EL resources

Jennifer Johnston shares:

I found a few resources to share with teachers who want to refer students for speech due to their English learning status. I ha€™ve always felt bad about not being able to give them the help they want, but these supports really could be immediately beneficial so it’€™s one less thing on my long SLP Guilt List.

The Essential Spanish Phrase Book for Teachers is an amazing resource and I can’€™t believe it’s free. It provides Spanish phrases/sentences that can help bridge the language gap during the typical school day and also includes a section for parent communication. Every school should know about this.

This site has a variety of Spanish/English communication boards: https://sites.google.com/a/esc13.net/corevocab13/printable-manual-communication-boards/downloadable-bilingual-boards
From there, click on â€Spanish Manual Communication Book 48 location.€ That will take you to the Google Drive for Austin Independent where you a€™ll find multiple Spanish Boardmaker PDFs.

Also, I recently noticed that we can see EL assessment scores in Infinite Campus. From the Index tabs on the left, English Learners (EL) is under Program Participation which is under Student Information. You can see their ACCESS scores for speaking, listening, literacy, reading, and writing and look up how they align with proficiency levels which can help us determine whether their communication skills are consistent with what is expected based on the performance descriptions.

Jennifer Johnston, MS/CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
Smyrna Elementary School

Ch. 5: Assessment

The Steps to being social helps us identify the social skills needed to for life skills. The Steps Assessment lets us know where a person is on the steps and how to support the student.

The Assessment is divided into 4 skills sets.

1. Foundation

2. Lower 4

3. Middle 4

4. Upper 4

When scoring the components of Engagement it is scored with a yes or no. The lower, middle, and upper portions are a rating of 0-3.

0- Not observed

1- Skill is being acquired

2- Uses skill intermittently

3- Uses skill across settings

The first assessment assesses Engagement, because engagement is the first step to being social. It assesses the student with a skilled partner, which can be a family member or the evaluator.

The evaluator answer yes or no to specific questions regarding self-regulation, shared space, shared focus, and shared pleasure. If the answer is a NO these areas need to be worked on before moving forward. If yes, you can move to Lower 4.

The Lower 4 Assessment focuses on Proximity, parallel, joint attention, and reciprocal exchange. These items are with a skilled partner. They are scored from 0-3.

Middle 4 Assessment:

· Can be with a Skilled Partner or Trained Peer; 0-3 scoring

· Reciprocal Exchange: Back-and-forth interaction

· Give and Take of Conversation: Sending and receiving messages on the same topic

· Perspective Taking: Being aware that others have thoughts that are different from your own

· Reading the Social Scene: Noticing, attending to the relevant, and finding one’s place

Upper 4 Assessment:

· Trained Peer; 0-3 scoring

· Reading the Social Scene: Noticing, attending to the relevant, and finding one’s place

· Group Cooperation: Having brain and body in the group, staying on topic and participating, and becoming aware of the need to be flexible with ideas

· Friendship: Noticing that someone has similarities to you, accepting their differences, and finding reinforcing ways to be together

· Growing Connections: Maintaining a relationship over time, distance, changing circumstances, and varying levels of intimacy

The STEPS Assessment Summary

· A nice visual representative of how the student scored on all of the above with room to indicate the targeted skill set and objectives (page 75).

· Interpreting the Scores A reminder that social development is a dynamic process and to keep this is mind when scoring

· Data should drive the treatment approach, inform instruction, and keep facilitators accountable

The last page of this chapter, page 77, reviews the evidence-based practices for each step.

Questions for discussion:

Which step do you currently find most of your students with social skills weaknesses needing to work on? Where do you see the fastest vs slowest progress? Thoughts on the assessment sheets? Any other thoughts?

For me (Candra), I find that most of my students spend the most amount of time working on Middle 4 skill sets (sometimes targeted via speech-language therapy or sometimes targeted via educational goals via the ECE Teacher). Phoenix has a Social Communication Program and during the class period where they all meet in a resource room, I would say that the curriculum is focused on Middle 4 skills as well (most of the time, these are not students who require speech-language therapy as a related service). As for the assessment sheets, I like that they take up only a single page each and are a quick checklist.

-Liz Olson & Candra Grether

Upper 4


What’s new with the Upper 4?

·       These are the “final steps” to building relationships, become part of community (Hard work is starting to pay off!)

·       During Middle 4, students begin to notice their social surroundings, during Upper 4 they interact

·       We begin to move from interacting with trained peers to anyone

·       Here we may “backslide” per say, as students will become nervous they may require more support, provide feedback, and incorporate more coping skills

What are the Upper 4?

·       Reading the Social Scene

o   Students begin to notice opportunities to be social (scanning)- once they see the opportunities and understand what’s happening, it decreases anxiety

o   Student become independent with coping skills and begin code switching

o   Aware of what is and is not motivating to participate

o   Becoming INDEPENDENT (yay!) in their natural environment, but keep in mind Calm+Alert=READY

·       Group Cooperation

o   Student expresses interest in and orients to the group

o   Becomes more flexible in thoughts and on topics

o   Continue to develop Executive Function (mentioned in Middle 4) to begin ending conversations

o   Grow from being “with” the group to “part of” the group

o   Realize how they may impact others’ thoughts, as well as how they can change to be part of a group

o   Develop social repair strategies

·       Friendship

o   Notice others with similar interests

o   Notice and accept differences, friends of friends, and the variety of social scenes to have friends

o   Social media may come into play!

·       Growing Connections

o   Rules continue to be explicitly stated (e.g. consent/boundaries)

o   Self-regulation strategies improve

o   Develop differing levels of intimacy

–Sarah Mullins



Growing Connections

· Represents the life-long work of maintaining a relationship over time

· Teaching the “rules” that govern adult relationship and understanding appropriate and inappropriate behaviors between social partners

· Learner begins to understand various types of friendships, personal boundaries and safety

· Being proficient at this step is where most adults aim to be social

Sub-Skills of Upper 4

· Rating scale similar to scale in Lower and Middle 4 assessing learner’s ability to assess: Reading the Social Scene, Group Cooperation, Friendship, and Growing Connections.

Evidence-Based Practice to Support Upper 4

· The learner will continue to benefit from EBP utilized in Lower and Middle 4

· Self-Management helps to promote skill development and independence by discriminating between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors for various social situations. The learner monitors and records targeted social behaviors and rewards self for meeting goals.

Sample Activities

· Activity for each Sub-skill with objective, sample activity, material needed, and steps for implementation.

· Reading the Social Scene: Activity is a calming card to allow learner to calm down and return to activity.

· Group Cooperation: Who goes first activity to allow learner to utilize skills to successfully be part of a group.

· Friendship: Having the group plan a get together by listing out: how, media, date/day, time, what each will need, what they will do, and what to bring.

· Growing Connections: Utilizing a visual organizer to list concrete ways to stay safe on college campus.

–Bridget Reece

Chapter 3- Middle Four

 By: Kelsey Brown, Mary Gwen Walker, Meredith Romanick

How is this group of skills different from earlier skills?

  •  Learner begins to use directed communication and understand that others have different ideas than their own as well as recognizing the social activity happening around him/her. (Perspective taking)

  •  Learner starts to understand that their actions affect relationships with others, and realize that learning these social skills will help to become social, which is the goal. (Self-awareness) ***so important for feeling included***

  • Learner beings to understand that others have different ideas, thoughts and interests (perspective taking)

  • Trained peers become an important part in learning these new skills.

The 4 new skills:

  1. Reciprocal Exchange- learns to “wait for the response of her social partner and to engage in back-and-forth interaction for an increasing number of exchanges”

    • What does it look like? Learner’s body is oriented to partner. When the partner pauses during a conversation, the learner recognizes it’s now their turn to talk. The learner maintains focus with partner during exchange and anticipates responses from partner. The main objective here is to make interactions more fluid.

  2. Give and Take of Conversation- learns to “send and receive messages as part of a social interaction”

    •  What does it look like? This is more spontaneous than other skills. Demonstration of this step includes 3 exchanges of back-and-forth conversation on a shared topic. Messages can be with words (directions, requests, questions, comments directed towards someone) or without words (pointing to or giving an object to partner) to show them. The main objective here is engagement in “spontaneous back-and-forth”.

  3. Perspective Taking- learns that “others have different thoughts than she does and is able to comment about what other people might be thinking”

    • What does it look like? The learner is reading verbal and nonverbal cues to figure out what others might be thinking. The learner may make changes to their own behaviors and facial expressions as they know that these things affect the way others think about them. They recognize that what others think impacts their own feelings. The main objective here is finding the best ways to read verbal and nonverbal cues.

  4. Reading the Social Scene- “notices what is happening in a social environment , attending to what is relevant, and finding a way to be a part of a social situation”

    •  What does it look like? Upon entering a new environment, the learner takes in the social information. They note who is there, what is happening, and what they are talking about. The learner uses this information to adjust social communication to match the situation and join the interaction. The main objective here is labeling social scenes and finding one that interests the individual and that they want to be a part of.

Evidence-Based Practices to Support Middle 4

  • Social Skill Training- “used to teach individuals with ASD ways to appropriately interact with typically developing peers” (Collet-Klingenberg, 2009, p.1)

  • Social Narratives- “interventions that describe social situations is some detail by highlighting relevant cues and offering examples of appropriate responding” (Collet-Klingenberg & Franzone, 2008, p.1)

  • Video Modeling- “uses video recording to provide a visual model of the targeted behavior or skill” (Franzone & Collet-Klingenberg, 2008, p.1)

  • Peer Mediated Instruction and Intervention- “used to teach typically developing peers ways to interact with and help learners with ASD acquire new social skills” (Neitzel, 2008, p.1)

Overall impressions: This book assumes that everyone wants to be social. I find that to be a powerful thought. Just because someone lacks social skills does not mean he does not want to engage or be included. But, as we grow up, we want to surround ourselves with people who make us feel good. Have you ever been talking to someone who interrupted you (didn’t wait for their turn in the “reciprocal exchange”)? Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they just didn’t respond when it was their turn, leaving you hanging (didn’t quite get the “give and take of conversation”)? Or maybe someone seemed really self-centered and said some things that didn’t take your feelings into consideration (because they were not “perspective taking”). We typically don’t want to be around these people because it’s awkward and not very enjoyable for us. These skills are vital for someone who wants to engage, form relationships, and feel included.


Baseline/Stimulability Screener

Thea Sellers shares:

Hi, everyone,
I’m happy to share a new assessment/screening tool I created to help with quickly and efficiently collecting baseline and/or stimulability data during initial evaluations or re-evals.
It includes a data collection protocol for consonants and vowels and is organized by CV, VC, CVC/Early Sounds, Middle Sounds, Late Sounds and Complex Blends.
The data collection protocol lists each sound with accompanying vocabulary prompts and has a place to mark if the student can produce the sound in isolation.  If true baseline data is being gathered, the picture prompts can be administered alone, or, if a stimulability percentage is needed, the words can be administered with a model and cues.  The picture prompts can also be used as stimuli for collecting progress data if a goal or benchmark is written for a specific phoneme.
When designing this tool, I tried to pick familiar, salient vocabulary, as well as pair a variety of vowel sounds with each consonant to look for facilitating contexts.
If you decide to use it, I’d love your feedback!  Thanks!
Thanks, Thea!!