1,2,3, All Eyes on Me!!

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I was attending a “Think Social” conference (surprise, surprise!) several years ago and Michelle Garcia Winner shared a video of her working with a little girl.  She was attempting to see if the child could follow her line of sight to demonstrate joint attention and being able to literally see from someone else’s perspective.  Now this doesn’t sound that hard, but wow what an eye opener this video was for me!  The child, who was about 9 at the time, could not do it.  She even tried to put her face in front of MGW’s face to see what she was looking at, all to no avail.

I tried this little test with several of my students with ASD when I got back to school amd about half of them couldn’t do this either!  How had I missed this???  If they cannot follow very simple line of direction gaze, what are they missing in social interactions?  Pretty much everything.  I love the description of “thinking with your eyes” that also comes from Social Thinking and Whole Body Listening concepts.  It’s not just polite to look at people when they talk with you, it is a critical skill to gain information (verbal and non-verbal) and to let your conversational partner know that you are paying attention to what they are doing and/or saying!  We had a LOT of work to do.

One of the obstacles I ran into when working on joint attention with eye gaze was that I was looking at the object I wanted the child to look at, but couldn’t really look at their eyes beyond using my peripheral vision! Then I saw these nifty little “finger spies”  at the Dollar Store!  photo (2)

They fit best on skinny. kid sized fingers, but I could wiggle the little guy onto my pointer or pinky and have the kids follow the finger spies AND watch their eye gaze at the same time!!

photo 2This lesson goes along really well with my new “Social Skills Squish:  Eyes on the Prize” activity in my TPT store HERE .   photo 3
This is a play-based packet that uses the concept of keeping our “eyes on the prize” and why it’s important to use your eyes to think about other people.  It includes a mini-poster for your room, social scenarios to practice, extension suggestions, and 4 mats (laminate them first) to practice the skills.  Choose your favorite color of play-doh (TM) for a fun reinforcer to roll into balls and squish on the mats (hence the ” social skills squish”)! Perfect for wiggly, squirmy preK through elementary friends working on these skills 🙂

Want more great ideas on using play-doh (TM) in therapy?  Check out Peachie Speechie’s blog this week HERE.

Magically delicious ideas for March…

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I am home from school today due to a sparkly and dangerous glaze of ice across north Atlanta!!  It’s hard to believe that Spring is just around the corner with temperatures in the 20s (and below!). As I sip my hot cocoa in my jammies today,  I thought I would share some packets and freebies from TeachersPayTeachers to get ready to tackle social language concepts as we March into the next month!

I created a social language packet with a St. Patrick’s Day theme   HERE   It’s more than 20 pages of figurative language, inferences, point of view and language activities that dovetail with Think Social concepts from Michelle Garcia Winner.

The Peachie Speechie has created this fun idiom activity for the popular Cariboo game HERE   Speech therapy is always more fun with a game, right?

I am loving this social conversation freebie from Nicole Ravettina  HERE  Great idea for homework!

One more freebie from the talented Jenna Rayburn is a cute leprechaun trap activity that aligns nicely with Michelle Garcia Winner’s Unthinkables and Superflex characters   HERE

Stay warm friends and with any luck, we will have springtime temperatures soon!!

Doritos in speech? Score!

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Now before all the super neat and tidy speech therapists freak out, we aren’t going to eat Doritos in speech.  I know images of kids with orange faces and fingers (not to mention Dorito breath) might bring to mind your own personal vision of  “The Shining”, so relax.  What I am suggesting  is using the brilliant million dollar challenge “Crash the Super Bowl” commercials that Doritos sponsors each year.  These commercials are fantastic to use to teach and reinforce social language concepts such as expected/unexpected, prediction, inferences, think/say/feel, and main idea/gestalt thinking (all which align beautifully with Think Social lessons by Michelle Garcia Winner).The screaming goat winner from 2013 is still one of my favorites to use.  Inferences and prediction,subtitles, music and no spoken language makes this one great to view for social language!

As with all video clips, preview them first!   You can always use View Pure to filter out the annoying ads from youtube videos too (it’s awesome!).  I created this FREE (and you know we speechies like free stuff!) football themed activity sheet on TPT for “post game analysis” of social language in commercials here .  

The Big Game: Social Language in Commercials worksheet

Print it out and use it as a fun way to explore social language concepts!  You probably won’t get a huge trophy or a confetti shower, but your students just might think you are the best SLP ever!  I also have a board of social language videos that you can peruse HERE .

Here’s a list of some of the best 2015 entries to use (all kid friendly):

 Man-child  (great for unexpected/expected!)

Doritos Monster 

The Angler

Baby’s First Word

When Pigs Fly

Dog Dream

Kick off a great therapy session and please share any good commercials you have used lately here!