2002 Conference Proceedings

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Teri Vogeding, M.S. CCC-SLP
LATCH School Inc.
8145 N. 27th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85051
Phone: (602) 864-2971

When reading, writing and verbal expression come together, language is rich. Our AAC users are often presented with numerous opportunities to use their devices/symbols, but are rarely given opportunities to participate in reading and writing activities (King-DeBaun, P. 1989). Students with special needs are often taught skills in isolation. Yet, these students are rarely able to merge parts of skills taught into a complete ability. A whole language philosophy presumes that reading, writing, and expression are integrated, not separate, entities of language (Goodman, K., 1986). Whole-language is a learning model which is closely related to how children learn language in the first place (Cutting, B. 1989).

The incorporation of thematic units across the curriculum in a special education school was virtually impossible. Integrating literacy into the special needs classroom was impossible. The Speech-Language Pathologists at LATCH School Inc. have finally found a way to do both. Our speech therapy department developed the concept of a lending library to be shared with both teachers and therapists using sound whole language principles.

The lending library is theme based. Each individual unit is built around a book which has an integral theme. A thematic planning sheet (see attached) incorporates the central theme with the book. For example, the identified theme is Bugs/Insects and the book chosen to represent the theme could be 'There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly' written by Pam Adams. The planning sheet identifies curriculum categories and therapy objectives pertaining to art, cooking, ADL (Adult Daily Living Skills), computers, sensory/tactile(Occupation Therapy), math, science, music and CBI (Community Based Instruction), field trips, conversational and vocabulary skills (Speech/Language Therapy). These planning sheets are used to organize the initial brainstorming sessions which always generate more than enough activities and ideas.

The book is then placed into a bag along with an example of a completed art project, directions & a stencil when possible. Recipes from magazines or cookbooks are added as well as songs. After checking out and using the project bag, teachers are encouraged to add other projects or recipes to the bag. Therapists also continually contribute to the project bags. Speech-Language Pathologists typically contribute overlays, song symbols, and cooking projects. Vision therapists contribute Braille books, puppets, tactile books, tactile symbols and props. Teachers began including any of the above along with math, science and other manipulative projects. Cause and effect activities can also be included.

To keep the library cost effective, Scholastic book orders are offered to teachers and parents. Scholastic book clubs offer bonus points that are good for free books and materials. You can easily begin a lending library from the free books you are able to receive. We were quickly able to build up our library from 10 books to 360 in just 2 years. We know how busy teachers are with their everyday classroom responsibilities. The lending library concept was based upon the premise that if a teacher/ therapist could check out a project packet and have an activity right at his/ her fingertips, he/she would be incorporating literacy, alternative augmentative communication strategies and thematic units into the classroom without much extra effort. Once teachers see the value of the units and how nice it is to have several planned lessons "ready in the bag" it is then easy to ask teachers to supplement those kits with extra activities. Our teachers have now built their own book bags filled with activities based upon a central themed book which then gets added to our ever expanding library.

This presentation will be hands-on and functional. We will complete the thematic planning sheet together as a team. Each participant will engage in a 'make-it take-it' workshop to see how easily project bags can be assembled. The take home bags will include a song with props, art projects, cooking activities, and simple math materials. The participants will leave with the confidence and knowledge to start an AAC/literacy ibrary at their school.

Goodman, K., (1986) What's whole in whole language. New Hampshire: Heinmann.

Cutting, B., (1989) Getting Started in Whole Lnaguage. Hong Kong: Applecross Ltd. (Distributed by The Wright Group).

King-DeBaun, P., (1989) Storytime: Stories, symbols and Emergent Literacy Activities for Young Special Needs Children. Acworth, Ga.:Patti King-DeBaun

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