Around Town”

We’re excited to bring you the second installment in our new series of Modified Instructions, created by Sam Blanco, BCBA.  Sam’s Modified Instructions present 3-4 additional ways to play a mainstream game to make it most useful and accessible for our students with special needs.  These alternative instructions break down each adapted game by:

  • Age/Skill Level
  • Number of Players
  • Object
  • Skills Required
  • Materials Needed
  • Prep
  • Instructions
  • Considerations

We’re thrilled to introduce Modified Instructions for the All Around Town game, an all-time favorite around here. The game helps reinforce logic, sorting, and social skills in your student.

All Around Town is a multi-player game that engages students as they explore stores in the neighborhood and develop sorting, thinking, and organizational skills.  The shops in this town are just like the ones you have visited in your neighborhood!  As you move around the game board, you’ll visit the grocery store, furniture store, book store, clothing store, pet store and art supply store.  Race around town and collect a card from every store and match them to your game mat.  In addition to developing logic skills, players will also sharpen their social skills and awareness of community locations.  Don’t forget to download our free Modified Instructions for All Around Town today!