Friday, January 31, 2014

Fantastic Frugal Friday Find

Who doesn't love a bargain?  I love checking out the Dollar Spot at Target.  Today I was looking and found a packet of EIGHT 16 page blank books for 3.00.
Here's why I was REALLY excited.  Have you heard of the Cartwheel app by Target?  It's a coupon app you have on your phone.  You need to put in the coupons that you want to use and then the cashier scans them in at checkout time.  I usually have them scan it each time-and usually I don't have anything in it.  Today through 2/8/14, they have a 20% off Dollar spot items coupon.  Plus I have a Target debit card which takes off another 5%.  So even with tax, each book cost me about .30.  That makes it an EXTREMELY cheap therapy item.  

I picked up some for my son since he is really into making his own stories.  And I picked up 2 extra packets to use in speech therapy.  Here are a couple of ways to use them:  

1.  Social Skills Vocabulary Book:  Write a social skills or social thinking® term on each page.  Have your students fill out examples of each one, or a time that they used "good social skills."  You could also make up a Hidden Rules book.  Title each page with the Location (ex. school, public Bathroom) and discuss different hidden rules for each situation.  

2.  Action Verb Book:  Have students cut out pictures from magazines of people doing different actions.  You can use the book to work on vocabulary, pronouns or verb tense forms.  This works for anything-you could make a category book, a pronoun book, a preposition book etc.  

3.  Speech Therapy Memory Book:  For some of your students with lower language or who struggle with sharing information related to the past, take pictures of them doing therapy activities or during group activities/field trips.  You can use the book to target what they did, work on scripting with AAC, event recall and past tense forms. 

4.  Vocabulary Book:  You could make a vocabulary journal or take each page and focus on an element of describing/defining from programs such as the Expanding Expression Tool Kit.  On each page you could list examples or carrier phrases to use when defining.  You could also do a Prefix/Suffix Book and have students write the prefix, it's meaning and list examples.  

5.  Low Tech AAC Books:   You could make up a low cost AAC book focusing on Core Words using Boardmaker symbols or search for ready made Core word Boards.  Praactical AAC is my favorite blog right now for AAC resources.  Check out their post on sample core word boards HERE.  Another great idea would be to make a Choice Book.  Label each page with different categories (ex. toys, food, movies, places in the community etc.)  Cut out pictures from magazines or ads or take pictures of their favorite items.  

How about you?  How would you use these books in Speech therapy?  I'd love to hear some more ideas below.  Thanks for stopping by.  If you found this post to be interesting or helpful, please share with others by clicking on the Pinterest or Facebook buttons below.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best of the Best: 5 Books that Changed my life-well my therapy life anyhow.

I think I've mentioned that I'm a hoarder.  And a half book reader.  And I may not vacuum weekly.  I have some faults. But I LOVE to read and spend probably too much time reading books about speech language pathology, education and learning styles.  (well I read at least half of the book.)  

These books are books that I've read that have resulted in a change in my therapy or therapy approach.  They are books that I've recommended to parents, colleagues and have lugged around with me while I read them.  My coworkers make fun of me because I'm always bringing some therapy book home with me on the weekends.  Most of the time it stays in my car-I probably spend more times carrying the books than I do reading them.  

Here are 5 Books that Changed my Life or at least my therapy life.

1.  Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction

I've mentioned this one before but it bears repeating.  This is a fantastic text on vocabulary instruction and how to teach and make it meaningful for your students.  I'm so happy that the uber creative Jenn from Crazy Speech World posted about this.  You can read her post HERE.  

2.  Nurturing Narratives:  

One of the more eye opening things about having children, is realizing how quickly they really do pick up language.  Sequencing is one of my go-to goals because I want them to be able to retell a story or share an experience.  But many of the children I see, don't have a basic framework to do this. If you ask them about their weekend, they need so much prompting to share information.  This book provides a framework for teaching story retell as well as personal narratives.  It focuses on building up different language skills within the framework of story telling.

3.  The Child and Adolescent Stuttering Treatment and Activity Resource Guide

I am not a fluency expert and in the 18 years or so that I have been practicing, I've only worked with a handful of dysfluent clients.  I had a particularly stressful evaluation which left me in tears and a colleague recommended this textbook.  It is filled with practical information related to assessment and treatment with a ton of activity suggestions as well as specific information related to communicating with parents.  This book is super expensive since it is a textbook-but you could try textbook exchange websites to try to purchase it.  

4.  Successful R Therapy

This book is ahhh-mazing.  Lots of suggestions for assessing, teaching /r/ and carryover activities.  I've seen Pam Marshalla present on /r/ and /s/ therapy-this was a great book to bring home to add to my collection.

I read it but I don't get it:  Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers.  

I heard about this book at a Social Thinking course.  I don't teach reading but I do work a lot on auditory comprehension and find myself with goals focusing on main ideas and details.  The author is someone who had difficulty with reading comprehension when she was younger.  The book focuses on successful strategies that good readers use to comprehend texts.  I find that some of these strategies work well when working on auditory comprehension too.  This is a quick book that is easy to read.  It's a great one to recommend to parents when they report their children are having difficulty because it's written in a parent friendly format.

Those are my top 5.  It was actually pretty hard to narrow it down to just 5.  What are your favorite books, I'd love to hear about it below!  If you enjoyed this post, please take some time to share it with others by clicking on the Pinterest or Facebook buttons below.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Best of the Best: CEU version.

To be honest, I rarely have met a CEU course I haven't liked.   It's so exciting to go back to work after a great CEU course with some new tools or new perspective on some of your clients.  Or sometimes you just get validation-like when the presenter explains something or suggests an activity and you think, "Hey, I've been doing this already."  I wasn't lucky enough to take 5 CEU courses this year so I am going to write down 5 courses that I would highly recommend if you have the funds or if they come to your area. 

1.  PROMPT: Introductory and Bridging.  Great if your caseload consists of lots of nonverbal, preverbal or kids with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.  Although most people equate this approach with the tactile facial cues, I really found that I use it more as a another framework to think about articulation and how we produce our sounds.   I like the option of having some tactile cues to help out kids who need extra cues but fade them pretty quickly.  I also really like the fact that they encourage you to work on these word lists/choices during functional activities.  I think this is a little harder to implement in the group setting though.
2.  Kaufman Apraxia Approach.  Nancy Kaufman is an engaging speaker. This is another great course if you work with younger children.   I use this approach with a lot of my preverbal kids and have good success.  One thing that I really like is how you build up the language skills and then go back to fine tune individual sounds. 
3.  Floortime/Scerts Model.  I went to both of these courses and find the information is vital to anyone working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Some of the information overlaps, so if you've been to one I'd wait a few years before taking another one.
4.  Incredible Flexible You: Preschool Social Thinking course I took this course this year and found it to be SO helpful.  If you struggle with what's appropriate or expected for this age in terms of social language, this is the course for you.  The speakers were engaging and had great practical ideas for teaching. This is a great companion to the Social thinking courses. 
5.  Sarah James: Vocabulary course through Bureau of Education Research.  A good speaker for vocabulary and literacy.  She has fun and practical ideas to build literacy,  narrative and vocabulary skills.  Plus some really fun ideas for using poetry in sessions. 

Tomorrow I'm talking about my favorite books/resources.  What CEU courses did you find most valuable?  I'd love to hear it below. 

What's New at Speech2u: January Edition and a Giveaway

Once a month, I take some time to share some of the products that I have created which are available on my Teacher's Pay Teacher's and Teacher's Notebook stores.  This allows me to spend the rest of the month focused on fun products, soapbox Saturday's and therapy ideas.  I call it's What's new at Speech2U because I love to insert a little rhyme into my features.

I forgot to do this in December so I've got a few products to share.

Visual Scavenger Hunts throughout the year

I work a lot on eye contact and facial referencing with my client's on the Autism Spectrum.  This is an activity that I tried over the Holidays and liked so much that I decided to make it enough scavenger hunts to go throughout the year.  This download includes 12 different scavenger hunts, directions for teaching eye contact and extension activities.  Although it was developed to teach eye gaze and joint attention, it is really fun to use with other clients.  For them, I hide the pictures and then they need to complete certain tasks or answer questions whenever they find the item.

Add it UP: Football and Valentine's Day ninja editions.  

I added 2 more versions to this popular quick play game.  

I love using these conversation starters and WH questions at the start of therapy sessions or when the sessions are almost over.  They are great for articulation carryover and for checking on generalization for WH questions.  

I really love Fill in the blank stories like Mad Libs® but found it difficulty for my clients to come up with the best targets to use in therapy.  So I came up with own word lists.  These are available separately OR you can purchase the whole set for 20% off the individual purchase price. 

Ultimate Categories Interactive Flashcards:  

This is one of my favorite category activities.  I've been working with a client on category exclusion and needed to find a way to break it down so that I could teach her more efficiently.  So far she is demonstrating good improvements in her understanding of what doesn't belong.  

You can enter in to win a copy of your favorite product by entering the Rafflecopter below.  But hurry, the rafflecopter only goes through Friday!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 27, 2014

Best of the Best: Top 5 Week: Apps Edition

One of my favorite things at the end of the year is all of the Top 10 lists that come out.  I love lists.  I used to read the "Book of Lists" in school.  I even have an old cassette tape somewhere with the top 100 hits of 1986.  Who remembers what the number one song was?  I meant to do this in December, but it's awards season, so I figure it's still okay to put them out.

Stop by each day this week for a new "Top 5 list."

Last December I wrote a post about my top 10 favorite speech and non speech related apps.  You can check out that post HERE.

I haven't used my iPad as much this year since my son stepped on it.  It still works but the spider webbing cracks makes it a lot less fun.  Still, that hasn't stopped me from getting some pretty cool new apps.

Although this is my top 5 week, I ended up choosing 8 apps that I purchased this year.

1.  Odd Ones Out by Lucky Gecko apps  I heard about this from another blog but I forgot which one. Since I am in middle/high school, this is a fun, quick app to work on what does not belong with my students.  We also discuss WHY we chose the one we did.  
2.  Fun with Verbs and Sentences by Hamaguchi Apps  I love this app for early sentence building and syntax.  You can work on subject-verb-object or subject-verb-preposition.  The child chooses which character they want (boy/girl/bear,) what the character will do and what they are doing it with or where they are located.  Then a corresponding movie related to the sentence plays.  Afterwards, the child is prompted to state the sentence.  One of my favorite features is that you can choose your verb tense (present progressive, regular past tense, irregular past tense or random.)
3.  Word Vault by Home-Speech-Home  This a great resource for a variety of therapy targets.  It has lists for articulation, phonology, language targets, and social/problem solving.  This is a fantastic resource for any therapist-especially one who travels to different locations.
4.  Zones of Regulation by Selosoft, Inc  This app is a companion for the Zones of regulation program.  Your character moves around a street and goes into colored bubbles or zones and answers questions related to the Zones terminology.  You gain coins for each correct answer that you can use to buy things in the store. 
5.  Talking Train by All4mychild   This is a simple app which uses a train graphic to support students in conversation, sequencing and main idea/details.  Write the topic on the engine and then include three details on the cards.  There is also an option to record your voice. 
6.  Apraxia 2 syllables by NACD  I have the other 2 apps from NACD.  This lets you choose words based on place of articulation.  For example you could work on bilabial-bilabial words or bilabial-alveolar. 
7.  Listen Close Articulation by Erik X Raj  I have several of his apps and find them to be great for my middle to high school students.  I just bought this one so I haven't used it a lot.  This app is similar to game of Simon.  You get 4 words and the a screen comes up with 4 faces.   It starts with one word and then the next turn is 2 words.  You continue on remembering the sequence as you state your artic words.  One of the things that I really like about this app is that it helps with carryover of skills.  In order to be successful, the student has to focus on the sequence of the words vs. completing focusing on how they are producing the words.
8.  Describe it to Me by Smarty Ears.  When you start the game, you get a picture.  You choose which question you want the child to answer about the object: (category, function, parts, location, what it looks like and extra questions)  You can choose between receptive tasks with 4 multiple choice answers or expressive with options.  It also comes with homework sheets which I've never seen in an app before. 

Have you gotten any new apps?  What were your favorites for this year.  I'd love to hear about it.  As always, if you liked this post or thought there was good information please consider sharing on Facebook or Pinterest by clicking on the buttons below.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Social Skills Materials: {linky party}

The super talented Jenna over at Speech Room News is hosting another Love it and list it linky party.   This month's theme is Social Skills Therapy Materials.

I've been working with students and clients with autism for 17 years now.  I love working with this population and have accumulated an entire bookshelf filled with social skill materials and books.  Did I hear someone say hoooooooooooooooarder?  

For therapy, one of my favorite books is We can make it Better by Elizabeth M. Delsandro.

This book contains a variety of short stories where one of the characters exhibits some unexpected behaviors.  You work through the story, having your student or client identify unexpected behaviors and then explain how each participant is thinking and feeling.  When you get to the end of the story there is a natural consequence.  For example, if you laugh at your friend, refuse to help them, and play by yourself-they are probably going to go home.  But here's the best part:  They give you an alternate ending.  So once you've gone through the story-you go back and correct the mistakes.  Then the story ends with a more positive ending.  If you work with children with Autism or social thinking challenges-you need to get this book!!!!

Most of the materials in this kit are designed to complement Michelle Garcia Winner's Social
Thinking® Curriculum.  To learn more about the Social Thinking® and the vocabulary listed below please refer to her website:

To organize my cabinet, I started by getting all of the same type of storage boxes so that they stacked easily.  I typed out the materials in the kit, labeled it Social Skills and then used contact paper to secure the sheet to my container.  These are the materials in my Social Skills Box:

1.  Balanced Weight Scale from Learning Resources.  To work on conversational turn taking and balanced conversations. 
2.  Jello Brain Mold I purchased from Target after Halloween to work on Flexible Thinking©  and also the ideas of different kinds of Social Smarts©. 
3.  A Rock and a Flexible Brain© purchased from Social Thinking®.
4.  Mini Magnifying glasses purchased at a party goods store to focus on looking for social clues or being a Social Detective. 
5.  Giant Body parts purchased at the dollar store to focus on Whole Body Listening concepts and Thinking with your eyes©.
6.  Magnetic Poetry Emotion Faces.  I like these because it breaks it down to what are the eyes feeling/what is the mouth feeling.
7.  Shoe NotePads to go with Jenna Rayburn's In your Shoes Pragmatic Download as well as other perspective taking in your shoes activities.
8.  Chalkboard paper thought bubbles I purchased at Michaels.  

I really like Hamaguchi App's Between the Lines series for working on tone of voice, sarcasm, perspective taking and idioms/slang.  The Hamaguchi apps are the best for allowing you to customize to fit your students.

The Social Express is another great app that really targets social skills aligned with Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking® curriculum.  It is expensive but they do put this app on sale.

Blogs are some of the best places to find great, practical ideas for use in therapy.  I am in awe of each of these bloggers.  I know this totally dorky-they are like blogger celebrities.  The information they have provided has changed my therapy for the better.  If I met them in real life, I would probably faint.  

Jill Kuzma's SLP Social and Emotional Skill Sharing Site:  Hands down the best social skills blog out there.  This is the first speech therapy blog that I started to follow.  There are tons of free resources, handouts and visuals to use when planning your social skills therapy sessions.  I'm fairly certain I have downloaded and laminated everything from her site.  Check out her Social filter download, her IEP goal ideas and her information on Perspective taking skills.

Autism Teaching Strategies:  This site is written from a mental health perspective.  It includes a ton of freebies as well as products for purchase.  The ideas and activities are motivating to children.  He is a coauthor of RYUU which is a creative and awesome social skills program which uses dragons and trading cars similar to Pokeman to engage students in conversations regarding social skills.  Check out the Green zone for conversation and his newest published product: The Conversation Train.

Autism Games: and Autism Games blog   These sites are no longer being updated.  But it is worth some serious blog stalking if you work with children who have difficulty engaging at all with you.  There are so many games and ideas to build interactive skills.  Plus she has a ton of videos for you to observe her therapy techniques.  These have a heavy RDI focus so it is probably not information you learned in school.   I highly recommend you take time to read it.  The information is FANTASTIC!  Check out the videos,  the parent tips and the why games are important in therapy.

TPT PRODUCTS: Shameless self promotion:
I have a couple of Social skills products-including a new one that is 50% off through tomorrow.

Visual Scavenger Hunts focuses on facial referencing, joint attention and following eye gaze.  It's 50% off until tomorrow night!

Don't be a Zombie Nonverbal Language focuses on Tone of Voice, gestures, personal space and personal hygiene.  

STAND up for good problem solving skills focuses on teaching the STAND model for problem solving and includes a variety of scenarios for practicing skills.  

Stoplight emotions focuses on teaching students how to recognize emotions and understand that there are big and smaller emotions.  Plus the illustrations were all done by my awesome husband.

Flip Flap Knock Knock Jokes focuses on teaching humor to children-progressing from visuals to auditory information only.  

Okay, I could probably geek out on this subject all night.  Thank you to Jenna (another blogger who I would probably die if I met in person because of her incredible awesomeness) for hosting another link party.  Do you have great resources for social skills?  Head over to her site and link up your blog of your Facebook page!

SLP Frenzy!

There's a Frenzy going on over on Facebook.  Head over to get some great Freebies and product samples from your favorite SLP bloggers and TPT sellers.  Click on the image below to get a clickable map to each Facebook page-or just follow the frenzy to collect your products!  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Speachy Feedback: January Edition

Nicole over at has a monthly linky party where we get the opportunity to choose someone who has left specific and meaningful feedback on our Teacher's Pay Teachers or Teacher's Notebook products.  Everyone likes to get feedback on their products.  It's nice to get feedback like "Great job" or "Thanks, I love it!"  It's even better to hear exactly what you liked about a product.  It gives information to other buyers and helps me to continue to improve on the products I create.
Thanks to Vamodeo13 for leaving such great feedback.  Please email me with your choice of any single product from my store.  Sorry, bundles are not included as a free product.  I also set Direction Dice on sale for 30% off if anyone else wants to check this one out. 

Did you get some great feedback this month?  Head on over to SpeechPeeps and link up!  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Super Lazy Speech Therapy: Stair-ticulation

After finishing up progress reports (and about 2 trays of cookies over the holidays), it's sometimes hard to get back into the swing of things.  It's a perfect time for a super lazy day activity.

Do you have stairs at your school or building?  It's a great way to practice drill activities.  I really like it for mapping in the motor plan for /r/ when you have first established it.
Here are the super complex directions.
  • Walk to stairs.  
  • Give student articulation target word or sound.  
  • Student says target word or sound on each step as they go down and up the stairs.  
Because it's the New Year-and many of us have made fitness resolutions-I'll even attempt to make it a not-so-lazy activity:

Walk up and down the stairs with the students.

Stair-ticulation is also a great suggestion for home practice.  It's an easy thing for parents to remember to practice their articulation word of the week when they are walking up the stairs.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When Mr. Potato Head and Puzzles don't Work: Enticing Games for Young Children

If you were making a charm bracelet for a pediatric Speech language pathologist, you'd probably want to include a puzzle piece, a bubble wand and a Mr. Potato head figurine.  These are great activities for targeting vocabulary, requesting, early conversation skills and following directions.

What happens when you at the home of a little guy or gal, and they have NO interest in Potato head?  Maybe they cry every time you hand over a piece.  Or maybe they scream every time you try to touch their toys.  You could tell the parents that the child needs to learn to play these games because they are what other children are playing.  You could work on teaching visual schedules and first/then and use duration maps to build their tolerance for playing with Mr. Potato Head.   Or you could try to get in the zone and change your approach to try to meet their developmental and play needs.

Some children are not ready for toys yet.  Some children need to work on basic interactive and give and take skills before they are ready to participate in more advanced games.

Your first step is to remove all toys from the room or your therapy bag.  For now, you are going to be the toy.  Take a deep breath-it's okay.  Those toys were just tempting you to prompt these kids for something they weren't ready to do yet.  

What are we working on or looking for:

  • Shifts in attention
  • Increase in babbling engagement imitation.
  • Understanding of basic rules or basic give and take types of games.
  • Anticipation

A great interactive game/activity tends to follow a pattern.  Let's think about Peek a boo.

1.  Starts the Same:  Peek a Boo starts with when we place our hands over our eyes.
2.  Uses the same language while the child is learning the game (peek-a-boo!)
3.  Has a fun or exciting ending: We take our hands off of our eyes and yell "Peek-a-boo!"

The following are 5 of my Favorite Super Silly Games I like to use with these clients:

1.  Shhhhh.....they're  sleeping.  This is one of my favorite routine games.  I try to play it the same each time  for the first 3-4 times and then will modify it to get my clients talking.   I might start by playing the game with a bear or other favorite character.  I lay the bear down, and say "SHHHHH......the bear is sleeping."  This is the start of this game.  We whisper because the bear is sleeping.  Of course, eventually I forget and talk really loudly.  Then I remember I am suppose to start whispering again.

2.  Whooops! I ate it. I've been known to eat pretty much anything in the speech room cookie monster style.  My game starts with "Mmmmmm....." so they know I am going to eat something.  Then I go crazy with "Num, num, num, num" and hide what I just ate behind my back.  Usually it's a toy that they really want.  Sometimes we end the game by having the child tell me to "cough" it back up.  Hilarity ensues.

3.  Shhhhhh......I'm sleeping.  Clearly this game is related to "Shhhh....they're sleeping."  I'm hoping for my client to be loud to wake me up.  I can fall asleep anywhere in therapy-usually it is on their arm or leg.  This is great for those days when you stayed up late watching television-just be careful not to fall asleep while you are waiting for them to take their turn.  That's actually how I found out I was pregnant.  I literally fell asleep for 5-10 seconds during an afternoon speech appointment.  I think I suffered from narcoleptic pregnancy.  

4.  Really?  That's not a hat?  Apparently I don't have a good mental concept of what a hat should look like.  I find myself putting objects on my head ALL the time.  We work on saying "no" or "not hat."  Sometimes I don't realize it's on my head and we work on pointing and the preposition "on."  Sometimes I sneeze and the object "flies" off of my head.  We can work on early sound imitation and saying "Bless you."

5.  Pop goes the weasel-I like to do this game on the swing-but a wheely office chair works just as well.  This activity starts with have my kid sit on the swing or office chair.  We sing, the song while rocking or turning the chair from side to side and then POP!  We start spinning really really fast in one direction.    It doesn't really make sense since pop should be going up but that's the activity that we like to do so that's what we are doing.  Vestibular (spinning) movement can be really powerful input which some children with sensory issues don't process well.  It's a good idea to check with your OT's prior to these kind of activities.  

These activities are designed to start establishing rapport, early nonverbal turn taking needed for conversation, early imitation, anticipation of other's actions and early requesting.  As the child becomes more familiar with you and these early interaction games, you can start to build in tolerance for other "sit down" activities.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Soapbox Saturday: Why our words matter more than we realize

My son has recently started to make little books on his own.  He writes "words" in them or sometimes copies words that he has seen and illustrates them.  Last week, I went to pick him up from childcare and saw that he had made a book that was sitting on the counter.  I asked him if he had made book and he looked at me sulkily and said, "Yes, but Miss Sharon said I can't take it home because I used too much paper."  He used 5 pieces of paper to make his story-but he only drew on half of the paper for each sheet.  My dilemma is that I don't want to be the helicopter parent that solves problems or tries to contradict the teacher all the time.  As we were getting his coat on, I tried to help him problem solve solutions.  We ended up deciding that we could bring in 5 pieces of paper and then take his book home.  This is only the second "book" he'd written and I wanted to read it!  Here's what was a little heartbreaking for me.  You have a child (a boy nonetheless) who is starting to write his own stories-what a great early literacy step!  Is paper consumption really the lesson that we want to be teaching him?  Plus, I pay almost 900 dollars per month so you'd think I could get 5 sheets of paper as a bonus.  

As professionals working with children, our words are powerful.  As parents to our children, our words are powerful.  As adults in the community, our words are powerful.  It's easy to forget this as we need to share information with others.  But we can choose how we frame our thoughts-and we can choose what we want to communicate to the children and students with whom we work.

When I was around third grade, we were singing Christmas carols in church.  When we were done, a woman in our pew looked at me and said, "Wow.  You have a really good voice."  That's a simple compliment-but one that had a profound effect in my life.  I joined church choir and school choir and participated in plays and musicals.  I've always had a flair for the dramatic-so maybe I would have done this on my own.  But she had a choice with the words she used-she could have said "Wow, you sing really loud." This was also true but would not have resulted in the same results.  

My sixth grade teacher told me I was unorganized, bad at Math, a poor listener and in desperate need of a bra.  Seriously, there is NOTHING worse then overhearing your teacher say, "THAT girl needs to buy a BRA" when you are walking through the library with a group of your friends.  These things were also true-with the exception of math which I proved the following year with a more supportive teacher. My mom recently pulled out some old report cards of mine.  I made the comment that my sixth grade teacher really didn't like me.  What was interesting was reading my report card that year-everything stated that I excelled, was creative and with some help was making improvements in my organizational skills.  This is not the classroom teacher I remember.  Our words have power.  

There are two things that I challenge myself to do.  The first is to speak respectfully using neutral terminology when I am in front of the clients and the students I work with.  Many of them have challenging behaviors.  Many of them have significant delays.  I need to communicate about that-but I want to start by communicating the positive.  I make sure to focus on what I am treating them for vs. any maladaptive behaviors when I am communicating with their parents.  So I might say something like, "Today we worked on understanding concepts in and on and answering questions, Johnny was able to follow these directions when I gave him a point cue.  I think Johnny may have gotten tired of the activity as he started throwing objects at my head.  Next week, we are going to try to have a picture of "all done" to see if that will help him learn how to communicate that he wants to be done.  The sandwich approach is also really a good way to talk about clients.

The second thing I try to do is to take time to provide feedback or comment on my client's strengths.  I always have a list of strengths in my evaluation reports (attention to task, willingness to interact, imitation abilities etc.)  I try to comment on my client's strengths during our sessions.  I read a book awhile ago which suggested using phrases like "I'm proud FOR you" instead of "I'm proud OF you" to help children internalize their own sense of accomplishment versus relying on other's praise.  I try to use it sometimes but it does sound a little awkward when you are trying to say it.  

Sometimes these are strengths that we use in the therapy room, but often they are strengths that the child may exhibit in other areas.  I might say something like, "Wow, you really like to build legos.  I bet you have really good visual spatial skills."  Or "I noticed that you can talk a lot about computer chips, you seem to have a really good memory for details."

This is one of my preaching to the choir Soapbox's.  As Speech language Pathologists, we tend to be an observant, caring group of professionals who takes time to learn each child's strengths and weaknesses.

How about you?  What tips do you use to communicate with parents and your students?  Would you have taken the story home or left it at school to teach respect for your teachers?  Let me know by commenting below.  As always, I appreciate anyone who takes the time to share these posts with other's on Pinterest or Facebook.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Surviving the Polar Vortex while single handedly treating articulation AND language disorders.

It's been a little chilly here the past few days.  As I write this the temperatures is -17, which is better than yesterday morning when it was -22.  We don't get this cold very often.  It's the kind of cold that makes your feet cramp up if you don't have good boots.  When you go outside to start your car, your nostrils freeze together.  But you put on your long underwear, bundle up and make sure to not be outside longer than a few minutes in case your face freezes off.  We still function when it's this cold out, even though we all wish we could just cuddle up in bed with a good book until the frigid temperatures past.  The good thing about super cold temperatures is it makes the rest of Winter look easy as pie.  On Saturday, I was running some errands with my little one, he said, "Oh mom-it isn't cold at all.  I agreed, thinking it felt pretty warm.  We get in my car and the temperature reads: 14 degrees.

Schools were closed yesterday and today but the clinic where I work is open.  Here are a few super fun activities you can do to celebrate the frigid, arctic temperatures.

Snowman Face Cookies:   

I made similar turkey cookies for Thanksgiving.  I was able to pick these cute snowman ones up at Michaels for 50% off after Christmas.  I think it would be fun to read books about snowmen and then make these snowman cookies for a treat afterwards.  With my social language kids, we can work on matching the correct snowman emotional face to the situation.  We will work on following sequential directions when completing the activity.  

Snow Angels:

I was thinking that snow angels would be a good cross body movement activity.  I tried it outside this weekend and learned 2 things.  First, it is really cold when snow gets in the sleeves of your coat and falls down your pants.  Second, you have to be a master ninja to get out of a created snow angel without damaging most of the creation.  I recommend "pretending" to make snowman while lying on the ground-this is a fun activity for the PreK crowd.  You can talk about streeeeetching your arms, long arms and legs and moving or waving your arms back and forth.  

Snow in a Can:  

When it's too cold to go outside or when you live in a warmer client, just bring the snow inside.  .  You can purchase your own snow on stores like Discount School Supply.  Just add water and you make some fluffy snow.  You can practice your synonyms for cold while you play.  It's fun to drive your vehicles through, or play "bury" the speech card.  

Frozen Bubbles and Steam Making:

Have you seen the pictures from photographer, Angela Kelly?  It's making the rounds on the internet-She has taken GORGEOUS photos of frozen bubbles when temperatures dropped below zero at her home.  I did this experiment with my little guy on Sunday before the temperatures really dropped.  Still we were only able to stay out for a few minutes at a time.  Right before we went in, I couldn't blow bubbles, because they kept freezing on the wand.  It. was. awesome.  Check out this recipe using Karo syrup that I found online.

The other super neat thing you can do when it is super cold outside is make fog.  We boiled water in cups and then I stood outside and threw the boiling water into the air.  Half of it went up as steam!  The other half crashed down to the earth as hot water so be careful not to aim at anyone you like during this activity. 

Another crazy trick I read about online was called "Banana hammer."  Basically, you put a Banana outside to freeze and then can use it inside to hammer a nail into a piece of wood.  Perfect for when you forgot your tools in the freezing cold but just happen to have a banana you forgot to eat.  We tried it tonight at home, but I ended up impaling the knife turning it into some form of banana weapon.  The Biscuit was excited about that though.  I'm going to try again tomorrow-maybe I didn't get the banana cold enough.  

Those are a few ideas to celebrate all of the snow and cold temperatures we've been getting.  I heard on the radio that the nationwide average temperature was 19 degrees.  What about you?  Are  you surviving the cold?  Getting snow in?  Experiencing some of your first freezes?  Let me know below. If you think this post was entertaining or helpful, please consider sharing with others by posting on Facebook, pinning or sharing this on Twitter using the buttons below.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Resolved Resolutions and a FREEBIE

Does anyone take time to do New Year's Resolutions?  I usually try to pick resolutions that will be very easy for me to complete.  For instance, one of my personal resolutions is to drink an extra glass of water each day.  Not 8 glasses but at least one.  I have to start somewhere.  Last January I wrote about 2 of my resolutions related to speech language pathology and blogging. 
My speech language pathology resolutions for this year involve learning more about feeding and respiration as well as getting my middle and high school students to start coming to therapy on their own.

Next week I'm having my students make up their "Speech resolutions."  I'm hoping that most of them will resolve to remember to come to speech therapy.  Apparently having your SLP come to your classroom is not a big deal in the school I am working at.  Next month I'm thinking about dressing like an FBI agent.  Do you think that will get them to therapy? 

We start each year by reviewing our goals and discussing why we need to come to speech  therapy.  I think it's nice to take time in the middle of the school year to review where we were AND set some new resolutions of where we want to be by the end of the year.  I try to have them focus on "how" they can achieve their goals rather than just rewriting their IEP goals as resolutions.

Some great speech therapy resolutions:
  • I resolve to try to say my speech sound correctly for 5 minutes when I am in ________ class.  
  • I resolve to come to speech therapy on my own by putting the speech times in my planner.
  • I resolve to find my speech folder that I got at the beginning of the year.  
  • I resolve to try to initiate one conversation that doesn't involve mine craft during each speech therapy session.  
Do you like to make resolutions?  You can download my New Year's resolutions worksheet HERE.  
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