Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Embracing my inner dork.

This will come as a shock to no one: I am not one of those super cool people.  I am a dork.  Being a dork is awesome because I rarely get embarrassed.  I just embrace my inner dorkiness and 781.3.  Did anyone get that?

I don't fall as much anymore-mostly I just trip and pretend to run.   It's perfectly natural to break out into a jog in the middle of Target.

It is not unusual for me to put my shirt on inside out before I go to the gym.  In my defense, I'm at the gym 3 mornings a week at 5:30 am.  

I'm often unaware of environmental obstacles such as poles, walls and corners.  One time I was walking in the park by my house and I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  I put my hand up and said, "Oh, excuse me."  I was looking at a deer.

I almost ran into a deer.

Last summer, I was running some errands before picking up my son.

I left work.
I stopped to fill up my tank with gas.
I paid inside.
I got a coffee at the local coffee shop.

I remember thinking I must have smudged my sunglasses because it was hard to see.

I dropped some mail off at the post office.
I picked up my son.

As we were walking to the car, he said, "Mom, why do you have one white eye and one black eye."

My sunglasses weren't smudged.  I couldn't see because one of my prescription lenses had fallen out.  Which meant, I'd been traipsing all over town with one empty lens and one tinted lens and NO ONE had told me.

That may have been an all new high in Dorky-dom-ness.

Make me feel better.  Who else has walked around with one lens in/one lens out?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Video modeling: Editing out cues

Video modeling is an effective tool for strengthening new behaviors, teaching new skills and working on social skills.  In general, video modeling should show your client what you WANT them to do.  We want them to have as many positive models of the expected behavior as possible.

If you want to work on Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking® concepts: expected or unexpected behaviors© aim for a minimum of 3 expected to each unexpected behavior.  I'd be very cautious modeling unexpected behaviors for children who exhibit echolalia or video scripting as they may end up imitating the unexpected scenes.

A powerful way to teach children is to cue them through the video and then edit out your cues.  You end up with a completed video of the child looking like they are completing a task independently.  I sometimes wonder if this would work with my husband.  Just take a video, edit quick and he is now magically able to do the laundry.  But I'm afraid my special effects budget is pretty small.  

I started using the iMovie App by Apple to edit videos I took on my iPad.  It's pretty easy to edit out your cues.

In light of HIPAA and student privacy concerns, I am using super heroes from my action figure box.
That Speech Language Pathologist looks exactly like me if I wore tinted sunglasses and had claws instead of hands.  When taking an actual video of the client, you should be out of the camera so it appears like the client is acting independently.  Plus who wants to watch themselves on video anyhow? 

This is the unedited video I took:

Please don't judge me.   I forgot to sustain my Hulk voice throughout the video.  

Here is how I edited it in iMovie
Each video clip on your iPad should appear in the top left corner when you open the app.

Choose the clip you want by tapping it.  A yellow box will surround it to let you know you've selected that video clip.

Tap on the yellow dots and drag the line so the video stops right before your verbal prompts.  You can play the video while you are doing this so you know where to stop.  

Once you've selected the first part of the video, tap on it again to select it.  The video clip will appear below.

Start the next clip with the student's response and continue until your next prompt.

When you tap on the next clip, it will automatically be added to your first clip.

You can also add fancy title pages or headers by double tapping on a scene:  

I missed a verbal cue "say" when I edited this but otherwise I think it seems pretty seamless (with the exception of my voice over skills.)   

I would use this technique when working with students on the Autism Spectrum as well as students who use AAC to communicate.  How about you, can you think of how you could use this in your Speech room?

Monday, May 27, 2013

A 10,000 Page view Celebration!

It's the last week of virtual school for me which requires a virtual party!

First let's step back in the time machine to January 1, 2013 when I published this post:  Goal accomplished: 500 page views!  Since then this blog has been viewed: 9, 912 times.  That number is amazing to me.

Here's another exciting number: 96 published posts.  My plan is to have a blog post every day this week so that I can surpass 100 blog posts on the same week I'm celebrating 10,000 page views.   And I'm giving away a 10.00 gift card to Teacher's Pay Teachers.  Now I'm just trying to figure out what I can do that I can get 1,000 of during this week to make things nice and even.  Speaking of even, does anyone else end up eating half a pan of bars when they try to just "even up the rows?"  Maybe it will be 1,000 off topic remarks.  

In keeping with the 10's theme, I'm listing my top 10 favorite blog posts.  (This is kind of like when young pop stars write a biography-it's probably too early for a "best of" album-but 5 didn't fit with my number theme.)  Here they are in no particular order:

1.  Sentence Building Obstacle Course

2.  Multiple Meaning Word Resource Review 

3.  Perspective Taking Freebie

4.  Teaching Children to communicate when they are hurt.  with FREEBIE!

5.  Prefix Blocks

6. My first lazy speech therapy hints post

7.  Praxis and Ideation

8.  Autism: Fill in the Blanks.

9.  Teaching Imitation

10.  The Dumpster story.  I LOVE a good embarrassing story.  

Wow, it was hard to find 10.  I'm going to have to step up my game!  Stay tuned this week for a post on video modeling, a FREEBIE, an embarrassing story, and something that I haven't thought of yet.  (I'm open for suggestions...)

In the meantime, enter to win a TPT gift card!  Thank you so much for stopping by!

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Scribblenauts Remix: An awesome app review

My computer is starting to run really slow-but I only need it for one more week of virtual speech therapy.  Then I have the whole summer to figure out how to speed it up.   So instead of playing an online game during therapy, we played Scribblenauts Remixed.  I've recommended Super Scribblenauts for the Nintendo DS as a home program over the summer.  I was really excited when I found out they'd made this into a iPad app.

This is one of my favorite apps to use for language and vocabulary.  Each level requires you to solve a problem by typing in an object.

Then it is displayed on the screen:

Different levels require different tasks:  including categorization (name 4 items needed in a classroom), object associations (what goes with doctor) and object functions (what do you need to get something down from a tall tree.)

One of the best features of this app is that you can use adjectives:

So this app works on descriptive vocabulary and also adjective plus object combinations.

Another great features it that it will prompt you to specify the meaning when you use multiple meaning words.

I also like to use this app with my clients who have Social language challenges.  First you can add an negative adjective (mean, evil, crabby) to a person or animal and it will start doing inappropriate behaviors (ex. hitting other characters).

I also really like this app to work on flexible thinking.  There are multiple ways that you can solve each level.  For example, the first level is focused on trying to get the star out of the tree.  I might challenge my client to see if they can figure out three different ways to accomplish the goal.

  • Axe: Chop down the tree
  • Giant ladder: Climb the tree
  • Jetpack: Fly up and get the star.  
I wish that I'd taken time as I went through the different levels to write down the "problem" or task on each level.  This would really make it easier to customize each level to my clients needs.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Adapting to the child

I adapt to the child.

Most of the time, I get clients who love coming to therapy.  They get big smiles when they see me and give me hugs when they are leaving.  I have lots of kids who can sit at the table and do drill work while we play a game.

But sometimes a child will come in who is a "slow to warm up kid."  These kids are really quiet at the beginning of the session.  They might need a lot of coaxing to come into the room.  They might cry a little bit or try to hide behind their parents.  I could yell and clap my hands and get really excited and talk in a loud voice because they aren't talking.

I adapt to the child.

So I get quieter, I show them what I am playing with.  I give them time to come to me.  I might engage in a little eye flirting.  I pretend to be really clumsy and drop things.   I walk really fast and see if they can catch up to me.  I give them time to feel comfortable and I am mostly quiet until they start talking.

Sometimes I get a child who can't sit at the table, who needs to carry 5 objects in their hands to feel safe, who communicates primarily through whining.  I could set up a behavioral plan, insist that they could do it if they tried, tell the parents that it's okay, their child needs to learn how to sit and do their work.  I might tell the parents that a lot of kids cry when they come for speech therapy.

I adapt to the child.

I follow their lead for a little bit.  I let them have more control, I make sure that their goals aren't too hard.  I spend a lot of time building trust and turn taking.  Once I have that I can get them back to the table-and it will be fun.  

Sometimes I get a child who ONLY likes Angry Birds or Transformers or the shape of counties in our state. (seriously).  I could tell the parents how important it is to expand their interests.  I could say it's not healthy to only play one way or with one type of activity.  I could make them do my picture cards and insist that they play with different toys.

I adapt to the child.

I study up on their special interest.  I buy products on stores like Teachers Notebook and Teachers pay Teachers.  I know the names of all of the Star Wars Characters and Superheroes.  I know that Nick Fury leads the Avengers.  I know more than I have ever cared too about Bakugan.  But once I've established the trust then we can start to work on pushing to see what other things we can do with their special interest.  We might try to find similar items.  I'm like Amazon: If you like this, then you might like this....

When I take the time to adapt to the child-instead of forcing them into my idea of therapy, I build trust.  When I build a good foundation of trust, teaching and speech therapy becomes easy.  When speech therapy becomes easy and fun, my clients are excited to come to speech therapy.  When they are excited to come to speech therapy, it makes life easier on their parents.  When a little bit of stress is lifted, they may be more able to complete some home programming.

I'm not super human, sometimes it takes me awhile to figure out a kid.  Sometimes we have a few bumpy sessions.  But  I really try to take time to change myself, my activities, my demeanor before I decide a child has a "behavior problem" in Speech.  (Disclaimer: this works a lot better during individual sessions then in groups.  Groups probably require different strategies.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring Multisyllabic Words: Review AND Giveaway...

I'm so excited to be participating in my first "product swap" with Natalie from Just Wright Speech. 

Natalie was kind enough to share her Spring Multisyllabic Words packet with me and even better-to offer it as a giveaway to one of you!!!

Spring Multisyllabic Words: 
I have a lot of clients who need practice with multisyllabic words so I was really excited to get this activity.  It is designed for students Pre-K to 2nd grade.

Included in the packet are 36 Multisyllabic word cards (2-3 syllable words) and 6 blank cards to allow you to create your own materials.  I really like products which allow you to customize the product to your student.    

The pictures are colorful and clear.  Activities include: matching and sorting pictures based on the number of syllables.   This was an easy activity to set up and play.  

My favorite part of this product was the pacing mats.  I use pacing boards all the time with my apraxic and articulation kids to help them slow down their speech.  Pacing mats are included for 2, 3, and 4 syllable words.  

4 syllable word pictures are not included with this packet, but you could easily use the blank cards to customize the product.  I didn't think the 4 syllable words were necessary as I would use Spring Multisyllabic Words with younger children who need more practice with 2-3 word syllable shapes.  We used the 4 syllable mat to practice short sentences.  We would practice the word and sort it onto the 2 or 3 syllable word mats and then we would practice a 4 word sentence (Ex. I am watching baseball.)

I used Spring Multisyllabic Words with a 3 year old and a 5 year old boy.  They both really enjoyed the pictures and the activity.  It was interesting to see that the younger child was able to imitate the words quite easily.  The older child had significant difficulty producing words such as "barbecue."  Using the pacing mats were helpful for him to sequence the sounds within the words.  

Spring Multisyllabic Words is available on Natalie's TPT store:  HERE.

Natalie is offering a copy of her Spring Multisyllabic words to one of you!  Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  Please check out her blog for creative and fun treatment ideas:  Just Wright Speech.  You can also follow her on Facebook to find out about her latest products.  

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Field trip to the Gym...

I've got a couple of reaalllly wiggly kids that are working on articulation.  Today, I took a break from the table and set up stations in a therapy gym.  Each station had a set of 10 articulation cards that the children had to say three times  before completing the station.  Here were my Stations:

1.  Trampoline Basketball:  Jump on the trampoline while saying your word.  If you said the word correctly-you got to throw a ball in the basketball hoop.  This activity was interesting as several of my clients had difficulty jumping and "saying" their target word.  Instead they would jump-and then stop and try to say the word.  Obviously, for successful carryover, you need to be able to say your speech sounds while moving.  It reminded me again of the importance of varying the location or what you are doing when working on articulation or speech sound production.  

2.  Roll Across.  I had my clients say their words a certain number of times and then roll across the mat.    A lot of them misunderstood and did forward rolls which made me a little nervous.  

3.  Trapeze Swing Across:   Say your word and then swing across into a set of pillows or mats.  I've tried this with past tense verbs with some success.  Give the child the verb (walk).  Then have them say, "I will walk" before they are on the swing.  While they are swinging, they work on the present progressive forms "I am walking"  Finally as they drop into the mats, they say the past tense form.  "I walked." 

4.  Spin around:  Say a certain number of words and then the child gets to spin.  Check with your occupational therapist because some children can have adverse reactions to spinning.  I sometimes do a similar activity in my office with my office chair with my little guys.  I have them hop up and then we get to do a couple of spins on the chair in between repetitions.  

5.  Scooter Board   I add a certain number of cards on each side of the room.  The child says the targets and then uses the scooter board to transport them somewhere else in the room.    I like picking up different containers for them to put things in.  After Easter or Halloween is a great time to stock up on Theme baskets like Spiderman or Angry Birds.  It's probably really helpful when I share THAT tidbit in May.  Ned's head is another really fun container.  Work on phrase or sentence level production (in Ned's nose, I put it in Ned's ear.)  

We had a lot of fun and I ended up with more repetitions than I would typically get during a traditional table top therapy session.  Not everyone has access to a gym but I'm curious: Do you incorporate movement into your sessions?  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Teaching Imitation

I've been meaning to do a post on imitation for awhile.  May 14th is the first Apraxia Awareness day so I thought a post on imitation skills would be appropriate.

Imitation abilities one of the things that I assess during an initial evaluation.   Speech therapy uses a lot modeling techniques so having a child who can imitate is an positive prognostic sign for how therapy will proceed.  For children who exhibit difficulty with imitation, this will be my initial focus in therapy.

In order to imitate, a child needs to attend to people in their environment.  They also need to have an understanding of cause and effect.  (My actions cause others to do something.)  If I can get a child to spontaneously imitate other people, then they can start learning and expanding their language in a variety of places.

Just say "Ah." 
For a child who is nonverbal, I start by teaching "Ah" or another consistent vocalization on command.  I will observe the child to see what sounds they are able to produce and start with a vocalization that is already in their repertoire.

One time I had a client who could only produce raspberries.  We would read a repetitive book like Brown bear, brown bear and they would read along.  "Pfft PFft, Pfft, pfft, pfft pffft pfft pffft."  This student was REALLY trying to say the words.

Children who don't have volitional control often have very loud, or noises that we might consider distracting or inappropriate.  Sometimes they end up with a behavioral program to extinguish this behavior.  This is heartbreaking to me.  We are telling are kids who are just trying to make whatever sounds they can to be quiet, to STOP talking.

Instead, we should be helping them explore their vocal range.  Can they learn to louder/quieter?  Can they find the middle?  What different sounds can they make?   Completing a functional behavioral analysis would help to find alternative communicative behaviors which could be addressed through augmentative communication.

Once we have established a consistent vocal response then we begin to add in more consonant-vowel (CV) and vowel consonant (VC) productions.  I will spend some time with vowels in isolation because vowels carry much of the meaning of a word.  I don't spend very much time if any on consonants in isolation.

Nonverbal Imitation:
I want to make sure that the child I am working with is able to do imitate a variety of big and small motor movements.  If I start to the run-will they run with me?  Can they imitate a clap or touch their head?  Are they able to imitate my play actions during a pretend play activity.

Having pairs of the same toy are really helpful for teaching nonverbal imitation.  For example, you could each have a drum and practice drumming slow together and then fast.

If all else Fails:  
Sometimes a client I see just doesn't understand imitation at all.  For those clients, I will spend a lot of time imitating what they are doing.  (it can take up to a year!)  This works better for some patients than others.  A lot of times though I will start to see an increase in attention towards me or the parent as the client starts to realize that we are imitating them.  Pamella Marshalla has a fantastic book on teaching imitation called: Becoming Verbal with Childhood Apraxia.
If you have a client who is not imitating, this book explains how to further breakdown imitation to improve the child's ability to control their speaking.

Do you teach imitation?  If so I'd love to hear your favorite materials and tricks!

One year ago today.

One year ago today I was getting ready in the locker room of the gym where I work out.  I work out early in the morning and usually check my email as I'm drying my hair.  I opened my phone and saw it:

3 missed phone calls from my parents house in Arizona-starting at 3:00 am
2 missed calls from my brother in Minnesota
1 missed call from my husband

Growing up I would sometimes get "cryptic" messages from my parents and worry that something was wrong.  There never was.  As it turns out, you don't need to worry until you turn on your phone at 6:30 am and see 6 missed calls.

I knew it was probably bad.  I just remember walking over to the couches and saying in a whisper-nononononononono.  My husband was the first one to get a hold of me.  He said that something was wrong-that I needed to come home right now.

I started crying before I made him tell me:  My father had died at age 75.

It was unexpected.  He died of a broken arm.  In retrospect, he had been having more problems for about 2 years.  Balance difficulties were one sign.  BUT I have a rehab background.  I just thought we needed to figure out the right treatment plan.  Decreased interest in my financial affairs was another sign.  For instance, he'd stopped asking for my bank account and retirement plan information.  I had just been out to visit in March.  At the time, I was frustrated because I WANTED to enjoy the sun-but he wanted me to drive him to dentist appointments.  I'm so thankful (now) that we spent a lot of time alone in the car together.  He even complimented my driving.  Clearly, something was wrong.  

There are places where it is probably better to get this kind of news.  I got it in the locker room filled with sweaty people rushing to get ready for work.  It didn't matter.  I sat and sobbed until I couldn't cry anymore.  When you work out really early in the morning, you tend to see the same people every day.  One woman told me later that she had wanted to come over to see what was wrong-but she didn't because she was naked.  I'm thankful for her good judgement.

The next few weeks went by so fast.  Flying out to meet my mom, trying to pick out an urn at Hobby Lobby (We couldn't do it.  how do you put your loved one in a 14.99 fake vase.)  Coming back to work and driving home with my leaky eyes every day.  The first day back after the funeral I found out I'd submitted the wrong summer hours to my work.  I cried for 3 hours straight.  Luckily my coworkers had gone out to lunch so they didn't see me sob-eating in the break room.

It was hard for me to sleep after he died.  It was during his Arizona funeral that I started making TPT projects.  Just for something to do to take my mind off of things.

I don't know why it seems important to me to remember the day that I found out he had died or what happened after.  I know that writing soothes me.  By writing this out, I can assure myself that I will not forget.  And I can continue on the path to healing and acceptance.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Clip Art Hoarder: Quick organizational strategies

In addition to SLP materials hoarding, I've recently been diagnosed as a clip art hoarder.  This is in keeping with my long tradition of overpurchasing my craft-of-the-moment.

I've got stickers, fancy papers, and a CRICUT from my scrapbooking days.

I went through a phase of trying out crafts by purchasing kids kits.  I've got a mosaic tile kit, a half completed knitting project AND a loom to make a rainbow scarf.  Do you know ANYONE who buys themselves a loom?  Well, you do now.

I started beading and have amassed 3 Ikea File cabinets filled with Beads and project ideas.  I have a BIG rubbermaid container filled with jewelry I made when I was going to start selling my jewelry at local craft fairs.  I did one.  I sat outside for 10 hours and made 11.75.  So now they just sit in the tub until it is someone's birthday or there is a benefit.

So, it's not surprising that when I would start to hoard clip art too.  I buy most of my clip art on Etsy and sometimes I buy a whole packet because I need one picture in the group.  But as I've gotten more art, I found it difficult or time consuming to figure out what I had-OR to remember what artist had completed the clip art I was using.  I used to just look in my Etsy purchases-but since some artists run BOGO sales, half of the clip art I'm using doesn't show up.

I needed to come up with a new strategy for organizing clip art.

I store all of my clip art on Dropbox so I can access it from each computer.  When I purchase clip art, I take time to rename each picture or file so that I can easily figure out what it is.

I've made up a "page" in power point for each artist.  I put the thumbnail sketch for each clip art product and also copied the artist's terms of use.

It makes it really easy when I go to complete a product because I can quickly find the artist page and check the terms of use prior to finishing a project.  What organizational strategies do you use?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

BHSM Blog Link up

Laura at "Oh, How Pintearesting" has set up another SLP link up for Better Hearing and Speech Month.  (See her awesome acronym below?)  

Buying:  It's Mother's day and this year I bought 2 tickets for an event called the Girlfriend mystery tour.  Basically, my mom and I will be boarding a bus this Fall and we will have NO idea where we are going.  This is always been my "dream date" with my husband-where he would whisk me off on an adventure.  This is better because it's planned by women-and I get to do it with my mom.  (My husband's mystery date would inevitably lead to the movies for a all night screening of the Lord of the Rings movies...)

Hearting:  Our intermittent Minnesota Spring Weather.  One day it's 70!!! The next day it's snowing.  Today it was 50.  Check out this CRAZY video of an "glacier" attacking a resort in Minnesota on May 11th!  (Just be careful at the end, because she does drop a swear word.  I'm not judging.  I'm pretty sure I would've had a couple too.)

Sharing: is the BEST website if you work with children using AAC.  Great suggestions and ideas for Core vocabulary strategies and moving beyond requesting during therapy sessions.  I have a few patients with devices right now and I find myself constantly sharing posts with my families from this blog.

Making:  I love making jewelry.  This weekend I'm making Sugar Skull earrings for one of my best friends from College.  It's her 40th.  (It was in November but I don't think that makes me a BAD friend necessarily-just a unique one who celebrates friend's birthdays on their halfsies.)

I want to hear your BHSM stories!  Check out Oh How Pintearesting for the full scoop and link your blog up!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Speecher Appreciation Sale: What I got.

I ended up with more products than I was planning on, but I'm really excited to use these materials.  I think it was a good strategy to get some extras because I will have my Fridays off in the summer-perfect for an hour or so of Speech therapy prep before going to the beach. 

Here is what I ended up with: 

1.  Roll it, Say it, Keep it: TH  from Speech Universe I have a kiddo that is going to be SO excited for a new game to work on TH.  I think if I brought out my Super Duper photo deck again he'd probably explode. 

1.  Apraxia Packet for Early Sounds.  from Lauren at Busy Bee Speech.  I'm always interested in new products or resources to work on apraxia. 
 3.  What's the Main Idea and Let's Eat Healthy.  Thanks to Allison at Speech Peeps for posting her TPT picks.  The Main idea program looked great!  Plus I work with a lot of feeding clients.  I thought the Let's get Healthy packet would be a great addition to my resources. 

4.  3 Strikes and You're Out from the Dabbling Speechie.  I have three clients with problem solving goals so am looking for some new resources for this! 

Auditory Memory QR reader from Mia at Putting Words in Your Mouth.   I LOVE this idea.  Scan the QR code and your phone or tablet SAYS the numbers or sentence.  Great for middle school students!  I'm using this with a Fluency client right now. 

 Articulation Menus: from Speechy Musings.  This has been on my wishlist since the last Speech therapy sale!  I love how innovative it is. 

Ice Cream Conjunctions from MIss Speechie.    I purchased the spaghetti product during the last sale-it was a hit! I love the teaching slides that came with that program. 

 Supermarket Sort by Figuratively Speeching.  I love functional activities!

Cooking up Context clues: from the Speech Bubble.  A fun activity to work on context clues. 

 Elementary, My Dear Analogies: from Straight Up Speech. I love to work on analogies and am always looking for new resources and therapy activities. 

What did you end up with? 

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale: What's new at Speech2U

Did you like that rhyme?  I wrote it and got this big grin on my face.  I'm a big dork.

You know what's even bigger?  The Teachers Pay Teachers Appreciation Sale!

My store along with a lot of others are 20% off with an additional 8% off from TPT.  I spent a little time today browsing and will make my final selections tomorrow night.  Right now I have 17 items in my cart!

I decided to try an experiment.  When I'm reading blogs I sometimes find that the postings that are just listing TPT products are a little distracting.  I'm really looking for more "therapy ideas," fun stories, Pinterest projects remade into speech therapy materials.

BUT I TOTALLY GET WHAT THEY ARE DOING!  They are passionate about their products!  I am too.  It takes me an average of 10-20 hours to get a product completed.  After that amount of time-you're pretty pumped to share it with the world!

The Process

Sometimes my ideas come when I'm with a client and I think, "Wouldn't it be cool if I could add a visual in for this?"  Or sometimes I have a client that loves something (like Ninjas) and I just want to make them happy.  Or sometimes I really want to make a snack and I just want to make sure that I get enough therapy repetitions within our session.

Then it's time to find the perfect clip art.  (Stay tuned for a how-to-organize your hundreds of dollars worth of clip art post) I was a yearbook geek in Junior high and high school so I love page layouts.  I try to buy all of the clip art I use from individual artists whenever possible.  My husband is an illustrator so I get what goes into these products and I understand how difficult it can be to make a living in the graphic arts field.  It's fun (and sometimes frustrating) to look for the perfect clip art to illustrate an idea.

I try to come up with a teaching idea, trick, graphic organizer so that each product is unique and has a little something extra in it rather than just working on a drill activity.  That's my favorite part-towards the end when I start thinking about what's going to make this product unique or what general concept I'm hoping my students can start to understand.  Sometimes it takes a month before I figure it out and then I'm so excited I'll stay up until 2 AM to finish it.  I can't tell you how excited I was when I decided to include a gnome hat in my Gnome-More products.  (Again-BIG dork.)

Blah, blah, blah right?  I could talk about this all day!  I LOVE making these products.  I think it makes me a better and more creative speech and language pathologist.  But I could never do it without


I'm am amazed, awed and blessed by the outpouring of support (both financial and verbal) from my fellow speech language pathologists.  The fact that someone reads through the description and then spends money out of their budget or (more likely) out of their own pocket on something I made and then takes the time to write a few kind words about it, it's priceless.  I don't take it for granted.  Every day, I'm grateful to anyone who has read this blog, been a Facebook friend, followed me on TPT (401 followers!!!!)  Love, love, LOVE all of you!

With that in mind, I wanted to make this blog the best experience for you.  So I thought maybe a Monthly: What's New at Speech2U post which updates you on new products I've made would help make the blog reading experience more enjoyable.  The rest of the month will just be silly stories, therapy ideas, and maybe some cross product reviews.  So let me know your thoughts:  one time a month with OR is it more helpful to see more of the pages of a product so you can make an informed choice.

Anyhow, Here's what's New at Speech2U:

Interactive Flashcards: 

 What do you need makes early problem solving more visual.  Students choose between a field of 3-8 objects, allowing you to adjust the difficulty of the task.  (Example, put out 4 very different pictures to make it easier to answer a question: soccer ball, net, apple, banana for What 2 things do you need to play soccer)  Or choose 8 sports items: soccer ball, net, basketball, hoop, football, baseball, bat, racket to make the task more challenging.

This has been my favorite go to activity with a few clients.  I've used it with clients on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, clients with Down Syndrome and clients with lower language skills.

 This one is a best seller!  A similar idea which allows you to adjust the difficulty and change the question options for each child.  Over 100 picture choices allows you to change the activity each time it is presented.  Make it easier by starting with color coding with very different choices.  Ex: Where do we watch a movie. (Put out a green movie theater card which matches the question card along with 3 people cards.)  As the student get's better switch to the black cards without a color cue.

Another product which is great for children with Autism Spectrum disorders, echolalia or students with severe language disorders.  This works really well for children who are having difficulty answering who, what, where questions.

A great packet to include functional language activities within your sessions.  I'm thinking about some more of these packets so let me know if you like these kids of activities.  You can use this one with younger kids and focus on the /s/ blends or you can work on it with elementary or older clients who are working on life skill activities or oral narratives.  

There are 2 of these one for the later developing sounds and one for Prevocalic and Vocalic /r/.  I made these up because some of my clients were having a hard time coming up with vocabulary choices during Mad Lib types of Activities.
Extra game board micropackets.  These articulation games go along with the What Am I vocabulary game.  That product has SO many graphic organizers to help teach different aspects of vocabulary-it's definitely a resource you could use over the course of a few months!  I added in the expansion games so that you would have different vocabulary choices AND you could use it within mixed language groups.  Each game stands on it's own-if you are just looking for articulation materials.  There are now packets for: Sh, S, K, G, Consonant blends, R, and multisyllabic words.  Check out the Free Holiday What Am I Game to see how it is played.

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