Tuesday, April 30, 2013

3.00 for 300 Likes Sale

Wow!  300 Likes on Facebook.  As a special thank you for your support this year, I put everything (except Megabundles) on sale for 3.00 through the end of today on my TPT store.  

I'm excited to report that we are getting close to another milestone here at Speech2U:10,000 page views!  I can't believe it!  In January, I was pretty excited about 500 page views.  Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog, leave comments, friend me on facebook or follow my TPT store.  I feel blessed. I have really enjoyed this experience and probably wouldn't still be doing it without your friendship!

I've got some fun posts planned for May.  Look out for a Special Giveaway once we reach our 10,000 page view milestone!  

Monday, April 29, 2013

5 Cool Thought bubble products and 1 really lazy one.

I found these cool speech and thought bubble post it notes in the Target dollar spot a few weeks ago.  I didn't realize until after I'd opened them up that they cost 3.00 a piece.  A little more expensive than I was planning on.

Here is some great information on using thought bubbles in speech therapy.  Today, I'm just sharing 5 cool products for working on thought bubbles and one super-lazy one.

1.  Thought Bubble Post It's:  Available for more than you want to pay at the Target dollar Spot.  I used these with some emotion cards I have.

This card in particular cracks me up.   An apparently scandalous outfit choice in the 80s.

2.  Thought Bubble Magnets by Umbra.  I love these magnets!  Put them on your cabinet or white board and they are always available.  I got them from the Container store.  I'm not sure if they still have them but they are available online if you do a search.

 3.  Thought Bubble App:

You can even use your iPad to create Thought bubbles.

4.  Chalkboard Thought Bubbles:
I saw these chalkboard stickers at a local craft store and picked up a few bags.  I haven't used them yet because I keep forgetting to pick up chalk.

5.  Popsicles and Thought Bubbles.  When first introducing thought bubbles I have each child make their own thought/speaking bubble popsicle stick.  I used thought bubbles Jill Kuzma made.  I cut them out and laminate them and then used Glue dots to attach them to a popsicle stick.

6.  A lot of the time I forget or don't have a thought bubble handy when I want to model what I am thinking.  So then I just use the old "My hand is a thought bubble trick."

How about you: what cool products do you use to work on thought bubbles and perspective taking.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Autism: Kids Social Skills Books

I won an award at work for "Most likely to be seen on "Hoarders: Speech Pathology Edition."  I think I could probably argue this title, as I don't actually hoard a number of the SAME materials.  For instance, I don't have 12 copies of No Glamour Grammar that I picked up at the local Speech Pathology bulk warehouse.  Doesn't a Speech Pathology aisle at Costco sound fabulous, though? 

BUT, I can fill up 2-3 tall steel cabinets with my materials.  I saw this description on a blog (but forgot which one-if it's yours please let me know!)

I'm also a great half reader of books.  I'll pick up a great book about Speech Pathology and I'll start to read it-highlighting it, taking notes and then I get about half way through and I stop.  Then I put it on my shelf where it comforts me knowing that if I need anymore information I can just walk over and pick it up.

With my clinic's move, I ended up bringing my "social skills" kids books home.  I've been reading them to my 4 year old who seems really interested.  We read one about interrupting and he said, "Oh mom, that kid is just like me.  I talk all the time too."  Yes, little one.  There was a reason I chose this book tonight....

I thought I would share my 2 favorite series:

Joy Berry's Help Me Be Good books.  I lucked out and found a bunch of these at Half Priced Books for 1-2.00.
She has a variety of social skills topics and does a good job of explaining the behavior and telling kids what to do and what not to do.  We've been reading these for a week and my son is on his second day of no breaks at daycare!  Before this he was really trying to rationalize his break taking-he'd say something like "Mom.  2, 900 is A LOT of breaks.  You and daddy would be mad at me for all of those breaks.  But 3, 4, 5, 8 breaks?  That's just a little bit of breaks.  That's not a big deal.."  That kid cracks me up.  

I like all of her books.  She has books for personal space, interrupting, accepting no, listening, even picking your nose.  These books read more like story books but she also does a great job of giving information of What you should do.  A lot of her books also come with companion packets for extension teaching activities which is really helpful when incorporating them into social skills groups.  

What are your favorite kids books to work on Social skills?   

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Autism: Categorization

Categorization is another one of my favorite goals to work on.  Categorization is really a fundamental skill which helps direct our thought processes.  We use categorization to plan events, organize our homes, create shopping lists and navigate stores efficiently.   In order to categorize objects appropriately, we need to be able to recognize similarities and differences between objects and then group the objects appropriately.  I use categorization activities with students who have poor vocabulary, difficulty with comparing/contrasting, organizational challenges, Executive Function disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders and limited flexibility.

I usually start working on sorting tasks using real objects.  I start by demonstrating main category groups.  Can they sort the objects by animals, food, clothing etc?  A lot of my clients diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorders tend to do very well with this task.   It's another reason why I like to choose the goal-it's nice to feel some success in therapy.  I also try to have a few examples of each target to work on object concepts.  For example, I may have 5 different breeds of dogs.  Then we can work through each characteristic and come up with the concept of "dog"  

Once they understand the main category groups, then I expand to sorting by attributes.  So we work on sorting by color, size, shape, stripes/no stripes etc.  As we go through these tasks, I make sure to model what I am seeing:  Dinosaur goes in this box because he is big.  The zebra has stripes, I'm going to put him in with the other animals who have stripes.

My next step is usually sub categories and sub-sub-categories.  I will name the category and then put out the objects.  I'll set it up as a challenge: can you sort these items into these 3 baskets?  If they are able to do that, then I will challenge them to sort them again using different subcategories.    In addition to working on the categorization, we are also working on flexibility and creative thinking.

I tend to stick to 3-4 big main categories (food, animals, transportation, clothing.)  It is fun to see if your clients can sort more complex categories: for instance can they think of three ways to sort instruments?
By Category (woodwind, stringed instruments)
By Material (wood, brass, etc)
By method of sound production (blow into it, use a bow on strings, pluck it, bang it.)

Once we have made it through these goals, then we start working on more traditional categorization using mediated learning techniques.  I really like the Entire World of Categories books for ideas of how to prompt and question students during these activities.

There are category object kits that you can buy but I've found it helpful to create my own.  I like the Safari toobs for realistic objects for vehicles, animals, nature items and instruments.  They are around 10-11.00 retail priced but I used 50% off coupons at a local craft store to expand my collection.  I just bought a set with the coupon every other month so it didn't feel like I was spending a lot.

What are your favorite ways to work on categorization?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Four weird ways to motivate your clients when you have abso-flippin' nothin' left in your speech cabinets

The clinic I work at is moving this week and the movers came early and took my desk, table, chairs and most of my supplies.  So in honor of my lack of materials, I have another list:

Four weird ways to motivate your clients when you have abso-flippin' nothin' left in your speech cabinets
1.  Speech Picnic:  Spread a blanket on the floor.  This works really well to help define the empty room's space.  I actually had a snack that I'd picked up at the gas station to work on pragmatics and "picnic vocabulary"  I think it would have been fun to use paper plates and print out therapy targets and glue them onto the plates during the activity.  I didn't have glue or paper plates since they've all been moved but gas station snacks work nicely in an emergency.
2.  Visualization Exercises:  Today is April 18th-30 days AFTER the official start of Spring.  We had blizzard-like conditions for most of the day.  So while on our speech picnic, we practiced our visualization activities and pretended like it was a lake outside are window.  We talked about how we were going to go swimming and pretended to build a sandcastle.  We made sure to replenish our sunscreen so we didn't get burned.
3.  Go Water-skiing:  I think all of that extra floor sitting made me a little giddy.  I had one child who was having a hard time paying attention.  So we went water-skiing.  I was the boat, and she was the skier.  She had to follow me with her hands out like they were on the rope while we motored around the room.  Sometimes I would yell "crash" and she would have to fall over.  It ended up being a fun activity that helped her refocus on following my directions.
4.  Roll to your speech Targets:  Without tables or chairs, we ended up with ALOT of space.  So we could put speech sound cards on both sides and the client would roll (like a log) to one side to say a certain number of cards and then roll to the other side to say more cards.

What weird or creative ideas have you used to motivate your kids?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Goodwill Hunting

Not the movie-the store.  I'm going to admit something here that may end up in me becoming blacklisted by my SLP blogger buddies.  I'm new to the Goodwill therapy supply shopping game.  I've been practicing for 15 years, but have mostly avoided Goodwill and thrift stores (with the exception of Halloween shopping.)

I don't want you to think that I'm a snooty SLP or that my yearly budget allows for only new State-of-the-Art-materials.  (Hahaha-did you get that yearly budget joke?)  I'm an expert Target end-cap shopper.  For years, I had a formula for the day Target marked all of their Christmas toy clearance items to 75% off.  (It was the third Tuesday, I think-but then they changed it....)  I would even take the morning off so I could get the BEST toys.

So you'd think that I would have been hip to the Goodwill shopping game.  Instead, I missed out on years of bargain shopping due to some misconceptions.

I really, really would like to be that cool, hip girl who wears AWESOME clothes that she buys at thrift stores.  I've bought a few things from various stores but I always feel like there might be bugs in the clothes and sometimes they smell and I just can't get them cleaned.  The truth is that I'm laundry impaired.

Also, I thought that all of the games at Goodwill would be missing pieces.  (Not true.  and they even have a return policy!)

I ended up stopping at a Goodwill last Spring to look for a out-of-print game that was selling on ebay for 75.00.  Seriously, is anyone SO desperate for Cariboo that they would pay that much for it?  Lately, I've been seeing a lot of Cariboo games at Goodwill.  And I have to read myself a little social story.  "Kelly, Cariboo is a really fun game.  You have 2 Cariboo games at your house.  2 games is a lot.  Other families might want to play Cariboo.  Everyone is happy when you let other people buy Cariboo games."  

I ended up finding 5 other games, plus the piece de resistance: Flamingo Bingo for 1.99.

What?  A 44.00 Speech therapy material for 1.99????  I was hooked.  Anyhow, I went out with my  little guy this weekend and we found these great games for under 2.00 a piece PLUS 25% off whatever fit in a bag.  (Which isn't very much since games are kind of big...)   First, I found a portable photography studio.  You can tell that I haven't quite figured it out yet.

I got Battleship to work on slow and easy speech with a Fluency client.  The unfortunately named, Toss your cookies looked like a fun game.  And I think the flower puzzle will be great for a Spring activity and maybe even as a duration map.  The next one isn't a Speech therapy activity, it's a game you play with your dog!  This cracked me up, so I've been trying to play it with my little MinPin, Maxx.

What great buys have you found at Goodwill or another thrift store?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Interactive Flashcards and Fill in the Blank Cards

While I was working on my post about echolalia and fill in the blank activities, I started thinking about a new product.  I call it an Interactive Flash card, because the student can move the pictures in order to answer the questions.

It contains different fill in the blank activities for 24 different vocabulary items:
 Expressive Fill-Ins AND Reversals 

 Receptive Fill-Ins for Functions

 Expressive Fill-Ins for Functions

Receptive Fill-ins for Objects

Interactive Fill-Ins
I made these in 2 different sizes for children who have difficulty holding smaller objects, use the bigger cards.  To save paper, use the smaller cards.   You could add velcro on if you like.

 Interactive Objects needed
I have also made a separate which uses the same idea using smaller cards for identifying objects needed to complete an activity.

Both Interactive Flashcards-Object Fill-ins and What do I need are on sale through tomorrow.

Autism: Echolalia and Fill in the Blanks

Echolalia refers to when a child repeats a vocalization or something that has just been said.  Echolalia can be immediate or it can be delayed.   An example of Immediate Echolalia would be:

Me:  Do you want to eat a sandwich?  Tell me yes or no.
Client:  Yes or No.  

Delayed echolalia happens when someone repeats something they've heard frequently.  Sometimes this will be repeating lines from books or movies, which may be referred to as scripting.  Sometimes it is something that they heard in a certain situation.  An example of delayed echolalia might be: 

Me:  Do you want to eat a sandwich?  Tell me yes or no.  
Client:  Presented by Disney Home Studio

In the example above, the echolalia does not appear to be functional.  Other times, you may notice that a child is able to use a whole sentence or phrase appropriately.  Sometimes children on the autism spectrum appear to learn language in a more gestalt form.  Their language may appear to be more advanced because they have learned a variety of rote phrases.  But they may struggle to create their own unique utterances.  

Sometimes a child may say something that appears to be completely unrelated to a situation but has specific meaning that the child may be trying to communicate.  An example would be the following situation:  
Me:  It's time to go to the dentist.
Client:  I said put your pencils down right now!  

Sometimes, the child will overgeneralize a statement based on a previous situation.  For instance, maybe he got really upset when a teacher yelled at him to put his pencil down when he was drawing one of his favorite characters.  He may overgeneralize the statement that the teacher said to convey his frustration or anxiety.  Sometimes you have to play detective to try to figure out what a child who uses echolalia frequently is really trying to convey.  

Teach wh questions to children who exhibit echolalia can be difficult as they tend to repeat the end of the question.  Answering questions is an intra-verbal task.  it requires the child to listen to the question, determine what is being asked, and then formulate a response.  If you have a child who isn't making progress with WH questions, then it is time to take a few steps back.

Another favorite goal of mine is Fill in the Blank tasks.  It requires the child to listen to what you are saying and respond but it doesn't require as much formulation which reduces the cognitive load.  I usually follow the following hierarchy:  

1.  Fill in the Blank for Common phrases.
Ex.  Ready, set, _______., It's time to _______.  Sit _______., 
2.  Fill in the Blank for stories, nursery rhymes, and finger plays.
Ex. Brown bear, brown bear what do you _____.  
3.  Fill in the Blank for Object Functions.  
I sit in a _________.  ABA programs often use this as a goal and there are some great products which vary the cues (Ex. I sit in a _______, a chair is somewhere I ______.)  One of my favorite card decks for this is:  
4.  Fill in the Blank for common questions:  
Who questions: 
A person who brings the mail is ____________.
Where questions: 
The place where you buy groceries is ___________.
When Questions: 
I eat breakfast in the _______________.
Why questions: 
I eat breakfast because ______________.  

One of my favorite resources is Natural Learning Concepts: Fill in the Blank Cards.

I like the size of the cards and they are laminated and cut out so they are durable.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Lazy Speech Therapist Virtual Friday Hints

I wrote on Facebook awhile ago that Virtual Speech therapy fridays are the best because it is "Business on top and a pajama party on the bottom."  Today I've been super lazy and haven't even changed out of my comfy red polka-dotted bottoms.

In honor of my laziness today, here are 6 fun, easy and FREE ways to engage your online student when you are TOO lazy to find an awesome website or game to share.


Why not celebrate success with a virtual high five.  For this, you both just give your webcam and "five" and it kind of looks like you are both giving a high five.

VIRTUAL Rock, paper and scissors
Most of the time, students can work to play a fun game like Angry Birds or explore on Poptropica.  Sometimes we run out of time.  Then it is time for virtual rock, paper, scissors.  This is played like the regular version of rock, paper, scissors but there is extra hilarity as players try to position their hands correctly in the webcam.

For this game, practice some words while you are realllllllllly close to the webcam then move farther away.

This game works equally well in both virtual and traditional speech therapy sessions.  During sentence level articulation practice, I will make up a silly sentence like: "I love to eat dollars" or "Thor is my best friend."  Once the student repeats it, then I attempt to engage them in a conversation, "Really?  I didn't know that," or "I don't think it is a good idea to eat dollars."

Who doesn't like a game of pretend catch.  I like to pretend like the ball went way up high and I can't catch it or that the ball hit me in the head when they throw it to me.  Since it's virtual catch, it's okay to throw the ball overhand really hard too.

It's pretty funny just to pretend like you fell over in the middle of a session.  If you are a trained mime, pretending to be in the "webcam box" would be hilarious.  I wonder how many trained mimes are also Speech language pathologists.  Variations of falling over include: Sinking in quick sand, riding the elevator and walking up/down the stairs.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A sucker for a sale

Who doesn't love a good sale?  This week I've gotten lucky twice.  First I had a presentation I was giving at an Autism fair.  The Autism Shop was there selling their products and had a lot of books on sale for 50% off.  That's a deal I can't pass up.  I ended up with 2 interesting books.  One on combining speech therapy and adaptive PE and the other on dealing with difficult parents.

Then the next day started the Blooming into Spring TPT sale.  I ended up with some great products:

Fast Dash Phonology:  I love the game Hyperdash,  so I was really excited to find this adaption for phonology from Carissa Ten Hoeve.  

Open Ended Game Boards by Mia McDaniel and Princess Quick Articulation.  These are really cute activities that I know will be motivating for a lot of my clients.

Dragon Directions by Figuratively Speeching.  I have some boys who are really into Dragonvale right now so I know they will love this activity.  I'm always looking for activities for following directions.  Plus, I kind of fell in love with the dragon graphics on this activity.

I went to Queen Speech's Page to pick up her new Voice Monsters program and was really intrigued with the Patterns of verb tense activities.  I'm always looking for new ideas for patterns or HOW to teach kids vs. straight drill work.  
 Spaghetti and Meatball conjunctions by Miss Speechieis great because it doesn't just work on and, but or OR the FANBOYS for conjunctions.

 Superhero sentence formulation by Speechy Musings is another cute idea to work on sentence formulation which is going to be a big hit with one of my kids.

I think it's always hardest to find relevant materials for older children who need to work on more life skills.  Role Plays from SLP for ME seemed like a great product to work with some of my older clients.  

So I guess you know what I will be doing this weekend: printing and laminating.   I'm excited to use these great products!  What did you pick up during the sale?  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Introducing MicroPackets!

I kind of feel like I've been working in slow motion this week when making these Micro-packet extension sets for my What Am I: vocabulary game.  

I'm trying out Micropacket games to see if it helps with printing costs.  I love all of the products on TPT but sometimes I don't want to print out 50 pages of materials-or I don't have the ink to do it!  I burnt out my printer on a really cute activity that had a green background.  After that, I couldn't print green again.  

Does anyone remember Micro machines?

I really like anything that comes in Miniature form.  Micropackets contain the same number of targets that would be in a larger packet-but I just put them all on one page for the game: 36 targets!  That's why I was working in slow motion-all of the artwork was slooooooooooooooooooooooowing down my computer.

To get a lot of repetitions for articulation, I might start by having them say each word on the game board prior to playing.

Students roll two dice to determine which picture they need to describe.  After the picture is guessed they need to repeat the word a certain number of times or say the word in a sentence or in a silly voice.  Each packet comes with a visual cuing card to help facilitate sound production.  

I'm working on a holiday What Am I packet that I will set as a permanent FREEBIE once I reach 300 likes on Facebook! 

So far I have Micropackets for /r/, blends, syllable shapes, sh, s, and k.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A story of Triumph over Overwhelming Odds.

Has anyone seen 127 hours starring James de Franco?  It's the true story of a man who is trapped and needs to cut off his own arm to save himself.  Here's the good news.  There were no lost appendages during my ordeal.

Flashback to sometime this Fall.  I remember that it was a Monday.  The only thing left for me to do was empty the trash cans and then I was heading over to daycare to pick up my son.  I was in a hurry so I threw the garbage bags in the trunk of my car AND drove around the side of our building to the dumpster.

I hopped out of my car and threw the garbage bags in the dumpster.  I noticed that the lid was propped open and being a responsible SLP stepped into the dumpster enclosure to shut the cover.  I realized that the cover DIDN'T close at the same time as the door shut and I heard a click.

I pushed the doors open.  They didn't move.  I tried again.

And again.

And again.

Locked.  I was locked in something that I still don't even have the vocabulary to describe.  Dumpster enclosure? Garbage can house?   I was on the side of the dumpster.  There was only about 6 inches of space between the dumpster and the doors.  Unfortunately, I am not a 6 inch diameter speech language pathologist.

I tried squeezing my fingers through the narrow opening of the two doors in the hopes of lifting the latch.  No luck.

I tried finding a stick in my brick prison to wedge in the openings and lever the latch up.  It broke on the first try.

I spent about 5 minutes trying to kick the door open Karate style.  I'm usually a Dansko, big comfortable shoe wearing type of Gal.  Of course on this day I wore these shoes.

I'm starting to panic a little as I'm supposed to be picking up my little guy at his daycare.  I decide that I must try to scale the wall.  I make it up about 2 feet by wedging myself between the dumpster and grasping the gate walls ahead of me.  My head is barely peeking over the gate.  I realize that I will break both legs in an attempt to escape via jumping.

I see a car pulling up.  Salvation.  I yell.  They don't hear me and walk into our clinic.  I calculate how much time until the last therapist leaves.  I realize two things.  First, no one will realize that I am still there because I moved my car.  Second, they will not hear me.  I wonder if I will be there until morning.  I try to remember the weather report.

I think about how the small town newspaper's police blotter will publish something like:
Local Speech therapist found in garbage dump after 2 day search.  
She reports surviving by snacking on stale muffins 
she found in garbage dumpster and covering herself 
with cardboard at night."  

The prospect of public humiliation renews my survival instinct.  I remember that I have my keys in my pocket.  I attempt to scale the dumpster again.  I end up awkwardly perched with just my head and arms visible above the gate.  I begin to turn on the car alarm.   Once.  Twice.  Three times.  Our office is next to an Applebee's restaurant.  I wonder when the dinner crowd will start to arrive.  It's on my fifth attempt at sounding my car alarm, that I make eye contact with a table of senior citizens in the restaurant.  I wave frantically at them and make weird choking gestures to suggest that I am trapped.  They seem to understand but I am not sure that they fully grasp my predicament.   I continue to flail about and make mouth gestures of help.  I don't know why, beyond a fear of vocal pathology, that I didn't shout help.  I just mouthed it.

Finally, I see a small, elderly man walk out of Applebees.  He walks across the parking lot and waves at me.  He comes up to the dumpster and looks up at me.  "Hmmm" he says, "Now who would go and throw a nice lady like you away?"

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