Saturday, March 8, 2014

Expanding Expressions Toolkit (EET) Product Review- Peek Through the Keyhole Edition

This month's edition of:  Peek Through the Keyhole features the Expanding Expressions Toolkit (EET) by fellow Speech Pathologist, Sara L. Smith.  Over the last few months, I have been using this program with great success with a fourth grader in my private practice.   I was so delighted to open this EET package when it arrived a few days before Christmas that my husband contemplated returning the gifts he bought me because he didn't think his presents could bring as much joy.  Pretty sure I did an exceptionally long happy dance.

I have been following all the buzz from other SLP bloggers about this multi-sensory approach for improved oral language and writing for students in kindergarten through high school.  Here are some links to a few of my favorites:

Speech Room News
Crazy Speech World
Speech Time Fun
The Speech Bubble
Carrie's Speech Corner

Just in case you have not seen an EET kit, here are the basic components:

First, you get the manual with the kit which includes five sections:  introduction, general descriptions, additional prompts, organizers, and parent program.  You will find baseline data sheets, worksheet activities for each descriptor bead, classroom prompts, student organizers, home activities, and much more in this manual. Basically, this book is a GOLD MINE!

Also included in the kit are two sets of beads, a large one for classroom instruction and one small strand for individual use.  The latter helps students become more independent with expressive language skills in a less conspicuous manner while still getting visual and tactile cues.  One item not pictured below is a collection of small, circular, color-coded stickers that can be used during writing activities in place of the beads.  Basically, each bead represents a descriptor cue for target vocabulary and here is the breakdown:

Eyeball=What does it look like?
Wood=What is it Made of?
White=Where can you find it?
?=What else do I know?

Also included in the kit are picture cards with familiar objects, which you can break out for immediate EET practice.  Some of the cards include the EET coding, which is great for cuing students at their desk.  A few of the other cards in this deck offer lesson plan ideas.  

The foam dice in the kit are perfect for small group games.  Just roll the dice and answer the color coded question about the target object.

Finally, there is a large cardboard stand that you can display on your therapy table or in the classroom that explains what each color represents.

For the last couple months, I have been using EET with a private language client who is in the fourth grade and receives special education programming.  She attends private speech and language sessions at my practice: Naperville Therapediatrics twice weekly for 60 minutes.  In August 2013, language testing revealed limited vocabulary use, reduced sentence structure, and delayed comprehension.  While she does very well during discrete learning trials, she struggles with retaining and recalling information.   Her school special education team asked if I could help increase this student's ability to use and comprehend vocabulary, especially homophones, so I began to research the EET program to address these delays.

My first step was gathering baseline information.  I used the chart included in the EET manual and some target vocabulary that we had covered in previous therapy sessions.  After I collected a baseline, I started teaching the representation for each bead.

Then, I introduced worksheets from the EET manual starting at the top and working my way down the beaded link.  Some of these activities sheets were more challenging than others, so I used my discretion for ones I felt were appropriate for a child my client's age.

One strategy that was particularly useful involved incorporating our notes into a guessing game.  For example, during a therapy session that focused on the "white bead with the eyeball", we generated a list of descriptive words in the client's notebook.  I wrote category titles:  colors, size, shape, and quality, and then we brainstormed words that could be classified under each of these.  Using this list and picture cards, we played a guessing game.  The rules were that you could only describe the picture by referring to the "What does it look like" list.  Instead of getting a point for guessing the target accurately, I gave points to the person giving the best clues.  In the end, this guessing game was a powerful motivator for my client to use descriptive words.

The other target that my client needed some extra support with was homophones.  Although it was pretty challenging to use the EET beads when defining verbs like "dress",  I found I could definitely use the EET system with homophone noun pairs as in the word "ball."  My ultimate goal was to help this client grasp that you can use some words in multiple ways.  Incorporating the EET beads in homophone descriptions appeared to increase her ability to define and describe these vocabulary terms during clinic sessions.

When I compared how this client responded at baseline to her responses while using the EET beads, she recalled a little more detail about each subject.  Here is one before/ after example taken recently after having covered worksheets for the following:  group, function, and "looks like."  At this point, we had discussed the meaning for each bead at every therapy session, but we had only covered half of the EET manual.

Tell me everything you know about Beluga Whales-

Baseline response on 1/7/2014:  
"It has sharp teeth and of course it has to eat fish.  It swallows fish.  It's a carnivore too because it likes to eat meat.  And it can make an echo.  If its danger and it makes sound."

Halfway through program on 3/7/2014:
Animals (ocean/sea)
Swims underwater; moves its head (modeled demonstration); eats fishes; uses echolocation
White and Brown
It has little teeth.  They don't chew, they swallow.
See them at aquarium

At baseline, she told me about its: group (carnivore), parts (teeth) and what it does (eats fish and echos.)  Using the EET beads, she added a few more details about the following:  what it does (moves head, swims underwater), what it looks like (white and brown), made of (bones), and where you may see them (aquarium.)  If we look at this data from a percentage standpoint, then she used 3/6 (50%) description points at baseline and 6/6 (100%) details with EET beads.  She increased the number of details provided in three other samples too.  I would not only call this program a success for this client, but I also predict continued improvement as we progress through the workbook programming.

Since I'm a big fan of seasonal units and visual cuing, I thought it would be appropriate to take clip art and add lines to the image for EET description.  Below are some of my ideas for each season/ holiday:

New Year's party hat, hot chocolate mug, Valentine cupcake, basketball, umbrella, flower, sun, fireworks, pail and shovel, swimming pool, leaf, pumpkin, turkey, snowman and Christmas tree/ dreidel.

Follow the highlighted word to view a sample worksheet that I made to describe a cupcake using free clip art from Blooming in First.  If you want to print this sample, then go to 'file' and select 'download' as a 'PDF.'  

I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate EET into my language lessons.  Please share in the comments any new and unique ways that you have used EET in your therapy programming or attach a link of your materials in the comment section below.

I am so appreciative of Sara's efforts and hard work in designing this EET program and I look forward to implementing it with more clients in my speech and language practice!  If you would like more information about the EET program, you can go to the links below for descriptions and ordering details:

A complimentary EET kit was provided for this review.  No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed in this post are solely mine.

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