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April 20, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: Interpreting Research on Narratives and Autism

In this Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, we turn our attention more specifically on our students and clients with unique social learning and language characteristics. A recent (2017) study by Westerveld and Roberts, The Oral Narrative Comprehension and Production Abilities of Verbal Preschoolers on the Autism Spectrum, has a number of implications that I would like to interpret in the context of tools available for narrative intervention. The study involved assessment of preschoolers’ narratives (notably an uninvestigated area for preschool students with autism, according to the article) via presentation of a fictional narrative and administration of comprehension questions and a retelling task. A large grouping within the sample did not produce a retelling that could be analyzed, but the 19 that did were assessed for length, semantic diversity, grammatical complexity and accuracy, intelligibility, inclusion of critical events, and narrative stage. The article notes that most of the research on spontaneous language of preschoolers with autism has focused on free play, rather than the ability to pull language together into narratives...

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February 20, 2018

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Tech Tuesday: La La Land, Part 2

La La Land imageI previewed last month that this month’s post would discuss some of those exemplar pairings specifically. Before we crack some books and launch some apps, a word about analyzing contexts. For both books and apps, it can help if they have what I like to call a “Speechie” quality. You can read more about this along with the FIVES criteria (Fairly Priced, Interactive, Visual, Educationally Relevant, Speechie). Breaking down the Speechie part, we can ask ourselves if the book or app is a context for speech and language development: • Does it have a narrative structure that can be used for intervention, considering Story Grammar Marker® or Braidy the StoryBraid® as a tool (this includes apps that allow you to make your own choices such that a story unfolds)? • Does it provide or allow you to interact with informational language...

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November 20, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: Stories of Turkey Day

P is For Pilgrim book linkTechnology, as always, can help us bring contexts to the table, including the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Here is an updated list of tech-based visuals and interactives that can be used to elicit narrative and expository language using Story Grammar Marker®, ThemeMaker, MindWing’s narrative and expository maps, magnets, and the SGM® iPad App (still on sale through November for $14.99 in celebration of ASHA Convention). Epic! Books for Kids: This terrific resource offering free educator accounts and a huge variety of e-books (readable on iPad, web or Apple TV), offers some great contexts when you search for “Thanksgiving.” Among these are P is for Pilgrim: A Thanksgiving Alphabet (Crane/Urban), an alphabet book for all ages. Consider using this book to explore two different settings: past and present...

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October 24, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: Spooky Stories, Revisited with Kick-Offs!

Toontastic LogoThe Toontastic app has long been a good companion for interventions with Story Grammar Marker®. The original app, released in the early 2010s, was designed with scaffolding in mind, as a “patch,” so to speak, on the problem of decreased play time and increased expectations for students to “write stories” as they reached first grade. Toontastic has undergone some changes after being purchased by Google a few years ago, and is now available as a free “Toontastic 3D” version for both iPad and Android...

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August 28, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: Summer Study and Event Narratives

Copyright: anthonycz / 123RF Stock PhotoI know some of you are already in school, so forgive the “Summer Study” aspect of this post, as I am holding on to the last days of summer (which goes until September, anyway). I have been impressed of late with ASHA’s publication of “tutorial” style articles that offer a synthesis of research and practical ideas and techniques for intervention. One of these recent articles is particularly relevant to the topic of this blog and to MindWing’s tools for narrative intervention: Telling Tales: Personal Event Narratives and Life Stories (Westby and Culatta, 2016). In this post I will discuss this article along with tech tools particularly related to the intervention suggestions around eliciting and scaffolding event narratives. Westby and Culatta set out to emphasize the importance of personal event narratives...

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June 27, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: This summer, play “Duck Duck Moose” to consider narrative and expository language-building opportunities

Duck Duck Moose LogoOne helpful strategy in locating apps useful in language intervention is to know and follow (via their Facebook page, Twitter or Website) the developers. We have previously mentioned developers such as Sago Mini, Toca Boca, Social Skill Builder, and LEGO®KHAN ACADEMY, the Edtech force known most for distribution of expository video related to curriculum, recently bought the development company Duck Duck Moose, and their terrific apps continue to be offered free of charge. In this post I’ll talk about a few of them, along with great opportunities to use them as a context or context-builder alongside MindWing’s tools for narrative and expository language development...

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May 23, 2017

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Tech Tuesday: 4 (and More) Ways To Tell the Story Digitally

Laptop picture iPad picture Google Docs icons

Last month I visited the MindWing Concepts offices to lead a small group workshop on integrating tech tools with Story Grammar Marker® and Thememaker®. One of the biggest topics of interest involved ways to use MindWing’s story and expository maps on laptops, iPads and even within Google Apps, and we spent a chunk of time exploring these possibilities. We thought that this topic could use an update on the blog, so here we go! First of all, some rationale. Why might you want to work with these tools digitally (meaning the files—PDFs—provided with your purchase of any MindWing manual, either via CD-ROM in previous years, or more recently, via a free download code within the manual)? A few reasons:...

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