This is the third part of our six-part Inclusion Series with Katie Adams, speech-language pathologist at McNeil High School in the Round Rock Independent School District. We have already learned about two great methods for tackling social skills and language comprehension in a functional, comprehensive and fun way:
Let’s take a look at Choice Time:
Now, you may have some questions. Here are some of the details:
What’s the Goal? The purpose of Choice Time is to request items in an appropriate and effective way.
Are visuals used? Picture Visuals are used to facilitate choice-making. Students choose from different item sets depending on their language ability.
Do they get a chance to practice? Students practice with their paraprofessionals and peers. What a great way to build capacity as a speech-language pathologist. Also, research states that peer interaction facilitates more language and social skills.
How do you keep students engaged? Highly motivating items are used.
Is this functional? Yes! We make choices everyday. Where do you want to eat? Do you like the Aggies or the Longhorns? Gryffindor or Hufflepuff? Giving someone the opportunity to make a personal choice is empowering.
Are they sitting the entire time? They MOVE! Students volunteer and come to the front of the class to make their choices and receive their reinforcement. The smile on Willy’s face when he played with Mr. Smith was priceless.
Do you use reinforcement? Yes! Positive reinforcement is used! Students who volunteer get videoed and are “featured” in the next lesson. Clapping and praise is also used.
Do you differentiate communication systems? Absolutely! Voice Output Devices and Picture Exchange Systems are used for individuals with increased communication needs.
How do you help to facilitate communication? Sign language is used to give students a visual cue. Keep in mind that we fade cues quickly to give students the opportunity to independently initiate communication.
Did you think of getting peers involved? Absolutely! We use peer modeling. Students will higher language skills model correct behavior and language used in the task.
Are they going to generalize the skill? We thought of that. We use Model, Practice and Independence. The student receives a model of the task, practices it in a small group and then tries the task independently.
How long is the prep time, really?! The same items are used each week (visual supports printed and laminated); therefore, preparation time is not needed!
Using highly motivating reinforcers, Katie has been able to address an important skill in an engaging format. For Katie’s students, she provided an opportunity to engage in some physical fun. In the past, I have also used experiences to engage students. Do you want to mix the ingredients for the cookie dough or grease the pan? This is an opportunity to get functional and get creative! What motivates your students?