March Featured Research

If you have been following us on social media you know that our BCBAs and a few of our ABA therapists attended the TxABA conference and are so excited to share some of the new and exciting research presentations that we were able to sit in on while there. A team favorite was Francesca degli Espinosa’s presentation on verbal behavior: Teaching verbal conditional discrimination: a framework for organizing language curricula to establish generalized question-answering in children with autism. Francesca degli Espinosa also presented her research on verbal behavior at the National Autism Conference in 2015 and more recently across the globe before making it to TxABA. If you are at all interested in expanding verbal repertoire or even learning more about verbal behavior in general, take a look at Espinosa’s presentation linked below.

verbal discrimination presentation francesca degli espinosa

Talk to Me Baby: Starting in January at Building BLOCS

We’re so excited for our brand new class for both parents and kids, Talk to Me Baby! In this class, board-certified SLP Jennifer Grantham teaches simple ways to increase your child’s speech and language skills through books, music, motor games and toy play. It’s great for kids aged 18 months to 3 years of any developmental background.

We know that you know your child best, so this class gives speech language pathologists and parents the opportunity to join forces in order to teach language skills effectively. You can show us what your child’s favorite game or song is, and we’ll show you how to utilize that play activity to target communication skills. The goal of this class is to shape what you’re already doing at home to foster language development.

Every class will target a different goal based on the needs of the families attending. For example, one class might target what sounds are developmentally appropriate, while another might target using a slower rate of conversation to be a better conversational partner for your little one. However, each class will feature music, a story, toy time, and motor time. There will also be time for questions and time to practice the day’s target strategy. It’s fun for kids and educational for parents, so both of you are sure to enjoy the activities. Plus, there’s no need to bring or prepare anything–just show up ready to learn and have fun!

Talk to Me Baby will take place from 9:30-10:30am on Fridays starting in January. For more information, call 512-827-7011 or email us at

Low-Tech Voice Output Devices

Think voice output devices are expensive, bulky, or easily breakable? Think again. Watch Brandy talk about some of the low-tech, inexpensive options we use to assist kids with communication.

What are some easy tricks that you’ve found for assisting with communication?

A Favorite Book For Halloween

All of the therapists at Building BLOCS get excited when October rolls around. The temperature in Texas starts getting bearable, and it symbolizes the start of the holiday season. Halloween, in particular, is one of the best holidays to work with children because there are so many activities to do with kids–most of them messy, tasty, and fun.

One of our favorite books to read during this time is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. This book is great because it has everything–repetitive and simple language, onomatopoeias, and a touch of suspense. It also addresses a lot of concepts. We get to talk about body parts, clothing, emotions, sounds, and movements, and it’s a great opportunity for sequencing and acting out the story. The kids love taking turns with the props–making two shoes go “clomp clomp” or one scary pumpkin head go “Boo!”

What’s your favorite Halloween book?


Building Language with Communication Temptations

Some of the best tricks used by speech pathologists to promote language in young children are simple–entice a child with an exciting toy that they need assistance with, model language (1-2 word sentences), and WAIT. Waiting is key to give a child the opportunity to use the language they’re hearing.

Watch Brandy modeling these strategies with some toys you’re sure to have at home.

Great Spring Books to Read with your Preschooler

Spring is such an exciting season to work with young children. There are so many tangible things to see and talk about outside–from the changing weather to budding flowers. We also have lots of favorite books we read to coincide with the springtime theme. The only problem is choosing which ones to read. Here are some of our favorites.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is everyone’s favorite. The repetitive lines make it easy for the little ones to participate by following along, echoing, and filling in language. We work on concepts like colors, counting, and food, and we simplify the language a bit to teach useful phrases like “I’m hungry. I want to eat.” We also try lots of different kinds of food when we’re reading this story and describe how everything looks, feels, and tastes.

As the days get warmer, lemonade stands start popping up in neighborhoods across the country. The kids love making, tasting, and selling lemonade. We set up pretend lemonade stands and the kids practice making and selling lemonade to each other, and then we go outside and set up the real thing.
In Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink, she experiments with different ways to make pink lemonade. And Maisy Makes Lemonade is a simple step-by step guide for making lemonade and sharing with friends.

The Very Lazy Ladybug is a fun story about a ladybug who liked to sleep so much she never learned to fly and has to hitch a ride with various animals. We get to practice moving and making noises like all the animals featured in the story.

Spring is the perfect time to read a story about planting seeds and watching them grow. The Little Red Hen is a great book to talk about growing plants with your child. We think this version in particular uses language that is simple enough to read with preschoolers. It’s a great book for sequencing and talking about helping our friends and family.