What’s a Popplet?

3x3 blog pic popplet

It sounds like a cute Saturday morning cartoon character or a yummy pastry, but Popplet is actually an interactive graphic organizer app! It’s available on itunes but I am lucky enough to have it as part of my Office 365 suite on my school computer!  This app is described on their  website : “In the classroom and at home, students use Popplet for learning. Used as a mind-map, Popplet helps students think and learn visually. Students can capture facts, thoughts, and images and learn to create relationships between them.”  My students, especially my students with social language impairments, ADD and/or executive function impairments, are definitely visual learners! I am too, so here is a link to a youtube video that shows how to build a Popplet organizer.  Here is a link to a fabulous education blog that outlines multiple uses for Popplet in school with a great step by step tutorial.   One of my SLPeeps (thanks Joy!) introduced me to this in a presentation recently and my mind jumped right to social language concepts (I know, it’s an obsession)!

popplet screen shot

How cool would this be to use for social mapping?  You could add a picture of the problem scenario in the middle (or even have the students role play problems and take actual pictures of them to use with the app).  Then, use the organizer to build out expected/unexpected pathways (you can color code them too) and tease out how their choices impact how others think and feel.  If your students have tablets in your school system as ours do, you can push out the Popplet to them individually and they have an immediate visual social map to refer to.

What about our friends who have difficulty with group work?  Building a Popplet together might be more enticing to my students who love technology and sneak in some collaborative learning skills at the same time in the therapy setting or in the classroom!  I can see this being used to work on expanding social language concepts such as perspective taking using a graphic organizer, connecting the concepts of think/say/feel and even linking shades of emotions using Popplet.  I want to try it out and have my kids look at a picture in the middle, then identify and connect the clues they see in order to make a smart guess!   It would be fantastic to be able to print a screenshot and blow it up to poster size to refer to in your therapy room or classroom too.

I am excited to try out this new therapy tool and see how it goes.  Have you used Popplet? Please share your thoughts here.  If not, how would you use it for social language therapy?

Better late than never.

3x3 blog pic better late than never

I had the opportunity to work with a young adult who was recently diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.  Evaluation at this age is tricky, as some of the standardized tests that we use in the schools age out at 17-11.  It is not uncommon for my students who are on the autism spectrum to come to their diagnosis rather late, especially if they are higher functioning and doing well academically.  They are often diagnosed as having ADHD, sensory integration disorder, mood disorders, sleep disorders and/or learning disabilities first.  These can exist co-morbidly in some people with ASD and it is difficult to tease apart one from the other.  I ran across this great blog written by a woman diagnosed with ASD at age 36, that really spoke to me regarding the topic of later diagnosis.

After testing my student with a few standardized measures, the meat of the evaluation was done using a variety of non-standardized tools such as the Double Interview from Social Thinking ®,  direct observation, conversation with the parents, gaining feedback from the teachers, giving parts of the Informal Social Assessment from Super Power Speech and utilizing the Social Language Development Test-Adolescent for information only (as the student was older than 18 and norms end at 17-11).  A standardized test score from the supra-linguistic portion of the CASL or the social checklist and activities on the CELF 5 will yield some good information, however my higher functioning students can do these highly structured tasks well but still struggle socially in the fast, ever changing day to day applications.   I find that the non-standardized pieces truly give you a better picture of the person’s social skills and social competency, and the resulting narrative is much more descriptive than a standard score.

I came across a treasure trove of articles on the Social Thinking® website, including a three part series on transitioning into adulthood for people on the spectrum and another about including the young adult as part of their planning team when working on social language competencies.  Explaining what social language is and how having ASD impacts our social relationships with others is so important for the family as well as the person with ASD, especially when a diagnosis has come later in life after many challenges.  I also really like the website Wrong Planet , as it is created and hosted by 3 young adults on the spectrum.  It has great content that connects with many young adults, such as finding and keeping a job, dating, and post-secondary education options.  I also love the blog series by Autism Classroom News on teaching the Hidden Rules curriculum and how understanding these rules are crucial to keeping our students and young adults with ASD employed and even out of legal trouble.

We need to consider how to support our students exiting public school with later diagnosis of ASD and help them transition successfully into early adulthood.  What resources have you found to help with this transition?  Share here!



SLP: Speechies Learning Periscope ?

scoping out social media for slps

I just finished making a TPT product on social media use for middle and high school students this week.  In  a conversation about social media and teenagers with my own sixteen year old, he mentioned a site I had not heard of, Periscope. It’s an app owned by Twitter so it’s linked to your account (although you can also sign up for Periscope with just your phone number).  He showed me a video of our former pastor hunting scorpions at night with a black light and a mallet (ewww), narrating his adventures of living in Arizona.  Soon little hearts and comments began popping up on the screen and my son explained that it is interactive, live streaming video.  Kind of cool, but I didn’t really think too much about it.

Periscope surfaced again (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) this week when I was writing a grant for some technology to use in my school district. I logged onto a SLP Facebook group to get some input from my peers on this latest social media tool and boy did I get it!   After a lot of discussion, several of us decided to jump into the Periscope world virtually holding hands. As luck would have it, the ASHA Schools and the TPT Conference were also happening this week in the West, and it was fun to watch several SLPS post their own streaming videos online!

Social media is fantastic, but it can be double-edged sword. It’s amazing to connect with people outside of your little bubble, but not everyone is kind. Much like the teens I had in mind when I was thinking about guard rails with social media,  we SLPs are in need of some too.  Here are my top 5 Periscope newbie guidelines, learned the hard way:

1.  Read up on using the app before you live stream.  Two great reads that will help you figure this new technology out are HERE and HERE .  Scott Kelby’s post shows you the features of Periscope nicely. I am a visual learner, so it really helped!

2. On your screen, swipe down (or click on the X) to turn off the live feed.  Several of us didn’t know this before our first video stream including me.  Sorry for the view of my feet and the dirt.

3. This early learning curve included several rude comments posted by people who were not SLPs, on a few live speechie feeds.  Haters gonna hate, but you don’t have to let them comment on YOUR videos. You can lock your video ( a little lock icon you can tap is also along the bottom of the broadcast screen) so that only people you follow can comment on your live posts, or even choose from your follower list who you want to see a particular video (click the little person in a box icon on the bottom of the screen a list of people you follow pops up to choose from) .  You also have the option to tap on a name of someone and block them if they making rude comments during a live stream, but why even go there?  Use these features just prior to starting your live stream (and don’t forget to give your video a title)!

4.  Don’t broadcast your location from home (again, guilty). You can turn off the location feature on the broadcast screen prior to each video (click on the little paper airplane shaped arrow along the bottom left of your screen). Careful when you click, because it’s located right next to the start broadcast button.  If you are somewhere public and cool, like Vegas, feel free to make us a little jealous!

5.  It is a LIVE stream, so look around at what’s behind you when you start the broadcast.  If you mess up, oh well, it’s live. The good thing is that the videos only stay up for 24 hours (there is an auto-save feature in settings if you want to save your videos to your picture file on your phone).  You can send little hearts on a re-broadcast, but not comments.  If it’s truly awful, you can click “No rebroadcast” when you finish so that no one can watch you trip or swear or freak out when a bee flies too close to you, over and over again.  That’s what Vine is for 🙂

You can follow me on Periscope @SmartmouthSLP  !  I will (hopefully) be sharing content about my new group of CFs first year in the schools.  Have you tried Periscope yet?  Add your comments or guidelines here!