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PeterPan

Narrative language in autism

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So I'm partly doing a bit of a brain dump here and also just opening it up for discussion. We've had mention in the past of people working on narration with their kids with autism. Y'all can share what's working for you or what gaps you're seeing.

 https://www.amazon.com/Verbal-Behavior-Analysis-Expanding-Capabilities/dp/0205458378/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1524938288&sr=1-1&keywords=verbal+behavior+analysis This is the Greer Text on VBA, and it goes through advanced Verbal Behavior theories. In chapter 7 it shows how to go back and find holes. Table 4.1 lists the developmental progression of language according to VBA/Skinner, and in it you see that narratives are actually the outflow of significant other language steps earlier in the process.

Based on that progression, I decided it made sense to target language holes. Ds is one who will have some harder or more advanced skill (complex vocabulary, even the theory of mind Sally-Ann test) but be missing earlier pieces (categories, the Skittles test, etc.). 

https://speechamy.wikispaces.com/file/view/100+Vocab+Prim.pdf  This link, for right now, has a pdf of an oop book that hits what autism calls feature/function/class and what the SLPs call functions, categories, attributes. It hits more things (antonyms, absurdities, synonyms, etc.). There is also an intermediate level of this book available on the used market. 

I'm using the 100% Vocabuary (Rothstein) as a spine for our work each week. My theory has been that expanding his ability to talk about feature/function/class (FFC) would organize his brain and expand, in a developmentally appropriate way, his ability to use expressive language. Making complete sentences about function has been VERY HARD for my ds this week! His naturally tendency is to use a very limited range of constructions, something SLPs have commented on but never had an answer for. They just said it was odd, figured it was an autism thing, and looked at whether what he did construct was grammatically correct. 

To me it's not obvious WHY he couldn't narrate. He couldn't narrate because he couldn't do any of the precursor skills. Not only did he not necessarily understand the structure of the narrative, but he also couldn't say what the characters were doing, couldn't describe them, etc. Literally FFC is the FOUNDATION of being able to give a narrative. Without FFC work there IS NO narrative. Ok, I'm being emphatic, but that's how it seems to me with ds.

https://www.amazon.com/Verbal-Behavior-Targets-Diana-Luckevich/dp/0975585940/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525181440&sr=8-1&keywords=verbal+behavior+targets&dpID=51dvi8nCbML&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch I'm using this book by Luckevich to create games using blank playing cards. She has lists by function, by feature, etc., so it's easy. So I'm going for multi-pronged. I've got worksheets (Rothstein), games for analysis (Luckevich), and just a lot of in the room application, real life application. So we'll name everything in the room and talk about the functions, play I Spy games about functions, etc. As this is getting easier for him, I may bring in some dice games for grammar where we roll and make sentences across a variety of constructions.

What's interesting to me is how intriguing this is to him. It's actually CHALLENGING him to play a simple game matching functions and nouns. He engages and enjoys it and seems legitimately challenged.

So to find resources on SLP-oriented sites when you're looking for FFC, you need to use the Vocab pull down or topic lists. So, for instance, on Linguisystems, that's where this stuff is. They'll hide it all over, but that's a good place to look. I hadn't been looking under vocab, because my ds actually scores very high on vocab! I just thought vocab meant knowing words. But it's also, apparently, this brain organization of the vocab, lexicon.

So then I was reading about paraphrasing, because of course to retell a narrative the dc needs to get things into their own words. I don't remember which book it was, but something on (I think) Linguisystems said they used the progression synonyms, phrases, sentences, directions. To me this makes sense, because you're essentially paraphrasing at the word, phrase, sentence, and then paragraph levels. In the past I've used the Spotlight on Reading series from (I forget, Evan Moor, a major publisher of curriculum), but the following are from the Spotlight series from Linguisystems. They have Spotlight on Reading, Spotlight on Vocabulary, Spotlight on Listening Comprehension, and each series has two levels and multiple books. They're not terribly expensive ($12 each), so it's easy to target just a few and work through them and buy some more as needed.

http://www.linguisystems.com/itemdetail.php?itemid=10412 

http://www.linguisystems.com/itemdetail.php?itemid=10415

http://www.linguisystems.com/products/product/display?itemid=10322

The Spotlight on Vocab series has books for antonyms, associations, attributes, categories, concepts, and synonyms, making it a nice complement to the 100% Vocab (Rothstein) text. I'm looking for things that are doable for my ds and things that are conducive to expressive language rather than multiple choice. 

So I think I see a convergence here where you get the language coming out better (sentence variety, ability to explain what things/people do, ability to describe situations or feelings, etc.) and you improve his ability to take something and get it into his own words (paraphrasing). It all out to lay the foundation for good narratives. I went ahead and ordered the Narrative & Discourse Builder Tool. I also ordered the Color My Conversation kit, since both had deals. I'm hoping we get a convergence there of more language and then an ability to organize it and get it out. Should be good.

I also got this book of games for theory of mind, because hey why not. He still fails the tests, so maybe it will be lightning bolt astonishing to see what it opens up for him, lol. http://www.linguisystems.com/products/product/display?itemid=10876

http://www.linguisystems.com/products/product/display?itemid=10244 I ordered this Categories Card Games to go with the 2nd chapter of the 100% Vocabulary (Rothstein) text. That way I won't have to sit there making cards for it. I had looked for resources for categories for quite a while, and it's tricky to find something that makes sense with an older dc who maybe is a little more asynchronous (high vocabulary but deep deficits). So he'll use big words in therapy sessions, but he literally couldn't say the category for a CHAIR during the Jeepers Peepers game. Couldn't say it was a piece of furniture or found in a house or ANYTHING. So anyways, we'll see how it is. There's no cut on shipping, and the price they list is higher than it rings up. And I think we'll be able to re-use it with the more complex chapters of Rothstein when you being doing exclusions (negatives, nots), etc. And of course we can re-use them other ways, like attributes.

I had hoped I could use the Pickles to Penguins game cards, because of course they have great pictures. Really though, the game was too high a starting point for him. SLPs had tried, and he just bogged down. I think for him, with his deficits, going to therapy materials that have a limited range of words and tighter answers is a better starting point, even if it costs more money. Then we can broaden out, once he gets the concept and has more language. 

The other thing this work seems to be doing, and what fascinates me, is it's busting through his gestalt language processing and helping him get down to the individual words. For instance, yesterday he was literally struggling to decide whether you would CUT a dog, RIDE a dog, BRUSH a dog, etc. We use the Luckevich lists and play them with Clumsy Thief rules, where you make piles and steal, and he it was really hard for him. It's like he had never figured out that the word BRUSH was the same when it was brush your hair, brush your teeth, brush a dog, etc. So we're both expanding his ability to make a variety of sentence constructions (he has to form the complete sentence for every card he plays), but also we're organizing his brain. His finally going down to the word level, and you can see the lightbulbs coming on like oh my lands I had no clue. Gestalt processing means that he was probably memorizing the whole of language with his echolalia and scripting, and his brain hadn't broken it down into the parts. So brush was not connected across the brain, because brush your teeth was a WHOLE and brush the dog was a WHOLE. He wasn't seeing the components. That's why he couldn't rearrange them into useful, more complex sentences.

So yeah, his little brain is TIRED. He's actually enjoying it and doing the sessions willingly. I'm trying to do it like we did Barton, with 10 brief sessions a day of 10 minutes. I'm not like hyper-counting, we're just working. But yeah, his brain is TIRED, lol. But it's good stuff. We're seeing progress. To me it makes sense that it could work. I haven't found any SLP willing to work it this hard. They all see bits, but they don't have enough time to do what it would take. They end up having to go for the end goal, because of course people want progress. I want solutions and I want deep, real solutions. I want what CAN happen inside to come out. I know it's there. 

Also, here's an article on inferences. SLPs are wanting to work on inferences with ds, but the question is how to back up and work on them and how to know if your materials are thorough. The article explains the types (text-based and those requiring prior knowledge) and suggests how to target them. Linguisystems sells quite a bit, and I had seen jenn mentioning the No Glamour Inferences book. That's actually too hard a starting point for ds, so I think after we get more language in place, hopefully in about 8 weeks, we'll begin some of the Spotlight books on inferences.There's a Spotlight on Reading for Inferences and a Spotlight on Listening for Inferences. I think they'll dovetail into the No Glamour books nicely.

1053451216676799 

 

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2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

https://speechamy.wikispaces.com/file/view/100+Vocab+Prim.pdf  This link, for right now, has a pdf of an oop book that hits what autism calls feature/function/class and what the SLPs call functions, categories, attributes. It hits more things (antonyms, absurdities, synonyms, etc.). There is also an intermediate level of this book available on the used market. 

I'm using the 100% Vocabuary (Rothstein) as a spine for our work each week. My theory has been that expanding his ability to talk about feature/function/class (FFC) would organize his brain and expand, in a developmentally appropriate way, his ability to use expressive language. Making complete sentences about function has been VERY HARD for my ds this week! His naturally tendency is to use a very limited range of constructions, something SLPs have commented on but never had an answer for. They just said it was odd, figured it was an autism thing, and looked at whether what he did construct was grammatically correct.

The Spotlight on Vocab series has books for antonyms, associations, attributes, categories, concepts, and synonyms, making it a nice complement to the 100% Vocab (Rothstein) text. I'm looking for things that are doable for my ds and things that are conducive to expressive language rather than multiple choice. 

So I think I see a convergence here where you get the language coming out better (sentence variety, ability to explain what things/people do, ability to describe situations or feelings, etc.) and you improve his ability to take something and get it into his own words (paraphrasing). It all out to lay the foundation for good narratives. I went ahead and ordered the Narrative & Discourse Builder Tool. I also ordered the Color My Conversation kit, since both had deals. I'm hoping we get a convergence there of more language and then an ability to organize it and get it out. Should be good.

Gestalt processing means that he was probably memorizing the whole of language with his echolalia and scripting, and his brain hadn't broken it down into the parts. So brush was not  connectedacross the brain, because brush your teeth was a WHOLE and brush the dog was a WHOLE. He wasn't seeing the components. That's why he couldn't rearrange them into useful, more complex sentences.

 

6

Brain dump, indeed, lol!

Is this the intermediate version of the 100% vocab that you reference? I would really like to see inside this book to know if it's appropriate for my kiddo. The method looks amazing, but we need it at a different level. 

 https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=22440415274&cm_ven=sws&cm_cat=sws&cm_pla=sws&cm_ite=22440415274&clickid=xuowlN0tawTTQQE1KXxJ7UbuUkj3%3ArxsEWh13Y0&cm_mmc=aff-_-ir-_-353196-_-77798&ref=imprad353196&afn_sr=impact

I need to see if the Spotlight on Vocab series has samples. We do tend to discuss some of those aspects of vocabulary (and it's easy for him), but I bet there are nuances I could explore.

Paraphrasing--my son has always paraphrased well. It hasn't led to narratives. But, I think you are right that paraphrasing is part of the story--otherwise you get echolalia. There is some thought that the gestalt processing has to do with the brain processing noise and speech all as one kind of sound, almost like music. 

I had a dyslexic professor in college (2e, brilliant) who would talk about his trouble breaking language into parts when he was a kid, but mostly just in small phrases, not whole sentences. My guess is that he struggled due to some kind of APD-like issue vs. brain organization (he said he didn't hear some individual words--they were like extra syllables of a nearby word to him), but it's interesting to see that overlap! I don't think my son does this, but that doesn't mean he didn't at some stage of development. Very interesting!

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Yes, that's the book, though I suggest you buy a very good condition copy rather than fair. It has worksheets, has a fair copy may have writing. The copy I bought (which has already shipped) was from Hawking, which also lists a copy there. https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=22475170472&searchurl=isbn%3D9780760601860%26sortby%3D17%26n%3D100121503&cm_sp=snippet-_-srp1-_-title4  That vendor also lists it on ebay and amazon. I usually buy through amazon, just me.

Yes, I see what you're saying that paraphrasing alone won't get you there. I bought the NDT and I'll probably get EET too. We'll see. I think there's that structural component and the language component. And I'm not ignoring the need to work on structure. The Main Idea workbook is challenging him, and the sequencing workbook hits sequencing on more of a conceptual level, like do you REALLY UNDERSTAND what before/after mean, that kind of thing. So they're going at sequencing lots of ways conceptually to get the concepts in his brain. And the inferencing and sequencing begin to overlap, because you use inferencing to figure out the missing piece in a sequence, that kind of thing. So the explanation for the narrative to go with the sequence of pictures actually is a slew of inferencing. That's why I want to break it down and make sure he has all those pieces, rather than tying it all together and continuing to get curt mess.

Yes, Linguisystems/Pro Ed (both the same company) have samples when you click samples. I like the ebooks, and if you click the ebook option it takes you to another site which has a DIFFERENT sample. So you can see both a sample across the book and the first 18 pages of the book. At that point you'll probably have a good sense. If all else fails, buy one thing at a time and work up slowly.

We'll see when my copy of the intermediate Rothstein comes, but my assumption or hope is that it follows a similar layout to the primary level but bumps up the difficulty. Other books currently available in the 100% series do that, so it seems like a reasonable guess.

Working on this FFC class is strangely challenging. Like even when you think oh he probably doesn't need it, I just seem my ds' mind churning, trying to figure it out. That's interesting about the APD. It makes sense. And of course these materials don't say autism on the front, so it's reasonable to assume a variety of SN can benefit from them.

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2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Working on this FFC class is strangely challenging. Like even when you think oh he probably doesn't need it, I just seem my ds' mind churning, trying to figure it out. That's interesting about the APD. It makes sense. And of course these materials don't say autism on the front, so it's reasonable to assume a variety of SN can benefit from them.

 

The problem is that we have it at the level of abstract language, and we have a problem of retrieving things, open-ended questions, etc. But I love that the vocabulary book separates the skills into recognizing, choosing, generating, and inferring. He needs that with abstract concepts. He understands them but gets so, so, stuck on the language. He has another category of skill here, which is improving on an answer (almost like counting on in math, but with language). 

Anyway, I might show the primary stuff to the tutor and SLP and see what they think. Most of the time, they like the idea, but then have to make stuff up for where he needs the work, but it helps us have a place to start talking. It also reinforces some of what I've done that has worked--it's just that we need someone else to bridge the individual skills and help that translate into writing, answering questions, asking questions, etc. 

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Ok, so I'm just thinking some more out loud here. I've been trying to learn about this Mindwings Story Grammar Marker thing. Anyone know anything about it? http://whitneyslp.blogspot.com/2012/08/story-grammar-marker-and-writing.html This blog post makes the comment that some students with autism are able to do all the parts but can't pull it together into satisfactory wholes. It seemed a logical outcome to me. It strikes me that the tool might have some glaring mis-emphases. 

-emphasizing scenes when the ASD individual is struggling with big picture issues and when narratives are told as overall stories, not isolated scenes

-not exploring main ideas and details, when, again, the ASD individual is going to tend to fixate on parts and miss the main idea

-bringing in analysis, dialectic level why thinking before it would be developmentally appropriate per our "classical" or neo-classical or whatever timetables. And we can say the timetables are bunk or should not be rigid, but aren't we talking about people with DELAYS on top of that? Or worse yet, could the opposite happen where the student readily develops the more "advanced" skill and struggles with the earlier, more foundational piece?

-over-emphasizing fiction when the ASD individual might thrive better on expository/non-fiction

-fixed or semi-fixed, highly linear approach to ordering that doesn't segue well into the more sophisticated toolbox approach of WWS (though it could if the person was really on the ball)

-the perverseness of developing a tool and finding literature to fit it rather than making the tool flexible enough to reflect how REAL writers write REAL narratives. I've read on blogs SLPs lamenting not being able to find lit easily to fit the SGM paradigm for a complete narrative. Seems kinda shocking when you think about it.

-doesn't address any of the underlying language deficits and seems to imply that if they just go right for the end product (narratives) and work long enough at it, that all the more foundational pieces (descriptive language, etc.) will be there. I'm making a moral argument that it gives the system a pass, allowing them to throw more advanced tasks at kids and still not remediate underlying deficiencies.

-seeming absence of highly trained english teachers in the development, so an over-focus on stilted, unnatural writing forms with no acknowledgement or integration of current writing theories. For instance, it would NOT be so hard to extrapolate the "6 Second Story Conversation Connector" to apply to how we explain main ideas. I'm doing a Spotlight (Linguisystems/ProEd) workbook on this, and ds needed some help to generate his own "main idea" sentences for pictures. Well that was a no brainer to use the 6SS strategy for explicit instruction. Got him there pronto, boom. The approach has SO much potential for how it COULD fit with real writing that people actually want to write, real writing that people who like playing with language with kids actually want to do. It could be smaller chunks. Why only narratives? Well that's obvious, because Common Core says so. But teachers know that's not what is needed. So you could apply the techniques to more innovative, shorter, useful communications like the prompts and activities in Marjorie Frank's https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Trying-Teach-Write-Revised/dp/0865303177/ref=sr_1_fkmr3_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525404604&sr=8-1-fkmr3&keywords=if+you're+gonna+teach+kids+to+write  Why only narratives and not more interesting, real life writing? 

So I don't know, I'm trying to back up and think through my pre-suppositions. The Narrative & Discourse Builder Tool kit thing came today, and I'm debating whether to open it or return it or somehow merge these or what. I've really been trying to think about how they're similar and different (NDT and SGM). SGM is trying to do a lot bringing in Social Thing (MGW) stuff. Now I'm all for ST, but is that REALLY the right step for a developmentally delayed student? The blogs have SLPs saying they're doing Braidy, the preschool offering of SGM, with their ASD students even into higher grades (3-5th). There's a concreteness at the lower levels in Braidy, a lack of trying to jump into stuff they aren't ready for.

For right now, I'm really pleased with our progress in Cusimano's auditory memory in context program. We're buzzing through the 5 word sentences, and when we finish we'll start in her paragraph retelling portion. She starts with 3 short sentences and works up to significantly longer paragraphs. The student is to retell them with main idea and details, though it doesn't have to be verbatim. I'm interested to see how he does with this and whether going to such INCREDIBLY SHORT paragraphs for what is essentially narration makes a difference. Maybe it lets him wrap his mind around the CONCEPT of narration (noticing the main idea and details and getting them out) without all the extra voodoo and jibberish of descriptions and motives and morals and resolutions and all this junk. It seems reasonable to me. And maybe we can do the Cusimano narratives with a base version and then some kind of expansion, I don't know. Certainly there's a lot of potential there. I think there's a naturalness to connectors, for instance, that isn't really going to happen if you slather them on but might happen with some judicious explicit instruction. Mindwings had a kit for that. I figured I could just make the word list myself and laminate them.

 

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https://mindwingconcepts.com/blogs/news/36160257-sgm-summer-study-series The Mindwings blog has a post where they list 6 categories of emotions and then words under them to use in narratives. I thought they'd fit well when we talk about attributes and categorizing them. I have blank playing cards, so it's easy to write the words onto cards and play games. 

Mindwings is selling some manuals specifically for autism. I haven't seen anything but the samples, so who knows, they may address these things I'm chewing on. I just doubt it. I think we as homeschoolers bring something to the table, because we're outside of Common Core and we're going ok, how does writing develop normally? I guess that's what bugged me most, that they were more concerned with just getting SOMETHING written than whether what they were doing was reflecting natural, normal writing/narrative development. I'm still early enough in this process with ds to be wondering what natural narrative development should be. Skinner and your VBA people seemed to be going for that, but it's the SLPs that are being told to teach writing to the kids. Is there something further VBA/ABA does to nurture narratives? I've got the book downstairs with that title, haha. I must not have thought it was lightning bolt. I recall it being kind of practical, but I'm just sort of theoretical right now. To me I'm sort of horrified that anyone was willing to work on formal narratives without building up FFC and grammar in my ds so he could actually have the LANGUAGE to make natural narratives. It makes everything suspect to me. 

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Color My Conversation came today, and it looks very well made. I think I may jump in sooner than I had thought, simply because it's so exciting to think about what could happen for him socially with some explicit work on conversation. I think it may be one of those where you do some, apply a while, do some more, grow, do some more...

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I think this might be a matter of terminology.... we are working on telling a personal narrative as part of building conversation skills.

We are looking for being able to tell something he did.  We are looking for things like “what did you do over the weekend, what did you do on your birthday, what did you do for Easter, what did you do for Christmas,” things like this.  

It’s like the difference between asking twenty questions and guessing and filling in the blanks and figuring out how things fit together....... or having him be able to say it.

Its the difference between asking what did you do, where did you go, and having him first say “I got a happy meal at McDonald’s” and only later mentioning “we went to visit my grandparents.”  Well that is a confusing way to put things, it isn’t easy to piece together “oh, you stopped at McDonald’s on the way home from your grandparents house.”  How about saying “going to your grandparents” first and then adding details about the trip?

However the label of “narrative” gets used for this, and the same kinds of things with telling things in order and having a main idea are used.  

Anyway the personal narratives the way he does them fits right in with conversational skills. 

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Hmm, see that's something I really wanted to know. That blog had someone saying there was a difference between how ABA was teaching narratives and how the SGM and other tools were. And what you're saying makes sense that the whole idea of main idea and details would make a difference. Without instruction, he wouldn't have any clue how to sort that out. 

So is there a program or a list or something they're using for that? I can look farther in Greer, but I'm not sure if it goes there. It's not THAT detailed, lol. But I think you're right that it would be possible to develop a bunch of separate skills and not have them merge into a whole. He also needs the skills work, so I'm good with it. But yeah, that's the real issue, getting it to actually be something. And I'm not sure people actually ask him that. Or if they do, he just deflects and goes into some monologue. So people assume the language is there, the thinking foundation is there, and that he's just whatever, when it's really probably not. Given that these main idea workbooks are challenging, he probably doesn't. He catches on quickly, but he needs the work.

Well that gives me a term to look into, thanks. Our funding increase begins in July, and one of the things I can do between now and then is think about where to put the funding. I'm not really convinced putting it into SLP hours will get me what I want, because they really aren't trained in autism enough. They seem to get trained on a program and not know how things fit together, not know the VBA component, not know how it should develop naturally or come to a whole. It's very parts to whole with the assumption that it will come together into a whole if you teach the parts. And he needs parts, but I think he also needs that whole context, let's get him using this of the ABA/VBA. 

The two challenges there are , 1 getting a BCBA who's actually really good in language who has RBTs available to do hours, and 2 making sure the BCBA is skillful with challenging behaviors. And it's ugly because my behaviorist, whom I like and who is doing good things with ds overall and is helpful for me in understanding him, is not BCBA and doesn't have RBTs and struggles to get us higher quality workers. But to bring in a 2nd BCBA, that's really sticky, kwim? So I don't know. But I think if I had some RBT hours carefully applied, it could go a long way. I think it could hit church and language goals. But to do two people, that's kinda sticky, not sure.

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Honestly my experience has been that past the level of FFC and starting wh questions, speech therapy and ABA are very similar on language.  

I think some of the stuff you’re doing with FFC, if you wanted to do it with a therapist, would be better done with ABA using the VB-MAPP or something similar.  They do so much more with it than I have ever seen with speech therapy where I have lived. 

I also see ABA focus more on responding accurately to what was said.  If they ask a question it’s not good enough for a child to launch into a monologue that is somehow related but isn’t accurately responding to the question.  

But once kids can respond accurately and are constructing novel utterances pretty reliably and pretty easily, then it seems like ABA and speech therapy get pretty similar.

I personally don’t think you are going to find any bump from finding someone doing VB, as far as language, once you are past VB-MAPP or ABLLS levels. 

You might have other needs that make ABA make sense (like more hours or going into the community) but I just don’t see that ABA is doing something different/better than speech therapy anymore.  

I don’t observe sessions anymore since we have moved so I can’t say exactly.

But I think in general he is doing the same stuff with a graphic organizer and main idea/details.  They use a similar one for reading comprehension and telling a main idea and details, or a sequence of beginning/middle/end, that kind of thing.  So it’s similar between reading comprehension (understanding a story and story elements and being able to retell or summarize) and with constructing a personal narrative.

They can look at it as retelling events, and the events might have been something the child did, or the events might have been something that happened in a story.  It’s similar that way and goes together that way.  

He is still doing wh questions, they just get harder.  

Anything I have seen about types of conversations (I don’t know them off the top of my head, but they are things like topic/comment where you comment on the topic of what someone said, topic/question where you ask a question about what someone said, things like that) seems to be the same between speech therapy and ABA.  They are both seeing there are patterns to conversations and ways to follow the pattern, and skills involved to practice...... they both want kids to say things in a sensible order and in a sensible way...... my impression is that either one would meet my son and identify the same things and the same general ways to work on them.  

The big thing I see for ABA (and I have only done ones with VB) is that if they see a child not respond accurately then they think “maybe this child doesn’t know how to respond accurately to this kind of question.”  They don’t just go “well what he did say seemed good.”  It can be wonderful but they will mentally count it as inaccurate if it didn’t accurately respond to the question or if it wasn’t on topic.  

But then I think at a certain point kids are pretty accurate and can do speech therapy and respond to hints or feedback from the speech therapist at times they weren’t accurate.  But I think when it is happening a lot they don’t get picky.  I think they work with what the child says more while ABA is more likely to get picky and say “but I said this” or “but your sister was talking about this” or something.  

The other thing I think is that language and social get very very closely connected and I think speech therapy and ABA both do a good job with this.  

What I don’t like is if somebody says something tangential, instead of very accurate/responsive, does that always get blamed on social?  Or do they say “well maybe that is a language issue?” But I think at a certain point it’s not this kind of language issue, and they’re both good. Or they both are going to bring it up or address it similarly.

At least that is my impression!  I am sure it depends a lot on individual people.  I live in pretty small towns with not a lot of options, but I think some good options, but way less options than in a city.  

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Yeah, I'm googling this, and I'm not getting any specific hits. I'll keep looking. I'm not sure it's a curriculum so much as a concept, that the skill taught in isolation isn't going to get used unless you actually make the effort to get it used. Greer doesn't go into narratives in the VBA book. Maybe I'll look for teaching conversation with autism and see what pops up. 

I'd just like to point out that it's not a fallacy to teach these skills explicitly. He has great potential to understand, enjoys thinking about them, is using them actively in the exercises (not only passively or receptively), and he's gaining and understanding that can allow him to pull it together and apply in a more generalized setting. To work on the usage without teaching the skills explicitly would require him to infer and figure them out for himself. But I agree that to teach them in isolation without applying them in a context isn't going to magically get them used either.

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2 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Honestly my experience has been that past the level of FFC and starting wh questions, speech therapy and ABA are very similar on language.  

I think some of the stuff you’re doing with FFC, if you wanted to do it with a therapist, would be better done with ABA using the VB-MAPP or something similar.  They do so much more with it than I have ever seen with speech therapy where I have lived. 

I also see ABA focus more on responding accurately to what was said.  If they ask a question it’s not good enough for a child to launch into a monologue that is somehow related but isn’t accurately responding to the question.  

Bingo. The psych who eval'd him this time is also a behaviorist, and she really honed in on that, that it wasn't acceptable. But it bamboozles SLPs, because they aren't tracking for it, aren't watching for it. They're just tallying bits of language and seeing that he said SOMETHING, anything. So then is there a specific thing or technique they do, or is it more like the cumulative effect of lots of hours, lots of people all working on it?

Yeah, I'm finding plenty in the SLP community that could have been done, and I think they just don't own it. No biggee, I'm doing it myself. I enjoy it. Like I said, I'm considering bringing in a 2nd BCBA for language and getting an RBT to do hours. We'll see. I'm being cautious because I think some of these providers are overselling what their people can do. When somebody says oh yeah ALL my people are experts at advanced language, that's absurd.

8 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I personally don’t think you are going to find any bump from finding someone doing VB, as far as language, once you are past VB-MAPP or ABLLS levels. 

You might have other needs that make ABA make sense (like more hours or going into the community) but I just don’t see that ABA is doing something different/better than speech therapy anymore.  

Or to put it another way, because the kids typically move from the ABA to the SLP doing the service for language with the transition to school, there probably aren't BCBAs super, super trained in advanced VBA. I looked for an SLP who would also be BCBA. That would be a find. But the SLPs are weak on their autism knowledge. They don't listen carefully and miss a lot, a LOT. I literally had an SLP tell me my expectations were too high, that her ds talks like that, and the next week ds FAILED an expressive language test for grammar. Chew on that. *I* heard the issues but she couldn't. 

The other issue is because the SLPs aren't trained in autism they aren't catching things like not answering the question. They just go did he use language, and they don't get that bigger level of did he answer the question. And he needs both. And it doesn't happen with random work. We're doing a travel social skills club, so we're out in the community, with a group, with an SLP and OT. Personally I think they're bunk at building language. All it does is mean his support is high and that he's calm and getting the experience. But he's not really getting any solid language work. He'd have to be with an RBT to get that. My SIL takes him out and pushes the envelope with him, but we just let her be her natural, talkative self. We never ask her to make therapy demands. It has been good for him. 

I guess we'll see. If I start the conversation program with him, the personal narratives (hey what did you do) may be in there. I can go look. I don't know. Sometimes I get disappointed by programs, but this program SWORE it would go from simplest to most complex. LOL

14 minutes ago, Lecka said:

But I think in general he is doing the same stuff with a graphic organizer and main idea/details.  They use a similar one for reading comprehension and telling a main idea and details, or a sequence of beginning/middle/end, that kind of thing.  So it’s similar between reading comprehension (understanding a story and story elements and being able to retell or summarize) and with constructing a personal narrative.

They can look at it as retelling events, and the events might have been something the child did, or the events might have been something that happened in a story.  It’s similar that way and goes together that way.  

He is still doing wh questions, they just get harder.  

The Spotlight series (Linguisystems) I'm using now has books for reading and listening and will hit the same topic both ways. Right now I'm trying to hit easy topics and work on the expressive language component of it. A lot of stuff will just focus on whether he understands it, and I'm trying to make sure he can SAY it. So we've done a lot of sequencing, but it was very passive. The language he was giving me was simple. We did harder workbooks but then he wasn't generating the narratives. So now I'm going back and trying to make sure he can GET OUT the language he needs in order to make a quality statement about the image. That's why I'm doing the FFC/100% vocab stuff, because I'm trying to make it easy for him to SAY the things. He got the concepts, but he wasn't getting it out in his own words. So like this week we're spending the whole week working on function and using active verbs. And you're saying to work on getting that to apply to his life somehow, to his speech. That's a really good point.

23 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Anything I have seen about types of conversations (I don’t know them off the top of my head, but they are things like topic/comment where you comment on the topic of what someone said, topic/question where you ask a question about what someone said, things like that) seems to be the same between speech therapy and ABA.  They are both seeing there are patterns to conversations and ways to follow the pattern, and skills involved to practice...... they both want kids to say things in a sensible order and in a sensible way...... my impression is that either one would meet my son and identify the same things and the same general ways to work on them.  

Ok, that's really helpful. I don't know if this CMC program is going to use topic/comment terminology. It would be more cohesive with the other work we're doing, and I can highlight it or make sure he understands it that way if it calls it something else. I think it would be HUGE and pull things together and unlock a lot. I wasn't sure about diverting to work on conversation, but now it sounds good. I only have another 5 weeks probably till the PROMPT SLP returns, so it gives me a limited window to work hard here. Then we'll have to go back to more of a normal pace. I'm trying to focus on what is most, most, most important. When we have to slow down, then we can be a little more spread out and bring things in to work on. Right now I'm burning rubber. 

27 minutes ago, Lecka said:

The big thing I see for ABA (and I have only done ones with VB) is that if they see a child not respond accurately then they think “maybe this child doesn’t know how to respond accurately to this kind of question.”  They don’t just go “well what he did say seemed good.”  It can be wonderful but they will mentally count it as inaccurate if it didn’t accurately respond to the question or if it wasn’t on topic.  

...What I don’t like is if somebody says something tangential, instead of very accurate/responsive, does that always get blamed on social?  Or do they say “well maybe that is a language issue?” But I think at a certain point it’s not a language issue...

Yes, that clarifies it for me. The psych talked about it a lot, that he was not responding to the question she asked. And I sat in on sessions with SLPs who said they were good at expressive language who did NOT catch this, did NOT mention it. And once you're watching for it, it's really striking. And I guess I thought of it as sort of a mental perseveration, that he had his own topic and didn't care about your topic enough to respond. But I think it could be layers, like you're saying. I think you're right that it's important to isolate whether he COULD respond to the question by compelling him to respond to the question. So if I catalog it, then we can see patterns. 

Yes, we've done quite a bit with WH questions. My guess is if we look for patterns the questions where he's jumping and not answering are sort of vague/general/summary kind of questions in that vein of what did you do this weekend or something, not something really concrete like what color is your dog or why did the chicken cross the road. We've done bazillions of worksheets on forming and answering wh-questions with a picture prompt, so he's pretty solid on those. I wouldn't expect him to deflect there. But for a more open-ended question requiring more thought to pull it together, yeah you're not going to get a helpful answer.

Now I'm curious to go look at the conversation program, lol. I have no clue how it handles that. It's Color My Conversation, and it has stones and paths and a ball you toss. It talks about making transitions to different topics and the size of the transition (how abrupt or different), etc. It seemed like it had a lot of potential. Might not be the ultimate, but it had potential. I thought the kinesthetic was good and his behaviorist thought it would be good. He's definitely one who is good with anything in motion or multi-sensory. He's even enjoying these stupid Quick Play Grammar Games we're playing, mercy. 

So I'm definitely cool going both directions. It's just easier to get materials for parts to whole than it is whole to parts. 

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You can google graphic organizers and then reading comprehension or main idea or beginning middle end or things like that.  

Then there’s a lot of things you can do with a filled out graphic organizer.

Like if you have one about a birthday party, then you can ask a question that is on topic.  Like — details of a birthday party might be cake or presents.  Then an on-topic question might be “what presents did you get?”  I have seen them used that way where you have it filled out and then either make a statement or respond to a statement.  

And ive seen them to help formulate what the child will say, too, to say something longer maybe.  

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Jennifer-72 had mentioned Pickles to Penguins years ago as a good game to play, one her SLP had done. I had taken it to the SLP we were using at the time, and she had tried to do PROMPT while playing it. She said he just got lost in his complex answers. Well now that we're finally doing FFC type work, he's actually starting to play it like a normal person, in a normal way. So after our week of work, he can finally play cards and connect them based on functions, making sentences. And next week, after we've worked on categories, then we'll play P2P some more and do both functions and categories. 

It's just that people hear the kinds of connections he was making (really abstract, way out there) and they don't fathom that he really needed to work on FFC. His ADOS scores were really more in that traditional ASD range, not the Aspergers range. He's just a lot more verbal, overall, than other ASD2 kids I meet. But he still has the deficits, even if we're winning enough on the apraxia that people don't expect them. 

That's why I'm going back and doing this nitpicky work, because I think if I go for an end goal (narratives, writing, whatever) and don't work on the foundation, he won't get there. 

One of the SLPs said to work on error correction, helping him hear his errors or to notice errors in sentences. Have they done anything like that? Right now one of the sequencing books we're using (Spotlight) has him doing scrambled sentences, which really hone in on this idea that he doesn't quite realize what each word in the sentence does in order to know they're in the correct order or not. I was looking to see if I can find more of them or whether I might just make lists myself using sentences from the Spotlight grammar series.

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I have known someone who is a speech therapist and a BCBA.  She is amazing.  She is really amazing.  But her skill set isn’t what you want it to be.

Really truthfully I think VB is the best up to a point and then it blends in with speech therapy.  It is at the lower levels where it is something that is a real contribution.  That’s what I have seen.  I think for higher stuff to some extent maybe it hasn’t even been developed yet if there is something that is going to be as big of a contribution as the lower level stuff.  I just don’t see it.  I haven’t seen it. 

For the responding to the specific things people say ———— they just target it.  They target if a response was accurate.  Then there are techniques and stuff, but I think it’s mainly just that they are sticklers on it. 

But I think you have to keep in mind, the difficulty isn’t just in thinking of what to say and formulating it properly. 

The difficulty is also in properly hearing what the other person said.

In VB they have goals and goals for listener responding (I think) where they want the child to really listen to what the speaker said.  It is it’s own area of focus.  And it’s not emphasized the same way in speech therapy that I have seen.  They go into it in really basic ways in VB that I haven’t seen the same way in speech therapy. So it’s like there are goals for just listener responding that all go together and fit together with, one of those goals, listening accurately to what someone said and then responding accurately.  

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5 minutes ago, Lecka said:

You can google graphic organizers and then reading comprehension or main idea or beginning middle end or things like that.  

Then there’s a lot of things you can do with a filled out graphic organizer.

Like if you have one about a birthday party, then you can ask a question that is on topic.  Like — details of a birthday party might be cake or presents.  Then an on-topic question might be “what presents did you get?”  I have seen them used that way where you have it filled out and then either make a statement or respond to a statement.  

And ive seen them to help formulate what the child will say, too, to say something longer maybe.  

It's kind of funny to think about graphic organizers for conversation. It makes SENSE, but I just need to think about it. The SGM stuff does that, taking one of their symbols (a concept like setting maybe) and using it to form a whole graphic organizer where they come out with lots of points and expand. 

https://mindwingconcepts.com/blogs/news/6-books-and-activity-for-groundhog-day This shows expanding a single SGM icon to make an expository paragraph.

http://www.4gaslps.com/Braidy_page.html This site had tons of links, worksheets, printables on SGM stuff, a total treasure trove.

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His only grammar goals I think have been things like using future and past tense, irregular past tense, and I think irregular plural words (like mouse/mice instead of adding an s).  I think.  I think since he has done those it’s been good enough for his current level.  

I think you get suggestions like that tailored to his current level, I think he’s not at a place where they see that as something to target.  He needs to talk more and say more, he’s not already saying enough to get into grammar.  

I think.  

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Well there is a whole school of thought that basically says some kids do so good with visuals that lets just do visual supports with everything.  And then that means a lot of graphic organizers.

There is a lot where first you can fill out a graphic organizer and then have it available as a reference.

My son does good with visual supports so it’s one of those things people bring in when they see he does well with them.  

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39 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I have known someone who is a speech therapist and a BCBA.  She is amazing.  She is really amazing.  But her skill set isn’t what you want it to be.

...In VB they have goals and goals for listener responding (I think) where they want the child to really listen to what the speaker said.  It is it’s own area of focus.  And it’s not emphasized the same way in speech therapy that I have seen.  They go into it in really basic ways in VB that I haven’t seen the same way in speech therapy. So it’s like there are goals for just listener responding that all go together and fit together with, one of those goals, listening accurately to what someone said and then responding accurately.  

You're probably right. LOL I am probably expecting the extremely improbable.

Now listener goals, that I can find! I'll go look. I'm still on chapter 3, where we're learning about attention to voice. I've been trying to be nitpicky and really THINK about these issues and notice, to make sure he has the skills and has them consistently and that it isn't assumed. So I was trying to take it slowly and not rush. I didn't read ahead. There may very well be listener goals and if not then another book will have them. It makes sense.

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37 minutes ago, Lecka said:

His only grammar goals I think have been things like using future and past tense, irregular past tense, and I think irregular plural words (like mouse/mice instead of adding an s).  I think.  I think since he has done those it’s been good enough for his current level.  

I think you get suggestions like that tailored to his current level, I think he’s not at a place where they see that as something to target.  He needs to talk more and say more, he’s not already saying enough to get into grammar.  

I think.  

He your ds or he my ds?? My ds has TONS of language, tons. Nobody who meets him thinks OMG he's going to fail an expressive language test. He fails it because his brain has memorized so much of the whole of language and couldn't break it down into parts. So he basically has no clue why you would use a/an somewhere. He's using them, but when you actually test them and he has to crank it out for a really tight construction, where the expected construction (that any 9 yo would pass easily if you look at the way the test scores), he can't. But he has tons of language. 

So people think they don't need to work on language. That's why the SLP was saying she wanted to work on him noticing errors, because she wants him to start noticing the BITS and ascribing meaning and discrimination to the BITS.

I think with him it's because he did so much scripting. He was memorizing and reciting tons of language, but his brain couldn't break it down into the parts. So the SLP that we started with (who we can't fund further till July) is like ok, we need to help him notice the parts.

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But yeah, for the behaviorist, when you go what should we emphasize, grammar is so NOT what she's most worried about, lol. She's working on behavior, on interactions, on being gentle, helping him PLAY. She's constantly making data and thinking about how she's pushing the envelope on his play. It was a real priority for us. Grammar wasn't really the biggest thing he needed to work on with her. Social Thinking, calming strategies, having gentle considerate play, these were much more important.

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And the SLP for expressive language commented that *normally* she'd work by doing actual grammar exercises with ds, but that those didn't seem to be what he needed. That was how she went with her path more of error correction, which I thought was insightful. He uses the grammar, but he doesn't UNDERSTAND it down to the bits. It means he can't combine it more originally and has very rigid sentence constructions. That's how we'll know we're succeeding, as the more diverse constructions (active verbs, etc.) begin to show up in his speech.

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I think responding verbally might be into intraverbals.  It is confusing with the terminology.

But just in general they want accuracy and not something that is close but isn’t quite it, they want something accurate. 

I think it’s more ———— a lot of things have to come together to hear what someone says and respond accurately.

The big comment we got most recently, is my son responds very minimally (in content of what he says I guess) when he is not that interested.  But he responds much better when he is interested.  So then that is a little more into social and motivation and those things that aren’t just language. 

But I think language is still part of it because he will work harder to talk if it’s something he is more interested in.

But still it was a big comment we got.  

I think she thought he was one-sided, to some extent, and didn’t really take up her conversational bids appropriately.  

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43 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Well there is a whole school of thought that basically says some kids do so good with visuals that lets just do visual supports with everything.  And then that means a lot of graphic organizers.

There is a lot where first you can fill out a graphic organizer and then have it available as a reference.

My son does good with visual supports so it’s one of those things people bring in when they see he does well with them.  

Interesting. I don't know. My ds seems to gloss on those. I'm not going to avoid them. I tend to try to get it more kinesthetic with him. We've done some testing for modalities in the VMPAC, and he usually tests as dominantly kinesthetic. So that's why the SGM magnets were looking good to me. They can be the same concept, but he can move them around and manipulate them. The stepping stones and motion of CMC will be good. 

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My son needs to talk more.  It’s his big goal.  There’s different ways and situations where he needs to talk more, but that’s what everyone wants for him.  

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3 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I think responding verbally might be into intraverbals.  It is confusing with the terminology.

But just in general they want accuracy and not something that is close but isn’t quite it, they want something accurate. 

I think it’s more ———— a lot of things have to come together to hear what someone says and respond accurately.

The big comment we got most recently, is my son responds very minimally (in content of what he says I guess) when he is not that interested.  But he responds much better when he is interested.  So then that is a little more into social and motivation and those things that aren’t just language. 

But I think language is still part of it because he will work harder to talk if it’s something he is more interested in.

But still it was a big comment we got.  

I think she thought he was one-sided, to some extent, and didn’t really take up her conversational bids appropriately.  

Yeah, that's what I'm edging up on in my reading. I've had such a mental block on making that word (intraverbals) mean something that I was just trying to take my time and wrap my brain around everything else first, lol. Sort of a nail one thing then go on to the next. I'll figure it out, but for now, since it was a few pages ahead, I sort of put it off, lol.

Yes, that not responding, not much language is what the ASD2 kids are like in travel club. That seems to be common. And ds is this freak of nature, sort of super verbal and struggling at the same time. It's why I pushed for testing and was adamant it not get missed. 

So that's what you mean by social, that he's just not motivated. Ds is very socially motivated, so he usually responds. He's getting language bumps now with me working with him this intensely (2-3 hours a day on language, oy), so he's got even MORE flowing. But pretty frequently he's monologuing. He was sorta cute at 8/9, but the monologue thing isn't working for going forward. He's cognitively to where he can understand this. I think we can merge the good instruction from some of these workbooks with the good instruction in CMC and get somewhere. The psych was hopeful like that too. She really thought he had a lot of potential. It's why she was SO ANGRY that he wasn't getting the tier, getting autism put as his disabling condition, wasn't getting the funding. We took her into the meeting and it TOTALLY changed things. They dumped the "autism expert" who had been so under-trained and unhelpful and everybody else just shut up and listened to her. With that and the language scores, we totally ended it. The school SLP who had wanted to help us finally had enough room to help us. 

So the things I'm doing now I never had ROOM to do before. I wasn't totally, totally sure and didn't have the data before, but I also didn't have the funding. If I had intervened without baseline data, we would have been screwed all over again, just like what happened when he was 6/7 and I intervened. I bought speech therapy materials then, did stuff, and they're like see, no problems here! They SAW me using the speech materials and didn't acknowledge it. Of course you can't be worth anything with materials if you don't have SLP behind your name, mercy.

So no matter, no we're working. And he didn't really have the behavioral control before to tolerate this intense work. The genetics testing got us enough improvement there that he actually can sit and work this hard and get bumps. It's still super hard, but we're not having significant behaviors, not having aggression. It's really important. Now we're actually able to intentionally push him to where it's a little hard so he can use his words, use his coping skills. He wants everything to be easy, and we're like no, it's OK that it's a little hard, ask for a break, you can ask for a break. That's a lot of growth in just a few months.

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5 minutes ago, Lecka said:

My son needs to talk more.  It’s his big goal.  There’s different ways and situations where he needs to talk more, but that’s what everyone wants for him.  

Yup, sigh. That's where most of the kids are. It made it complicated when you say he has language issues and needs to bump the support level but doesn't look like that. It was the right thing to do, but my ds isn't the normal presentation. But I think you're right that the strategies are still similar on a lot of things. My ds actually still needs the deep, thorough intervention.

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So I'm playing around with this, and you're right it's incredibly easy to take what we've been working on this week (forming complete sentences where we talk about function) and extend it to conversation and chit chat. (So, what are things you like to do with your legos? What are ways you use your string? These are things he does a lot, so he should have a lot to say about them.) And it's immediately obvious WHY he was not answering questions, because even when we've worked on it and formed the individual sentences for a whole week, when you actually go to put it into a paragraph of conversation, that's an additional layer of challenge. 

So that's definitely a cool step for us to add in. And I really think I'm going about this right, because we're building up the concept, building up the language for the concept into sentences, and then building the sentences into paragraphs of conversation. It really makes sense, and it's clear now how he can get there with work and why he wasn't before.

Also, turns out I have a couple books https://www.amazon.com/Fun-Nature-Along-Guide-Guides/dp/1559717025/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525465780&sr=8-1&keywords=fun+with+nature&dpID=61Qws3RB6IL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch in this Fun with Nature series that are just right for small chunks of narration (topic and details). I really think we can get some mileage with this. It's not fiction, and it's not rabbit trailing or long or archaic in language. I'm thinking maybe we can bring in that and some kind of brief fiction and try to do a short non-fiction and a short fiction narrative each day.

At the rate I'm going, maybe I won't even want that NDT? I don't know. Just gotta plunge in and see. 

He's doing pretty well with the Yoda Sentences (sentence combining). He's up to 7 word sentences now, which would probably make my head swirl, lol. We're just doing 5 at a time. I'm pushing him really hard on the Cusimano auditory memory in context book. I'm REALLY interested to see what happens when we move over to paragraphs with it and to see if the the leap is functional and works for him. That's a straight narrative of a paragraph, no interpretation with intention, feelings, and all that other junk from SGM, but still it's a narrative, something that could have some flow to be a nice little, traditional, developmentally appropriate narrative. I'm not so sure their hyper focus on intent and feelings and junk is essential for this age.

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I have been looking at the Story Grammar Marker stuff, and I think it looks really good.  

Do you know what people are using?  I am looking more at the autism materials or Braidy, the actual SGM I think is too advanced but I’m not sure.

I would like something to help me with story time and that is going to be very usable for me as a parent, there are some things I haven’t gotten because I don’t think I could actually implement them, but this looks possible for me to do with story time, maybe.

Have you heard anything else about it?  

Also this was really interesting: https://mindwingconcepts.com/pages/research

It shows some how conversation and narratives go together and how the different kinds of narratives go together.  I hadn’t seen it explained that way before!  

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I'll have to go look at that link! Yes, I think Braidy is the right starting place. Several bloggers said that, that they start with Braidy for autism. Now they have some separate workbooks, but to me Braidy looked like the right starting point. I think the challenge is generalization and pulling it into a whole, not just making a list of parts. But as far as level of analysis and the resources in the tm, Braidy looks good.

I'm working on IEP goals today, so I'll be swamped with that till I'm done. Then, I'll go back to narratives, lol. CC 3rd grade has 3 types of narratives (fictional, informational with main idea/details, and informational sequential), so it kind of merges.

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I've been thinking it would be expedient to make a braidy doll that is a bit smaller and not $80. That was the stopping point for me. If they had a $35 braidy doll, I'd have no hesitation, kwim? It has brief utility for us, and the $80 plus the $65 for the tm was just too much. But I don't know if I'd get a smaller version made or not. I decided to wait 5 weeks, which isn't really an answer, lol.

Fwiw, I'm finding the detailed work we're doing on FFC, where we're making complete sentences, getting that out as expressive language, bam, bam, over and over again, and building that it's workable paragraphs of conversation is HUGE. I don't see how he'd be ready to go into Braidy without this expressive language work first. That had been my reluctance to use an SLP in the first place, because they were going to go with some end product tool without building it up. How do you describe the setting if you don't have the expressive language to DESCRIBE?? And describing is attributes, FFC.

I'm hearing ds carry his FFC stuff over into his speech, and it's giving him more sentence variety. He's using it now to talk about nintendo and what characters do and what weapons do. It's AMAZING. This is stuff he just never said before. It never came out and he was all silence. Now he's having conversations with a teen guy about Nintendo talking about what things in Zelda DO and what will the guardian do and this and that... That's all FUNCTIONS. FFC.

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I’m not sure yet either, but I think we would get a few years use from it.  I saw a blog saying a school SLP used Braidy through 5th grade with some students.  I just need to think about what my priorities are this summer and what I can implement, and how things will fit with what he is already doing.  

I am glad the FFC is going so well.  My son has been in therapy with language goals and he has done a lot with FFC.  

I think ideally you can find a therapist who will target language, and then the therapist can decide on appropriate goals, and then go through things.  

I think Braidy looks like it is really flexible and could be used to work on a lot of goals.

I also don’t get a sense that it is focusing too much on parts.  It looks like it has options to start at a pretty low level, and then build up and add from there. 

But I do hope you can find a good therapist for language goals and see what that person would say about goals and how to target them.  

I think too when kids have rote speech it can take longer for therapists to get a sense of what of their speech is rote and what is novel, and I think when kids have a lot of language it takes longer to see where the issues are.  I think it can take some time.  

Anyway I hope you find someone you like when your funding comes through!  

 

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Have you looked at Pinterest for SGM stuff? I know that with a similar tool (the Expanding Expression Tool), a lot of teachers make complementary materials. So do SLP's. They sometimes make homemade braids with the kids that kids can take home with them. My younger son made one with pipe cleaners/beads with the SLP. 

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Nope, I wasn't impressed with what the SLPs were offering to do. I'm going way more in-depth. 

I looked a bit for created stuff like that, but I need to look more. I've gotten side-tracked in the weeds, reading about dopamine levels and attention and l-tyrosine. If this is correct that the 5HTP and tyrosine need to balance, then we might be able to improve ds' attention, his tolerance for working, by getting this piece in place. 

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8 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Nope, I wasn't impressed with what the SLPs were offering to do. I'm going way more in-depth. 

I looked a bit for created stuff like that, but I need to look more. I've gotten side-tracked in the weeds, reading about dopamine levels and attention and l-tyrosine. If this is correct that the 5HTP and tyrosine need to balance, then we might be able to improve ds' attention, his tolerance for working, by getting this piece in place. 

Did you read my post, lol? I suggested you look on TPT to see if you can find another concrete item to teach SGM using homemade materials (without buying Braidy). I suggested this because I have seen Pinterest posts and SLP stuff in person like it (only using the EET). You seem to not want to buy Braidy for limited use.

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17 hours ago, kbutton said:

Have you looked at Pinterest for SGM stuff? I know that with a similar tool (the Expanding Expression Tool), a lot of teachers make complementary materials. So do SLP's. They sometimes make homemade braids with the kids that kids can take home with them. My younger son made one with pipe cleaners/beads with the SLP. 

Sorry, I sorta skimmed this and didn't reply! I did google homemade versions of Braidy a bit, and I've looked at the regular SGM enough I think I know how to make it. I just went and looked on TPT. I can go look at Pinterest. I think I did a little. It's just such a vat, lol. I'm looking at it now. I think the only pin that is showing up when I just punch in Braidy is the one *I* uploaded to the universe, haha. I had searched for homemade SGM on there, and I've seen the worksheets. Thing is, it just turns into lists with ds.

I'm busy with the IS today because we need to update our IEP goals. Thing is, it's an excuse, a chance for me to let it all mull. I was SO into it, so deep my head was swirling. I had read about the NDT and the SGM and I just needed to back off and let my brain process. I needed to totally drop it for a bit, because I was too into it. I have some reservations about the methodologies, because I don't think they're completely solid. I just don't. You've got SLPs making stuff, and I'm just not convinced that they actually understand all the issues. They're literally struggling, searching to find books that fit their paradigm, rather than fitting their paradigm to the books or making it flexible enough that it can fit how people actually write and tell narratives. It's absurd, and something is amiss.

So you know me. I'm gonna chew on this till I wrap my brain around it and feel very confident. Until then, I'm not gonna touch narratives. We're going to do our FFC work, which is briefly covered in EET btw, and let that expand (haha). I don't want to jump to narratives until I know I have enough foundation that ds is actually ready to do that. I also have some theories forming on time relationships (before/after, sequencing, etc.). There's the term episodic memory, and it's affected in autism. Ds has episodic memory to some level, which really surprised the RDI worker. I think it probably reflects the work we've done with him. In any case, I want to learn more about episodic memory and how that relates to the sequencing and telling of narratives. It seems to me there's probably some in-between step on narratives where you relate/narrate only a portion of the larger sequence, only the portion you're retrieving with that episodic memory. So instead of relating a whole story, you would make a sentence about what happened BEFORE you did such and such or what happened AFTER or what so and so was doing at that point in time. So it would be an in-between step of language and narrative, and you could build those chunks and sequence them to create a more complex narrative.

See, I just have my theories. And, as always, I'm sorta hack and open to saying someone else is wrong or that my ideas could be good. And if my ideas are wrong, they cost me nothing. If my ideas are right, then I'm brilliant, haha. (not) But that's why I'm not jumping. I'm not gonna follow on the SGM train, because I see the whole gig as marketing and lemmings on narrative cliffs. Where I'm trying to get to with ds is too real, too complex, too profound to be limited to the SGM mindset. I think it's OK to teach a tool as a step, sure. I have no issues with that. But I've got to wrap my brain around the whole thing and know how it fits and make it fit to my satisfaction and make sure I know how to use it to get where I'm going. And since I BLEW UP MY MIND trying to think through this before, I really needed to let the dust settle, come back to it fresh, reassemble the pieces, and go ok this is what I'm seeing. 

So yeah, we're writing IEP goals today. I need to go through CC for 3rd/4th and compare it to our current IEP goals. This is our first interaction with the school since they agreed to change his disabling condition, so we'll see how it goes. I'm thinking it will be a lot more relaxed/chilled. I actually WANT to talk with them and collaborate, and the IS just wanted to write the behaviorist and be handed the goals. The behaviorist hasn't had any workers doing academics this year, so now the IS is having to back pedal and deal with me, haha. And of course I'm not up on goals, so it will get interesting. I'm just getting my stuff organized. (where we started, where we are, what problems I'm seeing) I need to pull up his current IEP and see those goals. I think he needs some new ones.

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Well, if your ideas are wrong, they do cost something.  They cost the progress that could have been made with more effective methods.  

I don’t agree about various things not being good.  They may not be what is needed for you right now, but they can still be good.

And then, I have had a lot of times where I haven’t seen where something is going.  And then, later I am surprised and think “wow, I didn’t foresee how that would fit together, it turns out it is better than I expected.”  And I think it’s too bad to close yourself off from that.  

Anyway I do hope you can find someone you like, who will address language goals, with your new funding.  As far as I know ABA doing verbal behavior or having language goals would be good, or a speech therapist who is good with autism, your son’s level, and used to moving kids who have a lot of rote speech into more novel speech.  

I think what you do at home is great, too, but people who have more experience and have seen how things play out, just do have more ability to see the big picture than what we can have as parents.  We just haven’t done it before and they have.  However definitely we have unique insight into our kids as parents, too.  

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Also “advanced language skills” wrt to autism often refers to a certain set of language skills, not necessarily what you or I would think of as “advanced language skills.”

So I think it’s really reasonable for someone to say that all of their RBTs are trained in advanced language skills.  

It can commonly mean level 3 of the VB-MAPP or the “advanced” level of “behavioral interventions for young children with autism.”

And FFC goals are found in levels 2 and 3 of the VB-MAPP so it would seem like there would be potential there if you wanted to go in that direction. 

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Kbutton, I just realized I had TRIED to pin that Braidy page and failed and that the pin on pinterest was someone else's. She has a long page with all kinds of creative extensions, some of which look really good. I particularly like her bookmark idea. https://www.pinterest.com/ewmassie/slp-language-fictional-narratives/

Now back to IEP goals, sigh. It's kind of fascinating to me, because the CC goals for 3rd have a lot of the stuff I'm wanting to work on with him after with get through our FFC stuff. It's kind of coming together for me and validating to see that the things I thought needed to be worked on are in fact the next steps. Just trying to line it all up so I don't drive the IS from the school crazy, lol.

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

See, I just have my theories. And, as always, I'm sorta hack and open to saying someone else is wrong or that my ideas could be good. And if my ideas are wrong, they cost me nothing. If my ideas are right, then I'm brilliant, haha. (not) But that's why I'm not jumping. I'm not gonna follow on the SGM train, because I see the whole gig as marketing and lemmings on narrative cliffs. Where I'm trying to get to with ds is too real, too complex, too profound to be limited to the SGM mindset. I think it's OK to teach a tool as a step, sure. I have no issues with that. But I've got to wrap my brain around the whole thing and know how it fits and make it fit to my satisfaction and make sure I know how to use it to get where I'm going. And since I BLEW UP MY MIND trying to think through this before, I really needed to let the dust settle, come back to it fresh, reassemble the pieces, and go ok this is what I'm seeing. 

1

I think you do need to understand what you are using and feel confident in how professionals are using it.

I think the lemmings comment is a bit over the top, and honestly, I am leaning strongly toward SGM materials.

"Too complex, too profound..." sounds to me like a 2e person overcomplicating things in order to understand them. Does it work? Sure. But it's possible to do so without throwing methods and professionals under the bus. 

My son is complex and profound too, and I think some of his issues might be targeted precisely by the SGM materials, but it's too soon to tell. He is also still subject to parts and pieces of autism, including needing prompting and help to generalize "something he clearly knows" because it's not happening without that prompting, no matter how well he understands. Not happening. 

Just trying to give you some perspective on how people (in my son's case, multiple professionals) can see lots of bits and pieces and shore them all up, and give him the big picture over and over, and his mind still needs to laboriously slog through matching up all of those ideas until he understands. (Sort of like how I've observed to you that you talk/learn, etc. in kind of a spiral of topics? You keep circling back until all the loose ends are tied up...) It's not entirely the tool, the SLP, the tutors, etc. It's his brain and how it gels (or doesn't).

 

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Kbutton, I'm missed it, are you saying you want to use SGM with your younger or older ds? Are you looking at their expository theme to see how it leads into the skills of WWS?

Fwiw, I'm probably going to end up buying all three levels of SGM (Braidy, SGM, Expository). There's definitely plenty of value there. 

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Mindwings has a 15% off coupon through the end of May. BHSM15 is the code. Also there's a FB group for SGM. You can find it through the Mindwings FB page.

I almost think I need to call MW and talk with them. I don't quite understand what their Talk to Write book is covering, but I think it might be their elementary offering to hit the expository writing component. I'm not sure. Or maybe Braidy is narrative and T2W is writing both narrative and expository? I don't quite have it figured out.

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I have been looking through it, and I looked through the autism stuff, and I think someone has been using it with my son at school.  It is like seeing a progression of skills he has learned over the past year.  I think at minimum it is similar methods and similar goals (because he does have a “story elements” goal on his IEP).  

I have a great impression.  He makes more sense and he uses some of the causal ties they talk about.  It’s very big for him.  

It looks like it would be hard for me to implement at home.  But I think it’s a very hard area for my son.  Certainly I could implement it with my other two kids.  

It’s really hard for me to get my son to answer a question when he can’t use words that he has just heard, and use those words to give the answer.  It’s really hard, and I see a big difference between a novel utterance that is a good novel utterance, but does use some wording he has just read or heard, or a novel utterance where he has to come up with all the words.  I think it’s really hard and it’s a big part of why some questions are easier for him than others.  

I think this has helped, and I also think it’s maybe been the right thing at the right time.  

 

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If there is writing in the autism series maybe it would work for starting out?

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I’m probably not going to buy it this year, honestly maybe next year.  I think it is something that will last a long, long time here.  I’m not sure.  I think I might do better to do the review/consolidation side and not the new teaching side, which is a theme for me, lol.  

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I’m seeing vocabulary and background knowledge as my big priority this summer, then reading, then math review.  That might be pretty realistic for what I can do, lol.  

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The Intermediate 100% Vocabulary (Rothstein) arrived yesterday. The book had some writing in it but there's a cd with the printables. It continues the format of the primary book, though obviously it starts at a more complex level. I think ds could do it at some point in a few years and it would be very good. Same concepts (FFC with exclusions, comparisons, absurdities, etc.), but more challenging. Definitely would be good with an older dc. However it's challenging enough that if you look at the (free pdf) of the primary level and think it's a good starting point, you might as well start there. But I'm of the build a foundation, be a rock star, really get this, really be able to get out the language for this. The Intermediate book really steps it up, so the dc needs to be ready.

 

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18 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I have been looking through it, and I looked through the autism stuff, and I think someone has been using it with my son at school.  It is like seeing a progression of skills he has learned over the past year.  I think at minimum it is similar methods and similar goals (because he does have a “story elements” goal on his IEP).  

I have a great impression.  He makes more sense and he uses some of the causal ties they talk about.  It’s very big for him.  

You're probably right! The SLP we were using for language wanted to do this with him. Thing is, she could only see him 1 hour a week, where I have him every day. In a school they've probably had the SLP train the teachers and workers to get methodologies carried over. So they might be teaching it with the SLP and then having the teacher use the strategies and supports too. But yes, when the SLPs are saying story elements, story grammar elements, I think this is what they're referring to. That was how our SLP put it. She never got to do it with him, because we ran out of funds. They're doing it as a summer camp too, but I'm not sure we'll do that. He's on the list, but we're concerned he could get overwhelmed. They'll say they'll adapt, but I think it's too useful a tool to be rushed before he's ready. If the whole group has to go forward and he needs to pause and have breakouts on topics, they won't have that flexibility. So we're on the list and will see, but I'm watching it carefully. I'm waiting to see if his language is enough by then that he could do it with a group and do the likely tasks and have fun, or whether he would be frustrated. We don't know, but we have another month to decide. I think doing it with other people could be a really good springboard too, so we'll see. 

Yes, ds right now is not using connecting words in his narratives. There's a lot the materials do really well as far as exploring the concepts. I think it has complete lesson plans. I'm not sure, but that's how it looks with the tm. So I think when people say Braidy is a good fit for autism, I think they're meaning that the lesson plans are the right step for getting things to be explicit and click, not that the size of the doll is awesome, lol. I think it's more about the thinking in the lessons than it even is about the end point. I really like the 6 second conversation things. I'm all about anything that helps give ds more sentence variety. 

23 minutes ago, Lecka said:

It looks like it would be hard for me to implement at home.  But I think it’s a very hard area for my son.  Certainly I could implement it with my other two kids.  

Absolutely. And it's sort of moderately hard for ds. His narrative scores weren't SO wretched. Like he had 1.5SD of discrepancy, which was enough to qualify you, but it's not terribly low. He has language coming out, sentences, and things are expanding and improving with our language work. I can see us getting to where Braidy is in reach some time soon, where it's actually time and we could be making nice, sensible, logical, coherent, cohesive, connected narratives. I think I'm probably going to want the expository materials too, because I think he's going to be happier doing expository. 

34 minutes ago, Lecka said:

It’s really hard for me to get my son to answer a question when he can’t use words that he has just heard, and use those words to give the answer.  It’s really hard, and I see a big difference between a novel utterance that is a good novel utterance, but does use some wording he has just read or heard, or a novel utterance where he has to come up with all the words.  I think it’s really hard and it’s a big part of why some questions are easier for him than others.  

I think this has helped, and I also think it’s maybe been the right thing at the right time.  

 

Yes, it's definitely about the right thing at the right time! That's why I'm going through the FFC stuff and the Spotlight (Linguisystems) workbooks. We're doing a Spotlight workbook on synonyms right now, and it pushes his envelope. They have another book that targets paraphrasing. I haven't bought it yet. The 100% Vocab (Rothstein) has some on synonyms, but to me that's so foundational, being able to say things in your own words, that he needed expanded work. And then you have word retrieval and other issues. I think you're totally right that your SLPs are trying to target what skills need to be in place for him to take the next step. You could ask that for your summer plans, what skills to target and whether there are materials. The materials themselves aren't so rocket sciency to do, but it's knowing what would be the useful next piece to work on that is the challenge.

That's a really interesting point about your ds needing support when he's trying to use a word that wasn't previously provided. You could talk with them about what exactly causes that. That hasn't really been ds' issue. He has some word retrieval issues and lexical issues (how the words are organized in his brain). But just in general, he doesn't have the issue you're describing. But it totally makes sense that you would want strategies, because either they're working on that or they're working around it with supports or both. Either way, that sounds like something you might enjoy knowing more about. Like if you know ok he needs a word bank, then that would be a strategy to bring in. I don't know.

10 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I’m seeing vocabulary and background knowledge as my big priority this summer, then reading, then math review.  That might be pretty realistic for what I can do, lol.  

And maybe you can talk with your providers and see what aspects they'd like you to target. It seems like continuing their work with narratives could be good, meaning you might need to know what strategies/supports they were using. It sounds like they could have some really specific terms/aspects of vocab for you to target, like synonyms leading to paraphrasing or maybe word retrieval. Then you could use your creativity and find materials for those specific aspects. 

With ds his issue is getting it out. He usually already knows the concepts, but saying the sentences is HARD because of the apraxia, because it just is, because it's a lot to process. So a lot of what we're doing is giving him practice, over and over, getting out these new sentence constructions so he'll be able to have them. 

I think you're right that narratives could be hard for different people for different reasons. The overarching tools (SGM, etc.) might be the same, but then what you emphasize and what supports you bring in and what breakouts you do to work on skills to make it happen would vary.

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