Saturday, February 28, 2015

2015 Special Ed. Conference: Linda Hodgdon, Visual Strategies, Part 2

Time, Travel and Transition...Overcoming Daily Challenges with Visual Strategies.
Presented by Linda Hodgdon, M.Ed, CCC-SLP.

A primary part of ASD includes challenges in communication skills:
expression and understanding

Visual Strategies can accomplish many purposes:
get attention
aid memory
making choices
aid decisions
organize thinking

There are a wide range of visual supports...Low tech (paper) to High tech (electronic devices).


1. Avoid unexpected surprises: provide information, don't assume they understand, they have difficulty generalizing information.

2. Give lots of information: Social stories give information of what is going to happen and what you will be doing.

Time is invisible! Manage it visually with timers, visual count down, take turn visuals, and visuals to show when they can do it again.

Organization tip: Have a binder for each student with their social stories. They can reread them anytime.

Travel is unpredictable with lots of changes! Moving from one side of a room to another, room to room, a strange house, going shopping, riding in an unfamiliar car, airports (!)
Who will we see? Visiting family members you don't see often? Take lots of pictures of the people and places.

Break up the stories, for example when flying....going through a story by itself.

Sequence the transition and help him or her understand the WHY.

Once again....Videos are HUGE. Make video your friend and editing the videos is crucial.
They can be used for social stories.....
create them for a to greet to play....transition from elementary school to middle school (walk through the new school talking about it).

These are my notes from Ms. Hodgdon's presentation. There is much much more information!

I hope this has given you some ideas!



Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 Special Education Conference: Linda Hodgdon, Visual Strategies Part 1

Our keynote speaker on the first day of the conference was Linda Hodgdon.
Her presentation..........

 Linda Hodgdon, M.Ed, CCC-SLP is known as a pioneer in developing the use of visual strategies to support communication for students with Autism. She is an author, a speaker and a consultant.

The first point that Ms. Hodgdon made was that our way of using visuals has made some big changes. We have come from using pictures on paper and cardboard to using Facebook, Twitter, and ipads.
The key word is "spectrum", visual strategies are different for each individual, there is a wide range of intellectual and skill levels within the spectrum. We need to consider the learning styles, social needs, visual tools available and what kind of social participation is wanted.
Communication is not just about directs where we are going, what to do when we get there and much more. Visuals are not a better or worse way to communicate, but simply a DIFFERENT way to communicate.
The majority of Autistic people are visual learners. As a matter of fact, MOST of us are visual learners.
She recommended a book by John Medina titled Brain Rules. It's not about Autism, it's about all of us.
We learn and remember best through pictures, when information is presented orally, 10% is remembered. When it is presented visually, we remember 65%. We pay lots of attention to colors, shapes and movement. (think about the educational apps)
Beware of the assumption
 "He understands everything I say".
Think about the ways we communicate while verbally directing:
  • routine language
  • gestures
  • communication supports
  • learned routines
  • environmental cues
Ask yourself:
What kind of communication partner are you?
speech, sign, pointing, gestures, body language, pictures, written language...
The typically developing child processes 20 words per minute, by the time they are in high school they might be able to process 145 words per minute. Many teachers and parents deliver information at 150-160 words per minute!
Think about Mr. Rogers and how he talked to his audience!
Sometimes we don't communicate as well as we think we do!


Video is huge.

Video is visual, predictable, and the same things happen! We have them readily available in our phones and they are easily edited. Video modeling can help with.....
  • social communication and interaction
  • functional skills
  • behavior
  • academics
  • play skills
But there are pit falls....what are they learning from TV shows, video games?    Violence.
Technology is NOT magic. Don't forget to identify the purpose!

You can sign up for her free newsletter at this website.
I attended another session with Ms. Hodgdon titled "Time, Travel and Transition:  Overcoming Daily Challenges with Visual Strategies" and will share that information later this week.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Five for Friday! February 20, 2015

My sweet wonderful amazing....Grandchildren are visiting today, so I am keeping this short! Here are my FIVE things for this week.

Since attending the Alaska Special Education Conference last week, I am giving more thought to playing games that provide more repetition and practice in our target skills. Here are some things we did this week without neglecting our regular direct instruction programs. Oh! by the way, we had a short week of school with the kids because the first two days were Parent conferences.
This page was added to our math flipchart (Promethean Board), it  gives the kids a visual of what is next, but also reminds ME not to forget!
I won't deny it is tricky to insert time for it, our math lesson takes up most of our allotted time, yesterday we didn't have time for it at math, but did later in the day!
This is slow going at first, but once they figured it out-- it started going faster! They were so excited about playing! It not only practices subtraction and addition facts, but also they had to remember their answer while the whole table played, and know who had the biggest numeral! It kept them focused as everyone played their card.
Also, a side note: When I got the cards out and shuffled the cards, their eyes got big and they said "wow! how do you know how to do that?!" I told them when I was a little kid (you were a little kid Mrs. H???)we didn't have computers, video games and not much to watch on TV. We played cards quite a bit.

Here are a couple of "games" to play for letter recognition and sounds. The Twist and Turn Word Builders also gave me a way to incorporate writing and blending words! The kids that played these said "I love games! Can we do this again?"
Of course!
oh yeah! These are both found at Lakeshore!


This project is our Occupational Therapist's project!
She comes in each Friday and does it with our group.
she brought in Bionicles, she asked them to sort the pieces by color and follow the picture directions to build their particular Bionicle
(each one of them are protectors of different kinds of places-fire, ice, earth, water)
She had them make a diorama to act out a story with.
Next week they will pose the Bionicles in their diorama and take pictures.
they will write sentences with their pictures and present them to the group.
The kids are SUPER EXCITED to do it!
Here's a portion of the stage setting before the show began, once they begin we turn off our phones, sit back and relax.

Friday night was our GIRLS NIGHT OUT and we went to the Valley Performing Arts performance of
"Unnecessary Farce".
I haven't laughed so hard or so long in forever! This was "tears running down your face" hilarious!
A reminder to all of you who think living in a big city is the only way to be able to watch talented people show their skills---
VPA has shown how talented, creative people go about ordinary jobs and then put on a show that shows their extraordinary talents!
Friday Morning Sunrise!


Good Morning Alaska!
Our daylight minutes are increasing and we are so ready!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Five for Friday...Happy Valentines Day 2015

This has been an eventful week, lots to talk about! Today I'm going to give the short version, but I want to share more in depth later.

Check out the Linky Party at Doodle Bugs Teaching, it is a great teacher resource.

First of all, I went to the Alaska Special Ed. Conference!!! It was so, so, so.....awesome! (sorry I cannot come up with the right words) There was so much information that MEANT something to me (and many others I'm sure) that I am still sorting it all out. I plan on sharing more later, but there is sorting to do, I took lots of notes!

This is the cloth bag they gave us so we could keep the wonderful stuff together!

We stayed at the beautiful Hilton Hotel in Anchorage....

We were walking distance to all kinds of interesting places in Anchorage.

This place was almost hidden, just a little place, and very good!

The snow is almost gone, so sad. I am sorry for all of you on the east coast who are getting hit so hard and also...a little jealous!

We returned to our classrooms just in time for....Valentine's Day. One of my student's has this wonderful Aunt, she brought these houses for the kids to decorate. We were going to make gingerbread houses before Christmas, but that didn't happen, instead the kids decorated Valentine houses. Ha! I couldn't find any candy hearts in a store between my house and our school, that is why you won't actually see any hearts on our Valentine Houses. The funny thing is...not one kid asked about that!

The behind the scenes crew! We had lots of adults come and help us...the occupational therapist, teacher assistants or paraprofessionals as they are now titled.
The houses were ordered from The Candy Cottage.
I'm pretty sure she purchased us the party pack which I noticed is out of stock at the moment.
Our plan: Next week we are taking pictures of each student with their house and have them begin to work on a story about it. I'm reading them some books that center around houses:

Valentine's Day.

my husband is awesome!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!