Monday, September 30, 2013

What's new Speech2U: September Edition

I can't believe tomorrow is October already!  It seems the older I get, the quicker time passes.  It's already time for "What's new at Speech2u."  I take one post a month to fill you in on what I've been working on or added to my Teacher's Pay Teacher's store and my Teacher's Notebook store.

I have been T-I-R-E-D this month.  Anyone else feeling exhausted?  I spent most of September going to bed early instead of getting lots of products completed.  I am excited about what I got accomplished though!

1. Grocery Theractivity:  

This started as a paragraph game suggestion in another product and thanks to a suggestion from a reviewer-it ended up being a 48 page packet containing 72 different food pictures and 9 different activities.  Since I work with a variety of ages, I tried to create activities that worked with preschoolers up to late elementary or middle school students in Life skills classes.

2.  Silly Stories: /s/, /l/, and /r/ blends carryover activities

I still love fill in the blank stories such as Mad libs.

3.  5 ways to FALL into Cinquains: 
Cinquains are a 5 line poem that lends itself really well to vocabulary development, syntax and self expression.  The first line is the subject, the second line contains 2 adjectives, the third line contains three action words, the fourth line is a short phrase and the fifth is a word that is similar or describes the first word.

I like to use these with my clients, but I know that some of them need extra help to generate ideas or vocabulary.  This product contains enough cut and paste options to make over 25 poems.  In addition, a flip flap booklet template is provided-along with three shape worksheets for additional practice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday Soapbox: Can we make a difference together?

"Unlike your clinic, we complete a full assessment of each child's needs.  We treat the child until they are in school and then will refer if needed."
-Early Childhood coordinator 

"Of course she gets speech therapy in the schools, but we were so excited to get a real therapist to work with our child.

"We don't allow fliers in our backpacks-but if we did we still wouldn't use yours because we are able to take care of ALL of our speech and language needs through free and appropriate education."
-school administrator.

"I can't believe that therapist sent all of those recommendations for me to complete without even talking to me.  Who does she think she is?"
-speech language pathologist in the public schools
Turns out-there are a lot of misconceptions about what we are and what we do.  According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, there were 123, 200 people working as a Speech language pathologist in 2010.  Speech language pathologists work in a variety of settings including: private practice, outpatient clinics, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.  We all get the same schooling and a similar amount of clinical hours.  We are all dealing with challenges in our places of employment.
  • School Speech language pathologists are struggling with rising caseloads and increased work demands.  Speech and language therapist shortages are being filled by temporary and sometimes unqualified workers.  In Minnesota, special education providers are lobbying to get 5 year temporary licenses to fill speech pathology positions in the school.  There are reports that these licenses are going to people without any training in speech language pathology.
  • Speech language pathologists in Nursing homes are being pushed to work longer hours, cut their hours or hit high productivity numbers of 80% or more.
  • Medical insurances continue to change coverage for pediatric habilitative therapy.  Some are denying coverage for developmental disabilities, articulation, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy.  More recently more plans have started denying services to children over the age of 6.
  • Our scope of practice continues to be challenged by a variety of other professionals.  
We are a small profession compared to other industries.  But what if all 123,000 of us started to get interested in changing and helping with everyone's issues?  It's hard to make significant change when there is just one or two speech language pathologist's in the building.  With the increase in social media, facebook speech therapy groups, and all time record speech language blogging, we are more connected than ever.  What if we stopped accepting things as they are-and started really trying to change and advocate for everyone within our profession.  Here are a few things to get started:

Join your state professional organization and ASHA.  You are busy and probably don't have to time to lobby for all of these issues-they can and will-if they are funded appropriately

Medically Based/Habilitative providers:
  • Educate your families about the credentials and schooling needed to become a speech language pathologist.  We are both REAL therapists.  
  • Collaborate with speech language pathologist's within the schools rather than making general recommendations on evaluations or to parents.  Sometimes what is possible in an outpatient clinic is not possible in a school based setting.  Collaboration will the school speech language pathologist can help you to both figure out how to best service that particular client.  
  • Ideally, you should contact the schools-their caseloads can be very high.  
  • Don't be afraid to ask a school SLP to probe a specific skill you are working on in a group or different setting.  
  • Understand the difference between and expert and a professional opinion.  An expert has been practicing and specializing in a specific field for a set number of years.  They have probably written books or taught classes.  
School Speech language pathologists:
  • Ask your families if they receive outpatient services.  It is probably not possible to refer or recommend therapy in many districts.  Many families don't realize that there are additional options for services until their children are 7 or 8 years old.  Using the phrase, "Did you know that some families choose to receive additional services through their medical insurance" is not a referral.  
  • Understand that many insurance companies require that medically based speech therapy goals are distinctly different from school based goals.  Please ask before writing the exact same IEP goals as an outpatient therapist-they may need to change their goals based on your report.
  • Educate your administrators about how outpatient and school based therapies can complement each other.  Most children progress faster when they are able to get both.
  • There are a variety of different insurance plans out there.  Some are pretty bad-but other's have good coverage for speech and language services.  Many private clinics will verify insurance benefits for parents.  Therapy clinics charge different rates-often times hospital affiliated clinics charge 2-3 times more than private clinics.  It pays to call around.  
  • Working privately is a great way to earn extra money and help students in your area.  Please charge appropriately for your services.  Call clinics in your area and ask what they charge for a speech therapy session.  Charging significantly less than the average in an area hurts our profession.  Doctor's don't see patients for half of their clinic rate on the side, neither should we. 
Just so we are clear, the attitudes expressed above aren't the views of ALL speech language pathologist's (or even MOST speech language pathologists  but wouldn't it be great if it wasn't the attitude of ANY?  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Super Cheap Speech therapy Ideas: Guest Post

I'm guest posting over at the dabbling Speechie today.  Head over there to see how I use packing materials in my therapy room.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mama-On-Days: The Renaissance Festival

I have a tendency to romanticize things-like family outings-in my head.  I picture this "perfect" family moment and when it inevitably becomes a "regular, real life family moment" I get disappointed.  Having realized this about myself, I've been using some social stories on myself to help me prepare for our latest family trip.

You are going on a trip to the Renaissance Fair with your 5 year old.  It's okay to not see everything at the fair.  A successful fair trip with a 5 year old is getting to see 2 things.  If your five year old starts to whine, you can take 3 big breaths and then tell him to use his BIG BOY words.  It's okay for mom's to have one drink when they are with their kids at the Fair.  

My challenge this week was to keep my cool when attending the fair with the Biscuit (now aged 5), my mother and my brother.  It was difficult as you will soon see:

Incident #1:  Traffic was backed up on the road going into the fair.  I stopped at the light to avoid blocking the oncoming traffic should the light change.  A pick up truck ended up passing me on the right side.  Super annoying-but I'm pretty good at avoiding road rage.  I didn't even have to take a deep breath.

Incident #1.5:  Too bad I couldn't say the same for my brother.  He decides to make some finger gestures at the pick up driver-which is returned by the driver-and later by his 8 and 9 year old children in the back seat.  Did I mention that we are stuck in traffic?  

Incident #1.75:  My brother further antagonizes the driver by snapping a picture of his truck to post on a  "I hate your driving" website.  

Incident #1.8:  At the next stoplight, the pick up driver jumps out of his truck screaming at me that he knows some police officers too , taking pictures of our license plate and insisting that I was the one who was causing the traffic delay in the first place.  I'm silently cursing my brother.  

Incident #2.0:  We spend the next 2 hours stuck behind the angry pick up driver.  We needed to go three miles.  

Incident #2.5:  We get to the fair at 4:30-it closes at 7 but since we've just spent over 2 hours in the car, I am insistent that we enter the fair.  

Incident #3:  We finally find a parking spot-and walk towards the entrance of the fair.  We are wrong-we are walking on the back end of the fair.  We turn around and head towards the fair gate.  

Incident #3.5 (sanity saver)  It's now 5:00.  BUT a stranger gives me a FREE TICKET.  Thank you!  I am renewed with positive energy.

Incident #3.7:  WE ARE IN THE FAIR!  

Incident #3.8:  The Biscuit gets his first bee sting.  

Incident # 3.9-12:   I spend a lot of time reassuring strangers that the Biscuit isn't your typical crabby overwhelmed 5 year old.  He is suffering from a bee sting.  I get a lot of weird treatment options from people dressed up in Medieval Garb.  

Incident 12.1:  I see someone dressed up like Mario.  

Incident 12.5:  We spend the next hour waiting in line for face painting.  We bought one wooden sword.

And then-it was time to go.   We stopped at Chipotle for dinner.  

In spite of the incidents, it was a good day.  We are healthy.  We have a home.  I have a job that I love.  Life is good.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Love it and list it: Vocabulary Link up!

The fantastic Jenna over at Speech Room News has set up another Love it and List it party.  It's an opportunity to list 3-5 of your favorite products or ways to work on the topic of the month.  This month is focusing on Vocabulary.  I tend to teach vocabulary by focusing on: multiple meaning words, prefixes/suffixes, teaching a strategy for definitions and teaching synonyms/antonyms.  In school settings I will focus on teaching curriculum vocabulary, but I don't focus as much on specific vocabulary teaching in outpatient settings.  Here are some of my favorites:

1.  The Expanding Expression Tool (EET) :  I bet this one is on a lot of lists.  This is a great tool for teaching kids a strategy for defining and thinking about vocabulary words.  I LOVE the physical aspect of this.  I use the EET strand, student strands, steppers and stickers!  This is one of the first things I pull out in therapy.

2.  Descripto Bingo:  Before I used EET, I liked using the initial "Detective map" in Descripto Bingo to help my clients develop a visual map for defining words.

3.  Word Joggers and Word Joggers Junior:  I love these two products for providing a variety of ways to target vocabulary and word retrieval

4.  Just for Laughs: Understanding Multiple Meaning Words.  I love using jokes to help teach Multiple Meaning Words.  I also had a copy of Cartoon Cut Ups which is out of print-which was great for explaining multiple meanings and figurative language.  

5.  Word Feast-Middle School:  I used this a lot with my middle school and high school students to work on vocabulary within oral reading tasks.  They do a great job of building on the vocabulary taught throughout each lesson too!

I'm really excited to see what everyone else has listed-I'm always looking for new ways to teach vocabulary.  Check out everyone else's suggestions or link up by heading over to Speech Room News.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Soapbox Saturday: Confusing Shipping Charges Drive Me Crazy

I recently placed an order at a certain company known for their assessments.  I needed to stock up on Protocols as well as order 2 assessments.  The cost of the order was around 1700.00 which is ALOT of money to spend on assessments.

The shipping charge was 85.00.  I got pretty mad.  85.00 would buy me at least 2 Linguisystem books, 7 card decks or 42 Super Duper card deck apps. So I called the company to ask why the shipping rates were so outrageous.

The man on the other end of the phone insisted that their shipping charges were reasonable.  We got a price break because we spent over 500.00.  If I wanted to spend 2500.00, I could get an additional price break on shipping and handling.  

I waited until the packages came so I could see the weight and compare based on the actual shipping cost.  It came in 3 packages.  There may be some slight variations based on size but I think this is a pretty accurate estimate of what it should cost to send a package via UPS ground shipping:

Package 1:  17 pounds:  16.00
Page 2:       13 pounds:  15.00
Page 3:       13 pounds:  15.00

So this company could have legitimately paid 46.00 to ship the assessments.  Media mail might have been an even cheaper option.  But instead they charged an additional 39.00 for handling fees.
In the past, I've always bulked up my orders to this site thinking that I was saving on shipping and handling.  It turns out I was throwing money away.  It got me thinking and I started looking at all of their assessment protocols and where I could purchase them for cheaper shipping and handling.  Some are only available through them-but a lot were available through companies which offered free shipping.
Apraxia Profile
Auditory Skills Assessment (ASA)
Boehm Basic Concepts
CELF Preschool, 4, 5
Cognitive linguistic Quick Test: CLQT
Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL)
Super Duper , Linguisystems, Janelle Publications, Mayer-Johnson
Janelle Publications
Super Duper , Linguisystems
Super Duper, Linguisystems, Mayer-Johnson
Super Duper , Linguisystems, Mayer-Johnson
Super Duper , Linguisystems, Mayer-Johnson
Goldman Fristoe test of Articulation (GFTA)
Super Duper , Linguisystems
Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI)
Peabody Developmental Motor Scales (OT test)
Super Duper
Super Duper , Linguisystems, Janelle Publications, Mayer-Johnson
Scan C
Janelle Publications Super Duper
Super Duper, Linguisystems
Test of Word Finding
Super Duper ; Linguisystems
Linguisystems , Janelle Publications, Mayer-Johnson
Super Duper , Linguisystems, Mayer-Johnson
Super Duper ; Linguisystems, Mayer-Johnson  

After I researched that, I started to wonder about other shipping and handling charges.  It pains me to say this, but the company was right.  When you compare their shipping and handling charges to similar companies, they are a lot cheaper.  I found companies that charge up to 15% of your total order for shipping and handling.

Academic Communication Associates
Speech and Language, ESL and Special Education books and materials.
Free Shipping over 75.00
Academic Therapy Publications
Publications related to learning disabilities and special education
10% on all orders
Achievement Products
Special Needs products
15% on all orders
Ark Therapeutics
Z-vibe, Oral motor and feeding products.
Free shipping over 100.00
Speech and language books, videos, and promotional materials, also carries outside vendors products.  Typically for 10% off the list price.
·      24.99 or less  5.00 shipping
·      25-79.99 8.00
·      80-159.99  12.00
·      160-299.99 16.00
·      300.00- 499.999 20.00
·      500.00+  30.00
Autism Shop
Tons of books on Autism and related disabilities including books for kids, plus learning toys for children with Autism.
Free shipping over 100.00
Beyond Play
Lots of products for early intervention and special needs including feeding products.
·      0-50.00  5.00 shipping
·      50-200.00    10% shipping
·      500-1500.00  10%
·      1500-2500.00   5%
·      2500 + FREE
Discount School Supply
Craft supplies, Dramatic play materials, teaching materials Carries a lot of products found at Lakeshore learning.

Free shipping over 79.00 with fuel surcharge.  (extra charges may apply for larger equipment.) 
Great Ideas for Teaching
Speech therapy books and games

·      0-50.00  7.95 shipping
·      50-500.00    15% shipping
·      500-1500     10%
Janelle Publications
Speech therapy books, games and activities
Free shipping on assessments
10% shipping for all other products
Lakeshore Learning
Educational Products/games
15% of total order
Speech and Language books, materials and assesments
FREE shipping
Special Education products and Boardmaker. 
FREE shipping over 50.00
Speech and Occupational therapy assessments and textbooks
·      0-500.00      6% shipping
·      500-2,499    5% shipping
·      2500 +        4% shipping
Books, materials and assessments for Special Education and Speech Pathology-took over Thinking Publications products.
10% on all orders
Say It Right
Speech and language books and materials, carries the Entire World of /r/ Series
5.50 base charge + .99 per additional item.
School Specialty
Carries Special Education products, Early childhood products and Occupational therapy products.  Specialty catalogs include:
Speech Bin
Free shipping over 49.00 (extra charges may apply for larger equipment.) 
Southpaw Enterprises
Sensory integration and neurodevelopmental products.  Carries some oral motor products and early intervention toys.
8.00 OR 14% whichever is greater
Super Duper Publications
Speech therapy materials, games, and assessments
Speech, Occupational and Physical therapy products
FREE Shipping over 35.00
Therapy Shoppe
Sensory and Occupational Therapy products and games for kids.  Some social skills and speech products as well.
·      0-35.00       7.49
·      35.01-50.00  7.99
·      50.01-75.00  8.99
·      75.00-100.00 9.99
·      100+   10% of order
Western Publications
Speech and Occupational therapy assessments
10% on all orders

I think it pays to shop around a little bit on shipping and handling.  If you would like a printable copy of this information please click HERE.   If you find some of these shipping and handling rates outrageous-please take the time to contact these companies and let them know your thoughts.  Together we can make changes that would be difficult alone.

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