Happy Friday! Just a reminder to keep your eyes and ears open for ideas to share!!

Slip Sliding Away

Naoki discusses the following in this chapter:

When you’re on one of your highs, what’s going through your mind?

The “imaginings” that Naoki describes reminds me of a few students I have or have had, but one student in particular came to mind while reading this section. A few months ago, after I inquired because of their happier than normal facial features, one of my students insisted that they were playing a video game. I was puzzled since they had just walked into the speech room and we hadn’t started our activity yet. Upon further questioning I was told, “I’m playing a video game in my mind.” I was impressed at the time that the student was able to describe their reality in this way and I’m also impressed that Naoki does as well. Because these “imaginings” make me feel like our students are “less present” when they happen, if that makes sense, I assumed that they also felt less present during these times. Apparently this isn’t quite the case since these are two examples of these events being described in ways where it seems like the people experiencing this know exactly what is happening.

What are your flashback memories like?

This reminded me of another student who I have seen silently cry for a few seconds several times in the past.

Why do you make a huge fuss over tiny mistakes?

Again, I am reminded of other students. I’m seeing a pattern here.

Why don’t you do what you’re told right away?

In this section Naoki describes three steps he takes when he has to perform a task, including visualizing how he is going to do the task. This reminds of how visuals help so many individuals with autism. This also reminds me of video modeling and video self-modeling. I feel like I’m pretty good about using visuals in therapy when necessary but this is a good reminder that in addition to visuals that normally come to mind, video modeling/self-modeling is another great tool that I probably don’t use often enough. What about you?

Do you hate it when we make you do things?

For me, this was a nice tie-in to the opening of the chapter about the Hare and the Tortoise. Instead of carrying the Tortoise back home I feel like Naoki would tell us to help the Tortoise reach the finish line (scaffolding, fading prompts/cues/models, and so on come to mind).

What’s the worst thing about having autism?

This was heartbreaking.

Would you like to be “normal”?

I was happy to see that he changed his thinking about himself. I love when he says, “But so long as we can learn to love ourselves, I’m not sure how much it matters whether we’re normal or autistic.”


Overall, I’m thinking of so many former and current students while I read this book. It is great to read something from the perspective of a child with a disability instead of the parent of a child with a disability. Very eye-opening in a different way. Naoki is very self-aware, isn’t he?


On another note, I’m reading the Kindle version of this book. Does anyone know the significance of the pictures throughout the book? I’m usually a research everything type of person but haven’t looked into it yet.

-Candra Grether (SLP at The Phoenix School of Discovery and Jeffersontown High School)

Thanks, Candra!!

KSHA is coming!

Today’s post is dedicated to reminding you all to keep your eyes and ears open! While you are at the KSHA convention, please note any important information that you think would be helpful to your fellow SLPs! I would love for some of you to share out any big ideas via the blog. As always, thanks for sharing and for being a part of our JCPS SLP community!

Chapter 1: The Mystery of the Missing Words

In this chapter, Naoki Higashida answers/comments on the following:

Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?

You seem to dislike holding hands with people.

Do you prefer to be on your own?

Why do you ignore us when we’re talking to you?

Why are your facial expressions so limited?

Is it true that you hate being touched?

Why do you wave goodbye with your palm facing yourself?

I found myself being skeptical as I began reading this book, thinking some responses were embellished during the process of translation. For example, when discussing the question ‘Do you prefer to be on your own?’ the author states, “The truth is, we’d love to be with other people. But because things never, ever go right, we end up getting used to being alone, without even noticing this is happening. Whenever I overhear someone remark how much I prefer being on my own, it makes me feel desperately lonely. It’s as if they’re deliberately giving me the cold-shoulder treatment.” Those are complex, descriptive sentences with a bit of figurative language.

At the end of the book there is a postscript chapter and an interview….. pages 147 – 149 are very helpful in understanding how Naoki communicates and page 154 sheds light on the translation process. So, I am now not getting hung up on the syntax and semantics but rather am focusing on the message 🙂

What are your initial reactions to the book? Have you reflected on your students with autism, and gained a new or wider perspective their communication and behavior? If so, please share.

Happy reading,

Carrie (Carrie Kaelin, SLP at Diagnostic Center and the Brown School)


Articulation Compensatory Strategies

Today Candra Grether shares an idea for targeting articulation with a high school student:

I wanted to share a worksheet I just made for a high school student with diagnoses that significantly impact articulation and therefore intelligibility. Who knows who might be looking for something like this so I thought I would share just in case.

The student is new to me this year but was doing pretty well in my room. At the annual IEP meeting the parent expressed wanting the student to stay in speech and I expressed that I felt “push-in” services would be a better fit so we could work on generalizing the student’s skills. The therapy definitely looks less direct than what it would look like in the speech room: I’ve been coming in the student’s smaller resource class, making observations and using visual cue cards with strategies on them as needed. The visual cues help but I wanted a way to give the student more feedback before leaving the room (as discreetly as possible because again, this is a high school student who isn’t as excited about speech as the younger ones tend to be).
I took the student in my room again recently so we could discuss a worksheet that I wanted to create. With the student’s help, the worksheet reviews their strategies that our many lovely JCPS SLPs have taught the student in the past in words the student understands (“overarticulation” means nothing to the student so per their input we went with “say sounds” in parentheses). After that I have an area to write down the data point I will be logging for that session (just two benchmarks) (or a note to say I didn’t take data that day for whatever reason); an area for observations where I am going to circle the strategies that were used well and the strategies that weren’t used that maybe would have been helpful; and finally, an area for notes.
I’ve attached the .pdf version of the worksheet that also contains a similar fluency worksheet and the editable version in PowerPoint as well as a similar PowerPoint for fluency.
 Thanks, Candra!

Book Study: Preface and Introduction

Here’s to the first post of our new book study! The format of this post is a little different. I have pulled a few quotes from the preface and introduction sections of the book. I will share my thoughts. If you have comments, please leave them below!

The opening sentence of the book is:

“When I was small, I didn’t even know that I was a kid with special needs.”

This makes me wonder how often this is true for our kiddos and even their parents. In fact, many times parents who only have one child do not realize that something is “different” about their kiddo—possibly because they do not have another child to compare to. For me, this brings to mind the often-quoted statement from Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Even the term “special needs” indicates comparison; that this child’s needs are different/special compared to the needs of other children.


“It’s like being a doll and spending your whole life in isolation.”

My only thought about this is how frightening it must be!


Should we listen to every single word you say?

“Please don’t assume that every single word we say is what we intended.”

I think that this is interesting in that we do need to strive to listen to everything. It seems to be a fine line. Which statements are truly what was intended, and which are not?


I’ll end with this post with the final sentence of the prefece:

“Can you imagine how your life would be if you couldn’t talk?”