Pick of the Week: Following Auditory Directions—Improve Auditory Processing of Visual & Spatial Information

Improve auditory attention, processing, and memory of visual and spatial information with Following Auditory Directions by SLP Jean Gilliam DeGaetano, and save 15%* on it when you apply our promo code FAD15 at checkout!

With 33 different cartoon illustrations and accompanying instructor directions, this unit will help your students stay engaged and attentive, as they listen carefully and translate auditory directions onto their picture pages. Each instructor’s page also has directions so that parents may review lessons at home as needed. Example directions include: Circle the picture that shows Fido in front of the front door; Find the picture where Fido is in front of the dog house, and color Fido brown; and Put dots on the hippopotamus that has painted toenails and is wearing a bow.

Spatial concepts include: front, top, in, on, behind, next to, close to, long, short, most, different, none, almost, beginning, end, few, dirty, clean, inside, under, near, tall, medium, between, middle, over, center, closed and open.

Don’t forget! You can take 15% off* your order of Following Auditory Directions this week only when you mention or enter promo code FAD15 at checkout!

*Offer is valid until 11:59pm EDT on July 29, 2014. Not compatible with any other offers. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at check out!

Tip of the Week: Teaching Language—Focus on the Stage, Not the Age

Teaching language skills is one of the most frequent needs for children with autism, but also one of the most misunderstood skillsets amongst both parents and practitioners. The desire to hear your learner speak in full sentences can be overwhelming, making it especially difficult to take a step back and consider what it means to communicate and how communication skills develop in neurotypical children. Many times we get hung up on what a child should be capable of communicating at a certain age, rather than focusing on what they are capable of communicating at this stage of development.

Many practitioners and curricula utilize Brown’s Stages of Language Development.* Brown described the first five stages of language development in terms of the child’s “mean length of utterance” (or MLU) as well as the structure of their utterances.


From aacinstitute.org

Sometimes it is necessary to compare a child to his or her same-age peers in order to receive services or measure progress, but it can be detrimental to focus on what a child should be doing at a specific age instead of supporting them and reinforcing them for progress within their current stage.

Research has suggested that teaching beyond the child’s current stage results in errors, lack of comprehension, and difficulty with retention. Here are some common errors you may have witnessed:

  • The child learns the phrase “I want _____ please.” This phrase is fine for “I want juice, please” or “I want Brobee, please,” but it loses meaning when overgeneralized to “I want jump, please” or “I want play, please.” It’s better to allow your learner to acquire hundreds of 1-2 word mands (or requests) before expecting them to speak in simple noun+verb mands.
  • The child learns to imitate only when the word “say” is used. Then the child makes statements such as “say how are you today,” as a greeting or “say I’m sorry,” when they bump into someone accidentally. Here, the child clearly has some understanding of when the phrases should be used without understanding the meanings of the individual words within each phrase.
  • The child learns easily overgeneralized words such as “more.” This is useful at times, but the child can start using it for everything. Instead of saying “cookie” he’ll say “more.” Instead of saying “train,” he’ll say “more.” And he may say “more” when the desired item is not present, leaving the caregiver frustrated as he/she tries to guess what the child is requesting. Moreover, as language begins to develop, he may misuse it by saying things such as “more up, please.”
  • The child learns to say “Hello, how are you today?” upon seeing a person entering a room. A child comes into the classroom and the learner looks up, says “Hello, how are you today?” The child responds, “Great! Look at the cool sticker I got!” Your learner then doesn’t respond at all, or may say “fine,” as he has practiced conversations of greeting.

These are only a few of the common language errors you may see. While you may want your learner to speak in longer sentences, your goal should be to have them communicate effectively. With this goal in mind, it becomes essential to support them at their current stage, which means it’s essential to assess them and understand how to help them make progress.

This is why I always use the VB-MAPP to assess each child and make decisions about language instruction. I need to have a full understanding of how the learner is using language, and then move them through each stage in a clear progression. I may want the child to say “Hello, how are you today?” But when I teach them that, do they understand those individual words? Do they comprehend what today means as opposed to yesterday or tomorrow? Do they generalize the use of “how” to other questions?

As you make treatment decisions for your learner, think about their current stage and talk about how to support your child with both a Speech Language Pathologist and an ABA therapist.

*Brown, R. (1973). A first language: The early stages. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.

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.

Pick of the Week: “The Cow Says Moo” – 10 Tips to Teach Your Toddler to Talk

Teach your child to communicate with words and expand his or her language skills with the new early intervention guide The Cow Says Moo. And this week only, you can take 15% off* your purchase of The Cow Says Moo by entering in our promo code MOO15 at check out!

The Cow Says Moo is an early intervention guide that teaches parents easy-to-use, common-sense strategies for helping their children learn to communicate. The 10 tips and appendices filled with songs, checklists, and resources rely on the same methods that practitioners use when providing direct home-based speech therapy to toddlers and their families.

Tips focus on things like giving your child a reason to talk, using sign language, oral motor exercises, finding the right word, pairing movement with sound and more.

This simple guide delivers speech therapy activities that any parent can implement right away.

Save 15%* on your order of The Cow Says Moo this week by mentioning or entering in promo code MOO15 at checkout.

*Offer is valid until 11:59pm EDT on July 1, 2014. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no dashes or spaces in your code at check out!

Pick of the Week: “Expanding and Combining Sentences” Interactive Workbook

For students who are already able to talk or write in simple, choppy sentences, this interactive workbook will open gateways to success in language and literacy! Save 15%* on your purchase of Expanding and Combining Sentences by speech and language pathologist Marilyn M. Toomey this week only, by applying or mentioning our promo code EXPAND8 at check out!

Color picture pages, along with specific instructions, provide a means of evoking interesting and descriptive sentences from students.

Students will learn how to expand their sentences by using the color cues provided in the book, as pictures become progressively colorful and a new detail is added to the sequence. In no time at all, young learners will be able to tell an entire story by using complex and detailed sentences!

97 pages in total with 40 colored pages.  Preview the book.

This interactive workbook will be the perfect resource to teach the challenging task of making sentences more interesting with descriptive words.  Don’t forget – this week only, take 15% off* your order of Expanding and Combining Sentences by applying code EXPAND8 at checkout!

Marilyn M. Toomey is also the author of several other popular speech and language workbooks, such as Talking in SetencesVerbal Reasoning ActivitiesThe Language of Perspective Taking, and much more.

*Offer is valid until 11:59pm EDT on 6/10/2014. Not compatible with other offers. Be sure there are no spaces or dashes in your code at checkout!

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.

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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.

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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: 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: “Introducing Inference”

Our ability to infer or to draw conclusions given partial information is a cornerstone of our reasoning process. It is important for students to be able to infer or draw conclusions in their daily lives as well as in academic settings comfortably and confidently. Guessing, implying, hinting, suggesting, supposing and reasoning are just a few of the mental processes in which we draw inference. For language students, using inference as they problem-solve will also enable them to explain how they come to their conclusions. This week only, we are offering a 15% discount on one of our favorites, “Introducing Inference” by Marilyn Toomey, to help you make inference more friendly to your student. Just enter in our promotional code INFER11 at checkout to redeem your savings.

The aim is to teach students that using inference in their reasoning process is using their best judgment. In the first part of the book, students identify missing parts of people, objects, or animals.  For example, an image of bike with a missing wheel is accompanied by “A bicycle is supposed to have two ______, but this bicycle has only one. One ______ is missing.”

Sample

In later activities, students move on to looking for missing information in sequenced events that are presented in pictures. They are asked to explain what part of the sequence or process is missing. Finally, students will learn to predict and analyze outcomes as they read or listen to simple scenarios.

Click here for a preview of the inside of the book!

Remember, this week only, save 15%* on your order of “Introducing Inference” by entering in promo code INFER11 at checkout!

*Offer is valid through Feb. 11, 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: In, On, and Under

Teaching prepositions can be greatly enhanced if children are given ways to manipulate objects. The use of images and hands-on activities can help students better grasp what prepositions are and how they are used. To help your child get started with learning prepositions, this week only, we are offering a 15% markdown on the In, On, and Under kit. Enter our promo code BLOGPREP8 at checkout to redeem these savings.

In, On, and Under is a charming kit that teaches the prepositions “in”, “on”, “under”, “next to”, “in front of”, and “behind”. The game asks children to match a card with a penguin or chick in a hat or wooden tub to a game board.  The game includes 4 boards, 24 cards, 4 chicks, 4 penguins, a wooden tub, a felt hat, a metal carriage, as well as teaching notes. These appealing objects can also be used with and without the game boards to help your student expand spatial awareness and develop vocabulary and language skills.

This week only, save 15% on your order of In, On, and Under, by entering in promo code BLOGPREP8* at checkout.

*Offer is valid until Nov. 26, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces in the promo code at checkout!

Pick of the Week: Social Thinking Books

Social thinking is what we do when we interact with people–how we think about people affects how we behave, which in turn affects how others respond to us, which in turn affects our own feelings. More than 15 years ago, Michelle Garcia Winner coined the term Social Thinking® and developed the related treatment approach for individuals with high-functioning autism, Asperger’s and similar challenges as she treated her students. The term social thinking now encompasses many treatment programs broadly described as “teaching social thinking and related skills.” These strategies share common traits and differ from “social skills” teachings by building specific thinking strategies that occur prior to social communication and interaction.

To help you get started on the Social Thinking® curriculum with your child, this week only, we’re offering a 15% discount on our Social Thinking books: Think Social! A Social Thinking Curriculum for School-Age StudentsThinking About YOU Thinking About ME (2nd Edition)Social Thinking Worksheets for Tweens and Teens: Learning to Read In-Between the Social Lines, and Worksheets! for Teaching Social Thinking and Related Skills. Use promo code BLOGSOCL4* on your online order at checkout.

Think Social! A Social Thinking Curriculum for School-Age Students addresses methods for teaching social-cognitive and -communicative skills to students with deficits in those areas using the Social Thinking Model. This is a core Social Thinking curriculum book and complements Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME.

The 69 included lessons teach students the basics of working and thinking in a group. Each chapter addresses how to use and interpret language (verbal and nonverbal) to understand the contexts where real communication happens. The lessons contained can be used from kindergarten through adulthood, and parents and professionals are encouraged to modify the activities to make them age-appropriate. The beginning lessons introduce the Social Thinking Vocabulary to students and caregivers, so that it can be used throughout the day. Each chapter concludes with IEP goal suggestions to reinforce the concepts. Each chapter also provides a list of educational standards to tie it to the academics of the classroom. An included CD-ROM (Mac/PC compatible) contains all the handouts that accompany the lessons in the book.

Thinking About YOU Thinking About ME presents concrete lessons and strategies for enhancing perspective-taking in students across all ages, as well as information on how to apply them in different settings. It is designed for use by both parents and professionals with students from kindergarten through grade 12. Packed with assessments, teaching methods, and worksheets, this manual covers Michelle Garcia Winner’s perspective-taking model, the four steps of communication (which creates a framework for understanding the complexities of social thinking), sample IEP goals and benchmarks along with complete lessons that can be used in a school or therapeutic setting, Social Behavior Mapping (which presents visual ways to teach students the impact of behavior on themselves and others), the Social Thinking Dynamic Assessment Protocol (which explores why many assessments fall short and provides 25 pages of templates to use as an informal assessment strategy), as well as concrete strategies and templates to help students build their own dynamic social thinking abilities.

Social Thinking Worksheets for Tweens and Teens focuses on (pre)adolescent social concepts that explore how social rules and expectations change with age and require more mature social thinking and social skills. This book covers lessons on friendship, being bossy, participating in groups, and more. There are 160 worksheets across 9 lesson sections along with a PC/MAC compatible CD that contains all the worksheets for downloading. The material in this book may also be used by older students who are less mature or who learn this type of information more slowly.

Worksheets! For Teaching Social Thinking and Related Skills encourages students with Asperger’s Syndrome, autism spectrum disorders (higher functioning), ADHD, NVLD and undiagnosed others to process more deeply what social thinking means to them. This book provides parents and educators with ways to explore breaking down abstract social thinking concepts into concrete ways for students to work on them individually or in group settings. Lessons are organized into categories that include friendship, perspective taking, self-monitoring, being part of a group, problem solving and more. Some worksheets are appropriate for grades K-4, but they work best with grades 5-12.

Remember, this week only, save 15% on your order of any of our Social Thinking® books by entering in the promo code BLOGSOCL4* at checkout!

*Offer is valid until Nov. 19, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces in the promo code at checkout!

Pick of the Week: The Early Start Denver Model

As the first comprehensive, empirically tested intervention specifically designed for toddlers and preschoolers with autism, the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) is an early intervention approach for toddlers ages 12-36 months and continuing until ages 48-60 months. The model does not require a particular setting for implementation and can be used by parents, teachers, therapists, at home, in preschool or in a clinical setting. To help you get started with this early intervention model developed by Sally Rogers, Ph.D., and Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., we are offering a 15% discount on the Early Start Denver Model for Young Children with Autism Manual and its accompanying Curriculum Checklists this week. Just enter in the promotional code BLOGESDM3 at check out to redeem your savings!

The Early Start Denver Model is the only comprehensive early intervention model that has been validated in a randomized clinical trial for use with children with autism as young as 18 months of age. It has been found to be effective for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across a wide range of learning styles and abilities. Its core features include the following:

  • Naturalistic applied behavioral analytic strategies
  • Sensitive to normal developmental sequence
  • Deep parental involvement
  • Focus on interpersonal exchange and positive affect
  • Shared engagement with joint activities
  • Language and communication taught inside a positive, affect-based relationship

The manual provides structured, hands-on strategies for working with very young children in individual as well as group settings to promote development in key areas such as imitation; communication; social, cognitive and motor skills; adaptive behavior; and play.

In order to implement individualized treatment plans for each child, users must complete the ESDM Curriculum Checklist, which is an assessment tool. One non-reproducible checklist is included in the manual for reference with instructions for use. Additional checklists are sold separately in sets of 15.

This week only, take 15% off your purchase of the ESDM for Young Children with Autism Manual and the accompanying ESDM Curriculum Checklists by entering in the promo code BLOGESDM3 at checkout.*

*This offer expires on October 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces in the promo code at check out!