Friday, October 5, 2012

Speech Buddies

I first heard about Speech Buddies at the 2010 ASHA convention.  I thought it sounded like such a great idea, but could they really work???  Well, after using Speech Buddies for several weeks, I believe they really do work!  I used the /r/ Speech Buddy with a 7 year old client who was not stimulable for /r/ before using speech buddies.  His baseline data was 0% for /r/ in all positions.  We used the /r/ probe throughout the first one hour session.  One week later, the client achieved 60% accuracy for producing /r/ in all positions of syllables while using the /r/ Speech Buddy probe.  Some increase is expected in the early weeks of therapy.  However, a 0% to 60% increase is greater than I would normally expect to see.  

How do Speech Buddies work?  There is a probe for each sound.  I used the /r/ probe which is pictured on the bottom left.  You place the probe in the child's mouth and instruct them to unroll the coil while saying /r/.  We practiced saying /r/ in syllables at first (ie. re, ray, rye, eerie, ear). After achieving success with /r/ in syllables, we tried to move to /r/ in words.  It was difficult for the client to produce the entire word with the probe in his mouth.  Instead, we started with /r/ syllables using the probe, moved to /r/ syllables without the probe, and then moved to /r/ in words.  The probe offered enough tactile support to get us started and assisted with generalization of the "good /r/" into words.  I have struggled for years to offer this type of support to students struggling with /r/ production.  

Talk it up!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Check out what I've been using in therapy this week...

I started using Speech Buddies /r/ probe this week.  I have to admit I was skeptical about this product because it seems very different from traditional articulation therapy.  However, after one week, I am impressed!  Check back in two weeks for a complete reveiw.  Does anyone have experience using Speech Buddies in therapy?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Short Synonym Lesson

This week, I've been teaching synonyms to my middle school students.  Their favorite synonym activity has been Three Little Pigs Rewrite.  I handed out a copy of the The Three Little Pigs and we read it as a group.  I asked them if they noticed any overused words.  They immediately pointed out "little" so we brainstormed synonyms we could use instead of little and then looked in the Thesaurus to find even more.  We continued to brainstorm synonyms for other words in the story.  The kids were cracking up as we read our new and improved story at the end of the session.  It went something like this...."The first tiny pig constructed his residence out of straw because it was simple. The second diminutive pig assembled his dwelling out of sticks.This was slightly more powerful than a straw abode.  The third petite pig erected his quarters out of bricks."  
"The Gigantic Naughty Wolf"
I wrapped up the session by reinforcing that this activity can be used in the classroom setting.  When the students write papers in other classes, they should replace overused words with more interesting synonyms.  

Talk it up!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Resources Galore

I try my best to avoid all of the back-to-school hype.   Back-to-school ads began just when I had fully began to relax and enjoy my summer.  Seriously, it started way too early.  This year was no exception.  I avoided "back-to-school" anything until 7 AM on the first teacher work day.  And boy am I paying for it! I have paperwork up to my eyeballs and no lesson plans to speak of.  Good thing I work well under pressure!  So, where do I go to find my lesson plans/ parent resources/ therapy materials to get back on track???  Good question!  

Speech/Language Blogs
In my "free time" (a.k.a. when I'm procrastinating that paperwork up to my eyeballs) I peruse Speech/Language Therapy Blogs.  This is perhaps the most affordable source (free!) for a wealth of ideas.  You can find ideas to target goals for every age range and every ability level. Check out my favorites on the right!  

I've said it before and I will say it again, you're missing out if you're not on Pinterest.  Join now and follow PediaStaff.  You will find more ideas than you know what to do with.  Roughly 30% of my therapy material comes from ideas/downloads from Pinterest.  

Fluency Resources
I have an unusually high number of fluency clients this year.    I found some great resources from The Stuttering Foundation.  I handed out 8 Tips for Teachers and played Stuttering:  For Kids, By Kids at the beginning of each fluency session.  Watching the video really set the stage to have nice conversation about stuttering and associated feelings.  

Apps for Children with Special Needs
New to the world of iDevices and apps?  Start looking around at A4CWSN.  Check out the free apps tab and the favorite apps tab (my favorites!).  I go to this website frequently to see what's new.  

Thank you Leslie Lindsay for writing a comprehensive book about Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).  This book is informative enough to teach an SLP a thing or two, yet chatty enough to be a page turner for other parents.  My favorite chapter, "What You Can Do at Home:  Tappping into your Inner Speech-Langauge Pathologist," gives creative therapy ideas that can be implemented at home (or in the speech room!).  I have recommended this book to a few parents and have received great reviews.  Add a copy to your professional library today! 
Speaking of Apraxia: A Parents' Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Talk it up!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Favorite (non-iPad) Therapy Materials

It's time to spend my budget money.  For many SLPs, this can be a challenging feat. Sure $350 may sound like a lot, but then you flip through the catalogs and notice all of your top "wants" are $100.  That budget money can go pretty fast. How do you know what therapy materials will be great and which ones will leave you wishing you had made better choices?  All the therapy hype seems to be centered around the iPad these days.  My school doesn't purchase iPad apps for me so I rely on Super Duper and Linguisystems for the majority of therapy items.  I am going to list some therapy materials that are sure to please.  Please share items that are staples in your speech rooms! 

Jumbo Articulation Drill Book
This is my number one tool for articulation therapy.  There are many pictures/words/sentences for every sound.  The black and white pictures are kid friendly. 

Language Burst
This is a great time filler at the end of therapy.  I also use it for a quick warm-up activity. 
Product Image

Word Feast
Excellent vocabulary lessons for middle school students. 
Product Image

Chipper Chat
One of those great games that can be used for any goal. 

Hear Builder- Auditory Memory

This is something new to add to your therapy tool kit! This interactive software program teaches key strategies for remembering numbers, words, sentences, and stories. Hear Builder reminds me of a video game that can keep children engaged for long periods of time.  The animation and story line are exceptionally appealing to the students.  They get to help the recall agents save Memory Town from the evil Dr. Forgetsit.   Within the 5 subcategories (Numbers, Words, Details, Closure, WH Info), it teaches memory strategies that can be used to pass the level and are actually practical in life.  For example, one student was having difficulty passing a level where he had to memorize 4 numbers with a 10 second delay.  Hear Builder helped him learn to repeat the numbers over and over until it was time to type in the code.  I have the professional edition of Hear Builder which allows me to alter the difficulty level for particular students.  It also allows me to add background noise.  I have found these features to be very helpful.  After using this program for one week, I am excited to try the other versions of Hear Builder!  Does anyone have experience with the other versions?  Are they as great as the Auditiory Memory version?

Talk it up!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cloudy With A Chance Of...

Hello. I'm reporting from tornado alley and the season for catostrophic weather is in full swing. Just last week, there was a tornado watch in effect. Apparantly this was pretty traumatic for some kids because they were talking about it all week. I thought, "Why not turn this into a speech activity?" This high interest activity has helped to address goals for some of my students with speech/voice issues.  I began the lesson by stating that some people use their voice for their career. Can you think of any jobs that require a good voice? Let the students brainstorm and write their responses on the board. Hopefully, they thought of a meteorologist or a reporter.  If not, guide them in that direction.  Next, watch this video: 

Have a conversation about what made this man's voice "good."  With one of my older students, I made a rating scale that included rate, volume, pitch, pausing, overall intelligibility, and stress.  This lead to great discussion about voice.  Now, instruct the student to make their own weather forecast.  Give them five minutes or so to research upcoming weather in their area and make some quick notes.  Tell them that they will have to give a one minute weather report.  Video their forecast (I used my iPad).  Watch the forecast with the student and have them rate their voice using the same parameters listed above.  If they are unsatisfied, try again!  This lesson leads to great discussion!!  For example, how is the meteorologist's voice different from my voice?  Does the meteorologist speak differently to his family than he does on TV?  Would it be weird if we talked like a meteorologist all the time?  Have fun with this!

Talk it up!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Benefits of Sign Language in the Middle Schools

Currently, I am enjoying one of the luxuries of being a school-based SLP- Spring Break!  What better time for a guest post?  Check out what Kristy, from Hear My Hands, has to say about incorporating sign language into  speech/language therapy for the middle school population.  Oh ya, don't forget to check out Kristy's website
Currently I don’t see elementary or middle school age students on my case load. I do work with high school students though and therapy can get pretty tricky to maintain their attention and motivation for even as little as the 30 minutes given to me to work with them. So … just recently I started an agreement with a few groups that if they got done what we needed to accomplish, then I would give them a quick mini-sign language lesson at the end of their session. This idea went over great! The girls in different groups thought it was ‘hot’ (their words – not mine) and so it began! But first – we started with a figurative language lesson because how could I pass up the opportunities to talk about ‘hot’ as in anything but the actual temperature ‘hot’! As that moment passed and I got my lesson accomplished, we moved onto a quick lesson in sign language! Ta-da – success! I signed SEE YOU LATER and away they went. And let me tell you – they remembered the next week!

Fortunately when I do work with elementary school kiddos they are quite more compliant so I don’t have to coerce them so much. But how would I use sign language with middle school students in therapy? There’s a few games that could work on your goals and incorporate sign language.

1.      SignBurst!
a.       Players required: 2 +
b.      Items needed: a timer, a pile of cards that are your target words for the session (and perhaps a couple previous sessions), and available hands! On each card with the target word should be additional related words (either synonyms, antonyms, associations, etc.)
c.       Rules: One student will sign the word and the other students are required to come up with the synonym (or antonym if that is what you are working on) for the word. So for example, the word on the card is ‘happy’. Other words on the card are ‘glad,’ ‘excited,’ ‘cheerful,’ ‘blissful,’ ‘joyful,’ etc.  The one student would sign HAPPY and the other students would have to beat the timer with as many words as they can think of for ‘happy’. **If the students don’t remember the sign given (e.g. HAPPY) then fingerspelling is permitted – not speech! H-A-P-P-Y.
sign language sign.jpg
2.      Deaf-ine it!
a.       Players required: 4 + (two groups of two minimum)
b.      Items needed: target words written out on index cards or from a worksheet
c.       Rules: With the timer started, one person reads the definition of the word to his/her partner(s). The partner(s) is required to sign the correct response. The team member reading the definitions continue to read more definitions until the timer goes off. For example: definition: “it’s round and tells times.” Other partner must sign CLOCK; and continue to the next definition. Points will be given for each correct response. The other team follows the same directions. At the end of each round, the team with the most points wins that match.
3.      Sign What? (the play on words – “Say What?”)
a.       Players required: however many other students during that therapy session
b.      Items needed: a story or article
c.       Rules: You (the clinician) read the story and emphasize the important parts in sign. The students need to know what the signs are prior to the story being read.  After the story is complete, you ask the appropriate comprehension questions. The person who remembers the correct answers gets a point. If he/she remembers the sign too, they get an additional point.

These are just a few ideas. In my therapies, I find it’s critical to rehearse word-finding skills. I find that almost everything I do has some word retrieval practice in there somewhere. Using sign language (limb gross and fine motor skills) can help jug the memory of the word(s) the student is trying to think of. Using sign language paired with the spoken word works different areas of the brain with the whole – here it comes big words – visuospatial memory! A student’s sure to remember a definition to a new word or concepts heard in a story when signs are attached to it.  The use of sign language allows for a fun new interactive way to teach the same ol’ goals.  I am able to get across my semantic language, following directions, auditory processing/comprehension, and pragmatic goals using the three goals discussed above.  Sign language comes across as a ‘hot’ way to learn the concepts they prefer not to rehearse.  Success in my book! Sign on!

Kristy works as a speech-language pathologist in the school systems, early intervention, as well as with private clients. Her specialty is augmentative alternative communication (AAC), which she believes fits perfectly with ASL. Kristy uses ASL both personally (with her daughter) and professionally in her therapy sessions and by teaching classes, tutoring sessions, and workshops. She is a Master Level Certified Sign Language Instructor through Signing Time®, a new blogger, a student in Nova Southeastern University’s SLP.D program, a wife, and a new mom of a 12 month old. Please visit her new blog and her Facebook page and become followers!

Thank you Kristy!
Talk (or rather...sign) it up!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Draw Something

Draw Something Free
How many of you have played the popular app Draw Something?  If not, you're missing out!  It's totally addicting and lots of fun!  It has gained popularity quick and my kids have been talking about it- alot.  So today, the students and I made our own version of Draw Something that can be played in the speech room.  I divided my dry erase board into equal sections and assigned a section to each student.  We discussed what speech target they would be working on.  When I said "Draw Something", they drew as many pictures as they could that contained their target sound.  When the timer went off (7 minutes later), the kids sat down.  As a group, we tried to guess the drawings.  If the drawing was guessed by the group AND it contained the correct target sound, a point was awarded to the artist.  The artist with the most points won! I had each artist name all of their pictures for maximum speech practice. 

I only used this game for students who were working on articulation at the conversation level.  There was lots of spontaneous speech production which allowed me to track the targets in conversation. 

Happy Friday : )

Talk it up!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Get More Use Out of Artic Flashcards

Every speech-language pathologist has articulation flashcards.  Right?  Mine were starting to get dusty after the purchase of flashcard apps on my iPad.  However, if you think outside the box, there are some great ways to use these flashcards besides basic drill.  Here are some creative ways I like to use them:

Artic Toss
Spread the flashcards out on the floor.  The child has to throw a koosh ball and have it land on a flashcard.  If the child is at the word level, they flip the card over and say it 5 times.  If they are on the phrase or sentences level, they make up a phrase/sentence containing the word. 

Guess That Flashcard
This game works great played in groups with mixed skill levels.  One student is the clue giver and one student is the guesser.  If the names didn't give it away, the clue giver gives clues about artic cards to the guesser. I choose the deck of flashcards based on the goals of the guesser.  Once the card is correctly guessed, the guesser repeats the word 5 times.  I always choose clue givers who are at the conversational level of articulation therapy.

Silly Stories
Each student gets 10 flashcards relating to their targeted speech sounds.  They must use each word to make a silly story.  They read their story to the group using their best speech sounds.  I save these stories for later use during reading level speech therapy. 

How do you use your articulation flashcards???

Talk it up!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I like to use a magnetic dart board for a visual while working on the /r/ sound in speech therapy.  I tape an /r/ to the center of the dart board and explain that a perfect /r/ sound is a bullseye.  The old sound (Check out old sound/new sound here) is like hitting the dart board on the outer most edge.  A distorted /r/ can land anywhere in between. As the child produces /r/ words/syllables, I show them how close they were to a bullseye.  I also use this activity for auditory discrimination.  The child listens to my /r/ and shows me how close I came to getting a bullseye.  Don't have a dart board?  A picture works just as well! I hope you enjoy this mid-week quickie! 

Talk it up!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Bulletin Board

Happy Monday everyone!  Check out my new bulletin board that's inside my classroom.  Does anyone have any ideas for bulletin boards outside the classroom?  I'm not allowed to write student names or anything about speech and/or language.  I hate to admit this but.... my outside board has said "We are here to shine" since August!  I need to do something about that quick!

Talk it up!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Diary of a Speech Kid- Part 2

My students were begging for more Diary of a Wimpy Kid activities so I created a few more.  These worksheets cover syntax skills.  Although they are set up in the worksheet format, I never hand my students a piece of paper and tell them to get to work.  I usually project the worksheets onto the whiteboard and we work on them together.  Or, I read the question aloud and have them write their answers on a small dry erase board.  These techniques are so much more motivating than traditional pencil and paper work!  Some of my students required a graphic organizer before the journal write.  We wrote "Monday" in the center of the web and then wrote things such as "I got an "f" on my math test" in the outside bubbles.  Here is the graphic organizer I used.

Check out the Diary of a Speech Kid syntax pages here and the journal page here.

Congrats to Ms. Cheryl for winning A Day with A Difference app!

Talk it up!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Giveaway! A Day with A Difference

iPad Screenshot 1
 I recently had the opportunity to use the new iPad app, A Day with  A Difference.  It is a great interactive story book that teaches basic concepts.  The main characters, Mr. Big and Mr. Small, guide you through a series of events where basic concepts are encountered in natural situations.  For example, there was only one washer left at the laundromat, so Mr. Big and Mr. Small had to share.  Oh no!  Their clothes are all mixed up.  Will you help them sort their clothes?  My students loved the interactive games in this story!  Basic concepts targeted include bigger and smaller, longer and shorter, same and different, more and less.  After reading the story, there is an option to play bonus games.  It was possible to collect a lot of data in a short amount of time during these games. Overall, this would be a good addition to your therapy tool box if you work with preschool aged children. 
iPad Screenshot 2
Mr. Big and Mr. Small
iPad Screenshot 5
Basic Concept Game

I have one of these apps to giveaway!  Leave a comment with your e-mail address to enter.  The winner will be chosen on Friday, March 2.

Talk it up!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Life Skills Questions

What are the most important questions for a child to be able to answer? Children need to be able to answer so many questions to function in life/school that it is quite difficult to narrow it down to a short list.  However, many students with langauge impairments have an extremely difficult time answering any questions.  Even the simple ones like, "What is your name?"  prove too difficult to answer for some langauge impaired children.  I've compiled a list of questions that relate to safety and basic life skills.  Here is the list I came up with:

1.       What is your name?
2.       What is your last name?
3.       What is your address?
4.       What is your dad’s phone number?
5.       What is your mom’s phone number?
6.       What city do you live in?
7.       What street do you live on?
8.       What is your zip code?
9.       What state do you live in?
10.   Where do you live?
11.   How old are you?
12.   What school do you go to?
13.   What number do you call for an emergency?
14.   What do you do if you see a fire?
15.   What are your parents’ names?
16.   Who are your parents?
17.   What do you say if you need help?
18.  When is your birthday?
19.  Who can you ask if you need help at school?
20.  Who can you ask if you need help at a store?
21.  Who can you ask if you need help at the library?

You will notice that some questions are asked several times but are worded differently.  This is important to teach flexibility to the language impaired child.  Am I missing any key questions? 

Next, I went to Flashcard Machine to generate a set of flashcards based on the question list.  Flashcard machine is FREE!  You do have to create an account though. You can review the flashcards online, on your iPad, or print them out.   Now we will drill, drill, drill until these important questions are mastered!

Talk it up!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Action Verbs

Pinned ImageDo you all follow Pedia Staff on Pinterest?  If not, you should start now!  You will instantly be hooked.  The other day, I noticed a post that asked what Pinterest picture board would be helpful for speech/language therapy.  I responded that I would like to see a group of pictures that elicit usage of action verbs.  Voila!  The next day, there was literally an entire pinboard of excellent photos.  Check it out here.   I've already used this pinboard for several therapy groups.

Sentence Formation
This is what I had in mind when I requested this pinboard.  I have a student who rarely speaks in complete sentences.  I had him look at a picture and form a sentence of at least 5 words.  "The white owl is skating."

One student needed help adding "ing" to the end of verbs.  These pictures were great help in targeting this goal.  I projected one photo on the board and instructed the student to tell me a sentence about the picture.  The student said, "The owl skate."  I expanded, "Yes, the owl IS SKATING."  He was able to independently add "ing" after I modeled it several times.  He especially liked the animal photos!

I have a group of students working on expanding utterances using conjunctions.  We brainstormed all the conjunctions we could think of and made a collaborative list on the board.  Then I projected one of the action verb photos on the board.  The students took turns telling about the picture using a conjunction in the sentence.  "The owl will eat a mouse after he skateboards."

Thank you Pedia Staff!!

Talk it up!
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Monday, February 6, 2012

Diary of a Speech Kid

What is it about Diary of a Wimpy Kid that is grabbing kids' attention?  I think it helps that the kids can all relate to Greg Heffley. Greg finds himself thrown into middles school, where "wimpy" kids like himself share the school with bigger, meaner kids.  Regardless, my kids are obsessed with Wimpy Kid and I decided to play into their obsessions for Diary of a Speech Kid Week.

Diary of a Speech Kid:  Fill-In
I use this activity for students who need help with syntax.  They must think of adjectives, verbs, nouns, etc. to complete the diary entry.  I also use this for speech kids.  These silly stories are great for students working on carryover of speech sounds.  If they are working on /r/, make sure all of their fill-in choices have the /r/ sound.
Diary of a Speech Kid- Fill-In

Glow Draw+FunBrain= Speech Practice
Fun Brain has the entire Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book #1 on their website.   Check out book #1 here.  I printed off a few pages, took a picture of them with my iPad, and opened them in the Glow Draw app.  (I have seen this technique on Pinterest.  Not sure who should get credit...)  No iPad?  Just print off the pages and have students highlight the target words.

Word Level- The student underlines every word that has their target sound in it.  They practice saying each word 5 times.

Reading Level-  The student underlines every word that has their target sound in it.  They read the passage paying close attention to underlined words.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Event Kit

This packet has a lot of great activities.  However, the only one I borrowed was the Secret Word Game.
The player has to describe the "secret word"  without using any "forbidden words."  I use this for language (describing nouns) and speech (carryover practice).  I sorted the words based on the students' knowledge of Greg Heffley.

Vocabulary Bingo

We didn't have time to read the entire Diary in my class.  However, the reading teacher did.  I passed this activity on to her to help the language impaired students get more vocabulary exposure.

Talk it up!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pragmatic Language

I have a never ending checklist at work.  I work all day to check tasks off the list and it somehow continues to grow.  And grow.  And grow. 

Evaluate Sam.
Write evaluation report.
Make-up time for Sue.
Complete monthly caseload info.
Lesson plan for Monday!
Create a Pragmatic Language Rating Scale

This last task has been on the to-do-list for weeks.    I thought I would share my final product.  I have a high number of children with autism on my caseload and  I do not  have time to meet with their teachers as often as I would like to.  I created a rating scale that allows the teachers to report areas that are difficult for the students in the area of pragmatics. I went ahead and included an informational sheet about Social Language Use and Tips (adapted from ASHA).  

Social Language Use and Tips
Rating Scale

Create a Pragmatic language Rating Scale

I can finally check it off. Whew, that feels good! I hope by sharing my ideas I am making your to-do-list shorter!

Talk it up!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Multiple Meaning Words

Hello!  Multiple meaning words can be so confusing for kids with a language impairment.  They finally figure out the meaning of a word and then they  hear it used another way.  "What?!? How can you paint another coat on the wall?  I don't see any coats!"  Here are my favorite activities to help kids understand that one word may have two (or even more!) meanings: 

1. Read The King Who Rained by Fred Gwynne.  Discuss the multiple meaning words used in this book.  This also elicits a great conversation about the difference between multiple meaning words and idioms since both are used. 

2. Multiple Meaning Word Match-up- This is the easiest lesson to prepare and the one the kids seem to enjoy the most.  All you have to do is choose multiple meaning words based on your student's ability level.   Cut out the words and definitions.  The kids have to match 2 definitions to 1 word.  To make this "game" easier, put out less choices.  I used this website to find my ability level words. 

3. TV411 Have you all discovered TV411?  It has excellent lessons that are intended for an older audience.  It works perfect for middle school kids.  The lesson I have linked includes 3 activities dealing with words that have multiple meanings.  Excellent feedback is also provided. 

4. Multiple Meaning Word Riddle Book- Have each student create one page for this riddle book.  Provide a list of appropriate words for them to choose from.  They draw two pictures and write two definitions for the same word.  Write the multiple meaning word on the back of the page.  Bonus:  Share the finished book with all of your students for even more practice! 

Talk it up!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sounds in Syllables

Hello!  The next step in artic therapy is to work on the sound in syllables.  I base this portion of therapy on the vowel quadrilateral. 

I made up this little cheat sheet to help during syllable practice.  We can put the target sound at the beginning to form ree, rih, ray, reh, row, roo, raw, etc.  We can put the target sound in the middle to form ee-r-ee, eye-r-uh, ah-r-oo, ow-r-oy, etc.  We can put the target sound at the end to form ear, are, or, our, er, etc.  I wanted to make a sheet that didn't use phoetics so I can send it with the child for homework. 
ee (beed)

oo (boo)
ih (bid)

ou (book)
ay (made)
oh (bow)
eh (bed)

aw (ball)

ah (bottle)
ow (how)
oy (boy)
eye (buy)

Usually, during this stage of therapy, I drill-teach-drill-teach-drill-teach then have a fun activity at the end of therapy.  Flippin Frogs is a fave because one game only lasts a couple of minutes and the kids LOVE it. I work on sounds in syllables until the child reaches 80% accuracy for three sessions.

Talk it up!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From "Wabbit" to "Rabbit"

Hello!  Teaching /r/ can be tricky indeed.  How come some kids go months without a successful /r/ production and some have perfect /r/ productions on day #1???  So frustrating (for the Speech-Language Pathologist and for the kid who still says "wabbit"  after months of speech therapy).  Since every kid is different, I alter my teaching technique case-by-case.  For /r/, I make sure to use Mr. Mouth  (get your own here) since the inside of my actual mouth isn't easily visible for modeling.  I usually emphasize that "your tongue makes the /r/ sound, not your lips."  Then, I shape /r/ from /i/ ("eee").  So, /ri/ (ree), /iri/ (eerie), and /ir/ (ear) are the syllables I start with.  During these first few elicitations, I really look at HOW the client is producing /r/ (or /w/).  I alter my teaching based on where the breakdown is occurring.  Maybe their tongue is being "lazy" or maybe they are making "kissy lips". So I will instruct them to "get their tongue up in the back" or "keep their lips in neutral position."  Neutral position is obtained by biting down on your back teeth and then slightly opening your mouth.  Have a look at Grace learning the /r/ sound:

Fortunately for me, Grace picked up on /r/ immediately!  FYI:  This does not happen often!!  But when it does, pat yourself on the back for being such an amazing SLP. 

I used to teach /r/ as the "smiling sound"  but have since found that technique to do more harm than good.  The kids were making really tensed-lip /r/ sounds that sounded extremely unnatural.  What are some of your tricks? 

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Old Sound/ New Sound

Auditory discrimination refers to teaching students to distinguish between correct and incorrect productions of speech sounds.  I like to refer to the sounds as the "old sound" (incorrect production) and the "new sound" (correct production).  Old sound/ new sound is easy for young clients to understand and doesn't have the negative implications of saying, "That was wrong."  Take a look at my favorite way to provide auditory discrimination training.

In this session, I let the client be the teacher.  They use the free iPad app, Glow Draw, to grade my speech.  The "old sound" gets a minus and the "new sound" gets a plus.  Additionally, this is the perfect time to introduce old sound/ new sound to the client.  I think Grace is getting the hang of the new speech lingo!  If the client is having a hard time discriminating between the sounds, I use the iPad app, Artikpix, for auditory discrimination training.  I say the word, record myself, and then play it back several times (sometimes more like 20 times) until the client is able to make a decision.  They love the grading my productions with Artikpix.  Press the smiley face to hear, "Yay" or the frown face to hear, "Awww."

iPhone Screenshot 4
Glow Draw
iPhone Screenshot 3

I don't spend tons of time on auditory discrimination training.  Usually, about 5 minutes a session for the first couple weeks of therapy.   What works for you?

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stimulability Testing

Stimulability refers to a child's ability to imitate the clinician's model.  During speech evaluations, I like to determine stimulability of all misarticulated sounds.  This is helpful for picking out which sounds to target first.  I have found that the stimulable sounds are easier to train, and are generally my first choices for therapy targets.  Have a look to see if Grace is stimulable for /r/:

Wow!  I love getting easy clients like this! We can tell that Grace is stimulable for /r/ because she was able to imitate my models. Picking out therapy targets for Grace is easy peasy.  The letter /r/!  I base my articulation therapy on a combination of motor-based approaches.  Here's a quick outline:  discrimination, isolation, syllables, words, phrases, sentences, reading, and then conversation. The idea being that practice should occur at increasing levels of complexity until a sound is generalized into conversation.  Come back to follow me through these steps and gain ideas for each level.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Back to the Basics

Hello!  I decided to go back to the basics this week and take a look at traditional articulation therapy.  To begin, I have collected a speech sample from a 7 year old female with an articulation disorder.  She misarticulates /r/ in all word positions and in blends. Have a look for yourself:

Most children make some mistakes as they learn to say new words.  A speech sound disorder occurs when mistakes continue past a certain age.  Every sound has a different range of ages when the child should make the sound correctly.  Speech sound disorders include problems with articulation (making sounds) and phonological processes (sound patterns).  I am going to focus on articulation for the current case study.  
An articulation disorder involves problems making sounds.  The sounds can be substituted, left out, added or distorted.   Grace distorts the /r/ sound.  In the state of Missouri, guidelines state that  /r/ should be developed by age 8.  However, parents can request private speech therapy to address this issue sooner.   After a sample is taken and deviant sounds are identified, the child should be tested for stimulability.  Check back soon to see if Grace is stimulable for /r/. 

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(Information was used from ASHA.  Check out their website here.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tracking (The Old School Way)

I still use paper and pencil for tracking speech/language therapy data.  I guess you could say I'm old-fashioned. I've tried some of the new tracking apps on the iPad, but I just can't get into them. I use a comprehensive data collection sheet that is kept in a separate file folder for each student.   The speech and/or language goals are listed at the top of the sheet. I track  accurate (+) and inaccurate (-) responses and then calculate the percent correct on this sheet.   Next, I move the articulation percentages to an easy-to-read data collection sheet.  This sheet is arranged according to the hierarchy of traditional articulation therapy.  Once the student attains percentages above the criterion level for 3 sessions, he moves to the next level.  This system makes quarterly data collection a breeze!

Articulation Data Collection is linked here
Comprehensive Data Collection is linked here

When there are 3+ students in a group, and multiple tracking sheets for each student, it can easily get cluttered.  I keep my clipboard glued to my hand to help keep things orderly.  I jazzed up my old clipboard with some scrap book paper and mod podge.  Very easy, very cheap, and very cute.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snowy Day App Exploration

I got the BEST phone call this AM! "We will have no school today due to inclement weather."  YAY!  I decided to spend my day exploring new iPad apps to use for speech/language therapy.

Children with language impairment and children with autism  often times display weak temporal concepts which can cause confusion over the school routine and chronological events. This app will allow the children to explore temporal concepts using the swipe of a finger.  There are 14 time sequences available that explore concepts such as seasons and months.  I haven't even mentioned the best part yet.  This app is FREE. My favorite kind of app : )

iPad Screenshot 1
Change from winter to spring with the swipe of a finger.

I have several Toca Boca apps and they're all great, so it comes as no surprise that the newest game in the Toca collection is a success.  This app will be good for the smallest kids on my caseload.  The free play structure will allow the app to be used for a variety of speech and language goals.  I will use it for vocabulary enrichment, help with categories (fruits, veggies, meats, etc.), and any articulation goal.  The game allows you to choose from four hungry characters and prepare food for them in a variety of ways.  The characters interact by making noises indicating how they like the food you prepared for them.   They will reject uncooked meet or any un-food item.  This app is sure to elicit lots of conversation!

Toca Kitchen
$1.99 in the app store!

iPhone Screenshot 4Following directions can be SO boring.  Point to the first big dog and the second big dog unless I point to the sixth little goose.  blah blah blah.   I was looking for a more entertaining way to work on following directions when I came across Cake Doodle.  You have to follow a recipe, and work on action words at the same time, to make a cake.  Sift, cut, pour, crack, pinch, twist, stir, bake, frost, decorate, eat.  I plan on having the kids write a story about the cake they made to target past tense verbs (which tend to be oh-so-confusing for the language impaired child).  This app is well worth $0.99!    
iPhone Screenshot 2

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Idiom Pictionary

Note to reader:  I had to try really hard not to include any cheesy idiom references in this post.

This week, my middle school students had a ball learned about idioms.  The kids especially loved "Idiom Pictionary."  I printed some idioms on individual slips of paper.  Each student had to pick an idiom and draw the literal representation of it on the board.  The other students were the guessers.  Once they hit the nail on the head with their guesses guessed correctly, we discussed the figurative meaning of the idiom and used it in a sentence.  I let them work in groups because two head are better than one groups are more fun!

Can you guess this idiom?

Click here for the idioms I used.

Some borrowed items I used this week included an idiom story and quiz you can find here and Lady Gaga idioms you can find here. "Can't read my. Can't read my. No he can't read my poker face."  See, Gaga likes idioms, too : )

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

SLP Gold Mine

On a recent trip to Chicago, I discovered Marbles- The Brain Store.  SLP GOLD MINE!  The store was divided into sections based on which skill each game targets.  I spent my time in the sections labeled Critical Thinking, Memory, and Word Skills.  I could have easily spent one year's salary in this store.  Instead, I only spent one paycheck ; )  Here's some of what I walked away with:

Perfect game for those therapy sessions when you are wondering what the heck to grab for the last 5 minutes that you hadn't anticipated having!    The directions are simple:  Listen to a statement, be the first to slap the trigger with the correct hand (right for true, left for false), you keep the card if you win. The goals I use it for are: following directions, memory, right/left discrimination, and social interactions. 

Sample Trigger Card

Rory's Story Cubes
I have used these dice for every kid on my caseload.  Buy them.  You won't be sorry.

The new version is at the top of my want list.  I will have them soon.

This game is great for older students who need help with word finding.  It does require some pre-sorting.  What the heck is a famous address??? 

If you are lucky enough to live near a marbles store, go in and try every game.  You will love it.  If not, be thankful for online shopping. 

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Monday, January 9, 2012

"X" Marks the Spot

Hello blog world!  My name is Ashley and I am a second year Speech-Language Pathologist for kids of all ages.  I feel as if I have some creative ideas to share with parents and fellow SLPs.  That's what has sparked this little blog!  I have a greater respect for all of you veteran bloggers because the design aspect is difficult!  Be patient with my ever-changing blog design because it is far from complete : )

For Post #1, I would like to share my new reward system that the kids are LOVING.  One recent quote, "I never want to graduate speech with prizes like this!"  lol  When the kids do something great, such as show up on time or have a super productive session, they get to roll the dice and color in that number of coins on the Treasure Map (linked here).  The treasure map is taped to the front of each student's file.  When they reach the "X" on the map, they get to pick some "loot" from the treasure chest ($15 from Michaels).  The "loot" consists of bouncy balls, sticky hands, etc. from Oriental Trading Company and some prizes from Target dollar spot.  I also made a coordinating bulletin board which turned out super cute!

Talk it up!