SLP Love Hurts

February is a time for love.  I love my job, but sometimes, love hurts.

When I started working in the schools in self-contained programs, I was kind of thrown in without any training of what to do if a student tried to hurt me.  Honestly, I was pretty naive, and never even thought it would happen.  My first three years went without a hitch.  I worked with students in self-contained rooms for students with cognitive impairments.  Then, my fourth year, I was placed in two self-contained rooms for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  I thought, "Ok, I've got this too."  I was not totally new to working with students on the spectrum, however, I had not worked with non-verbal students on the spectrum before.

To say that year was difficult for me is an understatement.  The first time I was grabbed, I was shocked!  I didn't know what to do.  I was also kicked, scratched and hit a lot that year.  Nobody in the room was trained on what to do to avoid or escape these situations.  We all worked together to try and support each other, and figure out what we were doing wrong (getting too close, student needed a sensory break that we were not providing, too high of a demand for the moment).  I had a lot of minor scratches and bruises.  I was honestly scared of a lot of the kids, and wasn't feeling much love.  That was a pretty vulnerable feeling.

Thank goodness that I started to get more training after that year.  I attended CPI training during the summer.  This two-day class taught me how to de-escalate tricky situations, how to prevent things from getting escalated in the first place, and how to protect myself from getting hurt. We learned how to get out of grabs, hair pulls, and bites ("feed the bite").  I can now dodge a strike with the best of them, and have luckily avoided most other attempts.  I get my updated training every year through CPI, which definitely helps.

I also started to learn more about behaviors and how behavior is often times communication.  A lot of my students were using their behaviors to tell me to get out of their space, that they needed a break, or that what I was trying to have them do was just too difficult in the moment.  It took a lot of vulnerable moments with other staff, trying to figure all of this out, but now I feel much more confident when working with students who may show these kids of behaviors.

Now, I can honestly say that I love my students.  I currently work with four self-contained rooms with students with ASD.  I love all of them.  Sure, we still have our trying moments at times, but truly, love doesn't always have to hurt.

See how other Frenzied SLPs deal when #slplovehurts.

Learning: Verbs {App Review}

I was contacted to check out a new app that focuses on verbs.  As you know based on my last post, I am always looking for ways to target verbs.  This new app is called Learning: Verbs by Language Concepts.

This is a very simple app that targets only receptive language learning of verbs.  It starts with you choosing which verbs to target.  Initially, you can choose from 22 different verbs, but there is also an option for you to add your own, which I will show you in a minute.  After you choose your verbs, you can choose how they will be displayed for your student.  You have a choice of one, two, three, or four verbs presented at a time.  You can also decide if you want text on the page that states the verb, audio, and feedback after the student answers.

For my first session, I chose four pictures with audio, text, and feedback.  The audio does not happen automatically, I had to push the speaker button to hear the audio recording.  After I pushed it, the speaker said, "Show me Cooking."

The student then chose the correct (or incorrect) picture that matched the verb.  When the correct picture was chosen, the rest of the photographs disappeared, leaving only the correct choice.

After that, you press "Next" and you are on to the next trial.  There was not any audio when the student got the item correct, just the word correct on the bottom of the screen was shown.  When the student go the item incorrect, a very loud voice said, "Choose again."  I ended up turning the feedback off, as it was startling and aggravating to my student with ASD.  I would have rather heard feedback when it was correct, but there was no way to choose that.  I was able, however to change the settings during the trials without having to stop because there is a settings button at the top of the page that you can click on, and easily turn the audio off.  The only problem was, that to turn the feedback voice off, I had to turn all of the audio off.  Turning the feedback button off only made the pictures not shake when they were incorrect.  It was fine for me, because I just read the verbs to my student when they were presented.

When I was done with my trials with my student, I pressed "End" and that was it.  I had a quick little progress monitoring session for receptive verbs.

Next, I wanted to try to add my own pictures to the app.  I chose a picture that is used in my Interactive Verb books, jumping.  It was easy to add the picture, although it did get a little distorted, as it has to fit in a portrait setting.  I think it still looked good, and recognizable though.  After that, I added my voice to say, "Show me jumping." After I put the picture on, I realized that they already had the word jumping in the mix, so I took it out easily by holding the picture, and then having the option to delete what I had put on.

I think overall, this is a great, quick little app that can easily target some receptive verbs.  I can see it being used for progress monitoring if you are targeting choosing verbs from a choice of two, three, or four pictures.  I do wish it had some data collection built into it, but I was easily able to keep track of the data myself since I was sitting with my student while he was playing the app.

If you want a chance to win a free copy of this app, head over to my Facebook page for Speech Universe.

Thank you to Learning Concepts for the copy of the app to review.