Blogjam Audiologists and SLPs are blogging about their experiences and discoveries. Check out some of their posts. Blogjam
Blogjam  |   August 01, 2016
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Blogjam   |   August 01, 2016
The ASHA Leader, August 2016, Vol. 21, 18-19. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.21082016.18
The ASHA Leader, August 2016, Vol. 21, 18-19. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.21082016.18
Sand, Surf and Social Stories
With a few weeks left in most kids’ summer vacations, families may still be gearing up for a trip to the beach—a situation that can require some preparation by parents of children with autism.
SLP Pam Drennen at the Kidmunicate blog shares a social story framework and other tips for parents to use in the weeks leading up to their trip.
“Many parents avoid new experiences because the children are happier when they are settled into a routine,” she writes. “This is understandable, but children with autism, like all children, need to experience new things in order to learn. The key is pre-planning.”
For kids with autism, certain sensorial parts of a beach vacation could cause issues. Triggers could be sand, salt water, crowds, long lines for food, a crowded boardwalk or even the sharp shriek of a lifeguard’s whistle. Along with a customizable social story, available for download on the full post, parents can provide additional prep for some of these elements: buy sand and let the child touch and play with it or apply sunscreen at home.
In her post, which also offers more tips for the car ride and the trip itself, Drennen reminds parents to relax once they’re there. “Let your child be him or herself. It’s the beach and boardwalk—not a quiet theater.”
Clinics Versus Schools
It can be frustrating for SLPs when students they evaluate as needing services don’t qualify for them in school. Why might a private clinic provide services and not a school?
Put simply, writes Maureen Wilson on her Speech Bubble SLP blog, schools have many different types of qualifying criteria—which private clinics don’t need to follow—that can exclude students on the border of needing services. For example, a child’s issues usually must have academic and/or emotional effects to qualify them for services.
“If a student is struggling with their /r/ but gets good grades, is social with friends, is not afraid to speak up in class, and says it doesn’t really bother them, they would not be considered for testing or services even though their articulation of /r/ is clearly delayed,” Wilson writes, noting that “there is the potential they could receive RtI/MTSS [response to intervention/multi-tiered system of support] for /r/, but some districts even have criteria for that.”
Clinics, on the other hand, can use their own discretion when deciding when and how to treat a client.
The AAC Iceberg
Chapel Hill Snippets bloggers Ruth Morgan and Ashley Robinson know augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is so much more than just a device.
“As an SLP, how often have you heard this? ‘I saw XYZ new device and I think it would be great for my student,’ or ‘Last night I saw XYZ device on TV and it was a miracle!’” they write in a recent post. “High-tech AAC devices are just the tip of the iceberg of things that need to be in place to make students successful communicators.”
Using a helpful visual aid—a metaphorical iceberg and its behemoth mass below the water—the SLPs discuss 10 other requirements for AAC success, including stakeholder support, data collection, low-tech backups, training time and peer language models.
Morgan and Robinson describe each underlying component and offer resources SLPs can use to ensure AAC is a success for their clients. “If teams focus solely on the device,” they write, “then you may very well end up with a really expensive bookend or fancy choice board. What’s underneath the surface is vital to successful implementation.”
Dear Tongue
In a “Dear Tongue” exercise, she helps children generate directions and tips and write them in the form of a letter on a card. She shares some examples for /r/:
  • Remember to go to the back of the mouth.

  • Lift up the sides a little bit so you can feel the molars.

  • Relax just a little bit so you don’t get too stiff.

  • I believe in you. You can do it!

“Letters have specific directions, based on guided feedback of techniques and strategies that were helpful during the session,” she writes. “Questions are used to highlight successes, such as, ‘You lifted the tip of your tongue up high! Did that help you make your sound?’”
When she and her clients are successful, they continue the personification, giving “pretend high-fives to our tongues by making a ‘high-five’ sign in the air near the mouth … When you give human qualities to an entity, you are able to ascribe feelings and form understanding. We are able to have compassion and we do not place blame. We can give our articulators encouragement and direction.”
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August 2016
Volume 21, Issue 8