Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My new BFF: the I EARNED THAT app!

Yes, it’s true! I have a new BFF.   
A free and awesome app that has put an end to the hours
I spend making token reinforcement charts for my students with autism and behavior challenges.  My life just got drastically easier!! 

It’s the handy little app called I EARNED THAT
Where, oh where, has this been all my life!?! 
My go-to expert on autism told me about it today and she is “so not techy” 
(her words, not mine) so she was stoked that I had never heard of it.  

HELLLOOOOO how did I not know about this? 
Have I been living under the proverbial rock? 
It’s apparently been around for years, so to many of you, this app may be old news, but to me it’s new AND MAGICAL!!!

I feel a little foolish doing a post about it since I’m probably the last SLP on planet Earth to hear about it but here it goes anyway. 
Besides, you may have been living under a rock just like me :) 
and I think that after all the joy it’s given me it deserves a little tribute. 
TADA!!! 



You can find it on iTunes for $1.99 but I chose to download the lite (and free) version.  
So far, it’s done the trick.  I can only have 1 student in it at a time, however.  

So I have a couple of students who really do not want to do.....well.... anything except what they want to do.  They’re really not fond of doing anything language related and are prone to showing me just how NOT FOND of it they are.  
They need lots of positive reinforcement and motivation. 
You know any little guys like that? 
I can see you nodding :) 
 So when I’m working with one of these students, I let him/her choose what he/he wants “to work for.”  I either give two choices or they immediately let me know what they want to work for- usually it’s candy, bubbles, computer time, iPad time, etc.  

This app lets me instantly take a photo of the item with my phone or iPad OR choose a photo from my camera roll! 

Today it was bubbles (he’s a big fan of the little wedding bubbles) for 1 little guy 
and dinosaur train on pbskids.org for another kiddo. 

After I’ve quickly taken a picture of what the child is “working for” the app makes a 3D jigsaw puzzle out of the photo.  I can choose the number of puzzles pieces I want the puzzle to have based on my student’s needs.   2?  4?  10?  20?  60? You choose! 

The screen shows the puzzle pieces face down.  
To reinforce the student, touch a puzzle piece while giving verbal praise and a glimpse of the reward will be revealed!! 


You can adjust the settings for visual and sound effects! The pieces can appear slowly with lots of fanfare or quietly and instantly.  

I set the app so that the pieces spin around and make all kinds of irresistible noises.  It really makes a BIG DEAL out of earning a puzzle piece which I love! 

When the last puzzle piece is in place and the whole picture is revealed, then the kiddos get their reward!! Woohoo!!  
Many bubbles were blown and none lived to tell about it :) 



In the end, everyone is happy! 
The SLP (that's me) got her therapy on and little dudes earned their rewards! 
All was right with the world and not one photo or symbol had to be printed, cut out and laminated.  In fact, there was not even one single velcro dot needed! 

Token reinforcement made easy!! 
I love easy! 

Do you use it? Love it? 
Can you tell me about any other APPs I need in my life? 
What do you do to reinforce your students? 
Please enlighten me.  I can't believe I just found out about this! 

Happy reinforcing! 

-Mia 






Thursday, September 4, 2014

back to school blues (please pardon this sappy post)

I miss you, blog.



I don't ever have the time or energy to visit you.  I'm not even sure I would even want my thoughts on paper.  They're just doing somersaults and loop-de-loops in my head.  Nonstop acrobatic thoughts.


This is the sad truth….right now my job is kicking my butt and hurting my heart.  
I've wanted to post about all the fun back to school activities I've been doing, but other matters have been weighing on me.


It's hard.  Our jobs are hard.  This year it's not the paperwork or duties or therapy that I struggle with. 
It's the being side by side with kids in crisis and knowing nothing you do will ever really be enough. 
Sitting next to kids who have slipped sooo far into the cracks that, try as you may, you cannot save.
Seeing kids who have learned- in their hurtful homes- that maybe it's better just not to speak.
The angry kids.  The scared ones.  The ill ones.  The huggers and the scowlers.
8, 9, 10 hours are not enough. Never enough time to truly get to everyone's needs.
Never enough manpower.  Never enough time… to fix things.  Make everything better. Like trying to wipe up a huge spill with single ply toilet paper that keeps tearing from the roll….
or running through quicksand.
When I'm not with them, I'm still thinking about them.
Thinking of ways to make it better.
When I wake up in the middle of the night I think about them.  I pray for them.
When I'm brushing my teeth - then too...
When I'm applying my concealer (very much of it these days) I'm thinking of the dilemmas…the seemingly hopeless situations.


I love my profession but my job….well, it's caused quite a few tears lately.


I am clinging to these words each day….





I'm not usually a downer (at least I hope I'm not) so please do excuse this little post in my moment of melancholy.  Perhaps it's because I just spent 2 days at CPI (crisis prevention intervention) training and the fact that we need that training at all makes me a little sad.
The fact that I had to apply it today - the very next day after the training- even worse.


If you are inclined to pray, please pray for my babies in crisis and their teams who are giving their all.  


May better days lie ahead. 


-Mia
Jasper Roberts Consulting - Widget