Sunday, March 31, 2013

Kool-aid eggs for next year.

I'm mostly taking Easter off this year but I wanted to share this in case you had an Easter egg dyeing emergency and thought to check my blog for answers. Due to my husband's measuring deficits, it was taking EXTRA long to get our Easter eggs dyed this morning. I remembered that last year I had seen some posts on using Kool-aid to make Easter eggs. We had some leftover Kool-aid packets from making Kool-aid play doh. The Recipe I found suggested mixing 2/3 cup water with one packet of Kool-aid.

The Kool-Aid eggs turned out really vibrant-although the grape kool-aid packet left the egg very brown. The best part? No vinegar smell.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More Easter Activities.

A few more things going in my Speech world this week

Easter Cookies

I found this cookie set at Target and thought it was great for targeting attribute + noun phrases (red frosting, green sprinkles), sequencing, and choice making.  

Egg-laying Chicken.  

This toy cracks me up.  Wind him up and he walks around the room laying "eggs."  I'm not sure exactly what common core standard he addresses, but he is really fun.  

Bunny Faces:  

I saw these cute bunny faces from Doodle Bugs {First Grade Rocks} and knew that I wanted to make them with my preschool clients.  I spent some of my t.v. viewing time cutting out the parts and used the pieces during drill activities.  It was also fun to use with my older clients-I would ask them to help me make a model for some other clients.  For them I would give them most of the pieces plus a sample of the completed project.  We worked on some Executive Functioning (planning) skills as well as requesting materials needed.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hunt-a-rama and a Dork moment.

I love Easter Egg Hunts in therapy.  I love them so much I usually store a whole box of Easter Eggs in my speech room for the whole year.  I don't do more egg hunts during the year.  I suppose I store them in case I am snowed in  until the following Easter.  

Now the "eggs" come in characters and all kind of other designs so it is easier to have a "Treasure Hunt" if you have clients or students who don't celebrate Easter (or if your school doesn't celebrate holidays.)

I've used the Spiderman and Spongebob containers a lot as I have a HUGE caseload of cluster reducer's right now.

 I like the Batman heads.  I'm going to use them in social skills lessons.  The plan is to just take regular social skills cards and make Batman one of the participants.  For example, Batman's friend Jenny just budged in line.  What is Batman thinking?  Open his head and you will find a thought bubble card with a thought like, "Jenny is being really rude.  I wish she'd just go to the end of the line."

Today we worked on vocabulary.  I wrote pairs of objects for compare/contrast and put them in the eggs and hid the eggs around the room.  Then I used the Egg puzzles to write Category/ function/appearance.

We used the Venn Diagrams (I got these at a BER course from Sarah Peterson) to compare and contrast the items using the category /function/object.

At the end, we turned over each piece of the egg to help us summarize the description.  

Now for my super dork moment.  I was explaining the activity to a parent.  I meant to say, The activity was really fun."  Instead, I said, "Yeah, I'm really fun.  Oh.  I mean not usually.  But this was pretty fun."  Have you said things to parents that you regret?  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Still hopping along...Easter Egg puzzles.

Thank you SO much to everyone who participated in the blog hop last week.  I hope you had a really good time and were able to find some new blogs to read.  Even though the blog hop is over, I'm still hopping because it's Easter week and I ended up with lots of activities for my clients.

This is one of my take home projects for my older clients this week.

I found these foam egg shapes at Target for 5.00 for a big pack of eggs.  I'm sure they will be really cheap on Monday if you want to stock up for next year.  (I always think that this is a good idea-but I rarely remember to pull out the activities the next year.)

I used it to work on emotions today.  We came up with vocabulary for small emotions and medium emotions.  We talked about how medium emotions are when we need to pick a calming strategy or get help-BEFORE we get to the big emotions at the bottom of the egg.  If I was the MOST AWESOME Speech Language Pathologist in the Whole. Wide. World., we would have used actual eggs to demonstrate this:

Small emotions: Tap egg and see tiny cracks
Medium Emotions; Tap egg and get bigger crack-maybe some yolk starts to spill out...
Big Emotions: Throw the egg on your Therapy floor.  Discuss what a mess it makes and correlate that to how big emotions create big, messy problems in your life just like this egg did.

(Then picture me, unemployed, wiping egg gunk off of the floor...)

Other ideas I had for the eggs:
1.  Categories: Write three category members on the three parts of the egg.  Put 5-10 "eggs" in a box.  Can they sort the eggs correctly AND name the category?
2.  What does not belong Categories.
3.  Three Step Sequencing:  Write out one step on each piece.
4.  Articulation: silly sentences.  Have the student think of three words that contain their sound.  Write on each piece.  Can they think of sentence that contains all three words?
5.  Vocabulary Definitions: Make the top part a Category, the middle part a function, and the bottom part a synonym.  Have students fill out for different vocabulary items.

What are you doing to celebrate Easter (or Spring) in your Speech sessions?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Social Skills Game worth checking out.

Sometimes it can be challenging to work on Social Skills with older children who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Finding materials that are motivating and provide the right amount of challenge can be difficult.  Most students I work with can answer questions related to basic social skills.  Should Johnny yell at the teacher?  Of course not.  They have more difficulty with questions where they may not be one right or wrong answer.

Joel Shaul's website: has a plethora of treatment ideas, freebies and products for purchase.  I've used the free parts of his Green Zone for conversational topic choices and found that my students were able to grasp these concepts quickly.

RYUU-The Game® is a card game similar to Pokemon® or Yu-Gi-Oh.  It was created by Joel Shaul and Rebecca Klaw.  It's a brilliant idea.  It combines dragons-(awesome) with a "role playing" type of game.  The version I played, the student had to answer 2 questions to evolve his dragon.  Each dragon evolves through stages as they become more socially aware.  There are pages of insightful questions and role plays provided on the accompanying CD.  

I love this product because it gets kids REALLY excited about thinking about Social Skills.  And it takes the initial pressure off of them to succeed because they are answering questions for their DRAGONS.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 2013 SLP Blog Link Up

Oh How Pintearesting is hosting a SLP blog Link up party.  Find out how you can join on her site!  

Graphics are by Scrappin Doodles and Teaching in a Small Town. Font is by Cara Carroll of the First Grade Parade.

State of Mind:  Grateful.  I was lucky to be able to participate in the SLP Spring Fever Blog hop this week.  Not only did I get 12 sets of  FREEBIES but I have gotten to meet some fantastically talented Speech Language Pathologists.  AND I'm always so grateful to the people who take time to like my Facebook page, read a blog post or two and support SLP's by making purchases on TPT.  

Loving:  I started canning my salads after reading about it on Pinterest.  It's great because I can make up 3-4 lunches on the weekend and be able to take them to work and eat healthy most of the time.  Each week I try a different salad recipe so that I don't get bored of salads.  The best salad so far has been a combination of baby Kale leaves and Makoto ginger dressing (available in the refrigerated section)  I realize that choosing baby Kale over my family or a homemade salted caramels is ridiculous.  If you want to send me a box of homemade caramels I promise that will be what I'm loving.  (Please don't send me your family...)  

Prepping:  I'm working on a new TPT product that focuses on  sequencing.  And I'm prepping Spring Into Spring with Verbal Problem Solving From SLPforME.  I'm always looking for some good resources for Problem Solving. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Petting Zoo: A versatile app I didn't get anything to talk about...

I love it when you find a mainstream app that you can adapt and use in therapy sessions.  Last week, I found an app called "Petting Zoo."  This is an app I paid for and I don't get any compensation for this review.  It's just a really cool activity!

The app contains over 20 line drawings of different animals.  But the cool thing about this app is the interactivity of it.  The animals change based on 5 different ways you touch the screen.

  • Swipe left
  • Swipe right
  • Swipe down
  • Swipe up
  • Tap on animal
It's almost worth it just to work on those concepts.  You could ask your clients, "What are you going to do?" and they could respond using the language above.  

Here is how we used it in therapy:


Verb Vocabulary:  

Because each character changes 5 times, it allows you to really target a variety of verbs.  This is a great activity for older children as they are challenged to explain what happened when they did a particular action.  

Complex Sentences:  

I have a lot of clients who need to work on creating more complex sentences.  For this activity, I gave students a visual that they could use to create their sentences:  

Answering Questions:  

It's easy to target a variety of questions including: 
  • Where is it?
  • What animal is it?
  • What happened?
  • What did you do?  


As my clients got more familiar with the activity, we started to work on predicting.  What do you think will happen, what will the elephant do, what do you want it to do.  

I'm interested-What are your favorite non-speech discipline apps to use in therapy?  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring Blog Hop

Welcome to the SLP Spring Fever Blog Hop
You will get the chance to win prizes and get freebies by touring 12 fantastic blogs. Here is the lineup:
12. SLP for Me – guest posting on Figuratively Speeching SLP

12 winners will receive a goodie basket of one Spring-themed activity from each participating blog owner/page owner in the blog hop.

A grand prize winner will receive the following in addition to the activities:
Codes for 3 
Hamaguchi Apps (see Figuratively Speeching SLP’s reviews)
A code for a 
Mobile Education Store App
4 songs from 
Music Therapy Tunes
A green 
Big Grips iPad 2 case

The rules of the contest are simple: 

  • You must decode a secret message. 
  • In order to complete this task, you will need to visit each of the 12 blogs and download a freebie. The freebie will contain a word that is part of the code. 
  • When you enter the contest through Giveaway Tools on Figuratively Speeching SLP's blog, you will be asked to type in the secret code. Have fun and enjoy blog hopping with us!
  • The contest will run from Sunday, March 17, 2013 through Saturday, March 23, 2013.

MY GIVEAWAY:   I'm really excited to be participating in this giveaway.  If you are the lucky grand prize winner, you will receive a combo pack of Gnome more following directions AND Gnome more prepositions.  


Where is Bunny:  Prepositions in, on, next to from my previous post. You can find it on my TPT store.  

Enjoy reading through the blogs, downloading the freebies, and participating in our Blog Hop! Good luck everyone!  

Where is Bunny: Creating your own Preposition Cards

Last year I scored big at Goodwill when I found a barely used Flamingo Bingo from Super Duper Publications for 1.99!!  What a great deal.

Spatial concepts can be difficult to teach children.  I think they are probably more difficult for children with motor planning problems or sensory integration dysfunction.  It's that connection between language and praxis again.  Does language affect your ability to move and interact with objects within your environment?  

The good thing is that Spatial Concepts can be really fun to teach.  I find that I like to teach spatial concepts using: 
  • Real Objects
  • Gross Motor Activities
  • Custom Photo Cards

Real Objects

Because I like my world labeled and stored inside of a rubbermaid container, I made a Spatial Concepts box.  

It contains:
  •  small action figures from popular movies (Star Wars, Toy Story, Avengers)
  • Base from a Cookbook holder I received for Christmas one year to work on concepts such as next to, behind, in front, and right/left.
  • A variety of containers to work on in/on/under.  I have present boxes, and the sparkly shoe is a pencil case I got at Target this fall.  I like things that would be kind of silly-like a small plastic toilet-(which seriously, you should send to me if you have one.)  Silly is motivating for my clients.  

Gross Motor Activities

If you have access to a gym at your classroom or clinic, use it!  This is a great opportunity to work on where the clients body is in space.  One activity that can be really fun is to write the preposition word that you want to target on a piece of Paper.  Make it a big card because big seems exciting.  

Then have or help your client show you 5 things they can get "in."

Custom Photo Cards

I see a lot of products on Teachers Pay Teachers which use character likenesses (Star Wars or Harry Potter cards) to illustrate their products.  I love using special interests in therapy, BUT I'm fairly certain that this is a violation of copyright in regards to character licensing.  Sometimes (especially when working with students on the Autism Spectrum) it is really helpful to incorporate their special interest within the therapy session.  You can use the actual objects or action figures but if you need to work on receptive identification or just want to practice the sentences at the word level are you out of luck?  

In these cases, I will make up a set of Custom Photo Cards.  I choose the action figure that I want and then set up some scenarios that illustrate the concept I am trying to teach.  I try to pick some that will be "hilarious" so that we can work on joint attention and sharing our emotions.   Here are some cards I made up for Easter-although you could use them any time.  I like that you can target small changes in sentences by working with these as strips.  For example: 
  • The bunny is IN the car
  • The bunny is ON the car
  • The bunny is NEXT TO the car. 
Because you have the materials, you could work on visualization too:  
Place the 2 objects in front of the child.  "I want you to picture the bunny is in the car."  Then have them put the bunny in the car.  Ask them, did it match up with the picture they made in their mind.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Festivities

My son's daycare celebrates St. Patrick's Day by having Sally the Leprechaun visit every month.  Sally is a very naughty leprechaun.  The other day she stole someone's socks at nap time because she loves the color green.  Since then, my guy has been wearing all green to daycare.  I guess he'd just prefer to go nudsies.

This week we are celebrating St. Patrick's day by making Leprechaun masks and using the freebie that Cooking up Good Speech had because I had a craving for some Lucky charms.

I found the idea for these masks in a St. Patrick's day craft book a few years ago.  I apologize because I don't have the name of the product.

Here's what we did with them:

First we looked at the picture and determined the supplies.  You could also have them pick the supplies using your clues (Find something that is sharp, which one would you find in a kitchen, I'm thinking of an adhesive...)

I completed these steps for a lot of my clients to save time.  For some of the younger clients, you could work on shapes or size concepts (tall hat, short hat, rounded hat etc.)

I ended up changing the band on this to a popsicle stick because it was taking a long time to get the band sized correctly.  We stapled the hat onto the paper plate.  For older clients we worked on some reasoning skills.  Why would we cut out the center of the paper plate.  What would happen if we didn't cut out the middle.  Could we attach the hat to the bottom of the plate (this was a trick question-yes, because the plate is round-we could turn it)  Why did I staple the hat with the pointed ends out?

I used the crepe paper streamers as an opportunity to get more drill work in: (say 10 words and attach a streamer.

Afterwards you could both put on your mask and practice St. Patrick's day conversations.  What are you doing for St. Patrick's Day?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Praxis: It's not just a test you take after school

A few months ago I went out after dinner with an occupational therapist friend of mine.  We spent the night catching up and geeking out on therapy techniques.  She was describing a class she had taken on Ideational Praxis.  I found an article online called, "A Theoretical Model of Ideation in Praxis" by Theresa May-Benson, M.S., OTR/L.

Praxis refers to motor planning problems.  I have a LOT of motor planning problems and would have benefitted greatly from occupational therapy as a child.  

 For example, I'm pretty sure I was still riding my Big Wheel into grade school because I couldn't ride my bike.  And I once made the mistake of jumping out of a pedal boat to use the lake's facilities.  Only to realize that I couldn't figure out how to climb back into the boat.  My friend and I pulled the boat while swimming and tried to wave down other boaters-but they just waved back.  I think we were swimming for at least 30 minutes before some kids told their parents they thought we were in trouble (I was...) and the parents rescued us.  I made myself practice climbing onto the dock for the rest of the afternoon and was finally able to figure out how to get up onto the pedal boat the next day.  You are probably picturing a cute 10 year old Speech2U.  But really I was 32.  

Anyhow, I find motor planning and praxis interesting.  The article is focused on Ideation which is defined as the ability to know what to do with things.  For example, I can look at a ball and know that I can throw it, kick it, bounce it, roll it, sit on it, put it under my shirt to pretend I'm pregnant, or play catch with it.  Theresa May-Benson is proposing that some children may have problems with Ideation which impairs their ability to interact with new objects in different ways.   This is different from a child with motor planning deficits who knows what they would like to do but can't figure out exactly how to do it.

These children are described as children who often sit out of activities, stand and watch others or refuse to participate in different play activities.  They may be the kids who say, "I don't know" when asked how to play a game OR when asked what they want to do.   It sounds similar to the planning and initiation deficits described in Executive Function disorders.  

What was really interesting to me was the idea that language is an integral part of the ability to initiate motor actions.  So the question becomes, is it that the child doesn't know what to do with the object-or is it that the child lacks the language to help him conceptualize what to do with the it?  May-Benson suggests "Using a conscious language-driven approach to expand and generalize the child's semantic knowledge of possible object-action interactions provides an additional avenue for ideation"  (page 174).  She suggests clinicians can help their clients improve their ideation by mapping in language during gross motor activities "For instance, the clinician might help the child analyze a swing: "Sam this swing is on a stretchy cord.  It goes up and down. What could we do with it?"  (page 174).

So what does this mean for us as Speech Language Pathologists?  First, it gives me some ideas of how I can map in language if I am doing a cotreat with OT.  Second, I think it reiterates the importance of teaching a variety of object functions vs. just one.  Maybe the long term goal for an object function goal is to describe 5 different ways that you can use it.  It also reminds me of the importance of teaching actions and helping my clients describe WHAT they are doing in the most descriptive terms.  Last, I think it reminds me to teach object characteristics.  For example, you could pull out a variety of objects and have them tell you what they THINK it will feel like.  Will it be heavy or light?  If it is heavy how do you need to pick it up?  

What do you think?  Is this information you could use in your sessions?  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What Am I: Vocabulary AND Articulation Extension Packs

Sometimes I struggle with clients who have language or vocabulary goals.  I can't teach EVERY vocabulary word they might need to know.  So what to do?  I find myself more and more trying to teach "strategies" to the child.

When I have clients who come in who come in with vocabulary deficits and difficulty with narratives, one of the goal areas I focus on is the ability to define words clearly.  I think that teaching them to use PRECISE vocabulary can carryover to their narratives.  I also work with them to build a framework in their head for HOW to define words.

Even when given visual cues, some clients still struggle with coming up with basic vocabulary to describe objects, textures etc.  I decided it would be helpful to focus on each definition part of a word AS well as teaching some describing vocabulary.  This weekend I'm going out to Michael's (a local craft store) to find a variety of textures.  Next week we are learning to describe different textures!

I wanted to help organize my thoughts with this AND I wanted to have a fun game to play at the end of our "describing unit."  What Am I: Vocabulary, Definitions, describing is what I ended up with.

I tried to structure the game to reinforce the following ideas:

  • It's important to use Precise vocabulary
  • It's important to choose the most salient feature to describe first.  

I added cue cards and homework pages for each definition category so that I can teach the concepts to clients who are having a hard time with one.  

I thought it might be fun to use these with articulation clients as well.  So I created a few expansion packets focusing on blends, Prevocalic/vocalic /r/ and syllable shapes.  I added some Visual-tactile cue cards for the blends that I am really excited about:  

The /l/ I designed to reinforce how the tongue elevates to the alveolar ridge.  I did the same thing with the /r/-showing how the tongue moves backwards.  

These are all on sale through the weekend for 3.00 or less-so if you are interested, these are the lowest prices these will ever be!   

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How to trick your clients into correcting their mistakes

Have you ever worked with a client who gets pretty upset when you try to correct them during speech therapy?  (Please don't say you've never had a client or student whose gotten upset during therapy...)  I have had a few clients over the years who have INSISTED that they said their speech sound correctly OR that they gave me the correct answer to the question.

I kind of get it.  Nobody likes to be wrong.  (especially me, I'll admit...)  Many of the clients or students we work with get very little opportunities for success.

Pop Quiz:  You are in the middle of a session working on auxiliaries.  Samantha says the following sentence: He walking to school.  You recast the sentence, "He IS walking to school.  She replies, "Yes that's what I said."  Do you:
A.  Insist that she did not, show her your ASHA CCC's and ask her how she thinks you got her job.
B.  Get into a "did/did not" argument with her.
C.  Avoid all power struggles by just stepping back into a time machine or hitting the rewind button.
D.  Make a mental note to videotape her so that she can start to learn to self monitor her utterances.

Option D is probably the best answer.  It can be really interesting to video a client and have them watch it.  Sometimes this can be really eye opening to them.  A lot of my clients really just don't understand how they are actually speaking.

Today, I went for Option C.  We started by taking a trip in the time machine.  (Pretend to be in a time machine by making some time machine sounds.)  When you get back in time, have the student repeat the target.  Decide together if they completed it correctly.  To get extra repetitions, pretend like you don't believe them.  Take a time machine back 5x.

Or you can work on your retro cred by rewinding the session.  For this activity it is important to make some sort of screechy rewinding noise-and maybe make some slow motion movements that look like you are rewinding yourself.  Feel free to rewind as often as is necessary for both of you to determine if the clients response was correct.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lazy Speech Therapist: Monday hints

I found these really cute cardboard cutouts of burger parts at the Target dollar spot today.  I think it would be great to add velcro to the back to work on articulation or maybe a adhesive picture pocket so that you could switch out pictures to work on articulation or other language targets.  For direction following, you could hide the pieces around the room and have the kids find them.

Today I was lazy so we just used them as a duration map.  I gave the client the bottom bun and then said we had 5 activities to complete.  Every time we completed an activity, they got another piece of the burger.  Once we finished building the burger, they got to play a quick game on the iPad.  (If I'd been thinking, I could've tied it in to Bamba Burger-a fun app where you make burgers....)  

My second lazy activity resulted when I was too lazy to get kid scissors.   

Kids LOVE to rip things.  I cut the pictures into strips and then had my clients rip them in half.  It was pretty fun.  Of course, there is the danger that they overgeneralize to ripping everything.  Tune in next week to see if I still have any Super Duper cards left.....

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Light Box Therapy

Last year, there was a plethora of postings about using your own light table during therapy.  I saw postings on Play at home mom, Testy Yet Trying and Speech Room News

This was also around the time that I started having some anxiety about the lack of fun sensory experiences I'd given to my then three year old.  Had I used all my fun-ness in speech therapy????  I used to be an awesome mom who had great ideas for behavior management, developmentally appropriate activities, and fun outings for the family.  Then I had my own kids.  As it turns out, sometimes I prefer checking my Facebook status to whipping up a batch of fresh Kool-aid play doh.  I bought a sled this year and have taught my young son various ways to express the idea that it is too cold to go sledding.  Although now I just justify this as teaching him the skill of being bored and good self regulation. 

BUT the light table I could do.  Pretty much any project that could also benefit my speech clients gets a green light.  I used Testy Yet Trying's tutorial and bought some of the materials suggested by Play at Home mom.  My only suggestion if you go this route is to avoid spraying the paint in the garage next to your husband's car.  Spray paint travels pretty far.  Whoops.

The light table was fun for my son and in therapy but I struggled with how to use it effectively to target goals.  I brought it back this year to work on joint attention.   I put some colored sand in the bottom of a clear container and we worked on taking turns drawing in the sand, looking at each other and commenting.

Some of my other clients saw the light table and wanted to play too.  So we ended up with these activities:

I used a sheet of articulation cards from Testy Yet trying and put it on the light box.  (Note this is NOT the lightbox I made.  Shortly after making the light box, a dollar store went out of business and I got this Fiskars craft light table for 5.00)   We started by saying each word.  Then I put my sand tray on top. 

Now they had to uncover each one using a carrier phrase. 

Another way we used the light box was by putting 2 picture cards on the light box.  We would say the targets (in this case it was he/she)  Then I'd cover the pictures with the sand.  Could they remember where the card was located?  Then we practiced the targets again. 

I used some simple three picture sequence cards.  First I put out the cards and had them tell me what the "MAIN idea " was.  (going swimming in a backyard pool)  Then I had them sequence the cards in order.  For this activity we did the order going up and down similar to schedules that they were familiar with.  As they sequenced the cards, I modeled simple sentences.  Then we put the sand on top and the students uncovered each photo and described what was happening in each picture. 

I still have a bunch of clients who are working on temporal directions.  For this activity, I had them draw in the light box.  (Before you draw the circle, draw a square.)  You could also adapt this by having the kids complete a more complex drawing with you giving the steps.  Ed Emberley books have some great simple drawings that you could use in the sandbox. 

I'm thinking it would be fun to work on with emotions too.  You could draw the circle and have them draw in the eyebrows, mouth etc.  Or you could try to "change" people's emotions by drawing over pictures of real people.  I could see this being really motivating: (Let's see what the Math teacher would look like if they were really mad....) 

What other ways have you used a light box in therapy? 

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