Get Groups Going!

You don’t need us to tell you that the spellerverse is all about inclusivity and increasing access to communication for all. But how can we extend that beyond our one-on-one sessions with our spellers? GROUPS!

With so many S2C practitioners starting their centers from scratch, it may be difficult to find open and fluent spellers to run a full group with. Katlyn Billue, with the assistance of Alexa Powell, two practitioners at Growing Kids Therapy Center, ran the Summer 2022 Marvel Group with the intent that each speller would brainstorm and write their own superhero origin story. This would require each speller to be open on the boards with Katlyn as a CRP. Wanting to include more spellers, the group was opened up to new spellers who may not be open but still wanted to experience a group, many for the first time! This introduced a bit of a challenge; trying to run a group that is engaging for all fluency levels is not an easy feat. 

S2C, Spelling to Communicate, nonspeaking, nonspeakers, Autism, I-ASC, Speller, nonverbal, S2C,The original plan was to have the open spellers write their origin stories while the newer spellers were led through a structured lesson about the history of Marvel and the origins of some familiar superheroes. It was quickly realized that this idea caused separation between the spellers, which is never the intention of a group! After the first meeting, Katlyn decided to change course and told the spellers that they would be writing a collaborative comic strip about a superhero. This was possible because the open spellers could voice their opinions and ideas about different features of the superhero while the semi-open/newer spellers could vote on which features and attributes they liked best. Like a true democracy, whatever received the most votes in the group would ultimately be added to the superhero’s design. 

Newer spellers have limited social opportunities with their peers, so this was such a great option! It was fantastic to see the collaboration, inclusion, and respect for each other’s opinions. One of our group members, Ian Norling, provided his opinion on the structure of the group saying “I THINK IT’S BEEN A GREAT EXPERIENCE COMBINING THE FLUENCY LEVELS ACROSS THE BOARD AND ITS BEEN REALLY FUN WORKING WITH NEW SPELLERS. I LOVE THIS OPPORTUNITY AND WISH ALL NEW SPELLERS COULD DO THIS.” 

We invite you to put some creative thought into how to include all levels of spellers in a collaborative project within a group setting! 

Katlyn Billue An S2C Practitioner, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Mentor for I-ASC. She loves to gain insight into the personalities of the Spellers by hearing the variety of answers and perspectives that arise out of the same question in a lesson.

Alexa Powell An S2C Practitioner at GKTC and a recent Master of Public Health graduate with a concentration in physical activity. Schedule a session with Alexa or join one of her amazing groups by registering at!


Posted By on Wednesday, August 24th, 2022 in Autism,Families,Nonspeakers,S2C,Spelling to Communicate

2 responses to “Get Groups Going!”

  1. Becky Henning says:

    Love this! As a new practitioner with a similar dilemma, wondering about how you did the voting?

    • In order for there to be voting, the spellers would AT LEAST have to be semi-open. The open spellers would describe a certain aspect of the superhero- let’s say we were discussing the uniform of the super hero. The open spellers would describe what they were thinking
      “Green cape, dark green bodysuit, and black lace up combat boots”
      “Red cape, red bodysuit, and purple knee high boots”
      After this, we’d have the semi-open spellers vote on the color of the cape like this “of the two colors mentioned, which one would you choose for the superhero?”
      The same would go for the color of the bodysuit and so on.
      Thanks for asking, Alexa.

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