Sunday, December 1, 2013

TPT sale and what's in my cart

I am so excited about this sale!  This sale last year was the first time I made a purchase on TPT and it started me thinking that I could make some products of my own!  

But first, here are some products from my store that are new:

This series by Lucille Colandro is one of my favorites.  I love the repetitive format, and the kids love the old lady swallowing everything in sight!  You can find this companion at my store here:
Book Companion for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell

Build A Snowman Open-Ended Games: Who doesn't like building snowmen?  There is an included game board, as well as an activity that can be used with or without the game. You can find it here:
Build A Snowman Open-Ended Games

I also have a homework packet for articulation.  This bundle is loaded with printable worksheets to send home for homework, or they can be used in therapy, for fast drill activities.  I am currently working on more sounds as well.  There are several different activities on one page which I love, as well as a parent letter.  Here's the link:
Articulation Placemats: Homework Sheets and Drill Activities

What's in my shopping cart?

Lots of clip art. Can't wait to share some new things with you!

Here are from other SLPs, some I already have but wanted to highlight here.

From Lynda SLP 123:


From straight up speech

From Queen's speech

From Rae's Speech Spot

I have not decided about what to choose from Mia McDaniel and from Speech2U.  I have a lot of their things already, but they are definitely on my list.  Here are the links to their stores:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Teaching Conversational Skills

So many of my students have difficulties with conversational skills. Speaking with them one to one, it may not always be clear, but observing them in different settings (the cafeteria, by their lockers, in the halls between bells) allows you to get an earful….

After speaking with a behaviorist in my school, I thought about how to address conversational skills. One way I have been teaching these skills is with the acronym TOAST.

T= choose a topic
O= offer opinion
A= ask questions
S= share similar experiences and feelings
T= talk about what you know

When teaching about topics, I first try to teach about the audience. Students need to understand that the topics they introduce will be different, depending on if they are speaking with a familiar or unfamiliar adult, peer, or family member. One of my students rushes to greet me daily, saying, “’Sup dude? How’s it goin? I’ma ask out one a these fine ladies, which one you like?” While this might be appropriate with friends, it is certainly not appropriate to speak this way to an adult.

The behaviorist who cotaught with me began a lesson with this power point slide to introduce differentiating between peers and adults: 

It was pretty generic, and my students needed further breakdown to understand what topics were appropriate to discuss with different people.  This is what I used for my next lesson:

Second, I teach students to discuss a variety of age-appropriate universal topics. We discuss weather, pets, sports teams, current events, movies and television shows. 

Third, it is also important to teach students how to find the main idea of a conversation so they can jump in with relevant comments and questions.  Most of my students enter into a conversation between others by introducing a new topic of their own, rather than trying to follow the conversation already taking place.  Students also need to learn how to interrupt conversations politely, when to step into a conversation, and when it may not be appropriate.

Finally, it is important to help a student determine when to introduce a new topic, and how to make the transition smoothly.  Some lead-ins for topic initiation include the following questions: 
"Hey, did anyone hear about....?"
"What do you think about...?"
"Did you see...?"


If your students don't know the difference between facts and opinions, this needs to be taught.  Once students know the difference, they need to understand how to give an opinion politely.  Most of my students don't fully comprehend others perspectives, so I teach them how other people might react to their opinions.  We act out conversations and 
switching roles has really helped my students.  The students also learn to identify when other people are offering an opinion by identifying phrases such as:

"I really like...."
"I don't like/dislike/hate...."
I agree/don't agree with...."
"I think...."
"I believe...."

Ask questions:

Children need to learn that there is give and take in conversation.  I have many students who only speak about themselves and what they like, but never ask me or their friends any questions.  This makes for a very one-sided conversation, with the conversation partner feeling very left out.  Again, I teach perspective-taking in this situation, typically after a weekend or a vacation, when I speak about everything I did, but don't leave students the opportunity to tell about their vacation or weekend. The students catch on quickly, and then we learn about reciprocity.  I teach them to ask questions like: 

"How do you feel about...?"
"Why did you...?"
"What happened when...?"
"What did you like/not like about...?"
Share similar experiences and feelings

Peers may or may not have the same experiences and feelings about those experiences.  For instance, one child may enjoy roller coasters, while another one has a fear of them.  A third may not ever have been on a roller coaster.  We need to teach them to not only respect another's opinion, but that they do not have to have the same feeling or experience to converse.  In the example above, we can teach a child to think of a time s/he was scared by something.  Phrases we can teach students to say when sharing similar experiences include:

"I remember when I felt...."
"I had something like that happen to me once."
"I know what that's like because...."
"I saw/did the same thing once."

Talk about what you know

As we know, many children with ASD do this in excess.  In this situation, we need to teach that it is appropriate to state what you know, but we also need to teach those nonverbal signals that reveal interest and boredom from a listener.  

Some phrases we can teach our students are: 
"I know a little bit about...."
"I learned about that when...."
"I saw something on tv/read something about...."

Once these skills are learned, I start combining them.  If I have a group of five students, I assign one component of the TOAST acronym to each student.  When the students are called on (or pointed to), they need to use their role in the conversation to respond.    Here is an example of a conversation that uses these skills:

Child 1: (pick a topic): Have you read the book Divergent? 
Child 2: (offer an opinion): I really liked that book!
Child 3: (ask a question): Which faction would you be part of if you had to choose?
Child 2 (offer an opinion): I would be Amity, because I want everyone to get along and have peace.
Child 4: (Share a similar experience): I read the book too, and I remember I wanted to be in Amity as well!
Child 5: (Talk about what you know): I learned all about the factions at the book club in the library after school.

This is just one example of how I teach conversational skills.  

Here are some posts by other bloggers about conversational skills: 
Miss Thrifty SLP blogs about conversational breakdowns here.
Speech Universe discusses having conversations in this post.
SLPRunner discusses thought boxes here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

App Review: Fun with Verbs and Sentences

I was thrilled when I was contacted to try out Hamaguchi apps latest app. Fun with Verbs and Sentences. Perfect for early intervention therapists, as well as parents of young children, this app helps kids learn to formulate basic sentences, comprehend verb tenses, pronouns, and more.

I love the customization features in the Settings. You can choose the sentence type(s) to address, and if you would like pronouns or nouns. You can decide when to give rewards, levels of cueing, etc.

For pre and post testing, you can choose the "Watch and Say" activity in the settings. Here, you see an animation, there is a cue, "What is happening?," then a child records his/her sentence. There are three dots below the animation to help cue the parts of the sentence if needed.

The next activity is "Build a Sentence." In this activity, a child can choose the subject, verb, and preposition or object of the sentence. 

 When the parts are chosen, an animation of the sentence is shown, and then the child records the sentence.

 My kids had so much fun building the sentences and watching the animations. The animations are engaging and are a reward in and of themselves, with or without the additional bubble game included.

I highly recommend this app because it address sentence formulation goals, pronouns and verb tenses, while being highly engaging and motivating for kids ages 2-5 (or for lower functioing early elementary students). It is currently on sale for $9.99 (through October 31), but is regularly priced at $15.99. Here is a link to check it out!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Spooktacular Speechie Sale

Check out the Speech stores participating in the Spooktacular Sale!  Remember to use code FB100K through the end of midnight October 13th.  

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cute articulation norms

I could not find my copy of the norms with numbers, so I made one of my own.  Here it is in color.

You can downlaod the color and the black and white norms for free HERE.


Monday, August 26, 2013

When the going gets tough....

I love my job... Most of the time. Many of us feel the same way, but what do you do when you are overwhelmed, especially with a new job, and you can't even stomach the thought of going in to work the next morning?

Here are some tips I have tried for when the going got tough.

1. Fake it. Plaster a smile on your face. At some point, that fake smile will turn into a real smile.

2. Take some time for yourself. Please schedule time for prep and lunch, most districts have it in your contract - take advantage of it. Close the door, put on your favorite relaxing music, take a chocolate break, whatever you need to get yourself through the next part of your day.

3. Focus on what you want out of your job, not how much you need to escape it. We all are in this field because we care about people, and want to help them live their lives to the best of their abilities. If administrators are driving you crazy or teachers feel they know more about your job than you, focus on why you are there and what you are doing. What was your goal in taking the position? Remember the positives, the smiles from your students, their successes, progress you see, no matter how small.

4. Learn more. If you think you are unqualified to treat some of your students, find a continuing education class in the area(s) in which you lack knowledge. is $99 a year and offers a plethora of courses to assist in developing your skills. Meet with colleagues or other SLPs in your district or community who can give you some insight into working with a particular disability or area in which you are inexperienced, such as AAC, apraxia, etc.... Seasoned therapists can be great resources.

5. Something I had to learn two years ago-wear your protective armor when you enter your workplace. Some people, administrators, coworkers, and parents thrive in seeng others' insecurities. This all goes back to number 1, fake it til you make it, smile even though you may want to cry. I wear my heart on my sleeve and when I had an issue at work that blew up, I spent a year learning relaxation techniques, and other ways to just get through each day. I thrived that year, and exceeded even my expectations.

We are not perfect, we don't know everything about our complex, but rewarding, profession. Ask for help, vent in appropriate places, and go in every day knowing that you make a difference in the lives of your students!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

TPT Back To School Sale: What did I purchase?

First of all, thank you so much for everyone who has made purchases, and all of the kind feedback that has been submitted.  I am so thankful to all of you!

Now for the good part!  I made some wonderful purchases, it was so hard to choose, and I may go back again tomorrow for more!

So far, I have: 

1.  Milk, Mice and Cookies Book Companion for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie From Karen Parden (the Speech Umbrella).  I love that there are so many activities crammed into this pack, and she uses graphics different from the other companions from this book.  Great job Karen!

2.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear Book Companion by Mia McDaniel: I love this book, and her activities incorporate so much that I just could not pass it up!  Love it Mia!

3.  Practical Problem Solving by Carly Fowler:  I just can't pass up materials for older students, especially ones so functional.  Nice job Carly!

4.  Restaurant-themed Language and Auditory Processing by Speech Snacks (Cooking Up Good Speech): Again, functional materials for me with my life skills caseload.  I had such a hard time deciding wich of her products to purchase!  Thanks Rose!

5.  Evidence-Based Practice Quick Reference: Speech Language Pathology by Carissa TenHoeve: I don't need to explain my reasons here, do I?  Just go get it, it's AMAZING!  Terrific job Carissa!

6.  Social Problem Solving Scenarios for Adolescents Jeopardy Style by Splashy Speech Stuff: Again, wonderful for my life skills kiddos!  And who doesn't like Jeopardy?

7.  Appropriate Conversation Topics, Appropriate Conversation Partners by Consonantly Speaking: I am so excited!  I use the Circles program at school, and this will go quite nicely with it.  Thanks Jessica!

And, of course I had to purchase some clip art, but I'm not going to reveal what I got here, you'll just have to wait and see!  :-)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School Sale

August 18-19 I will be participating in the big TPT Back to School sale with many of my blogger friends! take 28% off all items at my store using the code BTS13 at checkout. You can find stores on sale with this linky party. Thanks Rachel from Queen's Speech!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

3rd Thursday for All Linky Party

One of my bloggie buddies, Kelly from Speech2U, has come up with an awesome idea for a linky party.  She will post three ways she has used an item in speech, and then would like others to link up a post of theirs about the same item.  

This month's topic is popsicle sticks or tongue depressors.  

When I worked in the preschool setting, I used popsicle sticks for crafts all the time.  We made puppets, picture frames, and butterflies with them (I am sure we made many more things, but I remember those!).  Crafting with them provided a lot of opportunity for building language.  We spoke about basic, spatial and temporal concepts, expanded MLU and receptive and expressive language skills.  We worked on following directions, responding to and asking questions.  

Placement cues:
As a therapeutic instrument, I use tongue depressors for helping to elevate the tongue, place the tongue in the correct position, but I also use them for bite blocks.  Sometimes I have kids who come in clenching their jaws, opening their mouths too wide or not enough, or they have an inability to stabilize their jaws.  Rather than purchasing bite blocks, I make my own.  Depending on the opening I want, I tape two to five tongue depressors together. I place these between the student's teeth, showing the opening s/he needs to produce the sound correctly.

Vocabulary Building:
Finally, I use popsicle sticks for sorting everything!  I write words on them, and kids need to sort them by category, pair synonyms and antonyms, and part to whole.  I also use them as word building activities, writing words where children need to find the pairs that will form compound words.  

Here is a game you can do with these sticks: Write words that are unrelated on each end of the stick.  Make sure you have pairs of words (using the examples I use for sorting) that are not on the smae stick.  Hand out sticks to the kids in your group.  Lay down one stick so everyone can read it.  Students need to match up the ends of the sticks to each other at right angles.  It winds up looking like a giant maze when all of the sticks are matched up.  The kids love it, and it gets them moving.  I will take a picture of it when i return to school in September.

Now it's your turn!  If you are a blogger, go here to link up with Kelly.  If not, go to her blog and comment about the three ways you use popsicle sticks or tongue depressors! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trivia Night Set 3

This final set of questions is about word finding disorders.  I will give you 15 minutes to complete this.

1. Describe a word retrieval disorder.

2. What are three difficulties students may exhibit in the classroom?

3. Define a semantically related substitution and give an example.

4. Define a form related substitution and give an example.

5. Give two examples of secondary behaviors a child with word recall difficulties can exhibit.

Email me at

This is the final round.  All winners will be announced between 10 and 10:15pm Eastern.  Thanks so much for participating!

Trivia Night Set 2

This set of questions is about phonological processes.

1. List the ages that these phonological processes are typically gone by:
A. Gliding of liquids
B. Stopping of sh and ch
C. Fronting

2. How well can parents typically understand their children at (give %):
A. 18 months?
B. 24 months?
C. 36 months?

3. What are assimilation processes? Name three of them and give an example of each.

4. What is epenthesis? Give me an example.

5. Some speech sound errors are a result of physical problems. List three.

Email me at

Trivia Night First set

Here are the details and rules.  There will be three sets of questions, each set will be ten minutes long.  Email me at with your answers.  All correct responses will be entered into a raffle.  Two winners from each round may select a prodct of their choice, no bundles, from my TPT store.

The first set of questions will be about me, my blog, and my store.  To qualify for this round, you need to respond correctly to 4 of the 6 (I know I said 5).

1.  How many years have I been a Speech-Language Pathologist?
2.  Where did I get my degree?
3.  Name two of my featured products in my TPT store.
4.  How many free products do I have?
5.  What does my caseload primarily consist of?
6.  How many posts do I currently have on my blog?

Monday, August 12, 2013

SLP Trivia Night Tuesday August 13th

I am so excited to be hosting trivia on Tuesday, August 13 at 9 pm Eastern.  Thanks to Kristin at Simply Speech for coming up with the idea, and to Carrie from Carrie's Speech Corner for making up the awesome graphic!

Here is how the contest will work:

There will be three rounds consisting of 5 questions each.  Answers can be emailed to me at

Whoever responds correctly to the five questions in each set will be entered into a drawing.  There will be two winners per round.  Winners will be announced Tuesday after all sets have been completed.  Each round will last for 10 minutes.  Winners will be chosen via  Winners will get to choose a product from my store.  Sorry, no bundles!  

I hope you will join me here tomorrow evening!  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Back To School SLP Blog Hop

Welcome to the Back to School SLP Blog Hop

You will get the chance to collect great back to school ideas for SLPs, win prizes and get freebies by touring 17 fantastic blogs!

Use the Linkytools at the bottom of this post to hop around 17 blogs, collect ideas, and the clues!

When I work with younger students I love using books.  One book I will be using for Back To School this year is There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books, by Lucille Colandro. 
After reading the story, I address each student's IEP goals.  I created a book companion for this book, and you can find it on TPT here.  The skills targeted in this book companion include sequencing and story retelling, rhyming, identifying nouns and verbs, phonemic awareness skills, following directions, comprehension questions, articulation, writing skills, and comparing and contrasting.  There are color and black and white pages included, as well as pages to send home for homework.  There is also a craft activity and prop included for retelling.

For visiting my blog and hopping, I would love for you to download a copy of The Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books Color and Glue Freebie.  Assemble the Old Lady, cut out the pictures of the items she swallowed, and have the students paste the objects on her stomach.  You can address several goals with this activity (fluency, grammar, articulation, to name a few), and I hope you enjoy it!  You can grab it here.

Here are some other books that can be used the first sessions/classes of the school year, in class, as well as in speech. There is a great variety in these books. Most are for grades K-2, but I will post some for older grades as well.

If You Take a Mouse To School by Laura Numeroff
It's Time for School, Stinkyface! By Lisa McCourt
Amelia Bedelia Goes Back to School by Herman Parish
The Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books by Lucille Colandro
Splat the Cat, Back to School, Splat by Rob Scotton
Back to School for Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos
Back to School Tortoise by Lucy M. George
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes by
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dowdney
Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches by Lisa Broadie Cook
The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing

For Grades 3-5
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sacher
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Back to School, Mallory by Laurie Friedman
Amelia's Notebook by Marissa Moss
Arthur's Teacher Trouble by Marc brown
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Moses Goes to School (uses ASL along with the words) by Isaac Millner
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

Now back to the BLOG HOP:

5 winners will receive a goodie basket of TPT products from our stores.

1 GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive the following in addition to the activities:
a $50 TpT gift card
School of Multi-Step Directions from Virtual Speech Center
Articulation Station from Little Bee Speech
and Kid in Story from LocoMotive Labs

The rules of the contest are simple:
You must decode a secret message
In order to complete this task, you will need to visit each of the 17 blogs and find the OWL CLUE
The OWL CLUE will include one word that is part of the code.
When you enter the contest through RAFFLECOPTER, you will be asked to type in the secret code.  have fun and enjoy blog hopping with us!  The contest will run from August 11th to August 17th, 2013.

Enjoy reading through the blogs, downloading the freebies, and participating in the blog hop.  Good luck everyone!

HERE IS MY SECRET CODE!  Enjoy the school year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 1, 2013

What's in your bag?

I recently began working with preschoolers again.  My district cut my job to half time, and with a tough job market, I kept that position, but needed, and wanted, to do more.  It's been about 7 years since I worked the little ones, and I had so much fun with them. I am excited to pick up some new preschoolers in the fall.  

So, what's in my speech bag?  When I used to go home-to-home, I carried so many games and toys and papers and....  My car was like a roving toy store!

Do you know this game (Am I dating myself here?)?  Waaaay back when I first started working, this was one of my favorite games for the little ones.  This was not a good game to travel with, since with every bump, the ducks would start quacking.  With no on/off switch or volume control button, it was not a great game for travel.  If we had iphones, youtube, etc, it would have been fun to record the faces of people as they rolled up next to me with their windows open, hearing ducks quacking.  One man actually tried to gain my attention by throwing something at my car to ask why I had ducks in my trunk.  

Many years later, this is not a game I will be bringing into the home, especially since it looks like they are $40 on Amazon now!  Yikes!  Image courtesy of Amazon, here is the link if you don't know the game, I am not an Amazon affiliate.

If you are just starting out or getting back into home visits, and don't have a budget for a lot of games, or other awesome speech products by various suppliers, here are my top three inexpensive items:

3.  Playdough:  Personally, I dislike the smell of the real stuff, so I make my own, and it is so much less expensive.  Here is an easy recipe that I use all of the time; it can last for months when you put it into a plastic container or storage bag.
Playdough recipe: 

3 cups flour
1.5 cups salt
6 tsp. cream of tarter
3 tbsp. oil
3 cups water

Pour all ingredients into a large pot. Stir constantly over medium heat until a dough ball forms by pulling away from the sides. Knead dough until the texture matches play dough, typically takes about 2 to 5 minutes.

To add colors, you can add some food coloring to the water before mixing it with the dry ingredients. Another way to add color (and scent!) is to mix a Kool Aid packet into the water before adding to the dry ingredients. It looks and smells so good!

Playdough is wonderful for improving following directions, identifying basic concepts, increasing MLU, comprehension and use of action words, and describing. Add some cookie cutters, and you have a themed activity for every season or holiday.

2. Kid-friendly magazines: I don't throw away my magazines anymore. I love using the pictures to discuss facial expressions and body language, the products being advertised, etc. I use the pictures and ads for vocabulary, categories, describing, sorting, pronouns, verbs, expanding sentences, and identifying objects. If there are some wonderful large pictures, I cut them out, glue them onto cardboard, and cut them into puzzle pieces.

1. Bubbles: Everyone likes bubbles! I use bubbles, not only for reward or motivation, but for helping with puckering, lip rounding, showing examples of smooth airflow, vocabulary, action and prepositions.... Bubbles also make a great art activity! Have you ever made bubble prints? It's on my to-do list for my kids this week, and hopefully I will get a good picture to share, but basically, you need:

1. 4 ounce plastic cups
2. large bottle of bubbles (I use Miracle bubbles because they seem to make bubbles better than other brands.)
3. Food coloring, in assorted colors
4. Bubble wands and stras
5. Heavy paper, such as construction paper or card stock

To prepare:

I do this outdoors, especially when at a student's house.  Tape the paper to something vertical, like a tree, or to the sidewalk or driveway.  Add drops of food coloring to the bottom of the cup, then pour in bubble solution.  Adjust the colors as necessary.  

Have the child practice lip rounding and blowing before using the colored bubbles.  When ready, have him/her stand in front of (or next to if paper is on the ground) the paper and blow bubbles onto the paper.  The pattern from the bubbles touching and popping is amazing, and kids are so excited doing this project.  

If your students have difficulty using bubble wands, you can adapt this by having the student use a straw and blow into the cup.  When the bubbles come above the top of the cup, gently lay the paper on top of it.  You still get a beautiful pattern, and can still work on the same skills.  

These things can always be found in my speech bag, along with others to address my goals, like articulation cards, language targets, etc.  But to keep kids on task and interested, I always have these on hand.  

So what's in your speech bag?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Guest Post: Speech2U incorporates hands on activities

While I am recovering from my eye surgery, some of my speech buddies have offered to write some blog posts.  Kelly from Speech2U explains how she incorporates hands on activities, like cooking to address many different goals.  If you have not seen Kelly's fun blog, go check her out here.  She always has awesome ideas, and her stories will keep you laughing!  Go check out her Facebook page as well.  You can find it here.

I really enjoy incorporating hands on activities: crafts, experiments, gross motor games and cooking in my therapy sessions.   I use these activities with early Elementary clients up to Middle school depending on their goals. In the past, I struggled with keeping my eye on the big picture (therapy goals) vs. getting stuck in the process-(making the activity.)  The activity is secondary to the concepts or lessons I'm trying to teach within the therapy session.  Today I'm going to write about how I would incorporate a chip making activity into a therapy session with a variety of different clients. I love salty snacks AND cooking gadgets.  So when I found this microwave chip cooker I was intrigued.  The claim was that you slice potatoes, apples, sweet potatoes or beets into thin slices and then cook on the "plate" until they are crispy.   I do feeding therapy as well as traditional speech therapy so the chip cooker seemed like a great way to expand some of my clients diets using familiar foods. The first thing I do once I've decided on an activity is decide who will be participating and what goals they are working on.  Then I review the steps of the activity and decide what goals I can incorporate within the activity.
I take pictures of each of the steps and after the activity we work on sequencing the pictures and paraphrasing the directions.  I try to send home a black and white copy of the directions so they can explain what they made in therapy to their parents or siblings.  
Having the sequencing pictures helps me pick out the vocabulary I'm targeting.  For this activity I targeted action verbs:  
Slice, place, sprinkle, put, cook, and eat.  
Because each potato gives a lot of slices we had a lot of practice.  In a group setting I might try setting up a routine where the first student does the first action and then explains what to do to the next student.  Example: 
Student A tells student B:  You need to slice the potato thinly with the mandoline slicer.  In theory, then the student could complete this action-but I didn't let anyone try the mandoline slicer.  
Student B then tells Student C:  You need to slice the potato thinly with the mandoline slicer.  We would continue on in this fashion.  
Basic Concepts/Attributes:  
I decided to focus on thick vs. thin.  We talked about why thick potato slices took longer to cook than thin slices.   You could also focus on attributes: hot/cold, wet/dry, or salty/plain.
I have several clients who use AAC devices to communicate.  I decided to focus on 3 different utterances during this activity:
Get ________.
Put on.
I modeled this several times within the activity and then prompted my clients to request or comment within the activity using the selected vocabulary.  
This activity lends itself well to CH words: chips, chomp, chew, choose, Pinch (of salt), (make a Batch)
Many of my articulation clients can earn these types of activities by returning their homework.  Then I intersperse each step with drill activities.  
Problem Solving/Reasoning:  
I might forget to get salt or certain supplies for my clients to see if they can request the correct materials.  I drop a few chips on the floor to see if they can explain the problem and give me some solutions.  Putting it back on the tray is a solution-but I try to work on what might be the BEST solution to the problem.  I asked questions about why we wouldn't put too much salt on the chips and whether we could put the plastic holder in the oven to cook the potato chips.  
Social language Skills: 
These activities are usually a good time to work on politeness markers as well as general conversation.  
I hope this post gave you some ideas of how you can incorporate activities within your therapy sessions.  Thanks again to Jess for allowing me to guest post on her blog.  I hope you feel better soon!  

Thanks Kelly!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Guest Post: Laura from All Yall Need discusses working with parents

Laura from All Yall Need graciously offered to write a guest post for me while I am recovering from surgery.  She discusses how to work with parents in the post below, and she has some wonderful tips!

Hi! I'm part of All Y'all Need, with the ALL an acronym for Amy, Laura & Lisa. I'm Laura,
Amy is my librarian sister, and Lisa is my cousin who teaches Kg. We are excited to
help out Jessica and are wishing her a successful surgery and a speedy recovery!

One of the Kg teachers I work with recently mentioned how her husband, a
businessman, told her she was lucky she didn't have to work in customer service. She
responded with, "What do you think I do all day?!?" As SLPs we are constantly working
with other professionals and students, but this post is going to focus on communicating
with parents.

When I started out 20 years ago, I was in three schools of various socioeconomic
levels, but the one constant was that most of the parents were supportive of the school.
I was surprised that everyone seemed to take my bright-green newbie
recommendations without hesitating. Times have changed. I still like to think I have a
good relationship with most of my students' parents, but I now make some conscious
decisions when communicating with parents.

An email is rarely the way to go. Emails are convenient. I love email with my coworkers.
But when I get an email from a parent, I usually call. It's more personal, emails
don't convey the tone of the conversation, and clarification is much easier via phone. A
good rule of thumb is to only use email to verify times and dates. For anything else, pick
up the phone.

Make sure the parent understands the plan. When a parent leaves an IEP meeting,
he/she is going to contact a support person - a spouse, family member, friend, etc. I
want the parent to leave the meeting with the ability to communicate to another person
exactly what their child's program is.

IEP meetings can be overwhelming for parents. Schools are my home turf, but for
parents, the school setting can be intimidating. If the team is all sitting around the
conference room table, the parent feels like we've been talking about their child without
their presence. I try to meet the parent in the foyer and walk into the room with them so
they are not the only ones standing up when they enter the conference room.

I attended an IEP meeting with one parent whose eyes widened as she watched various
school personnel and members of the AU team fill up the room - the principal, two
teachers, the LSSP, behavior specialist, PT, OT, and me - and she actually made a
remark about being overwhelmed. My principal responded with, "We know that. How
can we help you to not be overwhelmed?" The parent wasn't sure, but as we broke
down everything for her, she became more relaxed. The principal followed up on the
parents' feelings at the end of the meeting, and while she still had a lot of information to
process, she was grateful to everyone for taking the time to work with and learn about
her child.

Repair communication breakdowns. Breakdowns are usually a person's response to
not understanding something or feeling out of place. It's usually about feelings, not the
actual words or plans.

We need to talk in everyday language and not throw acronyms all over the place, as in
"We're going to review the FIE, look at the IEP, consider a BIP, and oh by the way, the
OT and PT are here." If we talk in Special Ed-ese, it will just embarrass or frustrate
parents and lead to shutdowns or attitude. Address the whole committee: "We're going
to talk about goals and objectives. In the paperwork you will get, you'll see IEP goals
and objectives". Since both teachers and parents get a copy of the meeting, this
statement doesn't single out anyone.

Another technique to help an overwhelmed parent is to ask questions to others, for
example asking the teacher to clarify what a 10 set is or to give examples of responses
in the classroom. If parents see others asking questions, they'll be more comfortable
getting their concerns across.

If there's a long or involved discussion, summarize and ask everyone at the meeting if
they understood. Don't single anyone out. It's a team.

Extend a bridge by using everyday language, asking clarification questions to all team
members, and asking for understanding from everyone on the team.
Thanks for reading! And again, wishing the best for Jessica!


Thanks Laura!  

Monday, July 15, 2013

"S...peachy" Feedback Linky Party

Thanks to Nicole Allison of Allison's Speech Peeps for this linky party to show appreciation for the wonderful feedback that makes us love what we do.  Here is the wonderful feedback I received recently:

I was thrilled to read this!  It is always nice to feel that the items I post can be used by people other than me.  My students enjoy what I have made over the years, and now that I am selling activities, I like to know others appreciate them as well.  So thanks Jenn Bell!  Please email me at to choose an activity from my store!

Stay tuned next month for another lucky winner!