Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Noisy Stories and Some AAC

Have you heard about Preschool Week over at Busy Bee Speech?

Well, Lauren recently contacted me and asked me to write a short blurb about one of my favorite materials for preschoolers. You're going to have to wait until Thursday to see what I wrote about for her ;)  But, I figured I'd share another of my can't-believe-I-ever-performed-therapy-without-this materials:  Noisy Stories!

Noisy Stories is by Joan Rivard, MA, CCC-SLP and Jessica Rivard and is published by Mayer Johnson.  The cover of the book states that the book provides "language activities for children of all communicative abilities."  I purchased this book with a select few of my students in mind - a classroom of preschool students with a variety of significant special needs.  Many (but not all) of these students did not talk.  Some used sign, some used vocalizations, some used voice output devices.  What I found, however, was that this program is PERFECT for all of my preschool kids!

Noisy Stories is a collection of short stories.  Many of the stories follow common themes (Back to School, Halloween, Winter, etc.).  There are very little words in each story with one picture per page (all Boardmaker PCS).  The stories are predictable as well.  Because of this, the kids learn pretty quickly when it's "their turn" to talk.  You could program a switch for your non-verbal kids to participate in this activity as well.  Here is an example from "The Mitten" story:

The book gives you the ASL sign for each word as well!

Did I mention that each story comes with a 2-page send-home version?

When I first started using this program, I simply made black and white photocopies from the book.  After a while, I started using my Boardmaker Software to create full-color versions, which I printed on cardstock and bound with a comb binder.  Here's what the Halloween story looks like completed:

Notice the "s-s-s" on the bottom of the page above?  Each page of each story has a simple word or sound to encourage imitation.  The objectives of each story are printed on the first page in the Noisy Stories book.  Some include:  CV sequences, bilabial sounds, etc.

So, when I use the stories, I try to gather physical manipulatives for each vocabulary item.  We read the story - many of the kids will verbally participate in some way at this stage, but some do not yet.  Next, we review the materials and each child gets to hold some (if not all) of the materials.  Then read the story again.  This time, most of the kids will attempt to participate (vocalization, sign, word, or switch device).

Like I said, I used this program primarily with students in a substantially separate classroom.  All of the students in this classroom received speech.  I was so fortunate that the teacher truly believed in the importance of communication and was beyond helpful in carry-over of my activities.  So, she created amazing take-home versions of some of the stories - having the kids create crafts for selected pages.  I don't have pictures of those, but they were adorable!

Additionally, I created Switch-Access Power-Point versions of the stories as well!  (I've actually done this for a few other stories as well, "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" is one of them).  If you'd like more information on how to do this, THIS is a good start).  I imported all of the pictures and text, added a delay on the advance button, and recorded my own voice reading the stories.  As long as you position the mouse over the advance button, the child simply needs to tap the switch to advance.  The classroom teacher added the Switch-Access story as one of the student centers each day during the week we used the book, so each child got a chance to hear the story numerous times!

Notice the cursor over the advance button?

You could also create a PDF and open on iBooks on your iPad!  You wouldn't have the voice recording, but it would be highly portable.  Also, some kids may have difficulty with switch access, but do fine with the swiping motion.

Noisy Story opened in iBooks

Do you use the Noisy Stories Program?  What do you think of it?

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