You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Language’ category.

Our letter this week is R, and the important fringe word is READ!

read

READ is a very important academic word, which is why we teach it at school. All students, including preverbal students and students who are emerging communicators, deserve instruction and access to literacy skills. Many of our students will become readers. All of our students can increase their ability to respond to and use text in their communities. Reading is important for everyone.

Multi ethnic group of pre school students in classroom

But how do we teach the *word* “read”?

BY READING, SILLY!

Yes, it’s true. The best way to teach children about reading is by reading. Who knew?

61nqff2bxkjl-_sx258_bo1204203200_

Read It, Don’t Eat It!┬áby Ian Schoenherr is a great book to use, since every page has a picture of an animal interacting with the book. It is also great for working on negation, because every page except the first is showing what *not* to do with a book!

71gavapywxl

You Can Read by Helaine Becker and Mark Hoffman is another great book to read, to talk about reading. The word “read” is on every page, and the book goes through all of the different places you can read a book! Also nice for working on “where” questions.

Or… just read! Any book you want! Kids learn to read by watching adults read, and by reading fun books with adults, and by exploring books on their own. Any interaction with a book is a good interaction.

Head to your local library, and get reading!

Advertisements

quiet

QUIET is another fringe vocabulary word that is very useful for students, particularly at school.

51zav2bp7s0l-_sx258_bo1204203200_

The Quiet Book by Renata Liwska and Deborah Underwood is a gem that I discovered as I was searching for books using the word “quiet”. Every page describes a different kind of “quiet” – right before a surprise quiet, sleepy in bed quiet, best friends don’t need to talk quiet – and has beautiful illustrations as well. I like that every page has the word “quiet” on it, and none of the pages have too many words, making it a good book for emerging communicators and minimally verbal students.

It is tempting to practice “quiet” only by telling students to be quiet – in the library, when teacher is talking, when parents are giving directions. It is true that adults do often tell children to be quiet, but that is not the only important use of that word.

child-covering-ears_ojyjpa

Many children who are emerging communicators have difficulty with loud noises. They may experience pain, fear, discomfort, or disorientation when loud noises are present. Loud noises often happen at school, and students need ways to tell adults and peers what they need. Teaching QUIET is a way to help students advocate for themselves in noisy situations that may be scary or overwhelming.

This week we are learning the word PUSH in Teacher Norma’s classroom. (We learned the word ON last week, which I will catch up with in another post. Last week got away from me!)

push

PUSH is not quite as common as other CORE words, but it is a very useful word for children, as it is a frequently used word during play.

Activities to practice PUSH:

  • Swings – PUSH on the swings. PUSH more! PUSH again! PUSH up! PUSH can be combined with other CORE words to make some great 2-word combinations.
  • Playing – PUSH a toy car! PUSH a ball! PUSH a button on a toy! There are tons of opportunities to use the word PUSH during play.
  • Behavior – less fun, but we can work on PUSH in situations where students are being inappropriately physical with peers or family members. Pair PUSH with a negation CORE word (no, stop, not) to teach appropriate behaviors, and help students to understand what behaviors are inappropriate.
push

“push” in American Sign Language

You can, and probably should, use the word PUSH in more than one modality. Using spoken words (verbal) is the easiest for most parents and teachers, but pairing the word with the ASL sign, or with an AAC icon, makes the teaching more powerful. Use whatever modalities your child responds to the best!

51btv8hy7gl-_sx258_bo1204203200_

Our book this week is Don’t Push The Button! by Bill Cotter. Larry the monster tells the readers “Don’t push the button!”, and then of course the button gets pushed, and the monster cycles through different silly skin colors until finally he gets back to his original purple skin. Fun! There are lots of chances to pair PUSH with other CORE words (“not push” “push more” “push again”) as well as using PUSH with yes/no questions (Should we push the button?).

Keep PUSHing on with CORE words, and I’ll be back next week!

no

Our CORE word this week in Teacher Norma’s classroom is the word “NO”.

You may wonder why we are teaching students to say “no.” Isn’t that word something we wish students would say less often? Why should we encourage students to use such a negative word?

There are many reasons to teach the word “no.” One of the big reasons is because every person, including students who have significant disabilities, or who are using AAC, have the right to say “no” to actions, objects, or activities which they do not want. In the Communication Bill of Rights, developed by the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities in 2016, the right to say “no” is the third item on the list of rights. It is a basic human right.

temper_tantrum-300x195

Another reason to teach students how to say “no” is because when students do not know how to say “no”, they will use behavior to tell us “no” in other ways. Tantrums, aggression, throwing, biting, hitting, shutting down, passive resistance, and crying are only some of the ways that students will tell us “no” without words. Students deserve to be taught socially appropriate ways to say “no” using words, so that they do not need to resort to the anti-social behavioral ways to communicate their rejection.

520x293bb

How do you teach students to say “no”? “No” often does not make sense without the option to say “yes” as well. One of my most-used apps is the Yes/No app by I Can Do Apps. It is a very simple app with only one screen – a large “yes” button, and a large “no” button. The app has voice-output, so it says “yes” or “no” when each button is touched. The app is FREE.

do-you-want-a-cookie-3

One of the easiest questions to start with for yes/no is the question “Do you want _______?”. Asking students about their personal preferences is more concrete than other kinds of yes/no questions, and gives them the ability to make a choice, and to reject things they don’t want. Start with one thing you know your child likes (food items, toys, etc), and one thing you know they do not want (undesirable foods, toys). Offer one, and then the other. If your child pushes away the thing they don’t want, you can model using their communication mode to reject. You could say “Oh! It looks like you mean “no” [touch the AAC, use the “no” sign, say the word]”. If it is appropriate, help your child to indicate “no” by touching/signing/saying “no”, and then immediately remove the thing they don’t like. When you offer the thing they do want, repeat the same prompts for the word “yes.”

Another way to teach the word “no” is using books! There are several which are particularly good.

51p6eoib9cl-_sx258_bo1204203200_

The book “Where’s Spot?” is a classic lift-the-flap book, where a mother dog looks for her puppy. Is Spot under the rug? No! Is Spot inside the clock? No! Is Spot in the basket? Yes!

“No, David!” is another classic, written by David Shannon as an autobiographical children’s book. In the book, David does naughty thing after naughty thing, and every page he is told “NO, David!”. By the end of the book David is in tears, but his mother reassures him that yes, she still loves him. I love this book for the many opportunities to practice saying “no”!

One more book that gives many chances to use “no” is the book “Is Your Mama a Llama?” On each page, Lloyd the Llama asks one of his friends if their mama is a llama. Every page until the last one, his friends say “no”. So many chances to practice!

more

The word MORE is very, very important! Students who are emerging communicators are often working on requesting, and teaching “more” is a high-value way to do it! The word “more” can be used to request either quantity or continuation.

goldfish2

Students can request “more” of any thing – fish crackers, Legos, juice, balls, pizza, bubbles, lunch… any object that they may want to have more of. To practice “more” with food items, give your child a small amount of something they like to eat or drink. When they finish it, wait for them to ask for “more” (or help them ask for “more” if this is a new skill) before you give them another small portion. Using smaller portions allows your child to have more chances to practice the word “more”, without ruining their appetite for supper.

tickling

Students can also request “more” of any action – tickling, bouncing, running, swimming, playing, watching YouTube, playing with iPads… any action that they want to continue! To practice “more” with actions, begin a game or activity that your child enjoys. At a natural pausing point, stop the game and wait for them to ask for “more.” If this is a new skill, you will need to help them ask for “more” (using picture symbols, signs, an iPad app, or verbal words) until they learn how to request “more” independently. If this word is a familiar word for your child, then perhaps give them one reminder, and then wait patiently. Playing with another adult who can show how to ask for “more” is also a good strategy.

iphone-guided-access-time-expired

If you are using an iPad and know how to use the guided access setting, a great way to practice “more” is to set the guided access timer to limit the number of minutes the iPad will work before the screen locks. That is a fantastic opportunity for your child to request “more” iPad, and for you to oblige by turning it on again!

more

“more” in American Sign Language

“More” is a very common “baby sign” – manual signs taught to infants before they can talk. This is because it is a developmentally early cognitive concept, that many babies and children with intellectual disabilities benefit from learning. Instead of needing to know the name of whatever they just had, they can simply ask for “more” and get it! “More” is a multipurpose word, which are the best kind of words for students who have difficulty learning many new words all at once.

61ilwanvhpl-_sx258_bo1204203200_

Our book this week is “Just One More” by Jennifer Hansen Rolli. In it, a little girl named Ruby always wants “just one more” of everything! One more minute in bed, one more hairy thingy, or one more push on the swing! She asks for “just one more” scoop of ice cream, but that turns out badly, so at the end of the book she decides that sometimes, just one is plenty.

We will continue learning MORE core words next week!

like

Our word of the week is LIKE! This is a particularly wonderful word. “Like” is a word we can use to comment about what we think. “Like” and “not like” are powerful ways to comment.

Students with complex communication needs are almost always taught to request; “I want _____.” While “I want…” is an important phrase, it is very limiting if we *only* teach students to request things. Communication involves more than getting what you want! We tell each other what we think (commenting), we say what we don’t want (protesting), we identify what we are experiencing (labeling). The word “like” is an entry into commenting, which is one of the pillars of language use.

9780802854803

Our book this week is a newer book, and deeper than most of the books I use. Every page has the sentence “I like _________” or “I don’t like ____________”. The last word of the sentence is something that western children often play with or enjoy – shoes, cars, bricks – and the spread on each page features a privileged child playing with the item on one side, and an underprivileged child performing child labor with the item on the other side. It is a thought-provoking look at childhood in different parts of the world, and a reminder that every child has the right to play, to receive an education, and to have a life of dignity. The last pages of the book have information about poverty and child labor, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

like

“like” in American Sign Language

At home, model the word “like” any time you experience something pleasant! You can use any modality to model “like” (picture symbols, manual sign, words).

  • Foods: I like cereal. I like coffee. I like eggnog. I like cookies. I like ice cream. I like carrots (really!).
  • Toys: I like legos. I like my teddy bear. I like my iPad.
  • Activities: I like jumping. I like watching movies. I like swimming. I like reading.
  • Places: I like my house. I like the park. I like the gym. I like school. I like Starbucks.
  • People: I like grandma. I like my dog. I like my teacher. I like my friend. I like you!

What do you like?

kick

K is for KICK! And yup, this is another word that is not actually a CORE word. “Kick” is a fringe vocabulary word, but one that lots of students need to know. Kicking is an action that lots of students enjoy, and (unfortunately), sometimes students will kick at inappropriate times. We need the word so that we can talk with students about when they can kick, and when they cannot kick.

Just like JUMP last week, kicking is a fun and important gross motor activity! Our students should be moving their bodies all day long!

Students can kick leaves!

1414502277949_wps_67_dated_28_10_2014_kicking_

Students can kick a ball!

1

Students can kick in the pool!

p_101570277

Here is the ASL sign for “kick”:

kick

ASL – “kick”

I didn’t find any good books focusing on “kick” for this week, so I ended up making my own on Boardmaker Online. If you have a subscription, you can view/read/play it here.

I can kick screenshot

How will you practice kicking this week?

J is for JUMP!

jump

“Jump” is another fringe word, but a very fun and engaging fringe word. Students in school may be told to jump during PE, or it may be something that is fun for them to do, and to tell others to do. Teacher Norma has a trampoline in her classroom, because many students need to jump as a sensory activity.

jump

“jump” in American Sign Language

There were TWO books featuring “jump” that I found this week. They are both awesome!

51wkqzc4j8l-_sx258_bo1204203200_

The book “Jump, Frog, Jump” by Robert Kalan has the recurring phrase “Jump, Frog, Jump!” on every other page. It is a fun story about a frog escaping capture by a multitude of other animals, and then eluding children as well. So fun!

6948975

The second book “Jump!” by Scott Fischer also featured a frog, who is startled and JUMPS because of a cat, who JUMPS because of a dog, who JUMPS because of a crocodile… you know how this one goes. It is another fun book, with many repetitions of the target word to give lots of practice.

On YouTube, there are many kids songs that involve jumping, such as the classic “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.”

Or this one, if you want to go crazy with it stuck in your head.

And for my ’90s friends… you knew this was coming.

in

ASL sign for “in”

The word IN is a very important preposition. It is one of the basic concept words I often work on with students, and a word I have written about before. It is one of the top-10 CORE words, because it is so functional, and combines with so many other words.

help-your-child-transition-to-the-big-kid-bed

Where is the boy? IN bed!

 

IN is a CORE word because it is multi-functional. At home, you can model IN by talking about what is IN a box, IN your fridge, IN your purse, or IN a backpack. Students can get IN a car, IN the bathtub, or IN bed. Food goes IN your tummy, and clothes belong IN the closet. Use whatever communication your student uses to practice the word IN all over the house!

74440

My main book this week is “Better Move On, Frog!”, which is an oldie-but-goodie by Ron Maris. In the book, the frog wants to go IN a hole. He goes around the yard, but finds out that all the holes already have animals IN them! He finally finds a pond where he can go IN and live, so the story has a happy ending.

nikki-mcclure-in-book-main-56395ed537f41-1500

A new favorite for me is the book “IN” by Nikki McClure. Her illustrations are fascinating, and the entire book is talking about things IN other things on every page. It is a bit busy for students who are easily visually distracted, but I just love it.

How will you practice IN this week?

help

HELP in American Sign Language

HELP is another CORE word that is not as common, but is highly functional and important. We are focusing on HELP this week in Teacher Norma’s classroom.

There are many ways to practice “help” in everyday life. Students may need help during their normal routines – help getting dressed, help eating, help opening, help getting something out of reach – the possibilities are almost endless. Our students will need help for lots of activities. When they need help, we need to HELP them to learn to ask for it by having their AAC available (on the table, in our hands, on the floor next to them, etc). We need to know where the HELP symbol is located, so we can quickly model it. If our students are using signs, we need to model the sign “help” right at the moment when they need the help.

tips-on-helping-your-child-learn-to-cooperate

But students aren’t always the ones who need help. Kids can participate in family life by helping their parents or siblings with chores or activities around the house. If adults learn to ask “help me”, they can model how to ask for help for themselves, and allow their children to learn how to participate and feel proud of their contributions to the family. Kids could help:

  • Preparing meals
  • Setting the table
  • Cleaning up toys
  • Feeding the pet
  • Putting dishes in the dishwasher
  • Putting away clothes
  • Carrying groceries to/from the car
  • And much more!
    7606545

The book “I Can Help” by David Hyde Costello has many opportunities for students to see/use the word HELP. Every page has an animal in trouble, and another animal helping them out.

For slightly older students, the book “The Berenstain Bears Lend a Helping Hand” is a nice read-along book. It talks about helping, and how to participate in a family. You can watch it on YouTube here:

Advertisements

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 123 other followers

Spring break!

Spring break!March 30th, 2018
40 days to go.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 123 other followers