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PeterPan

Narrative language in autism

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The point of the articles about language in 3-5 yos was that my ds' expressive language, when tested, WAS age 5. That means techniques that are appropriate to that age/stage of language development ARE APPROPRIATE for my ds. And, since it's a constant adage in autism education that adding visual is always better and improves comprehension, I thought it was interesting to see the data on it. It's my constant tendency to want to drop the visual, and it was a reminder to me that there's DATA saying keep using visual, keep using visual.

On a separate note, did anyone see this in the recent Oriental Trading catalog? http://www.orientaltrading.com/tell-the-story-aisle-runner-a2-13742012.fltr?sku=13742012&BP=PS544&ms=search&source=google&cm_mmc=GooglePLA-_-1338193093-_-53413221774-_-13742012&cm_mmca1=OTC%2BPLAs&cm_mmca2=GooglePLAs&cm_mmca3=PS544&cm_mmca4=FS39&cm_mmca5=Shopping&cm_mmca6=PLAs&cm_mmc10=Shopping&cm_mmca11=13742012&cm_mmca12=Tell-the-Story-Aisle-Runner&gclid=Cj0KCQjw2f7bBRDVARIsAAwYBBvlHdsD5HsrKPueya3iBZRFBUC1BjZbYY0dy83aN3lgtKQlUItBlkQaAn6DEALw_wcB    The link may look crazy, sorry, but it's a "Tell the Story" aisle runner. In other words, cross Story Grammar Marker and hopscotch. As soon as I saw that, I was like wow, WHAT AN IDIOT I AM not to have thought of it!!! And that goes back to that point that SGM/MW is so narrow, because they always have just this ONE WAY of approaching it, when there are so many others. But to get the narrative telling in motion, that's just brilliant for my ds.

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

The point of the articles about language in 3-5 yos was that my ds' expressive language, when tested, WAS age 5. That means techniques that are appropriate to that age/stage of language development ARE APPROPRIATE for my ds. And, since it's a constant adage in autism education that adding visual is always better and improves comprehension, I thought it was interesting to see the data on it. It's my constant tendency to want to drop the visual, and it was a reminder to me that there's DATA saying keep using visual, keep using visual.

 PeterPan, I don't think there is anyone on this board that has stressed the importance of visuals for autism, over the years, more than I have! Even when some of you didn't agree or ignored my comments. I also stressed the value of good quality picture books and the need for reading together with the child. Perhaps you can go back in your mind and remember... but it's not important! One thing that is important here, I feel, is to stress to you to be careful when you are trying to fit an autistic child into a neurotypical developmental progression. This study was on neurotypical kids. Just reminding you of that!

And with that I am bowing out of this thread.

I sincerely wish you all the best,

M

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Another thing to point out before I go, is that not all autistic individuals are visual thinkers (just like not all visual thinkers are autistic), and therefore certain things that apply to those that are will not apply to those that are not. I have stressed the need for visual approaches with visual kids. This is where a lot of my focus has been, having a family of all visual thinkers. But, you cannot paint everything with broad strokes! Visual thinking can also mean strong visualizers, so reading and creating your own images (or videos as we see them when we read in my family) can be a strong point at this stage. It is why I only focus on my own specific two children, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to help them target the specific areas they need focus on. And each of my two is very different. The developmental progression of NT kids does not factor into my way of thinking or in the way I approach things.

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18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Well I finally ordered SKILL Narrative by the Gillams. We'll see how it is. I feel silly, because we're probably like *this close* to being able to do it without. It feels like I shouldn't need to pay for a whole other curriculum. But at this point an open and go approach that just lets me get it done, without any machinations or searching or guesswork, would be really helpful. And if it's BETTER than what I could have pieced together on my own using lots of separate things, that's good. 

On the plus side, the postage was cheap, just $3.68 media mail, lol. Of course, does that mean it's going to be stupid slow and take forever? Figures.

Let me know what you think of it when it arrives as it's one of the programs I've been curious about for a while but not widely used in my area nor hawked at professional development events. That's the downside to it being sold by a university publisher and not a commercial one like Pro-Ed or Gander.

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6 hours ago, Crimson Wife said:

Let me know what you think of it when it arrives as it's one of the programs I've been curious about for a while but not widely used in my area nor hawked at professional development events. That's the downside to it being sold by a university publisher and not a commercial one like Pro-Ed or Gander.

Or you can buy mine when I'm done. :biggrin: I definitely think it's going to be fine. Solid research behind it and evidence base, and some big name, well thought out SLPs really like it. So I'm not worried about whether it's good. What I don't know is how much it overlaps with other stuff and how worthwhile it is. I also want to know whether they've got some kind of turf war going with the MW/SGM people, because they had such an odd slide in their powerpoint. But I'm sure it will be fine. It might even be amazing. Or the pace might be too fast. We'll see.

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Was going through my browser tabs to close stuff and found this. https://comdde.usu.edu/services/research/schoolage-language/s-gillam-docs/TLD-D-15-00023.pdf  I don't know if we discussed it, but it has a lengthy explanation of how SKILL is set up, what it's trying to do in each module, and the evidence/data from using it. What I notice is that it was more clearly targeted directly at ASD than MW/SGM. That probably explains the heavier emphasis on expressive language and nitpicky steps or why it's resonating with me. It has the level of detail built in that my ds needs to function with it. 

The summary is saying that the units have expansion lists in case the students need more time on a stage. What I don't know is how far it gets overall. I don't know how to interpret the stats in their charts, but it looks like the best results come with significant work (45 minutes for 33 sessions, etc.), and then you're seeing numbers like d=2.46 and percent retells. It seems like the percent retells go up, but I don't know how to interpret that data in the context of where we're going. Like is that a percent of the material, percentile relative to peers? I don't know. If they doubled their percentile they still might have a LONG WAY to go, mercy. I like that it's keyed to Common Core, detailed, beginning at the most foundational level (wordless), making explicit the development of language. I just don't know if this is a comprehensive tool that finishes the job or a jet pack that gets them going enough that they can FUNCTION in other materials. My suspicion is the latter. Or that it's the kind of thing you revisit and cycle through again with more complex material. It would be interesting to know what therapists are following this with. It might be that they seldom get the chance, if it takes 33 sessions to get through it with a typical ASD child, mercy. That's $3-4k in therapy, meaning the parents want the school to take over at that point.

I thought it was interesting that they found that driving the student (when he's ready) into more complex story elements naturally drove up the language. I really like their explanation of conversational vs. literate language, because that's something that has mystified me about retellings (just in general, as a homeschooler) anyway. I could see the phenomenon and the differences in students, but I didn't have words for it. So if you look at the retellings expected in say WWE and then compare them what you get doing CW, WT, W&R, IEW, etc., there's a definite difference, and the difference is the language.

I haven't gotten a shipping note yet, so if you were thinking university vendors were efficient, hang up that, lol. Tick tock. 

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That looks really interesting!

I hope it comes soon ?

As far as my son in school..... this will just depend, but my son does “this kind of thing” daily in reading group with a special education teacher.  I don’t know exactly what they do or what they use, but I do know things here and there, like when he’s learning to answer “how” questions, the teacher is giving a lot of structure and really teaching how to say a sentence.  

So that is daily with a 1:4 ratio.  And he had 6 weeks of ESY this summer, too.  

At this point for my son, it is positive to be in a 1:4 ratio because he does need to listen to peers and also, he gets more exposure by hearing his peers practice the same things.  

I think a lot of kids they hope can do the remediation and then join their classmates for reading lessons and do whatever the classroom teacher is doing for reading comprehension or other learning activities that just require a certain level of reading comprehension or narrative development.

I think that’s how it goes for a lot of kids, maybe they still have 30 minutes of pull-out a day or something.

My younger son is in a more restrictive placement than that (however that would be worded).  

I was just looking at the school website, and they have all different levels, and they range from all of reading block, to half of reading block, to 30 minutes a day.  That is for kids getting extra help, and then they had a list of programs and it looks like some focus on decoding and some focus on “everything else” (fluency, comprehension, vocabulary).  

But my son isn’t in any of that, he has reading with a special education teacher and he has it with all kids who have autism.  

He is making good progress, but we’re in it for the long haul.  He’s not making “catch up” progress.  I think that ship has sailed.   

My older son did make “catch up” progress with reading, with the model where kids get remediation and “catch up” to the regular class, and then are just part of the regular class and don’t need extra help any more.

For my younger son that is not an appropriate expectation, it’s not consistent with his diagnosis or with the rate of progress he has made with excellent teaching.  

But he has absolutely made progress and it has helped with his daily life and ability to participate in activities that he enjoys, it’s very worthwhile even if it’s not “catching up.”  

Just keep in mind — for dyslexia they talk a lot about remediation and catching up.  They don’t talk like that for autism.  They talk more about progress and individual growth, and looking how far kids have come.  They don’t really talk about catching up to kids who are the same age.  It’s a different vibe for sure.  

Edited by Lecka
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I think though your son has made rapid progress with things you have been doing lately, it’s a good sign.  

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56 minutes ago, Lecka said:

Just keep in mind — for dyslexia they talk a lot about remediation and catching up.  They don’t talk like that for autism.  They talk more about progress and individual growth, and looking how far kids have come.  They don’t really talk about catching up to kids who are the same age.  It’s a different vibe for sure.  

You're right, this may explain the differences we're seeing. 

55 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I think though your son has made rapid progress with things you have been doing lately, it’s a good sign.  

Yes, I basically did the equivalent of 2 years of speech therapy in just a few months. He's STILL making surges and visibly doing better. He just had a growth spurt, but a lot is coming together. He was 4 years behind his chrono age for expressive language and that's not even considering where, in theory, he probably would have been by IQ. We're not even close to talking about catching up yet. I'm more in the let's be SAFE range. When I talk with professionals, I emphasize my goal is SAFETY. If he can't tell me what happened in a session or on an outing, then he's not safe. 

His SLP now has him reading text aloud with the target letters (R and TH) highlighted, working on getting that conscious activation. Partly it's that we're running out of time (she's leaving the practice, sigh), and partly that he's finally ready to do that. That's years behind what they would have done it with a dc with apraxia without his developmental delays. It also means that articulation is still affecting his reading that much. It's coming along, but we've done what we could. It just is what it is. I kind of bought into theories that things would come eventually or that things would improve as the apraxia improved, and instead we just have what it is.

But, like you say, we won't know his ceiling till we get the intervention materials and push it. That's why I want the best, most highly structured materials that I can find, because randomly doing it with things meant for dyslexics is going to leave holes. I like the Jan Richardson stuff, but it's later too. This stuff SKILL is hitting seems really basic to me. I *think* maybe their modules are hitting the ages/stages MW/SGM describes. Like when they give their swanky names and parts of narratives, I think those early levels are module 1. So there's a lot of overlap there in thinking about the need to be respectful of development, that we don't just go all the way to the end and want EVERYTHING, lol. There's a lot of overlap there.

I also need to buckle down and order that Cooking to Learn thing. I was trying to look at samples last night and was having trouble. I think their work on narrative using the tasks would overlap nicely with this, so it's just a matter of ordering it and seeing. Surely it will be a hit, because it's cooking and food, lol.

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I am the last person to ask, but do you think the d is effect size?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effect_size

If you scan down there is a box with different numbers and has it saying an effect size is small or medium or large.

I think it is used to compare a control group and a treatment group in research.  

Not sure if this would fit in context?

If it fits I think d=2.46 would be very good, it would mean kids in the treatment group improved more than kids who were not in the treatment group.  

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SKILL Narrative came. It looks good, but I need to dig in. I'm a little surprised they didn't use the developmental steps for narrative like SGM/MW does. They *seem* to front load and teach all the components very quickly and try to pull it together into a whole. I think there may be some room there to say teach two components, build that first developmental level of narrative, teach the next two components, build the next developmental level of narrative. I haven't looked closely yet to see whether they prescribe that or set you up for that.

Somewhere I've seen SGM users saying what can happen is kids get the parts and still can't pull it together into a whole. It doesn't make sense to me to skip developmental steps. I would think it's to the dc's benefit to go through them, even if the Gillam's think it's better to go all the way to the end. It's clearly written to be idiot-proof and handed to a worker, because I haven't found any discussion of theory. Like you know how most things you buy are 2/3 theory, 1/3 reality? Well stuff that, nope. This thing goes right into the meat. Now it's very clearly laid out, but it's a rough and tough sequence of do this, boom boom.

So I just need to dig in. I only flipped through it, but those were questions I was having. I think there's a download link I need to visit. What you get is a manual (nicely divided with tabs) and a private access code to get into the downloadable materials. So we'll see what's there when I dig in. There could be theory, videos, anything for all I know. 

The symbols they use are pretty logical. I still want to know what their beef is with the SGM/MW symbols and why they were slamming them as story grammar soup in that powerpoint. The terms are almost the same, so maybe it's personality? I don't know. 

So we'll see. 

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Ok, time to dig in! 

Tab 1=Getting Started--> what to print/laminate, short term and long term goals for K5-4th. The goals look good, and I like that they are differentiated. I struggle to know how to integrate that into the lessons, so I'll need to figure that out. Like they're great goals in theory, but the lessons are still undifferentiated. 

Tab 2=Session Materials-->stuff that to me would normally be found in an appendix, and in fact the pages are labeled with lower case roman numerals. The theoretical and research base is explained in the final 6 pages of this section. I had heard of the Constructionist models, but they explain it more fully. They're building on Kintsch's Construction-Integration Model of Text Comprehension, which says that comprehension requires a "text base" (microstructure plus macrostructure) which is then integrated into the student's "situation model" (background knowledge, etc.). I speak as a fool here obviously. So SKILL is intentionally aligning their phases to teach explicitly the steps of this Construction-Integration Model. If that's what you want, you're getting it in spades. 

cont. Their research base is significant but for my purposes it's scant. Their pool with autism was a whopping 5 studies. Now all the students used in all the studies met cutoffs with the TNL, meaning they're all similarly affected possibly on a language level. But there's no way to say the progress a bilingual ESL speaker with a low TNL score has will be similar to my ASD + SLDs + SLI/DLD ds. That's absurd. So my take from that and from their honesty about their research is that if I THINK it needs expansion or more time or more application or is going to fast, IT PROBABLY IS. I'll also note that in their studies they had typically developing but at-risk populations doing SKILL 3X/week and the ASD classrooms were only doing it 2X. So when my gut looks at this and goes no way, slow it down, I'm not crazy. They don't tell what those classroom teachers for the ASD classrooms were doing the other days, but surely a sensible teacher would want to apply and get those things to generalize, fill in syntax gaps necessary for the next SKILL lesson, etc. SKILL is very ambitious, and I think there's room to say whoa, my dc will need a little more work here to start generalizing and actually USING it. Although they provide review lessons and a test out, I think I would probably be building in more review, more generalization, more application WELL BEFORE that point.

Tabe 3=Phase 1--> In which they buckle down and go through all the story grammar elements. It's impressive, well-done, and it kicks butt. It resolves the instructional materials gap in SGM, that had driven me to look at the Braidy manuals. They've made wordless materials to go with each lesson, and they're tight, scripted, brilliant. I can totally see this working. Now I'll mention that I DON'T see material in here to spend 30-45 minutes on a lesson, which is what they were describing in the research instruction scenarios. So are the teachers building in more review and generalization practice?? Maybe they are! Why isn't it in the manual? What's here is tight, open and go, easy to use, idiot-proof, definitely definitely. But to me that's 15-20 minutes, not 30-45. So those teachers were doing more, hello. And it makes it tempting then to go do more lessons, but I really think that's rushing. It would make more sense to apply and build narratives and try to get those to generalize. I think the fast clip is awesome, but SGM is really onto something with their developmental narrative charts. It is not logical to me to skip those and to try to get kids with minimal narratives to go all the way to the end. It seems to me that's what they were trying to do having their STG and LTG (short term and long term goals), but again there's nothing in the actual lessons that helps you bridge from those goals to the actual lessons. I guess you're just expected to hold the goals in your head or something. These lessons are the base you build from. Love 'em, but it's a hole for me.

cont. It's also not clear to me how to assess which goals to use for a developmental delay situation like ASD/DLD. So if I have a 4th grader by age with ASD, do I go all the way to 4th grade goals or go through the first level of goals then the next then the next and so on? There's not enough material to go through the manual again and again. That's why I was saying if I can't go through it 4X and take it to the next level each time, then I have to pause, use the SGM development of narrative stages, build that narrative proficiency with the first few icons, then add and build the next and so on.

That's all for now. Phase 2 and 3 are major jumps. SKILL is TREMENDOUS, an excellent contribution.

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Just as a thought, maybe it’s taking the longer time because of a higher ratio, maybe 1:4 or 1:6. When kids are attending to peers it’s great, they get more exposure, they are hearing more models.  If kids aren’t attending then 1:1 is best.  

It sounds excellent!

I do think if this is for use in schools it’s likely the time estimate is for a 1:4 or 1:6 group (or 1:3 or 1:2).  Then it would make sense to take more time by repeating some of the same questions to different kids.  

I think it makes total sense that not all kids would have the same progression.

A kid who is learning English as a second language, is probably going to make faster progress but also need intervention materials.  

It sounds great!  I hope the differentiating works out if it is needed.  I don’t count too much on anything being “one-and-done,” but I think you guys are really good progress, just see where he is at as you go through things.  His progress sounds excellent.  

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I don't have a direct link, but if you look up Theory of Mind Intervention on FB, you'll see their 9/8/19 post about a set of therapy materials they're developing for episodic memory. They're sharing the materials for free looking for feedback. I received the email from them and am going through it. It comes with a set of 3 research articles and a 100+ page file of support materials. I glanced through them, and it's a significant amount of theory that should interest anyone trying to build narrative language in autism. 

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https://psyarxiv.com/afrms/  Link to an abstract of recently published research showing attention predicted attainment in procedural learning. Addresses the theory of procedural learning issues underlying DLD (developmental language disorder) and suggests attention is an important factor in language learning.

Meanwhile, I'm finally fiddling around with SKILL, trying to blend it with MW/SGM/ASD. The vol 1 and 2 books of the ASD kit from MW are useful to expand the SKILL lessons. I know SKILL wants to do it differently, preloading all the icons upfront and going quickly, but that probably explains why their pool of research with kids with autism was small and had little success. There's no way that fits my ds well. 

The SGM/ASD vol. 2 has expanded two page spreads on each of the narrative developmental stages. So my theory is teach the skill lessons to go with the first stage, DO the first stage till it's solid (expanding with SGM/ASD charts, etc.), then do the next page and so on. The SKILL phase 2 materials I think expand. I can go check. Nevertheless, their expansions are going to be more cognitive, rather than the lower developmental, language building approaches of the early SGM/ASD stages. I think it's not duplicative to do both. It's unrealistic to think he's going to get all the way to beautiful language about a character or setting when he doesn't even USE that language AT ALL or think that way AT ALL. It's a glaring hole in SKILL, seems to me, and I'm willing to ignore my own gut and do it their way. That's like saying they'll get blood from a rock or turnip or water from a rock or something. You have to HAVE the language to get it out.

I think there's some room there to do character and setting discussion at the level SGM/ASD wants for the first level of narrative discourse, move on through the levels, and then do that same character and setting expansion the way SKILL phase 2 wants it. I'm not looking ahead, but I think so. All SGM/ASD wants is words, single words. And really, I'm not planning at staying at this first level more than a week, mercy. What I *want* to do is hit the two lessons (character and setting) using SKILL and then go apply it to that pile of 50 awesome picture books we read. They'd be fun to reread, and it would give us a way to do the level of narrative over and over, building proficiency. That's my theory at least. LOL

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Well that went really well!! We only got through Characters, but I'm liking the tight presentation of SKILL and the worksheets for expansion from MW's ASD kit. Together they're really nice, and just that was enough challenge to WEAR OUT ds, my goodness. We did the worksheet (orally) on a character in four different picture books we had read. It was actually really fun! I was just surprised how fun it was, how well he responded to the organizer, how it helped him get out things that were maybe in his head that wouldn't have come out if you had just said to describe the character. It went really well.

Also, I think someone on the boards had mentioned the new V/V inspired history from LMB/Gander Publishing. It's american history in 3 volumes and he LOVES it. It's not really something you'd use with a typical dc unless they were, I don't know, but it's really PERFECT for him. It has lots of mature skills you wouldn't ask a younger dc to do (making inferences and predictions and thinking up reasons why and...) based on what you visualize. It preloads vocabulary with images. It focuses on description in the text instead of being a litany of terms, so he actually UNDERSTANDS what it's saying. It's actually mind-blowing how beautiful it is visually, how beautifully written it is (think the Little House series, just for a bit older kids, more complex topics), and how well he's retaining and grappling with things. He's remembering things *I'm* not! 

So that series was rough expensive, but it's a winner. He's actually asking for it at night before bed, so it's definitely a winner, lol.

We got our Bird math back up and going and some kit math, so we're actually getting in a nice groove here! I'm going to an interoception training tomorrow, so that should be interesting. 

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19 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Couldn't decide whether to put this here or in its on thread. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/FreeDownload/FREE-Morphological-Awareness-Assessment-K-1-2698197  This free morphological awareness assesssment appears to be what Wolter and Pike are using in this study https://lshss.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2107263&fbclid=IwAR0jP90rt2qflbeyFVLsjPvwQg5_HpS-BMpe2nf2OsUfZemAZZOHxUE7zBc which is explained more fully in this pdf https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=scsdpres

Jist is they're demonstrating a link between morphological awareness and reading comprehension and giving you a way to assess it for free so you can target your intervention. So, for instance my ds is fine with plurals and possessives but he's falling down on participles (past and present) and gerunds. So if we can put words to it, then we can target it. And personally I think it should bump his expressive language more than his reading comprehension, since he seems to infer a lot in context for reading comprehension that he can't do actively, without models, as expressive language.

This hits expressive language, so I'm bringing it over here too. The assessment is free. I know the language work we've done so far is improving ds' morphological awareness, so what I'm looking for now are the patterns for what remains so we can intervene. His SLP for language is turning out to be crap worthless, imagine that. I like SLPs, I just really need stuff done, not excuses about your sick father or the therapist off on some tangent doing social goals when I need language.

So it's showing up in his narrative attempts now, where he'll start into his whatever he's telling and then we'll get all these NOISES. Honestly, I had always just thought he was kinda weird, like who tells stories with so many whistles and zip zooms and noises! But they were covering over his severe lack of language to get out what he was really thinking and seeing in his mind. So I'm looking for a way to figure out which forms and target them. I haven't found anything for therapy meant at targeting more advanced grammar forms. I'm starting to wonder if I'm looking in the wrong place and need to go look at materials for adults, stroke victims, that kind of thing. The problem is ASD needs more thorough intervention that starts small, makes it concrete with pictures, and then builds. I don't think materials for adults will do and the autism community seldom seems to get to this point in intervention. But hey, I'd look at anything at this point. That's my next stop though, looking at stroke/aphasia stuff. I'm running out of ideas and I dearly love predone materials, lol.

Foo, I don't think that's it. I don't know what they were referring to on TPT in that slideshow. This free assessment isn't thorough or covering enough. They're saying it was based on the work of Larsen & Nippold, but I can't find it, sigh.

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This lady's master's thesis/study is saying that word meaning (concrete vs abstract) also affected sentence complexity, making it a double deficit. She uses the term structural language impairment and says to look at syntactic bootstrapping. Now to go read the article. 

Ok, I'm reading and it's blowing my mind. This is pre-DSM5, so I assume a chunk of these "not autism but something else because they hit pragmatics and this and this" SLI kids would go ASD under DSM5. At that point they were even pilfering off Aspergers from ASD, which is out now. So this whole SLI but not ASD, DLD but not ASD thing is sorta weird. It's all the range online, but it seem arbitrary to me and not based in genetics or sense. But that's a rant.

So anyways, lots of great things in here. Page 7 she's talking about abstract vs. concrete and going through it for nouns, verbs, etc. Her point is that the dc doesn't actually attach meaning well to the abstract words (verbs, nouns) because you have to infer them from context rather than being able to hold them and touch them and know. So then it make SENSE why ds is flipping out when the SLPs try to make him talk about social and emotions, because they're abstract language that he doesn't actually attach strong meanings for! He has the words, but they don't mean anything to him, just like "is" and "her" didn't mean anything before our intensive language push. But that was all concrete and we haven't really done abstract. So that's kind of an epiphany.

The double-deficit model is saying SLI on top of ASD, that you could, in theory, have ASD without SLI. Our ps doens't seem to agree with that, but whatever.

So she's setting up up that for low vs. high frequency words, abstract vs. concrete, and verbs vs. nouns, the sentence complexity will go down when they're working with low frequency, abstract, or verbs. And that will be because of the SLI, not the ASD.

They give some cutoffs for SLI using the CELF4 subtests for formulated sentences and recalling sentences. The CELF5 we had was the 5-8 range, so I would just have to guess why it wasn't showing up then. The low scores for word structures and linguistics concepts are what we ended up remediating this spring. Did our PROMPT therapy address some of these skills and bring them into the average range for his age? Can't say. I can say he has had trouble repeating sentences in real life and that he failed, totally bombed, the SPELT which removes all the models and multiple choice options that a gifted kid can use to mask. So that's just a total rabbit trail but interesting. Those scores in the study were CELF4, and we were tested with CELF5, but like I said there's significant discussion about the CELF. 

I'm going to pause here and begin notes in the next post. 

 

&httpsredir=1&article=1733&context=etd

 

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The McConnell study refers to a vocab guide by Zeno The Educator's Word Frequency Guide: Touchstone Applied Science ...https://www.amazon.com/Educators-Word-Frequency-Guide/dp/1564970213  Oh foo, it's kinda hard to get a hold of! I'll look some more. Apparently it's huge, something maybe a university has? 

I found this next article, and it's going to take a while to mine it and know what to do with it. I watched a 30 minute (sales pitch) video by some SLP on the virtues of vocabulary instruction, how they establish tiers, how they think through what words to focus on, etc. Apparently the Zeno book has some categories (abstract vs. concrete, etc.) and the article I'm linking starts to give categories. Then you could go ok am I focusing on vocab that unlocks reading comprehension and the learning of more vocab and writing...

http://www.cal.org/create/conferences/2012/pdfs/handout-august-artzi.pdf

Edited by PeterPan

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So they transcribed the responses and ran them through a Sentence Complexity Index (SCI). Apparently with sentence complexity there are earlier and later developing structures, so points were established for that. The list is in the appendix of the thesis, so that might give me a treatment outline. Like look at this, coordinating clauses with subjects vs. with subject elision. There's clearly a lot to develop there!

They took the time to compare SCI and MLU scores.

Well this is astonishing. Basically nothing turned out like they expected!! 

Table 7 shows ASD with language impairment, SLI,and kids who are language-matched all having pretty similar sentence complexity scores and there's a BIG JUMP from there to autism with no language impairment. The longest constructions were gotten with low and high frequency abstract verbs, totally not what they had expected.

They're saying shorter sentences when given nouns as the starting point, but maybe it's almost obvious? Maybe it's harder to retrieve verbs to go with nouns than nouns to go with verbs.

My brain is worn out. Back later!

 

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3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

This lady's master's thesis/study is saying that word meaning (concrete vs abstract) also affected sentence complexity, making it a double deficit. She uses the term structural language impairment and says to look at syntactic bootstrapping. Now to go read the article.

Your link is broken, can you try again?

"Structural language impairment" is not a phrase I'm familiar with. I Googled and came across the following definition in an article about a study finding it being the difference between autism and Asperger's (obviously pre-DSM V):

Quote

" A structural language impairment refers to the inability to comprehend and construct sentences with proper grammar. Although children with a structural language impairment may understand the meaning of certain words or phrases, they have difficulty understanding how these words or phrases should be arranged in a sentence. "

That sounds to me like difficulties with syntax. My 37 weeks preggo brain is too shot to try & wrap my head around whether there is any difference between "structural language impairment" and synctatical difficulties or whether they're just 2 names for the same underlying issue.

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Have they moved on to calling SLI DLD? I see DLD a lot now, and it's this umbrella for syntax, pragmatics, phonological awareness, everything. They're talking about DLD awareness, blah blah. I think SLI is your syntax and morphology.

See if this link works. https://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/548/

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Btw, you remember how I've slammed the CELF up and down around here... Well I just came across the SLPs on that group discussing sensitivity vs. specificity, where sensitivity is correct identification of kids with disabilities (how many you catch vs. miss) and specificity is how accurate your pool of flagged people is. Specificity is high on the CELF all the way but the sensitivity (ability to catch people with disabilities) drops off at 1-1.33SD. That's ASTONISHING consider the ps wants 1.5-2 SD of discrepancy on the CELF to qualify under language!! Sensitivity at 1.5SD was .75 and at 2SD it was only .30!!! 

So on that list/group, it seems pretty well accepted that the CELF is under-identifying kids with language disabilities, especially kids with autism. Some SLPs are moving on to the TILLS, which has better psychometrics (woo, woo, big word) and some are using narrative testing and then making the assertion that if they can't do the task in narrative language it doesn't matter a rip what the CELF says, which makes an awful lot of sense too.

And that again brings up the question of why the autism schools at clinics specializing in this don't even OWN these better tests. It was an autism school that reran the CELF when I said I clearly had discrepancy and needed help to quantify it and get him qualified. Grr.

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I have no idea if this would be helpful, but my son worked on past and present tense with section K and then section H of ABLLS.  There are some pre-made activities on teacherspayteachers.  Unfortunately I don’t know much about it!  

 

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Well, I did look at the PowerPoint about sentence complexity.  It’s interesting.

It is hard to know from what you say...... just using present and past tense is much more basic than this power point, I think. 

So just to me, my son can use past and present tense, but these clauses would be pretty advanced for him to work on, and from the power point it looked like it was goals for kids in middle school (granted for kids in speech therapy in middle school, but that would be the case for him).  

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Yes, Common Core targets verbals in middle school, but the SLPs are saying they should be intact and ready to be used for language much earlier. He's setting himself up with scenarios he's trying to narrate where he needs them, and anywhere there should be a verbal (an ing-verb, a clause, etc.) he's using noises and hand motions. So he clearly has the need for the structures but doesn't have them to use. 

This syntax series is actually really close to what I'm looking for. I may buy it http://rothsteinspeech.com/product/power-books-syntax-ages-4-7/  The younger book is driven by activities/experiences and the older book is more abstract and sets them up with the sentences to do the tasks. From what I can tell, there are different theories on how to intervene. Some want a combo of teaching them explicitly and then looking at them in text. I think that's pretty abstract for where ds is.

I so WISH the SPARC series I used with ds had a level covering this more advanced syntax, because their sequence for introducing and applying new skills was highly effective with ds. I need to look at it again and refresh my memory, but they usually went through 4 steps with the material: 1)repeating given sentences for picture prompts, pointing to those same pictures when re-given that sentence in a larger, more complex sentence, 2) finding 10 examples of the structure in one large scene when given the sentences, answering questions about the scene to use those structures, 3) repeating and then using those structures again with a more abstract, less obvious scene, 4) using the target structure to tell a narrative as a process of listening to the telling, repeating the telling picture by picture, then giving the telling as a whole. 

So you can see that progression provides high support, actually giving them the language, going from the most concrete, familiar scenarios into narrative in just a sequence of 4 pages. It was the single most effective strategy for syntax acquisition I've used with ds, very powerful, because it moved from being familiar with the structure to using it in your own narratives in just a matter of 4 pages and maybe 20 minutes. It was BRILLIANT. 

So that's actually what's going through my mind, that that's what we need. And the other thing SPARC does that works for him is to divide things into very small pieces. So that's why I've been trying to find some logical outlines for covering verbals. I think if a therapist is developing their own approach and not careful, they won't be systematic. So you have types of structures (nominal, relative, adverbial, etc.), positions in the sentence, and then sorting out ok is that a structure thing or an elaboration thing to move them around. You could work on it either way. Just a lot of complexity there, where if you're teaching "I" like a SPARC page, you don't have that worry. It's just the subject, every time, boom. And they did break apart use too, because they'd have a unit for indirect objects say also and then have to go ok now we're using pronouns as indirect objects. They were tediously thorough, which is why it worked.

So that's why I'm thinking a lot, because a lot of the materials on syntax and a lot of the instructions I'm seeing to work on them in context aren't very thorough, aren't going from familiar to less familiar (literate language)  to narrative. Think about the gaps there. If they do it one way, that does not mean the dc with autism will be ready to use it in all those other scenarios!!

I've got some more leads and I'm still thinking, but that's why I'm thinking so hard and taking my time. I don't think just doing it randomly here or there will be enough. I need to wrap my brain around the outlines, and that means the outlines for the content and the outlines for how we get it to generalize and go from a picture prompt to a narrative. After all, a narrative is where we're trying to end up. 

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I think I might be able to get the Dr. K sequence (which she pulls from Zipoli) to work. Her section on passives was adequate and added something I hadn't pondered, word order. She's right ds finds word order challenging! Like if you give him a scrambled sentence, he struggles. He's getting there, but it's hard. I need to read her next chapter. I have a feeling it's going to under-explore the nuances, but we'll see. So my next step is to set up some SPARC-like tasks so he can get intensive practice in the skill. What a pain. I have no clue why this doesn't already exist.

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13 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Have they moved on to calling SLI DLD? I see DLD a lot now, and it's this umbrella for syntax, pragmatics, phonological awareness, everything. They're talking about DLD awareness, blah blah. I think SLI is your syntax and morphology.

See if this link works. https://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/548/

SLI generally refers to Specific Language Impairment and by definition, a child with autism, any other developmental disability, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment, etc. cannot have Specific Language Impairment because the primary disorder would better explain the speech & language difficulties.

DLD refers to Developmental Language Disorder, correct? That's just a new name that some people are now using for Specific Language Impairment and again, by definition it's a diagnosis of exclusion. If the child has ANY other diagnosis, he/she cannot be given a diagnosis of Specific Language Impairment/Developmental Language Disorder. It has to be "mixed expressive-receptive language disorder secondary to [insert primary diagnosis here]" or something along those lines.

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Have I posted this article yet? It's Zipoli,2017, on reading comprehension and how it's affected by syntax and complex language. Dr. K has done a couple video chats lately explaining all this, though I think she probably has articles on her site. https://drkarenspeech.com/language-processing-and-reading-comprehension/  So in the talk I watched tonight (another of my life, ugh), she went through those things she lists (semantics, syntax, morphology, phonology, and orthography  )   and connects them to how to intervene. 

What I thought was interesting was that her list, which she derives from other articles is pretty much what we've been talking about over in the reading thread, that there were so many factors affecting why it hasn't been coming together into a this is easy, let's read, kind of state. So I thought that was interesting.

I think what I'm going to do is try to move forward, even if imperfectly, and just see what happens. At this point all the theories floating in my mind seem to match what I'm seeing phd SLPs say, so that seems (to me) to mean I'm probably on-track. 

I'm also running into an issue that the SLP that we've been using for language seemed to have tried to work on emotion/feeling stuff and that ds is now SCRIPTING what she has had him memorize. I mean, it's almost unfathomable. Like I'm not a woman given to profanity, but it's really frustrating me. People who are otherwise intelligent just do DUMB THINGS sometimes!! And maybe that wasn't what it was, but I asked ds how he felt when he did xyz during therapy the previous day and he goes into his falsetto scripting voice that I hadn't heard in a long time and goes "I felt content!" Totally not something he has ever said, not something you would say. It was almost like she just had him memorizing pictures or somethng, which may be close to the case.

So I don't know. That's just a vent. I'm just venting. I get that you can't hit 12 IEP goals in 45 minutes. I don't get not talking with me about how to prioritize or figuring out who is hitting what. I don't get clinically not realizing which priorities would probably be THE HIGHEST (like, hello, doing practice on the /r/ so we don't LOSE it because our SLP is lost to us because of nasty non-compete clauses). 

And somewhere in all this reading (on FB, of these studies, on that Dr. K site, etc.) it finally clicked in my mind that each icon in SKILL or each step of your narrative grammar development has corresponding semantic and syntactic structures necessary that have to be laid before the student is ready to go further.

character and setting --> nouns and adjectives

actions-->verbs and adverbs

So that's why they're developmentally stages and limited, and it's why, LITERALLY WHY, ds can't do them. It's not that he doesn't know the stupid parts of a story! It's that he literally can't make adverbially clauses and subordinate clauses to express the thoughts. 

So my working theory right now is that I'm RIGHT about holding SKILL instruction till he is able to do the MW developmental steps for those icons. So right now I have him narrating character and setting and the basic actions that intersect with the setting (MW Descriptive Sequence). I want to practice it more to get it more fleshed out, but it's ok. So to go to the next level (MW Action Sequence) we really need to work on adverbs. I was realizing I'm not sure we've actually worked on them! So that is moving up the totem pole in my world.

Also on the docket, I need to do some work with sentence unscrambling and introduce passive. If I can figure out how to work on passive following the SPARC sequence, that would be extra good. I just need to get smart about it. It's my grand intention. I may need to find something to make it idiot-proof. Oh duh, maybe I can RE-USE some of the SPARC pages of illustrations? Now THAT would be super smart, lol. Here I am whining that I like SPARC so much and want SPARC for these other structures, lol. Thank you for the idea! LOL

Sorry to talk to the world so much. I just need to keep thinking it out, and maybe it interests somebody, dunno. At least it's only one thread (or three, but who's counting, lol).

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Word on the street is there's going to be an ASHA certification for an autism specialty.

Meanwhile, ds read more Encyclopedia Brown today and seems to be enjoying it. I'm pulling sentences from the chapter to diagram and have him use to work on flexibility with word order, etc. Seems to be good stuff for him. I definitely think this syntax gig is behind his reading issues, or at least that's what I'm hoping. But I really think so. 

I'm also pleased with his narratives lately. I feel like the slow pace we're doing is allowing the SKILL/Gillam components to sink in. I'm tying them to the MW developmental stages. What I'm finding is his tellings, when I ask what happened in the chapter of Little House (our current read aloud, the never-ending source, haha) are very NATURAL. I really like that. So I think we're on track there.

I ordered the Rothstein PowerBooks for Syntax today and the Interoception Awareness questionares by Mahler. So I think the Rothstein books will give us some direct instruction to pair with our contextualized work.

It may take me another week or two to see all the proficiency I want before moving on to the next step in SKILL/Gillam. MW wants them doing an action sequence (character, setting, and 3 actions), but they also have this sort of 6 Second Social Story they do that is just basically a who did what where when. I think it's really important for SAFETY for him to be able to say that, so it's a marker of proficiency I'm looking for here, that he be able to crank it out at this stage. I'm not inclined to move on to the next stage (Reactive Sequence) until I get it. So that means I taught the SKILL icons out of order, yes, because I skipped over their Take Off (MW Kick Off) and went to Actions. I just felt like I wanted to go in developmental order. They don't have strong evidence that going for the whole enchilada is effective, and my gut said it would not be good with ds. Since they only had a few people in their study that were actually on the spectrum, my inclination is to go with my gut.

So we're at Action Sequence this week and I'm pretty happy.

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So it's been a while and of course you're aching for an update on syntax, right? Haha. Having done vocabulary and concepts out the wazoo (but maybe not having completely exhausted them) we're now working on syntax, which is your conceptual level grammar stuff. So it's not down in the weeds labeling parts of sentences but bigger picture and working on flexibility and meaning and how meaning changes.

Someone on another list mentioned this Treatment of Language Disorders in Children text by McCauley, Fey, Gillam, et al. It has chapters on all sorts of topics, as you can see from the sample. Some of this stuff we're already in the loop on, like the Gillams on narrative language intervention. I'd love to get a copy of the book just to buzz through, but anyways. So chapter 12 is by Balthazaar and Scott on complex sentence intervention. There's about jack squat I can find of premade materials to work on this. I've got the Rothstein Power Books for Syntax and am using my own ideas (diagramming complex and compound complex sentences from his reading and analyzing them for meaning and flexibility, discussing/diagramming ambiguous sentences, etc.). Designing Interventions for Complex Language - ASHAhttps://www.asha.org/Events/convention/handouts/2011/Balthazar-Scott/ This link gives you a pdf of the talk Balthazaar and Scott gave at ASHA in 2011. I think they're going to have more goodies as I google. 

Targeting Complex Sentences in Older School Children With Specific ...https://jslhr.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=2674207 This is a study of intervention for adverbial, object complement, and relative clauses in complex sentences. Sort of mixed results, with the lowest kids getting the biggest bump and results showing in oral language but not reading. Would like to read this. Ok, so I just wrote Balthazar, so we'll see what she replies. I've heard sometimes authors will share their articles that are behind paywalls, because they have that right.

I guess until I hear from them I don't have anything more brilliant to say, lol. Ds is reading Big Nate books now and seems to prefer anything on the kindle. I ordered several early grades of the Rasinski Building Fluency and Increasing Fluency books so we'll see if they take. If you want an UTTER HOOT, and I do mean utter, drum roll... Jim Weiss does the audio recordings for some of them!  LOLOLOLOL What a hoot. I mean I HATE that man's voice, drives me batty, but apparently he's our model. The books are structured really nicely, so I think they'll work well. Ds is finally able to repeat sentences pretty well. Repeating sentences is linked to language comprehension, so I definitely think my gut on this (that he's ready to do more with repeating language like memory work or fluency/prosody work) is a reflection that our syntax work is working. We built his comprehension at the word level, and the syntax work is taking it to the sentence and phrase level comprehension. The prosody work will push that even farther, because they go words, phrases, sentences, PARAGRAPHS to show how prosody drives meaning and emphasis. So I think it's really good that we've worked from small bits to bigger to bigger like this. I'm just letting it come together. And I went back to the gr 1 books because I need it to start pretty easy and be unintimidating. I think the pages will *challenge* him without making him wig out. They're just the right level for where he is right now.

 

treatment-of-language-disorders-in-child 

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See if this link works. I'm finally going through it and there's some good stuff. There's a link for a tool to calculate lexical diversity (which you want, because together with grammar errors in their narratives it predicts reading performance), support phases for retelling and personal generation of narratives (so you can fade your supports), and an exploration of the Story CHAMPS Blitz (upper) level for narrative where they weave in more complex syntactic structures. SKILL Narrative and Story CHAMPS seem to compete, so I thought that was interesting that it got included. I'm still wrapping my brain around it, but it might be Blitz goes farther than SKILL. The writing was awful though, truly awful. There has to be a better way, mercy. And just in case you've been needing data, they give data at the end of the pdf that slams the "SCD" diagnosis adding in DSM5.

State of the Art in Narrative Assessment and Intervention - ASHAhttps://www.asha.org/Events/convention/handouts/2014/1022-Gillam/

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I have been thinking a lot about the idea that narrative language and reading comprehenion may not have skills transfer between them for autism.  

I think I am doing good things for reading comprehension, but probably nothing for narrative language.  And then I think other people working with my son are doing good things for narrative language, but maybe nothing for reading comprehension.

It’s hard to know, but before reading that I always thought them if skills rose in one they would transfer to the other.  

I’m sure they do to some extent, but maybe not enough to think it’s doing two things at the same time.  

 

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Was there something in that pdf/book that made you think about that? I haven't had a chance to go through it yet. I sorta forgot to plan any DESSERTS for Christmas, so I'm super quick scaddadling here, lol.

The developmental language delay holds back everything, and no I don't think the SLPs in the school system ever get to do enough for it. And the language issues (vocabulary, concepts, syntax, especially syntax) hold back the ability to comprehend or transmit the meaning. The meaning is driven BY the syntax. So you have to pair narrative language and syntax intervention to be successful, and since SLPs aren't trained on syntax enough, since the interventions don't really exist and they're having to wing it, since there is barely even enough RESEARCH to tell them what to do in an evidence-based way, no it doesn't happen.

So narrative developmental (expressive language) and reading comprehension (receptive and then expressive when you talk about it) are both being held back by syntax at the end of the day.

A 6 yo already is using proficiently complex sentences (I will put this pot on the stove while you pound the meat, etc.). There are also charts, which I don't have handy to link but I read reference to and know exist, where they have the developmental expectations/minimums for language and syntax they expect in a narrative. 

My ds is struggling with simple things like "because". That's where we're working on now, getting him really comfortable with what it means, why he can't just start a sentence willy nilly with it, how we could be flexible and use it lots of ways, because that "because" clause is going to be pivotal in developing the idea of a PROBLEM in narrative, something that drives action. Something happens BECAUSE of something else. So even the most rudimentary understanding won't do. He's actually going to have to GET it. And that's just one example where syntax holds back narrative. You still have vocabulary (ie. the ability to use attributes, functions, etc.) which leads to descriptive paragraphs, expanded noun phrases, etc. 

Language seems to be the cravasse I can pour time into for ever and not do enough. I keep trying, but every time I think oh we've done this topic, he has nailed it, he'll be able to apply it, then I find there was MORE. We have to keep pushing for DEEPER application, generalization, and use. 

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This is so true!  

My son has a lot of work on narrative language production.   It’s not really speech goals, but he has ABA goals and reading goals.  A lot of his reading goals are narrative language (like — being able to answer reading comprehension questions — but in practice it is a lot of narrative language to be able to answer the types of questions he may have as goals.... it’s hard to explain).  It is a major focus for him.  

I have to go.

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I think you have separate issues there. One is whether an SLP ought to be doing language work with the particular individual. I can tell you a lot of SLPs on these private lists are pissy that BCBAs and non-SLPs do language work. On the other hand, there's this obviousness or stupidity in the complaint, because the person who is WITH the dc the most is the one who is going to be doing the bulk of the work. And reality is the person who is most affordable is the whole who is going to end up doing a lot of the work.

So with my ds they made academic goals involving language as a way to AVOID the expense and actual need for SLP hours and SLP goals. But it's essentially impossible to expect any school system to fund the lunacy that it would actually take if you were to service those hours with SLPs. And it's sort of vanity for SLPs to expect that only they can understand this stuff. It needs to be farmed out, and the important thing is that it gets done.

The other elephant in the room is a question I'm not qualified to answer, which is what the limits are of the dc. The therapy system, the way I see it, is set up on the assumption that kids with autism have limits to what they can accomplish or where the returns diminish. So if you serviced 10-15 hours a week with an SLP (being equivalent to my 2-3 hours a day of language work with my ds at various points), would EVERY CHILD have the same returns? We can say I'm not effect or say kids have limits or say lots of things. I'm just saying when we ask what COULD be, there is both the question of what you could make happen (if cost were no expense, if the system weren't the way it is) and then whether it would even make a difference.

Like I said, I have no answer to that and haven't seen evidence on it. I think there are assumptions and not necessarily a lot of DATA to drive those decisions.

So no, having reading goals is not the same as having an SLP come in with language goals. ABA language goals *could* be roughly equivalent to SLP language goals, but again in theory the SLP is *supposed* to be kicking serious butt there and bringing something more to the table. What should be happening is a hand-off, where your ABA goals are accomplished for language and the SLP takes over. Or the ABA goals and the SLP goals run parallel. But ABA always gets more hours, so the SLPs are basically left saying yeah we could do things if we had so many hours as the ABA team gets. But the ABA team accomplishes more hours with less money and still gets the work done. That means the real solution there is to make sure your ABA team is actually moving forward with language goals. If the ABA people have the hours, then they have to do the work.

There are some SLPs doing work on syntax intervention for sentence complexity. I thought I posted the link. I think the challenge with doing reading comprehension, the way it's supposed to be done, is that it's a lot of work on application and not so much that massed practice in stretching his actual syntax. To me, if you want to work on language, work on language.

Gotta see if I put my cookies in. 

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He has a decent amount of time in speech, but I think his speech goals are things that nobody else can cover.  

I think the special ed teachers do a good job for the reading goals they have with narrative language.

What I don’t know is..... is it assumed that addressing narrative language will translate to reading comprehension in ways that it may not?

Or is it more that they know it is important and so they prioritize it?  It is important and it does deserve to be a priority.  

I just don’t know what the thought process is.  

I’m not sure if you have seen lists of comprehension questions, but a lot of his reading is based on being able to answer certain various kinds of comprehension questions, and it is really focused on narrative language.  

But it’s like — the narrative language aspect will be on the harder side, but the reading comprehension side will be really easy.  Like — I think materials used are really easy and that is fine when the focus is on narrative language, but then there is a lack of having harder reading materials, even just to listen to, and I try to provide that a lot at home.  

Then on the flip side I know some kids who are doing regular language arts and are reading/decoding at a higher level,  but then they get very little as far as narrative language or actually answering comprehension questions that require answering in a sentence (etc) instead of finding answers (etc).  But that appears to just be glossed over for them since they are good readers.  

It just seems like a lack of balance on either side.

At the end of the day though my son really needs the time on narrative language and it is a lot harder for me to do at home, but I am able to supplement with things I am able to actually do.  So I am happy with it I just wonder what some of the thought processes are.  

 

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I have also never personally had the experience of a speech therapist being “better” or “more special” than ABA. 

I have been very happy with speech therapy, too.  

There is just a lot of good language stuff being done with ABA ime.  

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The other thing is they will look and divvy things up and speech therapy may pick things up that aren’t being covered by ABA or they just allocate it however it makes the most sense to them.  

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I have the F&P comprehension questions by level and the Jan Richardson guided reading books, so I think I have a sense of what you're describing for the reading comprehension. Narrative language is your story grammar components and how they flow, how they build, how they fit together. That work addresses the big picture thinking deficits and helps them understand the whole rather than only grasping parts. So I'm being very precise when I say syntax drives narrative language, because the child cannot express the particular components of the narrative without the language. It's the whole gap behind the thinking with FC, this idea that syntax instruction was unnecessary, that whole swaths of people are non-verbal only due to praxis, without any actual developmental language disability, without any vocabulary, concept, or syntactic deficits. It stretches the imagination.

If you get bored and want to dig in, somewhere SGM/MW has their developmental stages of narrative (screen shots of products, sample pdfs in some blog posts, etc.). If you find that, basically you stop and say ok can he do this, is *language* holding him back from doing it, is it something else, kwim?

What I find is a lack of synchronization, a lack of therapists being on the same page. It's why I gave up and decided to do it myself. I think in theory an IEP team could coordinate really well, but I think in reality there's a lot of disjointed work, where everybody is doing good stuff but they aren't working TOGETHER and pulling TOGETHER to accomplish goals. I'm not sure there's data to say that's terrible and that it doesn't get good outcomes in the end. I'm just observing that it's sort of what you're describing.

To me, your ABA people tend to be the most in-tune on development and language needs and the most DISSED in the whole process. It's really ironic. And I haven't figured out quite what the SLPs base this whole shunning on. I keep reading it, and I just don't see it. Every so often an SLP goes rogue and gets their BCBA and tries to be an apologist to explain WHY the SLPs ought to have a clue about verbal behavior approaches. I think there are maybe some misconceptions, with talking past each other or something. It's really bizarre. To me, the whole thing is like theology and the trinity, where you juggle the watermelons and let them all be true. But in the therapy world, no, they have turf wars. So the SLPs don't *want* to coordinate with your ABA people, because they think it's all bunk and a mess and off-track and not necessary to know. 

27 minutes ago, Lecka said:

So I am happy with it I just wonder what some of the thought processes are.

So what are you wanting here? I think we're talking past each other, because I'm saying narrative language and referring to the story grammar elements as used in SKILL, MW/SGM, or similar programs, where you use them to build complete, complex narratives and which you can transition over to expository writing. With your ABA/VBMAPP narrative goals (what did you do today, etc.) that's your really beginning stage. MW outlines a bunch of stages. You can try to find them or I might. Really, just reading on their blog will get you a long way, because they share SO much for free. Did you end up buying the kit? 

My two cents is I think you toggle. Your narrative language is your application of the vocabulary, concepts, and syntax stuff you work on. So if you're trying to do a stage of narrative and something in language is holding him back (ability to use attributes to describe the setting, ability to use functions to explain the actions, etc.), then you work on the language to make the narrative tasks possible. 

My opinion is that reading flows from the language work. I get that the ps will make language goals and put them in reading, but I don't find that's a good way to teach my ds the LANGUAGE. It's a fine way to apply it once you have it, but for actually working on language explicit work is better here, at least for us. 

My ds has language, and had even before his language testing this spring, in amounts and comfort and frequency that many people would love to have. We're talking really nitpicky stuff. I'm being extremely nitpicky, because I'm literally going through it and saying ok you said a word to describe that noun but if you couldn't use the construction I needed (present participle--the buzzing bee...) then you're still not there. And that's REALLY NITPICKY.

I'm being that nitpicky because I think he has the potential to be able to use those things with instruction and because I think the syntactical development and language flexibility that brings will improve his reading comprehension.

Think about it. You're actually working on the assumption that the reading comprehension instruction will improve reading comprehension, that it's valuable, that it's worth time. I think it's a questionable assumption. To some degree it is, but it's MORE important that they have the language skills to start with. If they do, they'll be able to apply it to the reading comprehension more readily. I agree with your generalization question there, like does working on it in one place mean it's only in that place. Absolutely I agree. I find that the workbooks I use (therapy, educational publishers, etc.) do a lot of that for me, giving me more and more instances where the skills are getting applied again. 

So I think everyone recognizes those skills need to be worked on. It's just (to me) a question of where to work on them explicitly and where to apply and work on generalization. That's how *I* do it. I teach and then I try to carry it across and generalize and get the click. It's not necessarily super fast. I don't think that it's necessarily fast, even if your methods are great and ideal. It's not like oh this is an SLD and we ran through the curriculum and boom. This is like I've been working on a skill for 9 months and he has at least figured out there IS a clue phone for it, even if he hasn't picked it up.

The hardest part is realizing I can't make that better and I'm going to run out of time. Don't get me started on immoral therapists who enforce non-compete clauses and leave us without the best speech therapy we ever had. I could spit some nails on that one. I've got another 9 months and I'm HOPING that stupid non-compete clause expires so we can go back. But no it's just a tediously long process and I don't see us getting to where one could wish, no matter what we do. We'll do what we can, but it is what it is. 

Ok, I want to say this. I've gotten knee deep, waist deep into this stuff. I want an SLP again for the praxis, because I think it would make him more *comfortable* getting his thoughts out. But as far as language, I'm deep in, barely have my brain around it, and don't get done everything I aspire to on it. And in exchange for all the time it has taken me, I don't take care of my house, skimp on meals, rotted my health (working on that), etc. It's not like oh PP wins on EVERYTHING. I've got a background in linguistics and I try as hard as my brain cells can, and I can't make it perfect or better or go away. 

I don't think it's REALISTIC for people to guilt themselves with that, and I don't think it's realistic for all people everywhere to do everything. I just want to make clear I have an awful lot I'm not doing in the attempt for what I am and that that might not be your trade-off or your best choice. Could you do something in-between? Sure! See if MW runs the sale on their ASD kit and buy that. It's a really nice 3 book set with a helpful set of graphic organizers. For people who like to read, there's a lot to extract there and learn. Have you seen Story CHAMPS? I'm using SKILL, but Story Champs also has data behind it and it has a big different structure. It's been a while since I looked at it and what I saw was limited. It's highly structured, and I think it had story books to go with it, which is a huge, huge plus. 

If the materials are structured enough, it's not hard to teach a lesson, apply till it generalizes, teach the next lesson, and so on. I think that generalization process would be obvious to you. It's more concrete than saying "work on language" if that makes sense. There aren't a lot of great materials for working on syntax and sentence complexity.

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