Our Story, How We Started, Our Vision
Video Learning Squad is one of the products of the Lavi Institute that was founded by Adriana and Lee Lavi. Adriana Lavi is a licensed speech language pathologist who is passionate about research in the area of social language development as well as development of evidence based assessments and intervention programs for children with various communication disorders. Lee Lavi, PhD candidate, holds 3 Master's degrees and specializes in advanced statistics, business management, process improvement and engineering.
Over the past 8 years, our organization has grown to a team of 35 licensed and certified speech-language pathologists conducting research, development and professional training, primarily in the area of language development.
How We Started
During the 2008 to 2009 school year, I worked in both an elementary and a high school. I spent my time working with a variety of communication disorders and was having a tough time with social language materials. I found that using static pictures, illustrations, and hypothetical situations just wasn’t working and did not address all the social language issues I was seeing. How could we target facial expressions? Vocal inflections? Tone of voice? Body language? The fast and dynamic back and forth conversation of a social interaction? So many components of real life interactions were being left out. I could also tell my students at both the elementary and high school quickly lost interest and “tuned” or “zoned” out before I finished reading a hypothetical scenario, or explaining social mind. The worksheets and drawings I used to explain empathy or perspective-taking were just not working. On top of that, I found it difficult to navigate and fully grasp my students’ pragmatic language ability. What did students know about social context and unspoken social rules? Were they just beginning to figure it all out? Did they get stuck somewhere along the way? I had so many questions that the current pragmatic assessments and materials could not solve.
I was driving home one day and passed by a community park where I saw students interacting before their baseball game. I thought to myself, if only I could use real-life students to model social interactions for my kiddos. Then I thought, what about videos? I could use videos of real-life situations in therapy. I went home and found my digital camera in my desk drawer and asked my sister if she could help. I then asked my cousin if he could videotape my sister and I role-playing one of those hypothetical situations that I read to my students earlier that day. We did a couple of takes and made a few videos where a situation went wrong, and then where a situation went right. It was fun to do and I was excited to show the videos to my students the next day. When I got to school, I got the videos ready on my computer and used them throughout the day in my social language groups. I was amazed. All of my social language students were now paying attention and engaged! They loved the use of videos in their speech visit and were participating and responding to the material. They asked me if we could do videos next time they came to speech and I, without hesitation, said, “absolutely!” This is when my passion for video assessments and treatments began. What started out as a small therapy project grew into a much larger mission. I decided I wanted to not only create pragmatic language treatments but also create a comprehensive pragmatic language assessment – using videos! I reviewed research literature and analyzed as many pragmatic language assessments that I could find. Oddly, I found that there were not many assessments dedicated entirely to social language. I kept thinking of how many students I had come in contact with who would have benefited from pragmatic language therapy, however, were not fully assessed in all the areas of social language. An all-encompassing social language assessment was needed and that’s where I began. I started studying social context, paralinguistic cues, and affective expression. There is so much to the understanding and use of facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, intonation, sarcasm, etc. I began to slowly, but surely, develop The Clinical Assessment of Pragmatics (CAPs). Now, I am excited to say that I am onto the next part of my video-based mission with The Social Skills Squad. The treatment I started ten years ago while working as a school-based speech-language pathologist. I hope you find success with your child, student, or client and enjoy the video-based world of the Lavi Institute.
A Self-Made Video of Adriana Lavi and Her Sister over 10 years ago
This is one of the self-made videos of dr. Lavi and her teenage sister created over 10 years ago that dr. Lavi used in her practice with school age students
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