Sunday, August 11, 2013

Welcome to the Back to School SLP Blog Hop!

I am really excited to be participating in my 2nd Blog hop with some amazing and talented speech language pathologists.  YOU will get the chance to collect great back to school ideas for SLP's, win prizes and get freebies by touring 17 fantastic blogs!

You can use the Linkytools at the bottom of this post to hop around 17 blogs, collect ideas and clues!

Virtual Speech Therapy

Today I am going to talk about Virtual Speech therapy-or telepractice.  If you haven't heard about telepractice, Shanda from Twin Sister's Speech Therapy wrote a very informative blog post a few weeks ago that you can read HERE.

I've done telepractice for three years now.  Today, I'm going to talk a little bit about how telepractice looks when providing language therapy to  students in their home.

Companies who provide telepractice or virtual speech therapy services have spent a lot of time and energy determining the correct video equipment, cameras, and software to provide telepractice with.  If you decide to work with these companies, you will need to sign a pretty lengthly non-disclosure contract.  Basic equipment includes your computer, webcam and headphones.  Each company uses different software platforms for how they organize and provide speech therapy.  One thing that is important to keep in mind is that whatever software you choose to use should have high security and encryption to avoid compromising your student's privacy.

Many telepractice companies focus on working with students within the schools.  These may be provided in a group format with a para facilitating at the school.  My job worked directly with the students in their home.  Specific challenges included: different connection speeds for rural students based on availability, parents and students remembering the therapy sessions and families understanding of the virtual environment.  It didn't really seem like I was in their home-but I was.  I could hear a lot of what was going on in the home during the sessions.  And I could see a lot.  Who takes a shower in the middle of the day and forgets their towel-Yikes! Put on some pants please!  Seriously.  It happened.  

Telepractice is like one giant barrier game.  It forces you to get really good at giving precise directions.  Likewise, my students needed to get really good at listening to my directions.

I loved, loved, loved doing virtual language sessions-especially with my middle and high school students.  This is a great medium to engage them.  
Intro:  We talk about how we are doing and share 1-2 new things we've done during the week.  With language clients I am looking at sentence structure, their ability to relate a story and conversational skills.
Review:  We spent about 5 minutes reviewing what we worked on last time and checking in on their homework.
Lesson Introduction:  I found that I really liked using an "introductory lesson" for my sessions.  I would start with either a PowerPoint presentation I created, a PowerPoint presentation I purchased, a Youtube video or an educational music/rap (which was usually found on Youtube.)
Skill Practice:  After we'd reviewed our lesson, the rest of the session was spent on skills practice.  I tried to vary the different activities.  There are a lot of different options for activities:
  • Worksheets:  Sometimes I would upload worksheets that we could "write" on in our session.  
  • Games: such as Connect Four, Minesweep, Checkers or Cake Builder and work on "speech cards" in between turns.  
  • Hearbuilder by Super Duper-Awesome for working on following directions.
  • Webcam watch:  We could work on following directions by giving each other directions and watching on our webcams
  • Mad libs style games online!  Great to practice vocabulary as well as articulation.  Here is a FREEBIE I made for TH sounds in all word positions.  (Download the PREVIEW for the Freebie.)  
  • Barrier Games:  We could do barrier activities-and then use our webcams to see if we completed the activities in the same way.  
  • Interactive Activities on the web
  • Video tape, watch and reflect:  One of my favorite tools was to tape part of the session and then have the student "grade" their performance.  This was especially helpful for my fluency and articulation students.   
  • Online quiz games
Fun Game:  We usually ended with a fun game.  Angry Birds was a big favorite.  I also had quite a few fans of Scribblenauts which we played on my iPad with the students telling me what to write.  If we ran out of time, we might play virtual Rock, paper, Scissors.  Many webcams also come with software which allows you to put on funny hats, cartoon wigs etc.  This was great for describing ( You have on a brown cowboy hat)  and predicting (I think you are going to wear....)

Don't I look gorgeous?
Review and Homework:  The last few minutes were generally spent reviewing what we'd learned.  I got pretty good at threatening a speech therapy redo for those students who couldn't remember one thing we'd done.          

Here are five ten of my favorite online resources:

They have THE best power points.  These are geared for classroom use but work great for general therapy.  I bought a lot of their power points on: synonyms, multiple meaning words, context clues, fact/opinion and main idea.  

2.  Quia:

This website allows educators to create their own quizzes, matching games, or games (Battle ship, Jeopardy, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire.)  You can use already created materials for free or sign up for an account to create you own.  The Jeopardy game was my favorite, I liked to create my own activities  for students to gather more data when my quarterly progress notes were due.

3.  Read, Write, Think: 

This site has fantastic interactive activities to use with students.  My favorites were the interactive graphic organizers for Compare and Contrast activities.

4.  TV: 411:

Although this site was created for adult learners, it had great activities for middle/high school students related to prefixes, suffixes, vocabulary and context clues.  

5.  We Give Books:

Free online story books you can read to students-and for each book read, the Pearson Foundation (of GFTA-2 fame) donates a book.  Fantastic!  I also found that I could find books being read on Youtube-there are a lot of grandparents out there reading books to their kids. 

6.  Wacky Webtails: 

Activities similar to madlibs.  You type in the words and then the story appears.  We used this for vocabulary building as well as articulation practice.


Lots of online games focused on vocabulary building.

8.  Spelling City:

Another online game site focused on spelling and vocabulary.

9.  Super Teacher Worksheets:

This used to be a free site but it is now subscription based.  The price is very inexpensive and they have some great short stories to work on auditory comprehension and inferencing skills up to grade 5.
10.  Pinterest:  

I'm working on converting most of my favorites on my computer to my Pinterest board for virtual therapy resources.

Bottom Line: 
Of course the question that I get asked is "Does it work?"  The answer is yes-for some better than others.  Telepractice isn't appropriate for every student.   I really liked it for middle and high school students and for students over second grade.  Almost all of my students showed gains on their assessments with virtual therapy.  One high schooler improved from being 3 standard deviations below the mean on the CELF to being just 2 standard deviations below the mean.

Phew!  That was a lot of reading.  Now back to the HOP!

5 lucky WINNERS will receive a goodie basket of:  TPT products from our stores.  I'm donating a copy of Interactive Inference Riddles.

1 GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive the following:
If you like getting chances to win awesome apps-please take a quick minute to like their page and thank them for their donation.  Be sure to tell them you were sent there by the Back to School SLP blog hop!    
The rules of this contest are simple
  • You must decode a SECRET MESSAGE.  
  • In order to complete this task, you will need to visit each of the 17 blogs and find the OWL CLUE
  • The OWL CLUE will include one word that is part of the code.
  • When you enter the Rafflecopter you will be asked to enter the Secret Code.  
  • The contest will run August 11th through August 17th.  
Find my Secret Code:  
Have you figured out the Secret Code?  Enter Below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Kathy Grover said...

This is an amazing overview. I have not done this before, but was asked if it might be an option for kids who are at a different site that are not as easy to get to the amount of time students need. It also makes better use of both the student's time and the clinician's time.
Thanks you. Now, when asked, I feel like I can address this with more confidence and knowledge.

Communication Station: Speech Therapy, PLLC said...

Awesome blog! LOVE how different it is and giving a great realistic view of telepractice and what populations you have found it to be more effective. Also love the great resources you suggested! Thanks for sharing!!!

Laura Dee said...

Telepractice is something I need to know more about. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

What great information!

Jessica Schulman said...

Awesome information! I love the resources you provided. Thanks for sharing!

Rose Ann said...

Would love to observe an actual telepractice therapy session! One more "setting" SLP's can practice in--I love the flexibility of our profession! Thanks for this great info and resources....and the pink hair-do is very cool!

Jen Shamberger said...

What great information! It is amazing how technology is changing practice in so many ways.

Speech Universe

Rachel Nortz said...

We Give Books is one of my FAVORITE resources! I love reading the books on my big mac desktop. I let the students use a pointer to point to the images and re-tell the stories. I can also look up companions that we can do afterward. It's awesome! Lots of other resources as well, thanks for posting Kelly!

miamcd said...

This was so interesting!! wow!! Great practical tips - in case telepractice ever makes its way to Louisiana ( I would LOVE to do it) but that may take a while LOL

Teachers Unleashed said...

Oh MY GOODNESS! We just googled ourselves to see if our website is up and running (Nope- not yet) and your blog came up! So enjoyed your comments that we made a difference in your classroom! Golly, that's the point. Thank you, thank you!!!

So happy to see the shoutout! Have a great summer.

Sam and Susan
Teachers Unleashed

Speech2U said...

Sam and Susan-I love your products! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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