I am an occupational therapist in New Jersey who, through my colleagues and research, discovered the Bluebee Pals Project. I currently work for Parsippany Troy-Hills School District in New Jersey, which includes ten elementary schools with various special education classrooms, ABA programs, preschool disabled programs, and many more.
Our school district is currently enrolling students for in-person as well as virtual schooling. The Parsippany Troy-Hills School District is a K-12 district with fourteen schools serving approximately 7200 students in ten elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, and an adult education center. The community served by the district is ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse. https://www.pthsd.k12.nj.us
As a therapist, my responsibilities include treating my students both in-person and via teletherapy. I have been struggling to create new and engaging sessions for my students. After researching Bluebee Pals as an assistive technology tool to utilize in my sessions, I focused my efforts on an opportunity to receive a donation from the Bluebee Pal Project for our special needs classrooms containing a large population of children with autism. Thinking outside the box versus conventional educational channels is essential when working with special needs children at an early age. Bluebee Pals ability to connect with children is an effective and affordable educational tool that perpetuates positive results in communication and literacy
The Bluebee Pal Project donated 8 Bluebee Pals to our occupational and speech therapists for ten districts to implement in school and remote therapy. The Bluebee Pals website provides a host of practical resources for educators and therapists on their tutorial page and free educational materials to promote user-friendly applications. The Bluebee Pal Project collaborates with schools and organizations by requesting feedback through testimonials, blogs, videos, and photos to share with educators, therapists, and parents.https://www.bluebeepals.com/tutorials/
Specifically, I have started using Leo the Lion with my preschoolers with disabilities and see the incredible results with engagement in our programs. Our therapists will contribute feedback through testimonials and share it on our social media platforms in the coming months. We are honored to be a participant in the Bluebee Pal Project and grateful for this special gift to our students!
Kendall R. Edwards, MSOT, OTR/L
Parsippany Troy-Hills School District
Follow our Instagram- @Parsippany_OT
White Plains Elementary School(Anniston, AL) is honored to receive the Bluebee Pals Project donation of Bluebee Pals educational tools. As a participant, we provide feedback and testimonials on the impact of technology in our speech therapy programs. This donation is an exciting opportunity to introduce Bluebee Pals, a creative form of assistive technology, into our classrooms and home settings. Katrina Ginn: SLP, White Plains Elementary School, Anniston, AL –https://www.bluebeepals.com/about-us/
WORKING IN SCHOOLS AND PROVIDING SPEECH SERVICES
For the past 25 years, I have been a school-based speech-language pathologist in public schools. My journey has been rewarding working in school-based services that provide therapy to various student populations. I work with children as soon as they turn three years old, and students can stay in school with speech services until they are 21 years old. I currently have students from 3 years old to 19 years old in my programs. In addition to the students who attend my school, I work with preschool children before they come to school, as well as students in our preschool classrooms at my elementary school.
Just as the ages range greatly, so do the disabilities of the children. My students are working on producing speech sounds correctly to make their speech more understandable. Many of my students have autism or language delays in skills that we take for granted. These students focus on learning conversational turn taking, new vocabulary/concepts, providing appropriate answers and learning to ask their own questions.
MOTIVATING SPEECH WITH BLUEBEE PALS
Some of my students are learning about fluency control techniques to make their speech more smooth. The variety of age and disability varies when providing services as a school-based speech pathologist. So many of my younger students are motivated to practice new skills with the Bluebee Pals assistive technology tools. Young children learn faster when learning is fun and play-oriented. Play is the natural state for preschool and young children, so the Bluebee Pals fit right in with this therapy setting.
We are utilizing Bluebee Pals in the speech room, in two preschool classrooms, and a self-contained classroom for children with significant disabilities, including autism. In the speech sessions, our objectives are on comprehension skills using story apps. In articulation therapy, we use them for modeling the target word and also recording the child’s attempt for playback in speech apps like Articulation Station. http://bluebeepals.com
CONVERSATIONS AND INTERACTIVE PLAY
The students practice their words with the Bluebee–the Bluebee listens in this activity, but the children love to practice saying their words to Bluebee and give better effort knowing the Bluebee is listening. I am working toward using text-to-speech to reward/encourage them during this activity. We are also using it for conversational and social skills with students who have a social language delay.
They learn to take conversational turns and participate in interactive play, which is essential for language development. The students love the Bluebee Pals! In the classrooms, we are still in the introductory stage and using them primarily with storybook applications and songs. I have sent the teachers your information with ideas to use across the curriculum and we will continue to use them in different ways in the classroom. https://www.bluebeepals.com/bluebee-pals-project-participants/
Thank you again for this wonderful donation to our school and students! Katrina Ginn: Speech-Language Pathologist, White Plains Elementary School, Anniston, AL