Chapters 10, 11 and 12 Summaries

Chapter 10 Summary

In chapter 10, we learn that Melody was potty trained at age 3. Melody and her mom have worked out ways to communicate her basic wants and needs. She so desperately wants to be able to tell her mom that she loves her. She also desperately wants to communicate with others so that they would know what she is thinking. She tells us that “words are exploding in her brain” and gets frustrated with the limitations of her communication board when she can’t get her father to understand that she just wants a hamburger and fries from McDonalds.


Chapter 11 Summary

In chapter 11, we learn that Melody gets a new electric wheelchair that gives her freedom as well as participation in “inclusion” classrooms. She loves her new teacher in her self-contained room who has brought back books on tape for her to listen to. Mrs. Lovelace, the music teacher in her first inclusion classroom plays music and helps her see colors again. She makes her first friend, a typical kid, named Rose. It is ironic that as their communication increases, they get “shushed” by the teacher. She never had a teacher tell her to be quiet before and she loved it! She is starting to feel like the rest of the kids and wonders if she will ever get to go to the mall with one of them.


Chapter 10 Summary

In chapter 12, we learn of additional inclusion classrooms being added to her day as well as getting a mobility assistant, named Catherine. Mrs. Gordon, her reading teacher is providing Melody with books on tape, she is able to take tests using her communication board and loves working on assignments assigned in the regular classroom. She is also getting frustrated with the limitations of her communication board. We again learn of her frustration when the class substitute had them watching The Lion King, a movie shown too many times as well as completing simple, not 5th grade, addition during math. She wonders what Rose is doing in her regular classroom and if she’d ever get to learn long division.

–Karen Reynolds

Out of My Mind Chapters 7, 8 and 9

In Chapter 7 Melody talks about the different teachers she has had over the years in elementary school. She remembers her 2nd grade teacher fondly because the teacher took the time to figure out Melody’s level of intelligence and challenge her by giving her books on tape. Her third grade teacher didn’t have high expectations for Melody or her classmates and taught the alphabet and played nursery rhymes regardless of how inappropriate it was. One day Melody couldn’t take it anymore and had one of her “tornado” fits. When Melody’s Mom came to the school I love how she put the teacher in her place. She knew her child and was an advocate for her. I love how she compared it to “If I have to sit in this traffic jam one more time I’m going to scream.” I think we have all been there at some point- but we are able to shout out “come on” at the car in front of us. Melody has this feeling but is “trapped” with these words and feelings inside her brain but no way to get them out.

Chapter 8 was one of the most interesting chapters for me. How Melody basically compares her life of not being able to talk or walk to the life of her pet goldfish who is stuck swimming in the bowl was so profound. And the fact that she even said she felt sorry for the fish because he had it worse than she did. The moment when the Mom came in and said “What have you done, don’t you know fish need water to survive” hit home for me as well. The mom automatically assumed that Melody had tried to knock the bowl over instead of trying to save the fish. It made me think of the times when maybe I’ve assumed something from my own children who weren’t able to tell me otherwise.

In Chapter 9 we find out that Melody’s Mom is pregnant, Melody gets a dog and we have a glimpse of Melody’s sisters early childhood. Is anyone else consistently amazed at how mature Melody is? She has every reason in the world to have self-pity but she doesn’t. I think that has a lot to do with Mrs. V. She pushed her and had high expectations for Melody as a child so Melody learned to have high expectations for herself. I feel like as a SLP in the schools we could totally be someone’s Mrs. V!

–Sarah Crady


Chapters 5 and 6

Chapter 5

Melody explains what life is like at Spaulding Street Elementary School. She has been at the school for five years, and in that time she has watched, and been ignored by, most of the children at the school. Although she sees the general education students every day and watches them play, they never invite her or any of the other students with disabilities. Melody feels invisible.

Melody is in a special program called a “learning community,” with other students her age with disabilities. Melody feels that many of her school activities are too easy for her. She often feels that she has learned more television documentaries than from her teachers.

Melody has a communication board, a Plexiglas tray that has words written on it that attaches to her wheelchair. By pointing to certain words and phrases, she can communicate basic thoughts. She jokes that she can understand why people think she is stupid, because she does not have the ability to say very much at all. She also explains that some people think she is “retarded”, but clarifies that she hates that word. She is not dumb; she is trapped inside of her own mind.


Chapter 6

Mrs. V is Melody’s next-door neighbor, and has essentially become a member of the family. Mrs. V became her babysitter when she was two. Unlike Melody’s parents, Mrs. V is willing to challenge her and make her struggle in order to teach her. This makes Melody stronger both physically and mentally. Mrs. V isn’t afraid to let Melody experience the world in full. She doesn’t assume Melody is fragile just because she has a disability, and this gives Melody a newfound sense of freedom and possibility.

Mrs. V demonstrates in this chapter that it’s crucial that Melody be respected and held accountable to her potential. Mrs. V sees no reason that Melody should not learn to read – learning to read is essential to Melody’s happiness and future success.

–Jecel Goyala

Tech Tuesday

Courtney Randolph shares:

Voice Recorder App by TapMedia Ltd.

I use the voice recorder app for articulation and Fluency therapies, to model and promote self-monitoring skills. It can be used for evaluation purposes as well. This app is user friendly and it is easy to teach independent use of the app with a student, peer groups, or in tandem with the SLP. You can also transcribe audio recordings into text. In addition, this app offers unlimited recordings, 3D touch quick start from the screen, cloud support and you can share or transfer the recordings as needed. You can use multiple audio formats, passcode protect recordings, loop/trim recordings and skip forward/backward through recordings. Lastly, but certainly not least…it is FREE!!!!!!

Out of My Mind – Chapters 3 & 4

Chapter 3 discusses how Melody figured out that she was different just a little at a time and the anger and frustration that came with those realizations. She talks about the sadness she saw in others, especially her mom and dad, as they came to terms with her perceived limitations. She expresses gratitude towards her father and her caregiver who lives next door, because they always spoke to her and treated her with a level of respect that others often didn’t.   Melody is highly intelligent but is unable to convey that to others due to limited communication which is a result of her physical disability.   She becomes angry because she can’t effectively communicate but it is seen as a tantrum and her attempt at communication is overlooked. As I read this chapter, I thought back to the many students I have had over the past 12 years of my career who appeared to have only pre-intentional communication. Could I have possibly missed underlying skills in a child similar to Melody? How often do others in our schools overlook communicative attempts in the students we serve, and what could we do to minimalize it?

Chapter 4 opens with Melody discussing her experience with a doctor who was performing intelligence testing since she was approaching school age and her mother was looking at enrollment options. She recounts her frustration at the tasks presented to her by the doctor most of which, did not take her physical limitations or other answer options into account. She was completely aware of the moment he began to give up on her. His perception was that Melody was severely limited but it was actually HIS limitations that didn’t allow him to see how incredibly intelligent she really was. Her mother knew better and fought for her daughter tirelessly. This chapter reminded me of a quote from Albert Einstein that says “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid”. How often do we see kids who are not accommodated properly and what can we do to help? Are we making sure that physical limitations do not negatively impact our communication assessments? What can we do to make sure we are seeing a child’s abilities from all possible angles?

–Aimee Burton

Tech Tuesday

Brooke Becker shares:

One of my favorite apps to use with my new iPad is Shadow Puppet Edu.  This app allows SLPs or the students to combine photos and video to create digital movies, books, or slideshows. Think: social stories (video modeling), sequencing, steps for recipes for class cooking lessons, etc. The possibilities are endless!  The SLP or the student add voice narration, text, and background music to convey a story and share information.  There’s also a built-in search which allows students to select from the web.

Starting off with Shadow Puppet EDU

  • Take photos using the iPad camera
  • Open the Shadow Puppet app and press the green add button to begin a new “puppet”
  • As you tap the images from the camera roll, they are put into sequence.
  •  Then, press a button and begin recording audio, adding text, or music.

The finished product is a personalized video story using still pictures. One example of the way I have used it is in the MSD classroom: I take pictures of the student modeling the expected behavior (ex. sitting in the desk). I then add the voice to the pictures: “Sally sits in her desk at school”, “sally has safe hands at school”). I have found that a digital social story is of higher-interest to my students than the ones on paper. It can also be downloaded and emailed to teachers and parents via text or email.

Hope you enjoy Shadow Puppet Edu as much as I have!

Spring Book Study– Chapters 1 and 2

Melody is 11 years old.  Being blessed, she was raised in a language rich environment.  Words have filled her life and fill inside her head, but she has never spoken.  Melody wishes she could express her love for country music, tell someone her favorite song is Elvira, or share the fact that she loves both the smell of her mother’s hair after a shower and the scratchy rough feel of her father’s face.  Melody feels frustration.  Melody also feels sad, especially when people don’t ask what her name is, as if her name is not important.  Melody is important; her name is important, as well as, how she feels.  What other emotions do you think Melody feels?


Melody reflects on her early life experiences with many memories. She specifically recognizes noises, smells, and tastes.  A life without verbal expression forces Melody to recognize the true power of words. We live in a world in which it’s easy to take for granted the gift and power of words.  How can we highlight the power of words in our work?

–Katie Cohen

Tech Tuesday

Katie Cohen shares:

Vocabulary is a goal I frequently address with kiddos. I have found a few apps on the Ipad for working with vocabulary.

Let’s Name Things Fun Deck by Super Duper Inc.

This app targets divergent categorization. Each page states “Let’s name…. Things ____” Examples: “Let’s name… things you see on a farm” “Let’s name… things that are red.” The app has the option to select all 52 cards or “uncheck” some which are not culturally relevant and/or developmentally appropriate. I prompt the students to name 3-5 items in the category. Sometimes I will have one student name as many items as possible, yet other times we do more of a round-robin style, taking turns naming items. Whoever names the last item is directed to “push the green button”, there’s a rewarding sound (versus if they hit the red button there’s a negative sound), and the app automatically goes to the next card. At the top of the screen data, is kept for easy documentation at the end of the activity. You can also enter in multiple students and track data over time; the app stores accuracies for each session automatically.

Baby First Words

I use this app for direct instruction of vocabulary to younger students. Active pictures with catchy audio are divided into simple categories including: animals, vehicles, food, nature, clothes, and at home. At the end of each section, you can choose to have a field of 3 choices for the student to receptively identify a named item. This is a fun way to instruct vocabulary rather than flash cards. I often use it to reinforce or pre-teach vocabulary that aligns with a book we are reading.

Category Therapy by Tactus Therapy

This app has 3 levels easy (concrete), medium (subcategory), and hard (abstract). I have found this app to be very helpful when I have a student who has learned (or memorized) all the typical materials I use for categorization. You can select from 4 activities:

1)Find. Gives a category in written and verbal form; student must receptively identify an item that’s a member of the category from field of 3 pictures.

2) Classify. Student is shown a picture of target item. Given field of 2 choices of categories, student must ID category.

3) Exclude. When shown field of 4 pictures, student must identify which one doesn’t belong

4) Find. Student is shown 3 pictures and a blank space. Given field of 2 choices, student must identify another member of the category. This level has the option of a hint which tells the target category.

This app has audio which I like because it’s helpful for my students who are not yet readers. I recommend downloading the free version (category lite) first.



While collaboration has been a part of our work lives for quite some time, the amount of collaboration required has definitely increased with the adoption of the related service model of therapy provision. So….today’s blog post is dedicated to collaboration. I have a few resources to share, but I would like for this to be an ongoing discussion!

This is a quick list that we developed to talk with parents, but it could be useful to have this discussion with anyone on the team!

Here is an example plan that was found on ASHA’s website and a fillable version based on it.

Now, I want to hear from you! How do you collaborate? Who do you collaborate with? When do you find the time to collaborate?

In addition…Would anyone be interested in a collaboration project I’m working on? If so, contact me via email ( and I will give you more details!

The Impact of Children With High Functioning Autism on Parental Stress, Sibling Adjustment, and Family Functioning

Discussed by: Allison Forrester

Patricia A. Rao

Kennedy Krieger Institute

Deborah C. Biedel

University of Central Florida

This study looks at the impact of children with high-functioning autism (HFA) on parental stress, sibling adjustment, and family functioning. There have been many studies that have looked at families with children across the autism spectrum, but this is the first study to look specifically at the impact of children with HFA on parental stress, sibling adjustment, and family functioning. The study was conducted with one group of parents and siblings of male children with HFA and another group of parents and siblings of male children with no disorder (control group). Parental stress, sibling adjustment, and family functioning were assessed with a self-report assessment package containing questionnaires to measure the following: parental stress, family functioning, psychological problems and psychopathology, general physical and mental health, sibling adjustment, and child behavior problems. Information was obtained from a variety of scales. Results were as follows: 1) parental stress was significantly higher in the HFA group; 2) no significant difference in family functioning, but the HFA group scored lower in family independence and participation in recreational and social activities; 3) no statistical difference in psychological problems of parents, but the HFA group scored higher; 4) no statistical difference in physical and mental health, but the HFA scored lower; 5) no statistical difference in sibling adjustment; and 6) significantly higher in behavior problems (internalizing and externalizing behaviors) in the HFA group.

The results of this study indicate that parents of children with HFA experience significantly more parenting stress than parents in the control group (no psychological disorder), which is not a surprise, and this was found to be directly related to the characteristics of the children. The study also shows that the higher intellectual functioning in children with HFA does not compensate for the stress that goes along with parenting children with autism spectrum disorders. In turn, intervention and/or treatment should be directed at parental stress, which will assist treatment outcomes for the child and the family because treatment directed at the child with HFA will not eliminate their primary symptoms. It also pointed out that interventions for HFA children should address behavior problems that add to parental stress and family functioning.

I thought this study provided some good information that may be helpful in the treatment and support of families with HFA children.