n2y Blog

beachSummer slump? No way! Summer bump!


Bump up the fun this summer with free materials and resources from n2y!

Unique Learning System Curriculum, Summer Camp!Summer Camp ULS

Free for all 6 grade bands, Summer Camp is a recipe for fun! With leveled books, themed songs and treats, plus fine motor and gross motor activities, summer 2015 will be one to remember! All you need is an email address to register.




Club RooClub Roo

Free for everyone, Club Roo is an interactive collection of online activities with a familiar n2y character, Joey! Check out the Today’s Weather section and select appropriate clothing for the weather. Click on the handheld game for a group of games that may look familiar to News-2-You subscribers and users!




n2y created eXtras to help you with the many areas throughout the day that require symbol-supports. eXtras free materials page at n2y.com houses a growing collection of professionally created, symbol-supported materials that we share with you for free! Check back often to see what is new in the five areas of eXtras!



training onlineTrainings

n2y’s Training page is viewable from our homepage at n2y.com under Support. View free recorded how-to video recordings or informational webinars to enhance your knowledge of implementation in the classroom. Register for free live webinars as well! Professional development is a click away.


Researchresearch symbols

n2y has assembled a few pertinent pieces of research on our homepage at n2y.com under Support. Click to download any or all of the five titles!




video imagen2y Video

New to n2y? Need to see how it all works together? Take a short video tour of some of amazing classrooms that use n2y products! Visit special educators and their students as they talk about their experiences with n2y products in action.



Keeping up with a lot of information is easy with the n2y newsletter! If you don’t receive it already, read the latest edition or sign up at our homepage, n2y.com under News. Each month, we assemble and send readers a bulletin of information, articles, tips, tricks, product news, free resources, and more.


Social Media as a Resource

Connected online in everyday, busy life? Connect with n2y on Instagram and Twitter (@n2yinc), or on Facebook (n2y and SymbolStix). We love to see photos of classrooms, activities, adaptations, and events! Share what you can.


Did you know each grade band in Unique Learning System has its own board on Pinterest? Did you just gasp with excitement? Check them out for cool projects and posts now and throughout the year! We have fun making them and know you will too! Click to see Pinterest projects!

Preschool Grade Band

Elementary Grade Band

Intermediate Grade Band

Middle School Grade Band

High School Grade Band

Transition Grade Band

n2y hopes you enjoy a summer bump in knowledge, fun, professional development, and interaction with this list of free materials and resources!

Need more help? Email us support@n2y.com or give us a call 800.697.6575. 



n2y eXtras site logon2y eXtras!

n2y.com Click on the block!

You do so much in a day! You help students with core subject areas using Unique Learning System. You help students with language, comprehension, and connections with the world using News-2-You, but you do so many extra tasks as well!

n2y created eXtras to help you with the many areas throughout the day that require symbol-supports. eXtras free materials page at n2y.com houses a growing collection of professionally created, symbol-supported materials  
that we share with you for free! 



Behavior and communication are undeniably linked. Time on task
with engaging 
Communication or chat boardcurriculum and activities is step one, but if you need some additional supports for communicating and addressing behavior, see if one of these might help!


Fine Motor

Holding, tracing, pinching, buttoning, opening a locker door, tying-fine motor skills exist throughout the school day! Use this growing group of activities for school or home practice.


Gross Motor

Individual gross motor activities and small group activities
can incorporate language, symbol-supports, and many group
directions. Access these pieces for on-screen or offline use
to help kids move!

                                               parachute activity

Lunch rules

Classroom Engineering

Engineered spaces aren't new, but these SymbolStix-supported materials are clear, consistent, fun, and helpful in the environment. Yes, they speak, and they are printable as well.

Fun Stuff

We couldn't resist adding a category of fun materials that
can be used by students, parents, and educational staff to connect using humor, fun, praise, and pure enjoyment. 

All of our collections will grow over time! In March, ten new pieces will be added each weekday for the first two weeks. See what you need? Love what you see? Snap a quick photo and tag us on Twitter or Instagram @n2yinc!


eXtras free materials are just one of the ways we thank you for all of the extra effort you use each day! We hope you love eXtras!

For more information about n2y's Unique Learning System, News-2-You, SymbolStix or professional training, contact support@n2y.com or call us at 800.697.6575. 

What Does Bullying Mean to You?

By Anne Johnson-Oliss, n2y

When you hear the word bullying, what picture does the word conjure in your head? Do you see a playground with two children of disparate heights, one towering over the other making demands of some kind? Certainly this outdated image is one type of bullying, but abusive behavior takes many forms.

Even as researchers and legislators cannot yet agree on a definition of bullying, these behaviors must be addressed, (Blad, 2014). The situation becomes more complex when a potential victim has an intellectual or another impairment that creates a communication barrier.

So how do we help individuals with disabilities identify, stop, and communicate about bullying behavior?

Here are some supports that could help.

1)    Identify bullying behavior.

Bullying can include repeated overt physical aggression such as physical intimidation, pushing, kicking, or tripping. Helping children with impairments understand the vocabulary of bullying can help them identify it later. Using SymbolStix, photos, or videos, assist students in understanding the words paired with the images or actions.


In addition to physical intimidation, bullying can include verbal abuse such as insults, cruel directives, commands, criticisms, or lies. These can be very difficult concepts for children with intellectual or speech impairments. Pairing SymbolStix with audio or video examples from YouTube could aid understanding with more subtle forms of abuse.


Even more subtle than verbal bullying is bullying by isolation or encouraging isolation. Exclusion of the victim from conversations, activities, or projects creates a harsh environment for the victim who suffers both identifiable and invisible signs of emotional abuse. Helping children understand how friends behave through social stories could help them identify exclusion when it starts.


2)    Prevent bullying whenever possible.

Explaining the vocabulary of behavior and relationships including the positive and the negative will help with prevention. Incorporate the vocabulary into social skills stories, photographs, and activities. Use specific positive praise in all situations to identify examples of positive interpersonal behavior so that students understand what appropriate actions and words look like and feel like. If a story about bullying is required, n2y’s, I’m Being Bullied in the n2y Library contains several examples of inappropriate behavior for discussion, (Knople, 2011).


When more directness is required, consider using okay/not okay language and visuals to represent the two categories of behavior. A t-chart poster activity could be a great small group activity that involves the children listing okay behaviors and the not okay behaviors. Discussion can ensue about what those look like and why they are inappropriate.


You have educated the group about what bullying looks like. You have incorporated positive social behaviors and rewards into the discussion. You have shared examples of bullying to help prevent it from happening, but bullying episodes can still take place. What can you do?

3)    Facilitate reporting.

Teach students what to do if they identify bullying behavior. Reporting and getting help are two of the main ways to fight back against bullying. Help children understand and access symbols for talking to an adult or bullying before the need arises. Make those symbolic representations available to children on their communication devices across environments. Programming self-advocacy communication is as important as teaching other self-care skills.


4)    Stop it as soon as it starts.

On first sighting, report, or intimation of a bullying episode, take action to care for the victim, the bully, and the group as a whole.



Assuming the victim does not have any immediate medical needs, he or she needs to hear and understand that:

-what took place is not his or her fault                    

-it is not okay behavior

-the situation will be different


Assuming the bully is not in custody of law enforcement, he or she needs to hear and understand that:

-what took place will not happen again

-it is not okay behavior

-consequences are in place


If there is a group of people affected by the bullying incident, the individuals need to hear (and see) consistent messages that positive, pro-social behaviors are rewarded and bullying or abusive behaviors will not be tolerated.


Attached are files to help discuss bullying with your class.


 Blad, E. (2014) Researchers and Schools Diverge in Definitions of Bullying - Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/10/08/07bullying.h34.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1

CPI. (2014). Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI Training) | CPI. Retrieved from http://www.crisisprevention.com/

Harris, E. (2014, October 13). Cruel's Not Cool | CPI. Retrieved from http://www.crisisprevention.com/Blogs-CPI/Blog/October-2014/Annie-Fox-Cruels-Not-Cool

Knople, N. (2011). I'm Being Bullied. Huron, OH: Unique Learning System.

Petro, L. (n.d.). Emotional Abuse Signs. Retrieved from http://www.teach-through-love.com/emotional-abuse-signs.html



Find n2y and SymbolStix on Facebook! @n2yinc on Twitter  and @n2yinc on Instagram. To chat with us by phone about Unique Learning System, News-2-You, SymbolStix or Training, 800.697.6575 or n2y.com



Had a Bad Day?

We’ve all been there!

By Anne Johnson-Oliss, n2y

Yes, we have all been there. The last bell has rung. The buses have pulled away from the curb. You have wandered back to your classroom weighing which of your personal needs to fulfill first: bathroom or drink? Maybe you slump in your chair taking a few quiet breaths in your nine free minutes before the staff meeting starts.

You survey the classroom space and reflect on the day's teaching and learning. In a flood of tiny memories during the busy day, you unconsciously evaluate your performance. As a professional educator,  reflection fuels your desire to do better each day with wait time, higher level thought questions, reciprocal communication opportunities and a thousand other written or unwritten goals. You mindlessly pick at a mark on your pants. Could that be from snack time? You tick through the day's activities in your mind searching for a substance that matches the stain.

You wish that the day had run more smoothly for the students. Several students seemed to be out of sorts today, but because they have significant communication barriers, the source of angst is elusive. You tried to keep a schedule, continue with instruction, and offer individualized assistance. The mandatory monthly fire drill at noon reversed any calm from the morning. 

Only 8 minutes until the staff meeting! Time to tidy up the space, gather your materials, and head out to meet with colleagues. The phone rings. It is a breathless parent of one of your students. The excited mom relays to you that her son pointed to a symbol of train. It seemed to be a spontaneous first for him after many weeks of practice. She tells you that he has been asking for foods and drinks using his communication device for about a week. You site teamwork. You excitedly talk about next steps, reinforcing vocabulary, language-rich environment, and more opportunities for self-expression.  You realize you are late for the staff meeting and promise to connect with her later. You thank her for calling, grab your bags, and dash off to find an open seat next to your colleagues. You think to yourself, "What a great day! I wish more days were like this!"

Your mind drifts during the staff meeting, reminding yourself there is significant good in every day! Goal-oriented thinking, relentless pursuit of answers, structured schedule, team communication and careful listening are all inherently good even if the results are mixed some days. You re-focus. You listen. You plan for tomorrow.

You are a professional educator who had a very good day. 



Find n2y and SymbolStix on Facebook! @n2yinc on Twitter  and @n2yinc on Instagram. To chat with us by phone about Unique Learning System, News-2-You, SymbolStix or Training, 800.697.6575 or n2y.com




Search. Find. Use. SymbolStix.

New searches in SymbolStix support professionals as they support students!

You know SymbolStix. They are the symbols used in Unique Learning System curriculum and in the News-2-You newspaper and materials. Access to thousands of symbols and SymbolStix ONLINE is free with these subscriptions!

Did you know that searching SymbolStix is as easy as typing in the search box? Let’s type: oral motor. Here is an ever-growing collection of oral motor exercises and tools. 

Let’s search for: heavy work. Here are a few examples of what you will find! We searched, found, dragged into a 12 place board template and typed the labels. (9 images shown here).

Hmmm….many students require symbols of sensory items and activities. Can I search for the word sensory? Yes!


What are some other umbrella terms in SymbolStix ONLINE? Try these searches: fine motor, yoga, exercise, brass, woodwind, string, noble gas, government, don’t, do not, prohibited, hospital, red, (each color word) and more!

Want to have some fun? Search in SymbolStix ONLINE for: I am your father, bad day, or need more cowbell.

Like the templates and want some quick help to use them? Try these quick tutorials.

Saving Symbols from SymbolStix ONLINE

How to Create a Template or Folder in SymbolStix ONLINE


SymbolStix - symbols with attitude.

#SymbolStixForLearning #SymbolStixForLife

For subscription or licensing information for SymbolStix, find us online at n2y.com or call us at 800.697.6575.