End of the Year Chaos!

The school year is nearly over.  These next few weeks will be filled with activities.  For some students it is an exciting time with parties, clean out and special events.  For other students, it is a stressful end to their structured school days.  One great way to handle the upheaval is to implement a family calendar.  Print out a calendar sheet and use markers and stickers to fill in the upcoming events.  This is a great activity to do with your child and then review the calendar on a daily basis so that there is a sense of what is coming!

Winter Vacation

Winter vacations can be a great time to spend time together as a family.  They are also full of opportunities to grow vocabulary and language!  We all have phones that take pictures now.  When you are out and about during winter vacation, be sure to snap some shots of the places you go and things that you do.  These can be used to retell events using sequencing and event specific vocabulary.  Don’t forget to take pictures of relatives that you visit – these are great for WH question practice!  Who did we see? Where do they live? When were we there? Print your pictures and glue them into books so that you can use them over and over, retelling events and solidifying vocabulary retention.

The Spectrum Careers

Thespectrumcareers.com is a website designed to bring together job seekers on the autism spectrum with employers who may have jobs available.  It assists job seekers with composing and posting a resume and serves as resource for employers with job openings.  Supported by Autism Speaks and Rangum Consultants, the website offers support to individuals on the autism spectrum, potential employers and service providers.

Personalized Vocal Quality on Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) Devices

Vocal quality is part of the way we project who we are to the world; it offers information about age, gender, and emotional state. Each voice is as unique as a fingerprints. Yet, millions of people who communicate through alternative augmentative communication devices only have a few computerized voice options. However, speech scientist Dr. Rupal Patel has developed technology which revolutionizes the vocal quality of those who use AAC. She and her team at the Communication Analysis and Design Lab know that people with severe speech impairment still have distinct pitch, tone and volume when they laugh, cry, or vocalize intent. They are able to use this information, match specific characteristics to a voice donor, blend the two together and develop a personalized voice. This technology offers a new way for people using AAC devices to assert their personality as they communicate with friends, peers, coworkers, teachers, and loved ones.  For more information about the technology or to become a voice donor, please listen to the TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/rupal_patel_synthetic_voices_as_unique_as_fingerprints?language=en or visit the website: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vocalid-custom-crafted-voices#/

Boost Working Memory Skills Through Dynamic Activities

Researchers at the University of North Florida discovered a way to improve working memory in children and adults.  Tracy and Ross Alloway co authored the study which found that dynamic activity like climbing a tree, walking on a narrow beam, navigating over, under and around objects and carrying awkwardly weighted objects increased working memory capacity by as much as 50%.  These type of activities required both proprioception and a route planning or locomotion component.  The researchers emphasized the importance of taking breaks in our day to do activities that “require us to consciously adapt our movements.”  For more information go to bit.ly/tree-cog