My Favorite Things

So, for my official first post I’ll share with you my favorite things. The practical, no frills tools of the trade that I use every day.
1: Scented Markers
They’re fun and reinforcing and kids go home with rainbow noses causes by repeated sniffing. Writing tasks are more fun with smelly markers. iPad communicators practice requesting or color labeling. Scents can be calming or alerting for my sensory sensitive kids. The markers always spark discussions and guessing games such as “what do you think the yellow marker will smell like?” and “why does the purple marker smell like grapes?” It’s always cause for celebration when I have brand new scented markers, still in the box so we can match the colors to the pictures of the fruits on diagram on the box. Well worth the $8!

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2: Post-It Notes

The many “speechy” uses of a Post-It note:

-to serve as word markers for sentence building (3 Post-its for “It is a” paired with a noun)

-to cover up icons on a communication device or board that are not available

-to serve as markers for counting syllables or phonemes in words

-to write letters and word families on them to work on spelling or sound blending tasks

-to stick one my nose to encourage eye gaze
-for quick data collection to be formally recorded later
-for book marks or for marking wish lists in catalogs

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3: Lesson Pix
For an annual fee of $36, you have access to thousands of pictures and the ability to upload your own pictures. You can search for pictures by sound (“initial /s/” or “medial /l/”) or by category (“zoo animals”, “snack foods”).  These pictures can then be quickly made into picture cards, board games, sentence strips, books, bingo games, communication boards, math activities…the options are endless.  There is an community board where you can see and share ideas with others.

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4: Cushion

This is a $5 gardening cushion that I use in my student’s chair.  Its soft and foamy and gives just enough proprioceptive feedback to calm wiggles.  Kids ask for it and I see a big difference in their ability to sit and attend when they are using it and when they are not.

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5: iPad

I have an old iPad, one of the first versions.  But, it is my best friend.  It is a communication device, a visual timer, a reinforcer and a visual scheduler.  I has banks of articulation target words, apps for listening skills, apps for phonological awareness skills and activities that I have created to target specific skills for specific children.  We use it in social skills groups to watch videos.  I take pictures and videos of my students accomplishments and with a touch of a finger I can send a snippet of our session to their moms and dads who are at work.  I honestly don’t know how I did therapy before the days of the iPad.  Someday, I’ll write a post about my favorite apps.

So these are the everyday things that I use every day….things that you have in your home or office that can be used to enhance working with your children.  Did I miss anything?  Let me know.  Stop by often for more tips and tricks and together we’ll teach our children One Word at a Time.

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