Live Speak Love, LLC

Lisa M. Geary, MS CCC-SLP lisa@livespeaklove.com

Pacing Boards – Festive Freebie!! November 28, 2012

Do you know about PACING BOARDS? Pacing Boards are a MUST for any therapy room. I usually keep a stash of pacing boards, with varying shapes and colors in different length sets–stored in a pocket chart or hung from a magnetic clip so I can grab them quickly when I need them. They are easily accessed during a therapy session and are useful in almost any therapy activity. My gift to you on this Giving Tuesday is a holiday themed printable containing two pacing boards.  Use these festive pacing boards to give students visual/tactile/kinesthetic input for reducing rate of speech, increasing fluency, sequencing sounds/syllables in multisyllabic words, increasing mean length of utterance, formulating sentences, marking grammatical structures in a sentence, increasing conversational reciprocity and more!! These pacing boards  can be essential tools to increase student independence as they practice skills — perfect for students to use at home, too — just print onto cardstock or durable paper and/or laminate. You can print multiple sets and then cut the boards to include only two or three shapes — perfect for targeting formulation of two and three word utterances. These boards can also be used as game score cards, schedule cards, token reinforcement cards, pattern sets or sorting cards!! Hope you enjoy this freebie, and put it to good use…I’d love to hear how you use this resource, so leave a comment to let me know! Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!

~Lisa

 Holiday Pacing Board Freebie

 

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New Resource Series: Speech-Language Therapy in the Kitchen November 18, 2012

Filed under: Announcements,Language,Resources — livespeaklove @ 6:15 pm
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Introducing a new series that I would like to share…Speech-Language Therapy in the Kitchen! Over the years, I have developed a real appreciation for the power of real-life activities to support speech-language and academic skills. As I continually seek ways to incorporate technology into my speech-therapy sessions, I am also seeking ways to motivate clients with engaging real-world application of the skills we are targeting. The winner, by FAR, is any activity that is cooking or recipe related. I have posted a few of my recipes in the past, but I decided to devote a blog feature to the wonderful cross-curricular activity that is all things cooking. The inspiration for this feature transpired over the weekend, as I made a batch of cookies with my six-year old daughter. We had great fun highlighting all the “fun facts” that were part of our recipe. We labeled, counted, measured, estimated, followed directions and socialized during our cookie creation, and our fun ended with the delicious reward of our “Best Ever Cookie” Tasting Party! I was reminded of other cooking activities I have used in therapy, and how I always recommend that parents cook with their children when possible to practice speech-language skills in the home environment. So, the Speech-Language Therapy in the Kitchen series was born…in my very own kitchen amidst a bit of mess and fun. Here is a pic of what we made; a truly Best-Ever Cookie, adapted from a couple of different cookie recipes with a surprise “twist” of an ingredient:

I decided to create a Recipe and Activity set using this very Best Ever cookie recipe (I didn’t want to forget this delicious creation, and I thought I would share a little “cookie love” with those who might use this engaging, edible activity in their own kitchens. By the way, this activity could also be completed in a classroom — just use a closely monitored toaster oven if you do not have access to a full-size oven.

Here is the full activity set, including what I feel is an award-winning recipe!

Target a variety of speech-language skills in this functional activity that students will love! This cooking activity offers a practical, motivating way to address receptive and expressive language skills, social communication skills, occupational therapy skills, academic skills and more! This tried and true recipe from the LiveSpeakLove kitchen will engage learners as they participate in this cross-curricular, multi-modal learning activity. Potential targets include:

  • receptive and expressive vocabulary (labeling, object identification, compare and contrast)
  • cooking/kitchen safety
  • formulation of verbal requests
  • quantitative vocabulary
  • measurement and estimation
  • descriptive vocabulary
  • following sequential directions
  • ordinal and sequential vocabulary
  • answering WH questions
  • recall and retell of sequential events
  • summarizing
  • cooperative group work
  • use of core vocabulary

What you get:

Nine (9) pages total including:

  • Cover page with real color photograph of Best Ever Cookies
  • Cooking Safety page to review safe practices, visual supports for each “rule” provided
  • Ingredients Page with full-color visual depictions detailing type and quantity of each ingredient
  • Directions Pages– Part One and Part Two – detailed visual directions in sequence to provide detailed instructions to create the Best Ever Cookies
  • WH Question Stimuli Page – to target WH questions, formulation of responses, recall and vocabulary (for use as you make the cookies, or after you finish to revisit concepts and target recall/memory skills)
  • Sequential Event Page – For formulation of recipe summary and retell of events; uses graphic organizer with sequential terms as visual support. Pair with visual direction pages as needed for differentiated supports
  • Taste Test page – visual support for use of core vocabulary to express preference/like/dislike. Can also be used to tally survey data of group or as a conversational support when students offer other people a cookie to try.

Look for more Speech Language Therapy in the Kitchen resources from LiveSpeakLove, coming soon!

Thank you,

~Lisa, LiveSpeakLove

 

Holiday Cheer – FREE Visual Support for Functional Communication November 17, 2012

The holidays are very quickly approaching! Who am I kidding, they are already here. Before busy moms and dads had even finished their school supply shopping, stores were convincing us that holiday preparations must immediately begin. Even though I am still creating my back-to-school organization system (a nevr-ending process, apparently,) I am clearly in full holiday mode and planning for the hustle and bustle that will carry us all into 2013. How about a FREE DOWNLOAD to spread some holiday cheer!?

Image

With family dinners, parties and get-togethers planned, the holidays can be a
hectic time–possible overwhelmingly so to an individual needing pragmatic or
communication support. These pragmatic communication cards containing core
vocabulary/functional phrases provide visual support for expressing wants and
needs in a variety of social situations. The cards can be left as-is and used as
a communication/choice board, or cut apart and placed on a ring for easy access.
The cards can also be used in conjunction with an AAC/AT device or low-tech
communication board for communication support that is portable and
functional.The cards are applicable year-round, but may be especially useful
during holidays, family get-togethers or parties.

Enjoy!!

 

Free WH Question Visual! October 25, 2012

Filed under: Announcements,Free Downloads,Language,Resources — livespeaklove @ 10:34 pm
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Grab this FREE DOWNLOAD – visual for simple wh questions. Provide visual cues and structured supports for answering simple wh questions in any therapy or classroom activity. Supplement auditory processing and reading comprehension tasks with this visual, and help increase independence during instruction.

 

Visual Supports for Metacognition, Self-Evaluation and Reflection October 21, 2012

Filed under: Language,Resources — livespeaklove @ 3:43 pm
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I was supposed to be finishing my whole house cleaning and organization today! Oooops…after a long night of nearly NO sleep (due to the cutest owls ever) and a sick little owlet who needed some TLC in the wee hours of the morning, I haven’t exactly mustered the motivation necessary to get up and moving and find my bootstraps just yet. Ahhh, there’s still time!! For now, I am happy to bring you my next set of resources. Many of you may know I am a big fan of visuals. Aside from Universal Design for Learning standards, visual learning styles and the vast amount of evidence-based practice research that supports using visuals to increase communication competence and independence… well, here’s what I know. THEY JUST WORK. I’ve learned the theory, I’ve read the standards, I’ve seen the research and I’ve experienced the undeniable success first-hand, over and over and over. Are you using visual supports in your therapy room? In your classroom? With your whole class or only certain students? I challenge you to incorporate as many visuals as possible with ALL of your students. Here are a couple that you can use to help your students become more aware of their thinking, their self-reflection and their self-advocacy skills:

Road to Success Visual - With the implementation of Common Core Standards, it is now even more important to help students become independent thinkers and learners. Need a way for students to participate more in their learning and reflect on their progress? Increase student independence and help students persevere when “the road gets rough” with this Road to Success visual tool. This tool will also help students to advocate for themselves during instruction or independent work in a positive way. You can also use this tool to provide teacher feedback with a simple gesture without interrupting the flow of your teaching (pointing to yellow on the stoplight to indicate, “I know it’s hard, but keep trying.” ) Simple visual tools like this one become very powerful in the classroom!

The download also includes a printable with three visuals on the page — just cut out and laminate, then tape on each student’s desk for individualized feedback/student reflection.

Next, you will definitely want this visual tool created to increase students’ metacognitive skills. What are metacognitive skills??? Essentially, “thinking about one’s own thinking.” It is an important skill to develop in students for academic reasons, but also so that they will be successful in LIFE. To be successful in any situation, it is important to be aware of what you KNOW and what you DON’T KNOW. Start developing this critical thinking skill NOW using this visual that can be applied to any subject area – reading for learning, reading for memory, reading for enjoyment, mental math, basic math functions, independent seatwork, collaborative groups, and the list goes on!!! Read more about metacognition at education.com (for starters — this is a big buzz word and there is a growing amount of research and instructional materials dedicated to this area of cognitive skill.)

Laminate this visual and place on each student’s desk, make copies to post at learning centers or in 100 Book Challenge or reading folders, blow up to poster size to use as a visual/anchor chart…and more! Increase student indpendence by encouraging learners to become part of the evaluation process.

I hope you are finding these materials useful. I would love your feedback about the types of resources you would like to see, your impressions of my current pricing (I am new and apparently have a bit to learn in this area) and any other feedback you would be willing to share. Feel free to leave a comment or email me at lisa@livespeaklove.com.

Thank you!

~Lisa

 

 

 

Tricky Sounds: Correcting For Lateralized Airflow March 19, 2012

Filed under: Articulation,Free Downloads — livespeaklove @ 11:23 pm
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I was recently asked to offer some advice about correcting for those tricky sound errors — lateralized productions of  the sibilants /s/, /z/, /sh/ and /ch/. If you are an SLP, you can probably detect a lateralized /s/ on every affected public speaker, casual acquaintance or celebrity you have ever had the pleasure to encounter. My husband makes fun of me for the way my ears perk up and how the expression on my face clearly changes whenever we are listening to someone with an /s/ distortion. I suddenly have the urge to offer these speakers nonverbal feedback as we interact. Sadly, I can’t help it; it’s an affliction. Even if you are not an SLP and have no desire to cure the world of lateralized airflow patterns, you may be able to detect that something is not quite right in the way a person says their /s/ and /z/ sounds— the words come out sounding “slushy,” “sloppy” or even “garbled.” I once had a teacher tell me that their student with a lateralized /s/ sounded like he was “pretending to be a ventriloquist.”  This statement was actually not an off-target description. 

Lateralized airflow sound distortions are unfortunately some of the hardest to correct. While I am an SLP, and therefore, an “expert,” I do not profess to have any secret knowledge or special talent in correcting these tricky sounds. I have struggled along with the rest of you in finding ways to train for correct sound production.  I am happy, however, to share what has worked for me more often than not in the past fifteen years.

In my opinion, the issue of lateralized airflow distortions is two-fold, and requires training on both factors:

  1. Students do not have a correct tongue position for these sounds (and often the tongue position at rest is incorrect as well.) These sounds must be produced with the tongue elevated to meet at the alveolar ridge or surrounding area.
  2. Students do not have a correct frontal airflow stream (probably secondary to incorrect tongue position) . When the tongue is elevated at the alveolar ridge area, a slight groove is formed in which airflow is then directed in a stream out the front of the mouth. When the tongue remains low and flat, no slight groove in the center of the tongue is formed to direct the airflow out the front. The air escapes out the sides of the tongue and the distortion is produced.

Unfortunately, the tongue and airflow patterns are habitual and must be entirely retrained for correct sound production. Therapy on these sounds begins with ongoing student education for tongue position and airflow. I often begin with pure discussion and education using mouth diagrams, puppets, mirrors, and visuals. I then begin training with some oral motor tools or tricks like dots of icing on the alveolar ridge or other tactile feedback to elicit correct tongue placement. I have students practice in front of mirrors and watch me as well. My school  recently purchased these mirrors for my therapy room so that each student has their own for practice (great for preventing “downtime” while I give individualized feedback to other students in the group):

Once the initial training and tactile feedback has been provided, I quickly move into practicing target sounds in isolation and then in syllables or words. I use a variety of methods including verbal, visual and tactile strategies to help students train for correct placement and airflow. I have visuals for each target sound that offer descriptions so students can more easily remember the placement and manner of the sounds. I usually start by targeting /s/ in isolation, though I do not believe that this sound is scientifically proven easier to produce than any of the others. I just personally find it easiest to elicit, especially when introduced as “the sneaky snake sound” and paired with different snake games/activities. Every therapy session I conduct is structured to include education, discrimination, direct training, and then practice (often using  games or other motivating activities) to target sounds in isolation, syllables and words. These activities all include the following visuals (or similar.)

Below is a visual that introduces each sound and gives them all a “name” to represent sound attributes in some way. At the bottom of this visual is a three-step process chart that helps to elicit correct placement and airflow. I have had very good success using the cue “Teeth Together.”  This cue is something much more concrete and outwardly visible than the more elusive “tongue elevation to the ‘bumpy spot’ behind the teeth.” For some reason, tongue placement seems to greatly improve and inhibit lateral airflow when the upper and lower central incisors meet in front (not in a smile, though, which tends to drop the tongue and foster lateral airflow. Think “show your teeth” in a Lady Gaga kind of way.) Students can see their teeth together; they can replicate it easily, and for whatever reason, it often works when it is done correctly. Students are also trained to hold their hand or finger in front of their lips and feel the airflow as they speak. Sometimes this trick is enough to elicit the frontal airflow pattern and progress is made quickly as the student has built-in cues and biofeedback wherever they go!

Another visual I like to use is this discrimination tool that can be used both with the student listening to modeled productions or when producing on their own. The clinician can provide the feedback using the visual, or the student can self-evaluate their own productions:

 Students are encouraged to practice their sounds on their own using their hand as a self-cueing strategy for frontal airflow detection:

As we move into practice using syllables and words, I select the syllable or word targets to specifically shape and elicit correct tongue placement. I choose syllables and words using vowels that are produced higher in the mouth (usually /i/ and /u/) to move away from the low, flat tongue patterns used in /a/ or with a schwa. I also vary the position of the sound in the word or syllable:

Another way I elicit correct tongue position is to shape sounds across word boundaries using alveolar sounds that the student has already mastered. Here is a visual I use with students to shape the /s/ from /n/ across preceding and subsequent word boundaries:

As a student becomes more independent, the same pictures can be used to create sentences for practice at a higher level. My go-to games are often open-ended game boards, commercial games or interactive activities that can be paired with specific stimuli or picture cards using the currently targeted sound or sounds. I also use barrier games or student-led activities with a focus on peer feedback to encourage generalization to other settings. I often have peer partners that will develop their own nonverbal signal to prompt for correct placement or airflow.

Above all, a student needs to “buy in” to the training and practice their skills in other settings. This is why all of my speech therapy sessions incorporate the pieces of education, discrimination, targeted training and practice. If students are reluctant  to practice or do not self-cue or self-monitor, then progress will likely be much slower. Systematic training in tongue placement, frontal airflow stream,  how to self-cue and monitor, and how to practice are essential components of a treatment program for lateralized airflow sounds. The treatment program may seem endless some days as you train and educate, but eventually, most students “get it.” I consider my work with these students just as important as my work with nonverbal or language-delayed students and I applaud those of you who work tirelessly to improve communication skills on any level. Good luck with using these techniques, and I’d love to hear if there is something else that has worked for you. Please share — it’s exactly what I love about the internet!

 

Not-So-Super! March 14, 2012

It’s been a crazy week! My caseload seems to be at an all-time high, with some complicated and somewhat high-profile cases that keep my days (and nights) challenging. Paperwork, schedule changes, lesson plans, materials prep, preparing for presentations, meeting with parents and colleagues…and trying to stay afloat while still making time for things that keep me passionate about what I do. Some days I feel that it would be much easier to just “get by” and do things on a less complicated, less time-consuming level. But I believe it’s important to tackle all of the responsibilities I have with a touch of what makes me– ME. I prefer to be creative and  thorough in my job and in my life, taking time to find inspiration for myself as I work to inspire others. It’s how I’m wired. Days that are filled with energy, accomplishments, enthusiasm and spark leave me feeling pretty super. I am probably known for accomplishing things “the hard way,” but somehow I tend to choose that route repeatedly. I prefer living life with inspiration, passion and enthusiasm.

My challenge lately has been to find ways to complete the tasks that keep me passionate about my work, while still accomplishing everything that leaves me, well…less than inspired. Attempting to find the balance lately leaves me feeling Not-So-Super. The days are not long enough to fit it all in, it seems. As a full-time SLP and busy mom to three spectacular kids, most of my waking (and should-be-sleeping-but-sadly-still-waking) hours are filled with redundant paperwork, laundry, chauffeuring, paperwork, cooking, laundry,  dishes, paperwork,  laundry, committee meetings, kids’ activities…did I say paperwork? Laundry?? Unfortunately, the daily commitments I face keep me from being and doing everything as perfectly pleasantly as I would like. Some days I realize I am Not-So-Super and that I just can’t do it all. Today is definitely one of those days! A long, cranky day where my middle-schooler missed the bus, lunches were packed in a mad, messy rush, lunch was missed in a frenzy of emails and paperwork, and my to-do list grew by at least 100%.

After a full day of work,  I sat outside my daughter’s dance class (starving) where I opened my laptop without even an ounce of inspiration. I usually like to keep myself productive and write reports or create materials while I wait for my little ballerina (who, by the way, danced today in a wrinkled t-shirt, tights and a see-through frilly tutu because the Not-So-Super Mom here forgot the leotard that actually covers everything. *sigh*) Staring at my computer screen, I realized that writing or accomplishing anything work-related just wasn’t going to happen. I guzzled some caffeine to keep myself from keeling over in exhaustion, and I stared at my task list with all of its glaring, unchecked boxes. And I spent the rest of dance class in pretty much the same position…unchecked boxes, mothers chatting and children twirling all around me; me staring. Nothing accomplished today. I gave myself permission to just sit, and it was actually…pretty nice! Of course the frenzy resumed after dance with picking up the rest of my children—rush hour traffic, making dinner, starting laundry, sorting papers…you get the idea. But I have given myself permission to just sit again at some point tonight. Work is on hold, and I am going to bed early. This Not-So-Super-SLP-Mom needs a break!

Of course, I feel compelled to spread at least a little inspiration out into the world and call myself productive. People have been so wonderfully appreciative and kind in response to my post where I shared some visual supports I’ve created. By request, here are a few more visuals I made and use quite often, free to download for your educational/personal use. Let me know how you like them…knowing I’ve helped other people in even small, non-super ways helps me find some of the inspiration that keeps me ticking! Here you go:

Visual for using color words to decribe objects or pictures:

Visual to help students provide verbal descriptions of objects or pictures:

Visual to help students offer compliments about their peers or use descriptive words about people:

Visual process strips to remind students of fluency-enhancing strategies:Visual reinforcement to increase homework/practice outside of the school setting. Can be signed/initialed by parent as documentation:

Visual cues and sentence starters/scripts for targeting similarities & differences:

 

Visual to help students working on final consonants:

 

 
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