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July 23, 2020

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Tech Tuesday: Summer Study Series on an RCT of Narrative Intervention for Adolescents

Sumer Study Series imageWe look at an exciting piece of research from last summer (July/August 2019), Improving storytelling and vocabulary in secondary school students with language disorder: a randomized controlled trial* (full article available at link). In this article, Joffe, Rixton and Hulme describe a randomized controlled trial (RCT) involving both narrative and vocabulary intervention for secondary students in the UK. It is notable because RCTs in language intervention are relatively rare, and considered a high level of evidence. ASHA, on a scale of evidence quality, rates “well designed randomized controlled trials” as level 1b, 2nd on a 6-point scale of evidence; these are research studies in which intervention groups are compared to a control group in which no intervention was provided. Additionally, interventions for adolescents with persistent language problems are less researched, so this study is an important one!...

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April 20, 2020

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Tech Tuesday: Basics of Using MindWing’s Digital Icons

All Icons Sets image

MindWing has made its digital icons available at low cost to assist us as we are providing distance learning and teletherapy during this COVID-19 crisis (surely one of the biggest common kick-offs we have experienced). In this post, I’ll be outlining some what-tos and how-tos with the icons; if you’d like a longer visual overview, I recorded a webinar (Intersecting Story Grammar Marker® with Technology and Telepractice: Distance Learning During this COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond) with Maryellen on April 1, 2020 and the recording is available for free on the site. The Digital Icons downloadable is a PowerPoint (PPT) file that can also be opened in Apple (Mac)’s free Keynote application or uploaded to Google Drive and opened with Google Slides. PPT files open automatically in Keynote, but let’s tackle that Google part first...

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February 03, 2020

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Tech Tuesday: Telling Tales at Varying Developmental Levels

Sean on hike photoThe practice of providing model narratives in order to scaffold personal narratives from students is one that is supported in our literature. Pamela Hadley (1998) describes conversational mapping, or “give a story to get a story,” as critical in language sampling, and these principles can be extended to intervention activities. Westby and Culatta (2016) suggest similar procedures: “Clinicians can model the telling of event narratives and ask children to relate their own experience about a similar event. One clinician told of a time when she did not close the door on her hamster's cage, and the hamster escaped and was never found. The telling of that experience elicited a child's story about a time when he had pet crickets in a cricket cage and the family cat got into the cage and ate the crickets.” We should remember that not every model needs to be a complete episode, though I realized after a recent trip to Utah’s National Parks that I had one ready-to-go. Additionally, this model also demonstrates the synchrony between Story Grammar Marker® and Zones of Regulation®.

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December 10, 2019

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Tech Tuesday: ASHA Convention Wrap-up, Part 1

Braidy doll imageThis year brought those of the speech-language pathologist ilk to Orlando, which I have come to think of as the land of simulated Character and Setting. Inside the more sedate but still stimulating conference halls, MindWing’s tools were shared by a number of presenters including me! In Developing Expressive Language In Preschoolers: Strategies to Increase Utterance Length and Complexity (Mentis, Howland, Graham), the authors described their integration of Braidy the StoryBraid® into a language and literacy program for preschoolers, providing graduate student clinicians with wonderful experience in targeting language in the context of stories and play. The presenters recommended a number of books used within their program, moving from emphasis on simple to more complex story grammar and microstructure...

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October 30, 2019

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Tech Tuesday: More on Memes (Think Halloween!)

Meme 2 imageToday’s kids really like memes, digesting them from internet spaces we are too cool to inhabit! Therefore, they serve as a textual or language-infused genre that we can exploit for our students’ engagement. Often a meme suggests some element of a narrative that serves to facilitate a discussion or mapping of other elements. We can compare and contrast these narrative forms with exposition, or explaining ideas (see Thememaker®). When critiquing narrative works such as movies, it’s always felt to be a no-no to have too much exposition, or telling (not showing), such as when a character suddenly explains the mystery inherent to a plot...

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August 12, 2019

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Tech Tuesday/Summer Study Series: Narrative and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Sun imageI am frequently asked to conduct evaluations encompassing social cognition and pragmatic language and always find it extremely valuable to include a detailed assessment of narrative language. However, in doing so, and having reviewed previous assessments of these students, I often find that I am like a newcomer to a desert landmark, standing there saying “Hey, look at this…?” Why haven’t the examiners before me documented and then suggested interventions around these inevitably present narrative language issues?...

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July 15, 2019

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Tech Tuesday/Summer Study Series: Because and So Science

TinyBop screenshotFor July’s entry in the “Summer Study Series,” we’ll be looking at some cool connections to the science curriculum in addressing the macrostructure and microstructure of language. Our posts this summer are summarizing recent research related to narrative and expository language and Story Grammar Marker®/ThemeMaker® to give you some scientific thought for summer. To set the tone, there are some natural connections between the SGM® and ThemeMaker® methodologies and using science content with students. Narrative and expository elements give a framework for summarizing story and information, elaborating, focusing on main ideas and reducing the load on working memory by providing a scaffolded structure. The scientific method itself, moving from observation (Character/Setting), planning and hypothesizing, following experimental steps, and developing a conclusion, can be reframed using the Story Grammar Marker® as is demonstrated in the original SGM® manual...

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