Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Top 10 Lists: App Edition

One of my favorite parts of the end of the year is reading everyone's favorite lists.  Sometimes I make little notes in my Iphone so that I can remember to read that book or rent the movie.  In honor of the top 10 lists, I thought I would count down to the new year with my top 10 favorites.

TOP 10 Favorite SPEECH therapy related Apps

I tend to use apps that are not geared towards speech therapy as it seems like I am providing more of a skilled service than just working through a Speech Therapy App.  However, there are some speech therapy apps that I use quite frequently during therapy sessions.  I also buy a lot of Speech Therapy apps so that I can make recommendations for home programming or so that I can check on progress.

1.  Speech with Milo Sequencing.  I LOVE this app.  I like that the students are rewarded with a video after sequencing the app correctly.  Brilliant.  I use it for sequencing and also story retelling during therapy sessions.  
2.  Custom Boards.  This is a versatile app that I use during therapy and also when at home watching t.v.  It's cheaper than Boardmaker and allows me to create my own worksheets or visuals easily.  Then I email to myself at work and print out.  I've used it to create custom conversation boards for one of my clients at work.  I also like to use it during therapy sessions with my clients.  We can pick out the vocabulary or create a worksheet and email it to them at home!  
3.  A.L.L. Autism Language Learning App.  This app is expensive so I'd wait until it was on sale to purchase.  Currently it provides video stimulus for the following sentence structures: he/she/they is/are verbing.  I use it to prompt past, present and future tense as well as subject verb agreement.  Also, it's REALLY motivating to my students.  They can record their voice saying the sentence after hearing the model.  
4.  Story Creator by Alligator Apps.  There are a lot of story creating apps out there-and most do a great job.  These types of apps are great for sequencing during craft activities, story retell or using past tense forms.  Just take pictures of your kids during an activity, then have them write sentences for each picture and have them record their voice saying the sentences.  A must for anyone with kids with narrative goals.  
5.  Splingo!  This is a low cost following directions app which goes up to 4 items.  I like it better now that they've updated the voices.  This is a favorite of my clients.  Typically we will work on the same directions during a hands on activity and then check comprehension by using the app at the end of my session.
6.  NACD Apraxia.  I added this to the list an an inexpensive Apraxia app.  You choose your initial phoneme group (ex. b, p, m) and begin at the syllable level.  This app progresses you up through a series of 5 random syllables (ex. ko, my, hi, kye, ma).  I like the opportunities for repetitive practice.
7.  VASTAutism1.  This is a great app for clients with Apraxia, Down Syndrome or Autism.  It's very simple, just a video of a male or female mouth saying words at a slow rate and then a normal rate.  It helps to focus the child's attention on what is important for speech.  And a bonus is I've had a few kiddoes with limited verbalizations who've attempted to imitate when watching this app.  I'd definitely recommend it as a home program if you have a client who exhibits echolalia/video talk who needs to work on their articulation.  If it contrasted the words with a picture it would be perfect!  
8.  Articulation! Pro  This is my preferred app for articulation.  I really like the sentence wheel which keeps the sentence the same as the stimulus materials change.  Articulate it is also a great app for articulation.
9.  TenseBuilder.  I love the Mobile Education Apps.  They seem simple but the ability to record their own voice is very motivating for almost all of my clients.  Tensebuilder is great because you really focus on teaching what is future, past or present tenses receptively while working on the same skill receptively.  I had one client who has really made progress after working with this app.  Plus the videos are kind of funny which helps with motivation.
10.  Super Duper Age Calculator.  Honestly, sometimes I'm not sure how I EVER calculated ages for standardized tests before.  

TOP 10 Favorite General Apps for Speech Therapy

  1. Toontastic  Great for story narratives.  Pick your characters and settings.  The app prompts you to move through a story arc.  Touch the character and move while talking.  The app records each scene and plays back as a full movie.  
  2. Nighty Night! HD  I heard about this app at my PROMPT bridging course.  It's great for beginning language.  Touch different rooms of the house and put the animals to sleep.  Use it to prompt for who's there, night night or bye bye sheep/animal name, my turn, your turn etc.  Very motivating to my younger clients.
  3. Toca Store  I love all the Toca Boca Apps.  This is a great app to start working on pretend play and then transfer the language into pretend store or if you can, take a field trip to a REAL store.  I also use this for story retell.  
  4. Angry Birds Star Wars  Most speech therapists have learned the power of Angry Birds over the last year.  Some of my clients would just do straight drill work for a chance to play a few minutes of Angry Birds at the end of the session.  The combination of Star Wars AND Angry Birds?  I'm surprised half of my caseload didn't spontaneously combust.  
  5. Bamba Pizza  Very similar to the Toca Boca apps.  I used this one for perspective taking.  Do you think the girl likes bats on her pizza?  How about the monster?  
  6. iBaby Buttons.  Another simple app which works on vocabulary, labeling and confrontational naming.  Choose the pictures you want to focus on OR take pictures of your own stimuli.  When the child touches the screen a button appears.  Touch the button and it turns around to show a colored picture of your stimuli (ex. ducks, pizza etc.)  
  7. Cookie Doodle  I like the Maverick apps too but this one is the best for stimulating different actions: shake, bake, turn, slice, sift, tilt etc. while you are baking cookies.  
  8. Glow Draw  I should have added on PDF Cabinet, which allows you to load PDF files into your Ipad.  This app lets you take pictures, load them into the app and then draw on them with "glow" crayons.  
  9. SoundTouch  The premier app for sound recognition and expanding vocabulary.  Touch the picture in the following categories: animals, jungle animals, birds, transportation, vehicles, musical instruments or household sounds and the sound plays.  The best is that each time you press the button a new stimuli appears (ex. different types and sounds of dogs.)  This is great for teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorders general vocabulary concepts.  I also like to use it for "what do you hear?" types of tasks.  
  10. Scribblenauts  This app is one of my favorites.  The scribblenauts character progresses through levels with your help.  Students need to solve a problem by requesting materials.  You type in what you want and it appears on the screen.  What makes it even more brilliant is that you can add adjectives.  Why ask for a bridge when you can get a gigantic, red polka dotted bridge.  Works on basic problem solving, attributes, vocabulary, and spelling.  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Word Making Tools Download

So we are coming up on a pretty exciting milestone here at Speech2U blog: 500 page views.  I'm pretty excited!  Although in the blog-o-sphere, I think this means that I'm still a pretty super secret blogger.  But for me, at least I know some people have read it, because I know I haven't checked my blog 500 times-I hope.

I have a funny relationship with this blog.  I want people to read it-but then I'm worried that people won't like it. There are benefits to having a super secret blog.  Most of which involve minimal proof reading and editing requirements.  I enjoy being able to think through ideas and activities.  I find it helps me to focus on what I want a child to gain from an activity when I take the time to write it down.

This weekend I spent some time creating some materials for Prefixes, suffixes and Root Words: 

 To celebrate when I get 500 page views or 30 likes on Facebook , I will make another download: Scrambled Sentences FREE!

Hope you have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Build a Word: Prefix, suffix and Root Word Towers

Last fall there were a lot of spelling and sentence building duplo block ideas on Pinterest.  I started thinking about using the same idea with building blocks.  I scored a big bag of Megablocks at the Goodwill for a few dollars.  I also had a few address labels left over from Christmas.  I downloaded the Avery Template for the labels and typed in a variety of root words, prefixes and suffixes.  The labels were too big for the blocks so I cut them in half.

Then I sorted the Megablocks into three colors: red (root words), yellow (prefixes), and blue (suffixes).  I attached the labels to each side of the block.

Voila!  Your very own word making tools!

Prefix, Suffixes and Root Words:

The holidays are finally settling down and I've had time for another posting: resources and activities for prefixes, suffixes and root Words.  I like to work on these skills with students in later elementary or middle school.  I don't know that you can teach every single instance or idea so I usually like to write a goal for them to learn 15-20 root words and prefixes.  I don't ork on suffixes as much in speech therapy, but I do like to make sure they understand the basics ones (plural s, past tense -ed, -ly.) 

Youtube is a good resource for short teaching videos.  These are a few that I like to use:

Flocabulary is a subscription site that uses rap music to teach different educational concepts.  This is one of their videos and songs that is FREE on youtube.     

Another Rap Song that addresses prefixes, suffixes and root words: 

 Between the Lions is a an old PBS show which had some great resources for different early reading concepts.  This video addresses the prefixes un- and re- .

Power Point Activities:  
This is the best website for FREE powerpoint activities.  They also have links to lesson plans and some online games to play. 
Online Games and Activities
Vocabulary Games:  This website has lots of games for vocabulary building.  The games are pretty basic but it's a nice review of the material, plus they change the game based on grade levels.
TV411: This website was designed for adult learning.  The activities for prefixes, suffixes and root words are definitely appropriate for middle school and high school students.  
Quizlet:  This website allows you to create your own online flash cards or look for flash cards already designed.  
If You Were a Prefix (Hardcover) by Marcie Aboff. 
These are a few of the activities I've used for my online students.  Next up is some hands on activities and a new digital download I've completed. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Tree Cones

I love to make quick snack crafts in Speech therapy.  It's an easy way to include worksheet drill activities.  In between each step we can practice our word lists or answer wh questions.  It's also a great way to work on sequencing, paraphrasing and story retell.  Last week we made these cute Christmas tree cones.

I started by showing or telling the kids what we needed for the task.  Then we went into the little kitchen to see if they could remember what we needed...

Once the frosting is on, you could add any kind of candy, we used mini M and M's because I had some left over from a Halloween activity.  (There is probably something wrong with me, that I had candy left over from Halloween...)  

Here are some of the ways we incorporated our goals into the activities:

We practiced the following verbs: mix, spread, get, put, place, and eat.  For each activity, I had the client say what they were going to do, what they were doing and what they did after.  Ex. "I will spread frosting on the cone, I am spreading frosting on the cone, I spread frosting on the cone."  This activity correlates with Mobile Education's TenseBuilder app.  

We were focused on before/after, so just using colored m&m's seemed to help the kids focus on the direction.  Ex.  "Before you put a yellow ornament on, put the red ornament."  For students who continue to have difficulty with this, I would use a visual cue by pointing or manipulating the m&m's as I was talking to show them how they were supposed to put them on.  

To play this game, you would need a variety of candies.  Then you can take turns describing and adding the candies to the cone.  Ex. "I'm thinking of a round candy with stripes. 

Following the activity, we used the pictures above to retell the activity using a First/Next/Last visual.  

We really had fun making and eating (something about the combo of peppermint and sugar cone: YUM!) these cones.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gift getting: Perspective Taking

Last year, Jimmy Kimmel had a segment on his show called, "I gave my kids a terrible present."  In it, parents across America wrapped up cleaning products and old bananas and gave them to their children as presents. 

This is a great video to use during speech therapy for expected and unexpected behaviors.  First from some of the kids who have some pretty extreme reactions as well as talking about what would be expected and UNexpected as a gift from a parent.  If you decide to use the video, make sure to preview it first.  I think the last kid in the video uses some inappropriate language. 

My husband tried this with our son last year when he was three.  He didn't have expectations of what a "Christmas gift" should be yet, so he was really excited to get a can of Spray starch.  (That this was what my husband picked would be the subject of a whole different blog called, 101 dangerous gifts my husband tried to give to our kids.) 

Struggling with how to accept an unwanted Christmas gift is part of normal development, but for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other pragmatic language impairments, more direct teaching is required.  Here are some ideas I've used in therapy:

1.  I usually start with a Social story to give them information about what will happen during gift opening time.  An example would be something like: "On Christmas Morning we will eat breakfast and then it will be time to open gifts.  Everyone gets to take a turn opening a gift.  On my turn, I will open my gift and see what it is.  Most of the time, my gifts are things that I like.  Sometimes they are not.  When I get a gift I don't like, I can try to smile and say, "Thank you" to the person who gave it to me.  This makes them feel happy."
2.  Practice.  Years ago, I bought a fabric wrapped box with a bow on it.  We practice putting gifts in it and using a script to "thank" each other.  I try to have 5 things I think the client would like and 1-2 silly or unexpected gifts.  You could expand that activity by first writing a list and then cutting out items from catalogs that matched-OR didn't match the list. 
3.  Apps.  There are alot of "present" opening apps available for the Ipad.  You could use these apps to engage the chilld. 

For some of my more "black and white" kids who can't get past the idea that saying "I like it" is lying, we work on the noncompliment.  I use this all the time.  You start by just naming it.  Let's say you give me a T-Rex.  I open the box and say; "Wow, a T-Rex."  then finish by making an observation regarding the present: "I can't believe it's arms are so little." 

What activities have you used to teach gift giving?


Friday, December 14, 2012

Avoid the Tinkerbell towel: Gift giving perspective taking

Gift giving is a great exercise in perspective taking.  Can your clients think of some things that their parents would like or their siblings?

This is a hard skill for a lot of neurotypical adults such as my husband.  One year, he bought me a child sized Tinkerbell towel at Target.  First of all, I am not a one of those fortunate child sized ladies.  Why would he get me a gift that I can't even wrap around myself?  When he gave it to me, he was so excited because I LOVE Tinkerbell.

Choosing a gift requires you to think about the other person.  It's a great opportunity to use our "people files" by remembering information about people.  Questions to think about when getting a gift

  • How old are they?
  • Are they a boy or a girl?
  • Do they have any hobbies?
  • Have they mentioned that they need or want something?  
  • Who is in there family?
  • Do they have any pets?
  • What about favorite movies, t.v. shows or other special interests?
  • Do you know what they already have?  
  • Is there anything they really DON'T like?
Here is what we are doing next week.  You will need a Sunday Paper chock full of advertisements.  It would be great to have pictures of the child's friends, parents, etc.  I would use a sheet of paper for each gift giving subject.  Starting with first person, have your student or client determine what store would be appropriate for them.  Then they go through the circular and cut out 3-5 items they think the person would want.  

Then you can discuss how to narrow down your options.  Price might be one factor.  You could extend this activity by creating a "budget" and having the student determine where to spend the money or discussing concepts such as greater than/less than.  

I don't expect that my clients (or clearly, my husband) will be able to think of the "perfect" gift so as long as they are in the ball park of an appropriate gift, I would give them credit for it.  What activities are you planning for the holidays?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Multisyllabic Words

Lots of Snowfall here today, which meant I was pretty busy trying to create some materials for my clients next week.  I have a lot of clients right now who need to work on intelligibility.  One thing that seems to negatively impact their intelligibility is when they don't consistently or accurately mark each syllable in longer words.

I ended up with 2 products.  A younger version with pictures which also focuses on some phonological awareness skills (segmenting sounds/syllables, identifying initial/final consonants):

I added pacing boards for CV through CVCVCV words, although the actual pictures are for CVC, CVCVC and CVCVCV words primarily.  (C=consonant and V=vowel.)

The second is for older elementary and middle school. It's set up for students who have more difficulty with intelligibility or who continue to retain immature speech patterns (ex. say pasghetti for spaghetti.)  Since the vocabulary is also more complex, I added a visual for defining words.

 You can find these and other products at my TPT store here.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dollar Spot Christmas Trees

So I found these cool oversized sticker sheets in the Dollar Spot at Target.  I got a Christmas Tree, a Gingerbread House, and a Snowman.  I laminated them so that I could use with more than one student.

We used the Christmas Tree in therapy this week and had a LOT of fun.  I wrote some articulation words on the ornaments before I laminated them.  If I had to do it again I'd probably just laminate the ornaments and then write on them with a wet erase marker.

In addition to articulation, we also worked on:

  • Receptive identification of adjective + noun.  (Show me the red striped ornament.
  • Receptive identification of clauses (Show me the yellow ornament with a snowflake.)  
  • Comparatives (Show me the longest strand of lights.)
  • Following multistep directions, before/after directions and directions containing spatial concepts.  
I really liked being able to vary the directions depending on the student.  Here are some of the directions we used:  
  • Put a red ornament on after you put on a purple ornament.
  • After you put on the red striped ornament, put on a purple star ornament.
  • Before you put on the yellow ornament, put on the shortest garland.
  • Find the plain yellow ornament and put it next to one of the purple striped ornaments.
  • Find all 4 snowflakes and put them in the middle of the tree.
  • Find a yellow ornament with a snowflake on it and put it between 2 strands of lights.
  • Find 2 red striped ornaments below the longest strand.
  • Put the purple ornament above the garland after you put on the yellow ornament.
  • Put three ornaments on the tree.
  • Put the red ornament under/above the garland.  

It was a really fun activity. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Helping children communicate when sick.

One of the things that can be so frustrating when working with children with significant communication challenges, is trying to determine HOW they are feeling.   Frequently, parents will tell me that they wish their child could TELL them if they were in pain or hurting.  Generally, I think these clients do tell us when they are sick or not feeling well.  Sudden changes in behavior or compliance can signal that the child is not feeling well.  This is simply their way of letting us know.  The problem is that they can't get specific: I have a headache, my tummy hurts, etc.  Parents and professionals need to be detectives to try to determine what could possibly be troubling the child.  If he or she pulls at their ears could it be an ear infection?  I cannot imagine how frustrating and heartbreaking it must when you aren't able to figure it out or help your child get better.

So is there a way to teach the child to communicate what or where they are experiencing pain?  I'm not sure.  In the past, I've used bandaids to "role play" something being hurt and then had the child "tell" me either verbally, or using pictures or an augmentative communication device.  The problem is that this is role play, and I'm not always sure if the client understands or is able to make the connection between the activity and real life pain.  Obviously you are limited in your ability to "teach" or demonstrate what pain looks like.

But what if we could get the child to associate other sensations with parts of their body, then could we get them to eventually associate pain as well.   Here's my plan:

1.  Start by taking a picture of the whole child's body.  I did this on the I-pad.  Or you can draw a picture of a body-I just think it's more fun to have the photo.
2.  Get a box of different textures or feels.  I used a "furry" stuffed animal, ice pack, and tape to start.
3.  The client I was working with was able to read, so I paired the activity with written word cards.   You could also use Boardmaker PCS symbols.  Click on the picture below to download...

4.  Using the pictures, I started modeling the activity using the cold pack and tickle.  "Tickle on shoulder," "Cold on knee."  etc.  I paired each activity with the written cards.  Placing the card on the picture of the body, and then demonstrating on the client.
5.  Then I placed the 2 cards out to see if the client was able to request preferred sensory input and a location.

Some other ideas to expand on this activity I had:
1.  Have the child point to the body picture and then add the sensory experience there.
2.  Apply the sensory input and then have the child point or label where they are feeling the sensory input.
3.  For children who need more work on body parts, you could also have stickers that you place on their picture and then place on their body part.
4.  Have parents make a giant picture of their child to work on what hurts at home.  I think some of the big box stores such as Costco/Sam's Club have reasonable prices on 16x20 pictures.

I'm interested in hearing from you.  What ideas have you tried that have helped to work on teaching a child how to communicate pain.
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