For the rest of my life?????????

Today Pam Schmit shares a cute story we can all relate to:

I am working with a third grade student on the initial /r/. He’s getting the isolated /r/, doing some quality roaring. I am excited. I ask him to just try saying some words with that same /r/, like rain, race, rabbit. He does it. I say “Wow” You are using that /r/ to say those words. Great job!”   He says “You mean you want me to say “rain, race, rabbit” instead of “wain, wace, wabbit?” I say “Yes!!” He   says with a startled attitude “For the rest of my life??????”


(Actually, he wasn’t happy about it, but he’s cooperating!)

Tech Tuesday

Jenny Lockwood shares:

I have loved using my new Cursade iPad in therapy as a quick and motivating tool in my mixed skill groups. I also love Teachers Pay Teachers; however, don’t love all the cutting and laminating….. 

Enter the NO PRINT items that are popping up all over TPT!!!! I can download the file, save to iBooks or save to my home screen, and pull it up whenever I need some stimulus items. Here is one that I have really enjoyed using with my students this week:

—“What’s the Big Picture” Scenes—

I love that it gives me mixed WH question prompts to use for the scenes, but I can use it in so many more ways: inferring, predicting, conversation level stimuli for my articulation and fluency kiddos, etc. I even used them when screening a fluency kiddo at the Diagnostic Center yesterday… He was much more interested in talking to me when I pulled out the iPad!

I have found that the students like to look through the scenes and choose which ones they are most interested in – equals more communication opportunities. There are approximately 70 picture scenes, so I don’t think we’ll get too bored with them.  

How else could I use these scenes? Any good ideas to share?


Chapters 229, 233

Chapter 229 opens with Christopher explaining a dream he sometimes has as a daydream and sometimes has at night. He says that in the dream nearly everyone on the earth is dead because they have caught something like a computer virus. People catch it because of the meaning of something an infected person says and the meaning of what they do with their faces when they say it.   People with the virus just sit on the sofa and do nothing and eventually die, though in some versions of the dream they crash their cars or walk into the sea and drown.

And eventually the people left in the world are the people like Christopher, who don’t look at other people’s faces, and don’t know what basic emoticons mean. In this dream, Christopher would have his dream life. No one would talk to him or touch him or ask him a question. He wouldn’t have to go anywhere, and he could eat just what he wanted to and do what he wanted to (like play computer games or rub a coin over the ripple shapes on the surface of the radiator).

He could go into other people’s houses and play detective, go into shops and take things he wanted, like pink biscuits or Mango Smoothies or computer games or books or videos.

He could drive a car to the beach, driving into the sea and enjoying the water coming up over his shoes with a musical rhythm. He would put on dry clothes, make himself a favorite drink, watch a video about the solar system, play computer games, and go to bed.

The dream is finished and he is happy.


I think Christopher’s dream gives us insight into his perception of his condition/autism. In his dream, people catch a virus as a result of the meaning of something an infected person says and their facial expressions as they say it! It must seem very odd to Christopher that people can interpret a variety of meanings across situations, and can express and interpret information through facial expressions. It is so much more normal to him to be like he is, and so, the only people left in the world are indeed like him.

I thought it was interesting that he alluded to not knowing what those basic emoticons meant! He thought he would be happier not looking at other people’s faces (where such a wealth of information is located), not touching others (where we derive such basic human satisfaction), and not talking with other or being asked questions (our basic ideas of human interaction). He talked about enjoying some sensory experiences like driving, eating, walking on the beach, feeling the water, enjoying its rhythm in the sea, drinking, and playing computer games. Those are things that give him joy. And he also derives joy from getting to do whatever he wants to do. In that he is like everyone else. We all usually think we derive joy from doing what pleases us.







The next morning the reality of having Christopher back in her life sinks in. “Mother” has to call in to receive “compassionate leave” so that she can stay home with him. After a run to the store to get some essentials, Christopher ends up laying down on the floor and screaming, and the two had to go home in a taxi. Back at home, he tells his mom that he HAS to go back to Swindon to take his maths A level. He doesn’t want to see his father there, but he HAS to take the tests. Later that evening he felt afraid of Mr Shears, so he walked outside and down the street. Lost in his own world exploring the area at night, he heard his mother’s frustrated, worried voice running down the road after him.

So they settle into a better flow, wherein Christopher stays in the house during the day if his mom has to go out. She has lost her temporary job, Christopher’s dad is threatening to take her to court, and Christopher continues to insist that he must get back to Swindon to take his maths A level. After Mother tells Christopher that she has called the headmistress in Swindon and told them he would take his tests next year, he screams. The pain in his chest hurt so much it was hard to breathe.

Mother and Mr Shears argued, and Christopher listened to white noise on his radio with the volume up high. It seemed to hurt so much that it masked the other hurts that filled him. After Mr Shears left for work the following day, Mother packed up his car and the two drove to Swindon. With Father at work, Christopher went up to his room and played Minesweeper. When Father returned there was a lot of arguing that Christopher blocked out by banging bongo drums. His chest hurt again and he was tired.

Father gave the two of them some space. Christopher had a hard time transitioning to the idea that he would not be able to take his maths A level. He couldn’t eat or sleep and his chest continued to hurt. Christopher explained, “I don’t like it when I put things in my timetable and I have to take them out again because when I do that it makes me feel sick.” He ended taking the test and passing it.

Mother rented a single room in a house so they could live there, but he had to stay at his father’s house every day before Mother got back from work. He gradually began to trust his father and to talk with him. He made goals to take A-level further maths the next year, and in two years’ time, take A-level physics, and then go on to university.

Christopher wanted to become a scientist. He was empowered to do this by looking at his accomplishments. He had solved the mystery of “Who killed Wellington?” found his mother, was brave, and wrote a book. He was sure he could do anything.


We watched Christopher mature and grow.   One thing that stands out to me is the anxiety he experienced and how it translated into physical pain. How many students we work with are feeling pain due to anxiety? Another screaming fact is that parenting these children is ROUGH. Mother thought she just didn’t have the ability and patience to deal with Christopher, and look who found her. There is no “easy way out,” and you can’t lie your way out. Nobody can love that child like his biological parents, and they are really the best people to raise him, even if they can’t do it together. It can be an overwhelming task, and we as therapists need to be empathetic as we deal with the families of our challenging students.

–Pam Schmit

Chapter 211

This chapter begins with Christopher wondering if he should have gotten off of the train.  He is currently still hiding on a shelf from a previous chapter.  As he was hiding on the shelf, processing what was going on around him and trying to calm himself, he even took note of someone coming out of the bathroom and noticed a difference in the smell of their “poo.”  I think that it was interesting that he took note of this considering that all of his senses seemed to be in a heightened state of arousal but this was worth mentioning.  When the train finally stopped and he decided to get down from the shelf, he noticed that the police officer was gone as well as his bag with his supplies.  This really made me wonder if he was going to be successful ultimately getting to his mom’s house with his “essentials” gone.  Christopher saw another police officer, but he has now decided that he doesn’t care much for the police, which is a change from earlier in the book.  He was told that the police were looking for him, but he chose to keep walking as he no longer cared for the boys in blue (do the police wear blue in England?…I have no idea!).  As he was trying to navigate the underground, a stranger came up to him and said, “You look lost.”  Christopher had no usable social skills for this moment as his choice was to pull out his opened Swiss Army knife.  I can only imagine the thoughts that could have passed through that person’s mind in that moment!  I’m sure they were colorful!  Christopher bought a ticket for the subway, but had to watch others to learn the routine and what would be expected of him for going through the line at the subway.  A passerby told him to “get a move on” and Christopher’s choice in that moment was to bark at that person like a dog.  Again, I’m sure there were some colorful thoughts running through the mind of that passerby.  Christopher was forced to get on an escalator for the first time (very sci-fi!) but didn’t like it because people were too close to him.  This made him want to hit them, but he didn’t (good choice there)!  He started feeling sick because so many people were around him in the subway and was groaning but didn’t even realize he was groaning at first.  The thought passed through his mind that he wished he wanted to go home, but his father was there and that it wasn’t his home anymore.  This thought was also disturbing to Christopher because (to him) it meant that his brain was no longer working properly.  He ended the chapter thinking that there was nothing to do except wait and hurt.


I ended this chapter wondering…

  1. Will Christopher get on the subway?
  2. Will he make it to his mother’s house?
  3. How will he get there without the essentials that were in his bag?
  4. Will the police end up finding him?


Oh the suspense……!!  :

–Erin Williams

Tech Tuesday

Kelly Youngblood shares:

I was so excited when I found out I would be receiving an I-pad through the Crusade for Children grant. I couldn’t wait to get started and find lots of new ways to engage my students! I researched lots of apps in my quest to find the best FREE ones to use. Here are my favorites so far:

My PlayHome – This app can be used for following directions, building household vocabulary, categorization, increasing utterances, and I’m sure so much more! This app also has My PlayHome School, Hospital, Store, and they keep adding more. These others are all $2.99 each, but I think it would be so worth the money!

Toontastic – This is a really cool app that I haven’t been able to really get into yet, but tried it with one group. The kids can create their own mini movie…they pick out their characters, select the setting, and can provide the voices for the characters. Really cool app!! It could be used for storytelling and/or retelling story, WH questions (who, what, where, when, why, and how), increasing utterance length, following directions, and story comprehension just to name a few.

National Geographic Weird but True – It has to be good if National Geographic created it!! This app has lots of interesting facts. You can also go online to the Weird but True website for short videos to give your students a more visual explanation of the weird facts. It could be used for answering WH questions, building vocabulary, and increasing utterance length.

Toca Monsters – For those kids who love to cook!! This is a fun way to pretend to cook in your room. You can cut vegetables, put the vegetables or meat on the plate, etc. It can be used to address so many goals such as answering questions, spatial concepts, identifying vocabulary (food), increasing utterances, pronouns, along with many more I’m sure.

Simple English Dictionary – I just happened upon this app when I was planning a multiple meaning words session. I had the kids look up the word on this app if they were unsure of the meaning. The app has simple definitions and also has visuals for each word.


I know there are so many more apps and I can’t wait to dive into them as I use my I-pad more!!

SOUL for the /r/ sound

At a recent faculty meeting we discussed Teacher Clarity (MTSS Toolkit #1) and the best instructional practices to explicitly deliver content. One method that was shared was Mnemonics.

“Mnemonics are memory devices that assist learners to recall substantial amounts of information, such as mathematical concepts like orders of operation and the quadratic formula. It is a memory enhancing instructional strategy which involves teaching students to link new information that is taught to information they already know. These could be a short song, an acronym, or a visual image that is easily remembered. (Hattie, 2018, p. 130) Every teacher must reflect on their instruction and consider in which areas their clarity of instruction may be improved to accommodate all learners. For example, teachers must consider: 1. The logic of the organization and sequencing of content delivery 2. The cohesiveness of the explanation of topics and content 3. The relevance of examples, non-examples, and opportunities for practice 4. The connectedness of the methods of assessment.” MTSS TOOLKIT #1

Our “assignment” was to design a memory device to help students learn and retain information. I thought about how I could make the R sound a little easier to grasp and came up with this mnemonic S.O.U.L. (Smile – Open – Up – Lift). Smile to get the lips out of the way; Open just a little; Up for getting your tongue ready to move up; and then Lift. It is simple and quick and the students have responded positively.

Here is how I introduced it to students:


–Jennifer Mcdonogh

Chapters 197, 199

This chapter begins with Christopher on the train going to find his mother. He is in the midst of thinking of all of the reasons why he does not like being on a train. Mostly, he does not like being around a big group of people, but he goes into detail about a time he was taken home by his mom in the car and she agreed to take home a few other children who needed a ride. These children were overwhelming to him and he removed himself from the car to escape the sounds coming from the two other children in the car and ended up with stitches. He comes out of the memory and is attempting to stand very still on the train, when is approached by an out of breath policeman who is looking for him on behalf of his father. The policeman asks Christopher several questions and tells him he is going to take him to the station to meet back with his father. They go through several questions about where he is going and Christopher is adamant that he is not going back to the station with the police officer, but he is going to London to see his mother. Christopher goes on to ask the policeman if his father was arrested for killing the dog with a pitch fork. The policeman answers all of his questions, but is stern about the fact that he is taking him back to the station and he does not want any monkey business. Christopher did several things to internally distract himself from the train ride and the fact that he had to use of the restroom. After having a small accident on his pants, the police officer insisted that he go use the restroom. When Christopher entered the restroom, he was appalled and closed his eyes enough to where he did not have to see the filth and disgust around him. After he was finished using the restroom, he remembered a time where he felt safe at his house when he went inside a cupboard. He saw shelves and decided to climb on the middle one and pull cases to make him feel safe. The police officer came in looking for him, but was unsure where he was and ran away frantically. A lady came to say that he was at his stop, but he did not respond and scared that the policeman would find him, he remained on the shelf until the train started running again

In chapter 199 he went into detail about people believing in God and trying to understand the complexity of people and the world. He says people believe in God because most cannot wrap their heads around the fact that there can be complex things, such as the brain that happen by chance. He believes that life on earth happened as an accident, a good accident, but an accident. For this special accident to occur, three special things have to happen. These three things are replication, mutation, and heritability.

In reflection, Christopher is not in a good place. He is leaving his father and all he knows to find his mother. He is so stuck on the literal address of his mother and finding her location, that he is not able to exhibit any true rationale or reasoning. He is approached by the police and while the policeman is trying to ensure he is found and safe, Christopher cannot get past his dad and how he believes that he killed the dog. After multiple questions and attempts from the officer to calm him and explain why he is trying to find him, all Christopher is worries about his calming himself down and getting away from him. Again it goes back to Christopher’s concrete and sometimes what presents to be a selfish point of view, which is potentially going to put him into more danger than he could ever be prepared to deal with.

–Lindsay Manis