Using Free Online Humorous Videos to Enhance Speech Therapy

February 20, 2012


Golden Loves Guitar

Mr. Bean Goes to the Swimming Pool( small ad first)

Mr Bean Goes to the Dentist

Two Dogs in a Restaurant

In past newsletters I mentioned quite a few drill and practice programs and apps that I frequently use to improve speech, language and cognition as well as more open-ended/creative products to work on goals such as initiation, turn taking, novel sentence formulation, asking questions, following directions and play.

I realize that not everyone has an iDevice. Today I want to share wtih you some free online videos I have been using in therapy. They can be accessed with an iDevice or just about any computer, tablet or Smartphone that has Internet access. I have selected them because they are generally just a few minutes long and involve humor. I generally watch the entire video once then pause it frequently to interact with my client on a wide variety of goals as we view it again.

Some goals I may have for this session may include:

  • Improving joint attention to a task
  • Naming items pictured or pointing to appropriate pictures on an AAC device or printed out
  • Formulating sentences to describe what they saw
  • Remembering details shown
  • Asking and answering questions about what happened on the video
  • Discussing displayed emotions and practice analyzing the perspective of others
  • Reflecting on other situations/scenarios peopel have encountered similar to the one pictured.
I’d love to hear from you if you have favorite humorous videos that you use as part of your therapy or just enjoy watching. I find that these videos keep sessions fun and interactive:) They provide a great source of material to stimulate conversation and progress toward goals:)

e2 B o o k R e v i e w The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education

February 20, 2012

January/February 2012

Book by Joan L. Green, M.A., CCC-SLP

Published by Prufrock Press, 2011
Format: 221 pages, 10×7 inches, paperbound; also available in
electronic versions
Joan L. Green must be something of a pack rat when it comes to gathering information about hardware and
software in the category of assistive technology. We’d love to know whether her office desk is covered with little notes
and pieces of paper about the hundreds of resources she covers in her book The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology
in Special Education, or whether she’s just fiercely well-organized electronically. Green, a speech and language pathologist, offers her
compendium of assistive technologies in order to “empower individuals with literacy, learning, and communication differences.” Among the groups whose lives she hopes to improve are those with autism, learning differences, and cognitive deficits. Her goal is to create opportunities and remove performance barriers. Covering a Range of Challenges The first three chapters provide an overview of the power of technology, the benefits of assistive technology, and the various classes of hardware and software useful in assistive technology. (Chapter 2, on benefits, is available online at the Prufrock website.) Those are followed by seven chapters covering A.T. that can help with specific challenges:

• Verbal expression (two chapters)
• Auditory comprehension
• Reading comprehension
• Reading skills
• Written expression
• Cognition, learning, and memory.

The book concludes with chapters on games and online activities; Internet communication and learning tools;
and adapted e-mail, search engines, and browsers.

A Sample Chapter

A look at a sample chapter gives a good idea of Green’s approach in her book. The chapter “Treatment
and Technology to Improve Written Expression” opens by identifying when written expression may be a problem —
for example, in those with LDs, strokes, or other cognitive challenges. Green then lists the skills involved in written
expression and suggests that low-tech options such as pencil grips be considered as well as high-tech. After stressing why written writing skills are important, she then presents strategies and resources to improve writing, starting with software and apps for drill-and-practice. For each of 16 drill-and-practice writing A.T. apps, the chapter provides the app name, platform (Apple, Window,
etc), price, and bullet-point descriptions of the features of the app. Here’s an example:

Story Patch By Haywoodsoft
• Apple app
• This is a story creator designed with the goal of
helping kids create stories on their own or with
the help of a template.
• The user first titles the story, then selects a
theme such as “a trip to the zoo” or builds his
story independently.
• If the templates are used, questions are
presented with possible answers and the user
selects her response to create a unique story.
• There is an image library with more than 800
images grouped into 47 categories to create
settings for each page.
• A character designer or personal pictures can be
used to create the characters in the story.
• $4.99

The chapter continues with sections on:
• Software to improve spelling
• Word processors as a way to help the writing process
• Picture-based and talking word processors
• Word prediction programs
• Dictionaries
• Graphic organizers
• Technology to help with the physical aspect of writing
and typing
• Speech-to-text and voice recognition
• Additional tools to help with written expression.

All in all, the chapter covers over 70 tools

Putting A.T. to Work
Realizing that a book captures technology as it was at a particular moment in time, Green describes her book as a
starting point, recommending that readers visit the websites cited within the book for up-to-date information. Green
also offers an e-newsletter and a couple websites which can help keep aspiring A.T. consumers current. Green also notes
that obtaining professional guidance may be desirable depending on the condition being addressed.

This book is likely to prove to be a useful starting point for many parents and educators of twice-exceptional children in
the search for resources to help those children overcome their challenges

Assistive Technology for the 2e ( Twice Exceptional) Learner- Interview of Joan L. Green and how she helps students

February 20, 2012

( This article was written by J. Mark Bade as a Featured Topic in the newletter  Assistive Technology for the 2 e Learner ) in the Jan/Feb, 2012 issue)

Are you looking for a way to help that gifted child you raise or teach who has an executive function disorder?  How about the one with a reading problem? Or the one with an expressive language disorder?Joan Green

Joan L. Green, of the Washington, DC, area, is the go-to person for many parents, therapists, and schools who need to figure out what’s in that lengthy evaluation they’ve received about a gifted child who just isn’t achieving in one or more areas. Without the right intervention, that child could wind up in a downward spiral that affects both academic abilities and self-esteem.

Green’s specialty is the application of assistive technology (A.T.) to speech, language, literacy, and cognitive difficulties that may interfere with learning and personal growth. She is a speech and language pathologist with a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s School of Speech, who began her career in the late 1980s working with adults who had had strokes or head injuries. As computer technology improved, tools became available that empowered patients to work on their own, with immediate feedback from the  program. For example, Green successfully used a program meant to teach English as a second language to help her clients who suffered from aphasia, which involves problems understanding or expressing language.

With the advent of the Internet and the spread of computers into just about every household, such assistive technology became much more sophisticated, available, and affordable. Today, says Green, she has explored about 1600 applications to find the “treasures” that might help her clients — and that’s just for Apple’s iPad, which she thinks is a great tool.

A.T. and 2e Kids

The twice-exceptional children Green sees are gifted, of course, and tend to have good technical skills. That’s an advantage, because they pick up on things fast, says Green, helping avoid that downward spiral.
Most of the interventions Green offers are short-term, but she is also available for the long haul if that’s what’s needed. She fits the scope of her services to the need and to the family’s budget, and makes an effort to emphasize free or economical A.T. choices. Her goal is to empower parents, students, therapists, and other education professionals with the knowledge of cutting-edge affordable technologies. She helps people find the right tools and strategies for implementing a recommended intervention, all while making life as easy as possible for everyone involved.

Successful implementation, she says, is critical. “You can’t just give someone a product or a list of potential technology tools and expect them to be able to use them without help knowing which is best and how and when to use the technology.”

When the parents of a 2e child come to Green, she will usually receive evaluation reports containing recommendations for using assistive technology. Green’ advantage, she says, is that there are not that many people who can implement those recommendations. Her success stems from the way she can combine her knowledge of:

  • Communication disorders
  • Psychology (for example, motivation)
  • The educational process
  • The use of assistive technology hardware and software to address communication disorders.

Finding “The App for That”

A typical case may start with a half-hour phone conversation between Green and the parents. The parents then make available the reports and documentation Green needs to fully understand other professionals’ appraisals of the child’s situation.

Next may come a two-hour in-person or online brainstorming session with the parents about potential ways to address the child’s needs; the parents, after all, have good insight into the child’s interests, routines, and motivation. Green may show and suggest potential assistive technology tools at this point.

Joan Green’s favorite A.T. tools include the following:

  • Apple’s iPad with its bounty of apps
  • Notability, a note-taking app for the iPad. It includes audio recording, word processing, handwriting, and PDF annotation.
  • The Livescribe smartpen, which records audio at the same time it’s being used to take notes on special paper. The notes and audio are synchronized. Tapping the pen on the notes takes you to that part of the audio recording.
  • Google Apps, an in-the-cloud collection of “email and collaboration tools” that includes word processing and other common “office” tools. Green especially likes the sharable calendar features, handy for students with executive function issues.
  • WordQ+SpeakQ, a writing solution integrating word prediction, text to speech, and voice recognition.

Then, in individual in-person sessions with the student, Green will help the student learn the tools needed to implement the intervention strategies. This session may take place in Joan’s office in Potomac, Maryland, or in the student’s own home or school in the greater Washington, DC area. For example, she might choose a drill-and-practice tool combined with a word retrieval tool to improve skills in spelling. Another strategy might involve a word prediction tool or text-to-speech to help improve a student’s expressive skills. The areas in which Green uses technology to improve student behavior include:

  • Following directions
  • Learning grammar and punctuation
  • Speaking more clearly
  • Enhancing spelling and vocabulary
  • Practicing writing
  • Studying for tests
  • Researching on the Internet
  • Improving organization, sequencing, and reasoning.

Green’s use of A.T. is not limited to interventions to accommodate a specific learning challenge. She may also implement interventions that focus on augmenting a student’s learning in a particular topic by enhancing the student’s interest and motivation. Not only does technology make the intervention fun, says Green, the right technology can also get around the I-don’t-want-to-be-different problem. Carrying around an iPad rather than a laptop for in-class accommodations, for example, is “cool.” Such interventions may play to a student’s strengths, helping to keep the student engaged in school and enhancing self-esteem.

A.T. for Teachers

Sometimes Green goes into the student’s classroom to observe and may have one-on-one sessions with the student’s teacher to explain the intervention and the tools used. Or, she may present to a group of teachers at school.

Green says that most parents now realize how assistive technology can help their children and expect schools to use that technology. Teachers, however, obviously face lots of demands on their time and may have trouble keeping up with the explosion in A.T. solutions. That’s where Green can help the school, perhaps by assessing the school’s technological capabilities, determining gaps in those capabilities, and suggesting alternative ways to achieve goals, like differentiated instruction, in the classroom. By projecting her iPad screen, Green can demonstrate for the staff how to use technology tools and how to find useful resources on the Internet.

And A.T. for Professionals

Green also presents to other professionals on the topic, which she views as one way to keep up with technology — by making sure her presentation is up to date every time.

Green has written a book on assistive technology which is reviewed elsewhere in this newsletter. She also offers a free e-newsletter on the topic, featuring applications and programs with good value. Interested readers may sign up for it at

Joan L. Green may be reached through her website, by e-mail at, or by phone at 301.602.2899. She Tweets under @jgreenslp Text Box: 2e