SLP Sherry Artemenko shares an example of bucking the written treatment plan and letting the child direct the activity—a way to unleash the imagination and promote more learning:
"I arrived at Annika's house and she had just gotten home from a visit to the toy store with grandma. Annika loves horses and grandma had bought a little barn set with two play horses...Annika started to play with the horses but that wasn't enough. She suggested we make a zip line from the barn to the cardboard box that had housed her toy! We wove together the wire and made an attachment for the horses and the fun began. We were working on /r/, so sliding a "horse" from the 'barn' for 'more' 'rides' fit right into my plans to work on /or/ and /ar/ words! Sometimes it's nice to get a break from planning therapy and have the child lead the way."
Pediatric SLP Becca Jarzynski offers a shorthand explanation of "theory of mind" that she uses with adults to help them develop interpersonal understanding in children with autism:
"Without well-developed theory of mind skills, our conversations would be disjointed or repetitive—we would risk insulting our audience or boring them to death with way too many details. Simply put, theory of mind is the ability to understand the mental state of others. Here are some things we can do to promote [it] in young children:
- Engage children in pretend play where they take on the roles (and perspectives) of others.
- Use verbs like 'think' and 'remember' and 'hope' and 'believe' when we talk about our own thoughts.
- Help children to recognize, describe and manage their own emotions.
- Help children to understand the emotions of others and what things lead to those emotions."
Blogger Hanna Bogen shares how she uses a thought bubble to help teach a high school student how to use self-talk:
"My client requires LOTS of visual support as we tread through the concepts of social cognition and pragmatic language. I model self-talk by holding up this laminated thought bubble (yeah, yeah, I know it looks like a laminated intestine...it's not art class!) and often ask him to do the same. All you need is some card stock, a laminator and a few straws (covered in tape) for the handle! Sometimes, I use this same thought bubble to demonstrate when I'm having a red or green thought, and the kinds of feelings those thoughts give me. The beauty of laminating everything is that you can write on them with dry erase markers and then just wipe them clean."
SLP Jill Kuzma provides a series of materials she has developed to help elementary school children with high-functioning autism handle change. Among them is a PowerPoint slide show that teaches about understanding change, "quantifying" degrees of change and building skills to work through difficulty with change. Kuzma further describes the PowerPoint:
"[It] kind of follows a social story format. The slides define change for kids in terms of...those that are predictable ('expected' changes), and those...that can throw a person for a loop ('unexpected changes'). The slides go on to describe that these changes can also be categorized as 'welcome' or 'unwelcome.' The lesson slides conclude with listing five tools that you can use to help handle changes. I would recommend having a list of change examples that are relevant for your students prior to beginning this lesson sequence."