Meet Stacy Asay, LMSW, ABA Provider and Different Roads Consultant

StacyDo you believe in fate? Many years ago, after a particularly grueling day, Stacy thought, maybe it would be nice to have a 9-5 job. On a whim, she contacted Different Roads inquiring about job opportunities. When we saw her resume and credentials, we nearly jumped out of our seats with excitement. Of course, luckily for all of us, Stacy realized her calling was in the field working directly with children but she’s been consulting with us ever since.

Stacy has worked with us on so many projects, each one intended to bring our customers the best materials we can and create a community for all of us to be a part of. She has provided invaluable input on product selection, contributed informative and practical blog posts and been an irreplaceable source of information on the realities of providing ABA services and being an Early Intervention Provider. We don’t know what we would do without her!

Stacy worked on the development of our robust app, Tell Me About It! Teaching Language by Receptive Function, Feature and Category. She developed and created Hooray for Play! Leading Learners Along the Path to Play. These flashcards break down the components of 31 individual play schema cards into the three organized sections that provide a memorable framework for socio-dramatic play. The Do! Section explains the various roles, Say!! outlines possible scripted statements by the involved actors and Play!!! offers suggestions for props and set-up.

We asked Stacy a few questions about her work and what keeps her inspired:

Tell us about a particularly influential child you’ve worked with and how it impacted your approach to EI?

Wow, this is a really hard question!   Without a doubt each student I have had the privilege of working with has provided insight into my work with children and families in invaluable ways.  I can’t pinpoint one student out of all of my sixteen years that has single handedly impacted my approach in any quantifiable way because the process has been more cumulative than that.  However, I have learned to accept that I will constantly be surprised by my students and am reminded everyday to just set the bar high no matter what the initial presentation of the student is.  It is only natural that parents and colleagues take the current level of the child’s functioning and try to extrapolate that because facing the unknown is always hard but I try and remind myself and others that programmatic decisions can’t be made based on what we think might happen or how we assume learning and development may unfold.  Instead we should enlist our creativity and collaborative efforts to teach what is socially relevant and appropriately challenging for that particular student in that moment.

If you had one piece of advice to teachers or therapists just entering the field, what would it be?

I would have to say “Be flexible!”  Our students have a diagnosis characterized by rigidity in thought and behavior and often ABA therapists meet a child’s rigidity with their own rigidity about the right way to teach something just because it worked with the child before. Or perhaps you will teach “Sam” to tact colors using flashcards because that is how it is “supposed to be taught” without any consideration to individualizing the teaching conditions, addressing individual specific motivational issues or without concern for the lack of generalization or increased prompt dependency.  ABA is a science that employs a systematic analysis of external conditions or factors that either increase or decrease the likelihood of a behavior.  Within that we have infinite possibilities to harness the science in a way that is best for an individual child and a myriad of opportunities to model flexibility for our student through our own behavior.


Stacy L. Asay, LMSW is a licensed social worker, providing home-based Early Intervention services to children and their families in the New York City area.

After graduating from Hunter College with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she went on to complete a Master’s of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2006 and completed the course requirements toward board certification in May of 2013.

With nearly sixteen years of experience, her work with special needs children integrates a strengths-based, holistic approach to child and family augmented with the tools of Applied Behavior Analysis, a methodology that allows for reliable measurement, objective evaluation of behaviors, and the systematic teaching of language and learning skills.  This results in an individualized curriculum that equips children with the tools they need for learning and living while honoring their unique spirit.

Currently, Stacy’s professional interests lie in the realm of developing new methods and tools for the effective teaching of play skills.

Back to School Savings: New Low Price on Sign to Talk Nouns and Verbs!

DRC_479_Sign_toTalk_NounsThe K&K Sign to Talk Nouns and Sign to Talk Verbs are a trusted resource designed to shape verbal language specifically for individuals with autism and other developmental challenges. It’s back to school time and we’re dropping the price of the cards by $20! The Sign to Talk Nouns are now $139 and the Verbs are $119!

The front of each card has a large 5″x7″, full-color, glossy photo of the target item. The reverse side contains a photo of the ASL sign, a written description of the hand shapes, and a series of Kaufman Speech to Language “word shells,” which are highly effective for shaping intelligible articulation.

The Sign to Talk Nouns include a variety of everyday objects (nouns) that children frequently request and that double as excellent reinforcers. The Kit contains 150 noun cards and the accompanying 40-page manual fully explains the approach. The Sign to Talk Verbs include 80 everyday actions that children frequently request  as well as the accompanying 40-page manual.

SigntoTalkVerbsTake advantage of the new low price on these excellent teaching tools while you can!


Pick of the Week: Candy Construction Building Set

Pairing candy with an early construction toy is inherently – and sweetly – reinforcing. Save 15% on this week’s Pick of the Week, the Candy Construction Building Set by entering in the promo code BLOGCNDY4 at checkout.

This set of swirling peppermints, chocolate panels, purple gumdrops, and licorice sticks encourages young learners to develop fine motor skills with creative constructive play.


DRG_498_Candy_Constuction_2This construction set comes with 92 chunky, durable pieces, as well as an Activity Guide with illustrated, step-by-step directions, so that young learners can nurture their fine motor skills while exercising creative and problem-solving skills with a variety of fun and familiar designs. This construction building set includes pieces that are self-correcting, fitting together in specific ways and allow children to work until they achieve success. The Candy Construction Building Set is recommended for children ages 4 years and up.

This week only, take 15% off the Candy Construction Building Set in your online order by entering in the promotional code BLOGCNDY4 at check out!*

*Offer expires on July 2nd, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces after the Promo Code when you enter it at checkout.

Pick of the Week: Games for Early Intervention & Young Learners

Our latest catalog has just arrived and there’s a lot of talk in the office about which of the 70 new products are our favorites. These three games are definitely leading in votes. Hello Sunshine!, Zingo!, and Roll & Play are fun, interactive games that teach key concepts to young learners and are a perfect fit for any EI program.


Hello Sunshine! is a charming game will have you and your children laughing and playing while learning prepositions. You can play hide and seek with Sunshine – a huggable plush toy – while teaching positional concepts such as In, On Top, Below, Next To, and more. Pick a card and then hide Sunshine BEHIND your back, NEXT to a chair, IN a bed…The toy comes with a storage pocket for the 18 double-sided cards (36 images). Hello Sunshine! builds vocabulary and language skills through smiles.


Roll & Play
is an ideal first game as it gently introduces young learners to play patterns and rules of a game through interactive activities that encourage creativity, active play and gross motor skill development. Roll the big, plush cube and identify which colored side faces up. Choose a matching color card and perform the simple activity shown. Players will “Make a happy face,” “Moo like a cow,” and “Find something red.” The activity cards cover six categories that are part of early development: Emotions, Counting, Body Parts, Colors, Animal Sounds, and Actions. All of the activities are designed to let children shine, supporting their development and celebrating their success. The plush cube comes with 48 cards, 8 in each category and a parent’s guide.


is a wildly popular game that’s a fast-paced, energetic variant on Bingo…with a zing! Zingo encourages pre-readers and early readers alike to match the pictures and words on their challenge cards with the tiles revealed in the Zinger device. The first player with a full card wins by yelling out “ZINGO!” Two levels of play and game variation ensure that the zaniness won’t end. In addition to delighting players of all ages, Zingo builds language and matching skills, concentration and social interaction.




This week only, save 15% on Hello Sunshine!, Roll & Play, and Zingo! by entering the Promo Code BLOGEIG2 at checkout.

*Offer expires on April 2, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces after the Promo Code when you enter it at checkout.

The Success of Early Intervention!

The other day our wonderful consultant Stacy Asay came to chat. Stacy has been working with young children in early intervention for 15 years.  Whenever we look at new products or books, we always ask her to give us an opinion on its value to teaching children on the autism spectrum.

We were discussing the benefits of Early Intervention – what kids on the spectrum are like when they are two years old and the amazing skills and capabilities that they acquire through applied behavior analysis and verbal behavior teaching.  Children who can’t make words or eye contact at 2 are able to hold long discussions about their favorite topics at 4.

As Abigail and I started thinking about the astounding success that these children have been making over the years, it dawned on us that our mission here at Different Roads is being fulfilled by these kids!

Our mission is to make a difference in the lives of children diagnosed with autism, giving them tools needed to find success in gaining independence.  We just figured out that by the time our pre-school students get to a school age program, they know how to label, ask questions and do math.  What they need is guidance in social skills.

We are amazed by the progress of so many of our young students…..we know that our products have made a difference and we’re so happy to share in each child’s success. Many of you have stories of these successes. We hope that you will find the time to share stories of the new capabilities and skills that your child has acquired through early intervention.

Building Early Reading and Language Skills in Children with Autism: A Guest Post by Joan Green

This week, we’re thrilled to share a guest post by our friend and colleague, Joan Green. Joan has taught special education in California for 20 years and was even selected as the Special Education Teacher of the Year in 1997. As a member of an Autism Task Force, she co-authored a certification of competency for teaching children with autism. Based on her years of experience in the classroom, she developed a series of Interactive Reading Books designed to build language and literacy in your learners. These books have been incredibly popular over the years and we thought you all might enjoy learning a bit more about how and why they were created and how she implemented them with her students. Joan’s Interactive Reading Books are all available as this week’s Pick of the Week at a 15% discount. Just enter the promo code BLOGIRB7 at checkout.


I taught special education in Los Angeles schools for 20 years. In the beginning I had children with a variety of disabilities including Down syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Kabuki Syndrome and other developmental delays. During this time the students with autism were in specific autism programs and not in my class. After a few years I began teaching Early Childhood Special Education and began getting children with autism in my program.  These children are often diagnosed between 2 and 3 years of age and begin early intervention services. Once the child turns three and they begin public school it is important that teachers know the strategies that are helpful to children with autism. I began going to seminars on Teacch, Floortime, PECS, PRT, and ABA and read many books written by respected individuals who had worked with children with autism. I learned that visual strategies were very important and helpful for these children and incorporated the strategies I had learned and provided visual information throughout my classroom.

All of my students were either non-verbal or language delayed and I began using PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) with all of my students. Picture Exchange Communication does not require that children speak; giving a picture card to someone is their communication. If, however, a child did have some speech, I wanted to hear it. If they could use one word utterances, I wanted two, if they used two words, I wanted three. I began putting sentence strips around my room that the children would bring to me to request objects or activities. All the interesting new materials were put within sight, but out of reach. On top of the cabinet could be a new truck and the sentence strip attached to the cabinet reading, “I want truck please.” Children would bring me the strip and if they had expressive language we would “read” the strip together and they would get the truck to play with. When they were done the truck would go back to the top of the cabinet. I used a Visual Schedule to help the children understand their day, what was going to be happening and if there were any changes in expected activities.

I found that when given the visual cue of a picture, the children were beginning to speak and label more than they had before. When the children began increasing their vocabulary by using pictures and sentence strips I thought to myself, “If they can read a sentence, then they can read a book. What is a book but a bunch of sentences?” and this is how the idea of Interactive Reading Books came into being.

 Children with autism are often taught using a method called Applied Behavior Analysis. There is a sequence of activities that are used to help the children acquire language where they match, identify and then label pictures. I utilized this strategy and developed a book called What Color Is It? where the children matched pictures of objects and colors, then identified and labeled them and finally they were to be sequenced into sentence order and read in sentence form. The children would practice reading the sentences with the pictures and finally read the sentences without any picture cues. Since some children with autism are good at memorization, I made put the books on rings so the sentence order could be changed to help determine if the child was reading or had memorized  the sentence order.

Using the students’ IEP goals, I began creating books that taught the skills they needed. Reading color words and number words are kindergarten goals so What Color Is It? and How Many? were two of our first books. We followed up with Things I Do At Home and I Go to School which included the vocabulary and visual schedule of activities that are performed in their home and school environments. All of the children in my class and many children in special education have speech goals on their IEP and therefore all our Interactive Reading Books were created to be helpful in reaching speech and language goals. We now have 18 titles and many cover more advanced language skills, such as idioms, functions, social behavior and more.


The full list of titles appears below. Remember, this week only, save 15% on all of Joan Green’s Interactive Reading Books by entering the Promo Code BLOGIRB7 at checkout.

How Do I Feel?
How Many?
Things I Do at Home
I Go To School
What Color Is It?
Sounds Good to Me! An Interactive Reading Book with Phonucs and the Alphabet
The Ups and Downs of Opposites
What Do I Do? Appropriate School Behaviors
What Do I Say? Appropriate Social Responses
What’s It For? Function and Categorizing
Meet the Word Family
Show Me A Sign: An Interactive Reading Book About Safety Signs
What Do They Really Mean? An Interactive Reading Book About Idioms

*Offer expires on September 26, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces after the Promo Code when you enter it at checkout.


Pick of the Week: Verbal Behavior Targets

As the school year rapidly approaches, many of you teachers out there will have your hands full with assessments, IEP development and planning, all in addition to the excitement of getting to know your new students. Verbal Behavior Targets: A Tool to Teach Mands, Tacts & Intraverbals can save you tons of time and energy by providing you with comprehensive word lists that can be used for both assessment and teaching. This is a vital resource for anyone teaching language to a student with Autism or speech and language delays.  The book consists of words and word combination lists categorized by word families covering nouns including people, places, events and things inside and outside plus verbs, adjectives, adverbs, verbs plus nouns, nouns plus nouns, fill in the blanks, verb tense, receptive instruction, categories, features, functions and topics for conversation.

This week only, you can save 15% on Verbal Behavior Targets by entering the Promo Code BLOGVBT9 at checkout.

As one reviewer in Wisconsin puts it: “Special education programs are now an integral part of every public school system in the country. Among the student populations for which these programs are purposed are those students who suffer from language delays, most especially the growing number of children diagnosed with various forms of autism. Now classroom instructors and special education support staff working with these children can have access to a vital resource with “Verbal Behavior Targets: A Tool To Teach Mands, Tacts And Intraverbals”, written by Diana Luckevich, an experienced data analyst with expertise in computerization applications in education. With a particular focus on autistic learners, “Verbal Behavior Targets” includes word lists and word combinations categorized by word families; accessible tools for children who are ESL learners; who have Down syndrome; who are autistic; or who are experiencing language delays; and/or are dealing with developmental disabilities. “Verbal Behavior Targets” also features common, functional and relevant language goals suitable for any child who is learning word skills. Enhanced with additional spaces and worksheets for teachers and involved parents to customize and track language for an individual child, “Verbal Behavior Targets” is an especially recommended addition for special education curriculum reference libraries and classroom lesson planning supplements.”

*Offer expires on August 14, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces after the Promo Code when you enter it at checkout.

The Importance of Assessment in Treatment Planning, by Mark Sundberg, PhD

Did you know that the Different Roads’ catalog features exclusive articles by experts, parents, and teachers working with students with autism? This article by Mark Sundberg, author of the The Verbal Behavior Milestone Assessment & Placement Program (VB-MAPP), focuses on the importance of assessment in any treatment or intervention program. We’re sure you’ll find it informative!

Pick of the Week: Dr. Jen’s U-Play Mat for Education – NEW!

When you’re in one-on-one sessions and get down on the floor with the kids, wouldn’t it be wonderful to still have the benefits of a working surface that the child has complete visual and tactile access to? The brand new, innovative U-Play Mat is the answer! The U-shaped mat and 50 photo flashcards create a solid learning environment, promoting face-to-face interaction and eye contact.

There are 10 clear pockets on the 4′ x 3′ mat which allows the child full visual and tactile access. The U-Play Mat comes with 2 decks of cards featuring Animals and Foods from the folks who brought you the Language Builder Picture Cards. Each deck has 50 cards with 25 matching pairs. Each card has a clear, photographic image with the corresponding label on one side, and fun facts on the reverse. These fun facts can serve as conversation starters to build interaction, vocabulary and language skills. You can also use the U-Play Mat with additional customized set of flashcards and images. There is a detailed Activity Guide for therapists, educators, and parents to organize and implement an education program. The guide comes complete with 19 custom-designed, reproducible data sheets to record responses and track progress.

This week only, save 15% on the new Dr. Jen’s U-Play Mat for Education by entering the Promo Code BLOGUPM at checkout.

*Offer expires on June 26, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST. Not compatible with any other offer. Be sure there are no spaces after the Promo Code when you enter it at checkout


Pick of the Week: Save OVER $100 on the Language Builder Flashcard Bundle

This is a fantastic deal and it won’t last long…The Language Builder Flashcard Bundle contains 3 sets of cards at savings of over $100! Normally, purchasing these top sellers individually costs $268.90 but this week only, wwe’re offering the Language Builder Picture Cards, Language Builder Picture Noun Cards Set 2, and the Photo Emotion Cards for $165.00 for ALL THREE! That’s over $100 in savings!

To take advantage of this amazing offer, you must click on the links above! This special offer is only available to you – our readers -for one week! The offer ends on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST. Since it’s an exclusive offer, you must follow the links on this post to access the Language Builder Picture Card Flashcard Bundle on our site.

The Language Builder Card Sets are the most widely used photo language flashcards for teaching key language concepts to children and adults with autism, developmental delays, or speech/language delays. All of the cards measure the same 3 1/2″ x 5″ so coordinating the flashcards is a breeze.

The Language Builder Picture Noun Cards contain 350 photographic flashcards for teaching key language concepts to children with autism or other speech and language delays. This set of vivid, beautiful noun cards was created by a parent and a therapist both personally experienced in the program needs of Applied Behavioral Analysis.
The set includes images in nine basic categories: Animals, Foods, Vehicles, Furniture, Clothing, Toys, Everyday Objects, Shapes and Colors. Stage One is comprised of 105 cards that present two identical images on non-distracting white backgrounds. These basic cards foster matching, labeling and categorization skills. The remaining cards round out Stage Two, which presents the images in their natural settings, enabling children to conceptualize and generalize.
In addition to fostering receptive and expressive language, these cards are also ideal for higher learning, including functions, story telling and more. On the back of each card is an easy to use system for tracking your child’s progress, including a list of possible program uses, with the date that each is introduced and mastered. Each set includes 57 foods, 39 animals, 27 vehicles, 31 clothing items, 24 furniture items, 39 familiar toys, 15 basic stages sets, 13 colors with duplicates, 12 shapes with duplicates and 83 additional objects familiar to your child.


The Language Builder Picture Noun Cards Set 2 is a 200-Card set of photographic cards that offers additional vocabulary for students who have mastered the original Language Builder. Categories include Body Parts, Safety Signs, Tools, and Musical Instruments, along with over 100 additional cards to expand your set. This set is great for labeling practice, as well as sorting, adjectives, functions, things that go together, storytelling and more.





The Language Builder Photo Emotions depict facial expressions and emotions by presenting various scenarios featuring men and women of various ages and ethnicities. This 80-Card set will help students identify and discuss different feelings and emotions. Half of the images are presented against a plain background, showing only the upper body and face, clearly depicting a single emotion. The remaining cards show people engaging in real activities and situations in natural settings and contexts. This invites discussion about a range of emotions, why people may feel a certain way, and possible responses to these feelings. For the convenience of the instructor, the back of each card is numbered, provides a label for the featured image, and lists suggested activities for which the card is targeted. An included activity booklet provides more detailed instruction ideas.

*This offer ends on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST.  You must click on the links above to access the Bundle on our website.