Speech-Language Blog

Thoughts and Inspirations

Thanksgiving Speech Therapy

Tonight I began compiling my “Thanksgiving Speech Therapy” series. I realize that we are not even past Halloween yet, but I know there are people out there diligently planning and expanding their treatment plans well into Winter. So, here you go!

Target Descriptive Vocabulary in a variety of receptive and expressive language
tasks with this activity set created by Lisa Geary from LiveSpeakLove. Skills
addressed include: Thanksgiving Food identification and labeling,
comprehension/use of color words in phrases and sentences, identification/use of
adjectives to describe object attributes, categories and word classes,
identification and description of similarities and differences…and MORE!

18 pages total including stimulus cards, visual supports, suggested activities, descriptive word banks and other visuals.

Color and black/white versions to meet your printing needs.


And here is what seems to be an SLP AND student favorite: Thanksgiving Bingo!

Target receptive and expressive language skills with this Thanksgiving Bingo Game that includes Thanksgiving Vocabulary generated with Boardmaker software using Mayer Johnson symbols. Use the Bingo game to target object identification/labeling, visual discrimination, auditory processing at the word/phrase/sentence levels, comprehension of wh?s and seasonal vocabulary, language formulation and use of vocabulary and related descriptive concepts…these open-ended boards are perfect for differentiated instruction of students in your small groups or larger classes.
What you get: 6 unique Bingo Game boards, each containing the same vocabulary words but in different positions on the boards.

Hope you are having a wonderful Autumn season filled with many reasons to celebrate!

Thanks for visiting and for supporting this labor of love!!

~Lisa

Announcements, Articulation, Free Downloads, Holiday Theme, Language, Resources

Only one more day for the Halloween Sale!

I’m so glad people are enjoying my resources and taking advantage of my new, lower prices  and the Pre-Halloween Sale. Being new to the TPT scene, it is hard to gauge what price is reasonable for the work behind the product, and the potential the product has in terms of its application in your classrooms/therapy rooms. Thank you for being patient while I made some initial adjustments! Keep looking for more resources — seasonal favorites as well as practice management/clinical tools. Also, don’t forget that my Pre-Halloween Sale ends TOMORROW!!! Don’t forget to take advantage of my FREE downloads, too. Thank you for your support!

Thoughts and Inspirations

LiveSpeakLove is Having a Sale!!

Due to the fact that I have decided to LOWER ALL PRICES in my TPT Store, and because it is down to the wire for those of you planning for fun, engaging activitities that incorporate what is on all the minds of little goblins everywhere….Halloween….I have decided to throw a multi-level SALE at my TPT Store! First, all prices have been adjustes to reflect a substantial decrease. Second, I am throwing a 20% off SALE on ALL HALLOWEEN RESOURCES until 10/24/12. You now have less than 4 days to stock up on your Halloween goodies! Thank you for checking out this labor of love of mine!!

Language, Resources

Visual Supports for Metacognition, Self-Evaluation and Reflection

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

 

 

Thoughts and Inspirations

Look WHOOOOs Talking – Confessions, Activities and a FREE Download!

If you have been around this blog awhile, you may remember my Creature Feature  post inspired by my daughter’s sixth birthday party. For some reason, she   ok, *I * was REALLY excited about the owl theme. We (ok, I) had a giant Mama owl cake with little owlet cupcakes, handmade owl masks, handmade owl goodie bags, handmade owl (insert whatever you could possible make using owls here.) The theme kept growing and growing, and in typical “me” fashion, I stayed up several nights leading up to her party wayyyy past my bedtime (and probably close to some most people’s waking up time) to get everything made and ready. Why do I do that? I’d love to know. My husband would also love to know! All I know is that when inspiration hits, time flies and my plans get bigger. Here are a few glimpses of that fun day where I saw more than a few mothers rolling their eyes at our (my) obviously over-the-top birthday extravaganza:

That last picture was in case you weren’t yet rolling your eyes either. 🙂 That is one happy, girl though! And the good news (for you) is that I STILL LOVE OWLS. I still don’t know why, either. BUT, given my new venture into creating clipart , I decided to try my hand at making some OWL CLIPART. How cute are these little owls??? And I have the set of owl clipart FREE for you to download for personal, educational or commercial use! Just click on either clipart pic to get to my set:

 And of course I wanted to start using my clipart right away (even though it was nearly 2:00am,) so I created this WHO QUESTION activity:

Let me know what you think~ I hope that you love these owl resources ALMOST as much as I do.

Thanks for visiting and supporting LiveSpeakLove!!

Thoughts and Inspirations

Halloween Story Board

Another Halloween goodie…a Halloween Graphic Organizer tool created to use as a visual prompt for organization, sequencing, recalling events and key details. Also target wh questions and story comprehension as well as critical thinking skills like inferencing and predictions using this tool. Know any teachers that might interested? Spread the word if you can! Thank you!!

Thoughts and Inspirations

More Spooky Speech – Prepositions, Phonological Processes and a FREE Download!

I seem to be on a roll and out of my crazy busy dry spell. Remember the clipart I made all by myself??? In addition to offering it in a download for commercial use, I’ve also been making some new activities using the clipart. I think they turned out rather cute — do you agree?! Here are my latest creations:

FREE DOWNLOAD: Use these stimulus cards to make your own activities. Just add your own text or pictures and you are ready to go! Print on cardstock and add your pictures/text to the reverse side, and you have an instant Halloween game!

Next, presenting…Scare Pairs! Do you have students with phonological disorders? If so, then you will want to use MINIMAL PAIRS in your treatment/interventions.Target the most common phonological processes using this Halloween-themed set created by Lisa Geary from LiveSpeakLove.  Print duplicate copies to create a matching/memory game, or simply use as stimulus cards to train students with discrimination tasks and verbal productions. There are 4 different sets:Cluster Reductions Set, Final Consonant Deletion Set, Stopping Set and Velar Fronting Set. Phonology Fun!

And finally (for today, anyway!) Witch Hunt Prepositions! Witch Hunt Prepostions targets location word vocabulary in a movement-oriented game that will target visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile learning styles. Your students will help the witch find her jack-o-lanterns (hidden in the classroom ahead of time) using preposition cards that tell them where to look. This activity can also be used in reverse–have students hide the jack-o-lanterns using the stimulus cards, and the person wearing the witch hat (not included) has to “search the room on their broom!” Great for large or small groups!

Hope you enjoy…let me know what you think!

Thoughts and Inspirations

Witches, Spiders and Treats

I’m so happy people are really liking the Halloween activities I previously posted! It’s such a fun time of year, and using seasonal activities is a great way to target skills while keeping children motivated. Because of the wonderful response I’ve received so far, I decided to post a few more little treasures for your Halloween stash. Trick or Treat!

This vocabulary tool can be used for a variety of activities and grade levels. Have students name two synonyms for each word given, and write the synonyms on the candy corn for a clever visual respresentation of a richer vocabulary. Display candy corn cards at writing centers or on a bulletin board to help students avoid using the same simple words over and over in their writing or discussions. Or, use this activity to target expressive and receptive language skills in your speech therapy activities. The activity can really be tailored to meet the needs of many students, and can even be used as flashcards for peer partner work or as a “May Do” activity:

Another great activity for your speech room or classroom..the Witch’s Brew! What will your students put into the cauldron for the Witch’s Brew? How about three kinds of reptiles? Five things that go “crunch?” Target categorical skills using this creepy, fun activity that will motivate your students to generate categorical items after they choose their Witch’s Brew card. Extension activities can be added for differentiation — adding descriptive words to their categorical objects, sentence formulation/expressive language trials, answering wh questions for comprehension tasks, etc. Use these stimulus cards paired with any game board, or use in a whole class activity as you role play creating a disgusting, vocabulary-rich Witch’s Brew with your little goblins!

And one last activity for you today…Spooky Spider’s /s/ Clusters! These Halloween-themed /s/ cluster stimulus cards are perfect for your speech therapy activties targeting /s/ in consonant clusters in the initial, medial and final word positions. Use in literacy centers, file folder games, independent and small group activities, and intervention groups targeting these tricky words/sounds. Print out a double set to make a matching game, use as stimulus cards during board games or at literacy centers…lots of ways to use this printable resource!

Enjoy these resources, and keep on letting me know if you are finding these activities to be useful. I also would love feedback on resources that you would like to see in the future. Thanks! ~Lisa, LiveSpeakLove

Holiday Theme, Language, Resources

Spooks and Chills, Halloween Thrills!

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year! Pumpkins, apple cider, costumes and crafts…there’s nothing like a little spooky fun to thrill students and engage them in their learning. Looking for ways to target a variety of academic and communication goals using a Halloween theme? Look no further! I have so many resources I’ve developed over the years that are tried and true winners. Check out my resources below, and follow the links over to my new TeachersPayTeachers site. Free downloads located at that site as well!

First, if you are looking for ways to target vocabulary, receptive and expressive language skills, turn-taking and visual discrimination, you will want to download my Halloween Bingo Set. Pair these colorful game boards with wh questions, verbal “mystery clue” descriptions, sentence formulation activities and more to target skills in a fun, creative way. Easily students’ activities to target IEP goals as you simultaneously work with a larger group — just vary the type of question or response that you are requesting as children take turns throughout the game. There a six different bingo boards in this set:

If you are looking for activities to target pragmatic language skills, try these Halloween Pragmatic Question Cards…definitely a hit with both students and other teachers! I always incorporate an activity like this into our pre-Halloween lessons and discussions — to target the social pragmatic skills that are often tested this busy time of year, but also to target Halloween safety. I have used this activity to do push-in lessons in the classroom setting, and all of the students in the class participate in very useful discussion generated by these questions. I have students draw the little cards out of a jack-o-lantern bucket, or hide them around the room for students to find while they get some opportunities for movement and kinesthetic learning in their day.

The next Halloween activity I have to share is Halloween Word World — an activity targeting /r/ in various positions of the word. This activity would also be great for students learning about /r/ controlled vowels, or for use as a simple seasonal activity. Have fun!

Activity for targeting /r/ in various positions

Here is a fun make-and-eat activity that my students (and graduate student interns) are STILL talking about, years later…making Spooky Spiders to eat! Target a variety of language skills including following directions, sequencing, sequential and ordinal vocabulary, basic math and literacy concepts and more. AND you get to eat these yummy little spiders!! I use the visual directions to also target comprehension and expression after the activity — summarizing the procedures, retelling the events in sequence using appropriate vocabulary, answering wh questions about the procedures…and then I send the recipe page home for students to make the spiders for their family…instant homework, generalization to the home setting, and very happy, proud little monsters.

  

You may be busy creating your own materials, resources or blog posts, and find yourself in need of some festive clipart. But if you are posting the clipart or distributing the images in any way, you need to make sure you are following the copyright laws. Not sure what to do? Not interested in paying the crazy retail prices for clipart packages or digital scrapbooking content? You may be interested in my latest endeavor — self-made clipart images. I won’t even go into the hours I spent makingthese in Powerpoint…creating each little critter line by line and shape by shape. I’m obviously not a digital image pro, but I think these images turned out pretty cute. And the images are designated for personal, educational and even commercial use. Please link back to my site if you do use these images in any way. I’m quite proud of my little creatures — labors of love, for sure!

I hope that you are now in the spooky Halloween spirit! You may have noticed that many (if not most) of my materials are seasonal or holiday-themed. There’s a method to my madness!! If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 20 years, it’s that children remember celebrations. Chilchood memories are often tied to holidays, vacations and school events. We are all wired to remember the extraordinary. So, why not make learning FUN and enjoyable? Even celebratory?? You can accomplish the same goals, cover the same material and reach the hearts and minds of children the same way — if not better- than with traditional classroom activities. Children remember celebrations…and they will likely remember YOU as well.

Announcements, Free Downloads, Resources

Time Flies!

Wow, time really does fly when you are having fun– and when you are knee-deep in navigating a new position and new responsibilities! I am loving life as a new clinical faculty member at Towson University — teaching classes, supervising in the campus Speech-Language and Hearing Center and running a Pragmatic Language program for adults on the Autism spectrum. I wish I could list all of the things I’ve learned in the last few months! I’ve lost count. I feel blessed every day to go to work, and I love the variety my new position gives me. I feel this job is a noble and humble calling…training future speech-language pathologists through academic instruction and clinical experiences, also helping members of our community.

Beyond my new job, I do have a few updates for those who have been kind and patient with my recent blog neglect:

  • Team Living and Loving did it again! We supported a wonderful lady and raised over $2,300.00 with over 40 registered participants at the 2012 JT Walk to Stomp Out ALS! Here is a picture from our inspiring (albeit wet and windy) day:
Part of Team Living and Loving, lining up at the Start

 

  • LiveSpeakLove is now accepting appointments for consultations and assessments. Our ongoing therapy schedule is currently FULL; however,  you may call and have your name added to our waiting list should a therapy time open up in the future. Feel free to call or email with any questions!

 

Free Download!

 

  • I will be expanding my blog focus a bit to include topics and materials relating to my univeristy position. Coming soon: tools for mastering phonetic transcription, data collection and planning for therapy sessions. Also, topics in Autism across the lifespan, instructional technology in speech-language therapy and personal thoughts as I face the challenges of full-time work, an additional private practice, raising amazing children and more.

 

  • Product reviews are coming!! The months have flown past at an astonishing speed. In the back of my mind, have been several product reviews I still need to post. Of particular interest in the works–a review of a truly amazing book that I am currently using in my practice and at the university…Speaking of Apraxia by Leslie Lindsay. More to come, but suffice it to say that this book is a gem and chock-full of everything any parent or professional needs to know about Apraxia.

I am sure there are more updates I’m forgetting, but at nearly 2:30 am, I will save them for another day. THANK YOU for your patience and for checking out LiveSpeakLove!!

Announcements, Technology

New Horizons

20120612-180527.jpg

Live Speak Love is beginning a new venture! In addition to seeing private clients, I am thrilled to announce that I have been offered the position of Clinical Assistant Professor at Towson University in their department of Audiology, Speech Language Pathology and Deaf Studies. I have been supervising Towson graduate students during their internships in the public school setting for several years now, and am so excited to be taking on this new challenge as Clinical Faculty member. I will be teaching some classes, and also supervising undergraduate and graduate students in the University Speech Language and Hearing clinic. I will also have the opportunity to collaborate with other faculty members in some research endeavors, and possibly collaborate with other department’s faculty as well. I plan on exploring options regarding the application of technology in the therapy and educational settings, and will collaborate with Baltimore County Public Schools to continue some of the technology projects that I began this year. This is an amazing opportunity for me, and I am thoroughly excited about prospects ahead of me. Thank you to all for the encouragement and support you have shown me, and for embracing the work I have completed as part of Live Speak Love, LLC. I am honored to be serving children, families, educators, students and clinicians with my thoughts, inspirations and creations. I plan to continue my work online and in my community, in addition to working in my new role. Thank you for your support and for visiting Live Speak Love, LLC!

Thoughts and Inspirations

Meet Eliah James

I wanted to share this picture of my nephew, Eliah, who just turned five years old. Eliah is a sweet boy with multiple disabilities including Hemophilia A, Cerebral Palsy and a seizure disorder. He has had some very close calls in his life, but my sister is a strong woman — she has literally saved his life during complicated seizure episodes that caused him to stop breathing. My sister is now working with the Make-a-Wish foundation in South Carolina to help build Eliah a handicap accessible playground. You can read more about Eliah, his 5th Birthday Party, and the special Make-A-Wish Project in this post at http://www.eliahjames.blogspot.com

Don’t you think Eliah is just the sweetest??? I do!

Articulation, Free Downloads, Language

Summer Speech-Language Activities

It’s definitely that time of year! Hallways are filled with the hustle and bustle of end-of-the-school year excitement. In between closing sessions with students, team meetings, wrapping up special projects, prepping for summer private therapy and more, I have also been busy putting together summer speech-language packets for my public school students and their families.

The packets cover a variety of speech-language skills, incorporating theme-related content and activities that can be adapted for individual students. I included many of the popular activities found in my previous Summer Fun post. In addition, I also included information and tips/tricks for parents found in these handouts and in my previous Communication Temptations post. These speech-language Summer Fun packets are for both kids and their parents.

I have received a number of requests to post additional summer-themed activities. As always, I am happy to spread a little speech-language love and share resources I have developed. So, here you go! Additional activities straight from my Summer Fun Speech-Language Activity Packet…free for you to download for educational and/or personal use. Let me know if you are using them; I would love to hear your feedback!

Bingo Boards:

 Summer Speech/Language Activity Pages:

 

Stay tuned for more posts this summer including book, product and iPad app reviews. More free downloads for your summer themes in store as well. Thank you for visiting Live Speak Love, LLC…have a wonderful summer!
~Lisa

Language, Resources, Technology, Therapy Tools

Fun with Word Clouds

I’ve recently discovered a new tech tool for speech-language therapy…Word Clouds. Using word clouds is a fun way to incorporate text into your speech-language lessons, perfect for increasing the speech-to-text connections. If you are utilizing Universal Design for Learning Standards (and you should be,) word clouds are also a powerful tool to customize the display of information, highlight critical features of a subject matter and incorporate media in learning activities. They are also just plain fun. Kids seem to really enjoy seeing their words and ideas instantly transformed into art.

Below are a few word cloud activities I have used recently. I’ve been exploring different features of the available word cloud sites, and I’ve included examples of my favorites:

Tagul.com – Below is a word cloud I made with a group using the Tagul Word Cloud Generator. Tagul allows you to customize the shape, colors and fonts, and quickly produce word clouds that can be saved as images, emailed or embedded into web pages. I used this word cloud site with a group of students as we generated categorical vocabulary given the topic “Things We See Outside in the Summer.” Students verbally produced categorical lists and then we reviewed the words, discussing similarities and differences between related word pairs.

ABCYa! – ABCYa! is a simple word cloud generator that is quick and user-friendly. There are limited layout, font and color scheme choices, but the word clouds are created instantly without fuss or worry over too many parameters. Below is a word cloud we created in a group co-treatment lesson with the social worker. As a follow-up to a story lesson, we generated positive attributes and descriptive words. We instantly created the word cloud, and the students then used the word cloud words to identify five attributes to describe themselves. We ended with a group discussion in which students offered positive attributes about their peers. The activity was engaging, powerful and memorable, as students used their speech-language skills to reinforce themes of self-concept, friendship and giving compliments.

Wordle – Wordle is another fun word cloud generator that allows custom colors, fonts and layouts (not in shapes, though) to produce a visual vocabulary display. With Wordle, you do need to capture screenshots of your word clouds in order to save them as images; otherwise they are stored online in a public gallery. Below is a brainstorm word cloud I created with a group as we identified relevant summer vocabulary words in response to the questions, “What do you like about summer?” Students eagerly participated in this group discussion, formulating sentences to describe their favorite summer pastimes and memorable events. A variety of language skills were targeted using this simple visual tool.

Tagxedo – Tagxedo is one of my favorite word cloud generators, allowing text to be displayed in a shape using customizable color themes and fonts. You can even have your word cloud in the shape of an actual word or phrase. I have been experimenting with the options that Tagxedo offers, and came up with this LiveSpeakLove Word Cloud:

There are many other word cloud generators available on the Internet. You can find a generous list of word cloud sites with a simple internet search. I would love to hear if you are using word cloud tools in your classroom and/or therapy rooms…feel free to post your ideas in the comments section. Thank you for visiting Live Speak Love, LLC!

Announcements

Summer Speech-Language Therapy with Live Speak Love, LLC

It’s that time of year! Time to start making plans for summer, if you have not done so already. Live Speak Love, LLC is happy to announce that we are now scheduling appointments for summer speech-language services in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. Do you want your child to continue speech-language therapy, but they did not qualify for Extended School Year services? Or maybe you are concerned with your child’s speech-language skills and do not want to wait an additional 60-90 days for an assessment after school starts in September. Why not schedule a comprehensive speech-language assessment this summer? Are you looking for a second opinion or consultation? Whatever your speech-language needs, Live Speak Love, LLC is happy to work with you to create an arrangement that suits you, your child and your family. Call today for information and/or to schedule an appointment!

Free Downloads, Language, Thoughts and Inspirations

Making the Most of Summer Fun: Language-Based Activities for Children & Their Families

With summer just around the corner, many parents and teachers are already making plans for summer fun. Do you need ideas for speech-language activities during the summer break? Read on!  Here are my top suggestions for fun, language-based activities that target communication skills in memorable ways.

Take a walk – A walk that incorporates language skills can be as simple as a stroll around the block, or as complex as an afternoon hike to a scenic destination. As you walk, encourage conversation by asking open-ended questions or observations like, “I wonder what this is!”  Take note (out loud) of things that you see, hear, discover and enjoy, encouraging your child to do the same. You could also create a game or scavenger hunt for your walk, prompting your child to search for and label objects using a picture checklist:

Plan Day Trips – Take trips to local beaches, parks, museums or amusement parks. These excursions are not only fun, but they give your child the gift of developing background knowledge, or schema – an important database of personal experiences that become essential for reading comprehension. Providing your child with a variety of life experiences gives them a broader vocabulary base and fosters personal connections to text and stories. These connections will prepare children for higher level skills as they are introduced to new reading material and participate in group discussions. Day trips are also good practice for language formulation, planning and organization skills, and they offer many opportunities to reinforce conversational behaviors, language use and comprehension. Here are some select visuals that target these skills:

Take a Road Trip – If you are planning a vacation this summer, take advantage of the many built-in opportunities to develop communication skills. Trapped in the car for hours? Resist the urge to “autoplay” your ride with DVDs or handheld electronic devices. Why not target speech-language skills with games that kids love and will very likely remember for years? “I Spy,” license plate games or find-the-alphabet contests all target verbal skills and a variety of language concepts. You could also create a Seek-and-Find activity for your trip, like this downloadable version: 

 Make a Treat – What activity is more rewarding than one that ends in a fun treat to eat? Simple recipes can target a variety of language skills and are a favorite with kids. Practice following directions, using descriptive concepts, sequential vocabulary and more with real tools and materials.  Here is a super easy treat I’ve made with my own children and students, with visual directions that allow for review after you are done:Go to the Movies – ‘The movies’ are not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about fostering communication skills. How can sitting passively in a dark theater target speech-language goals? But let’s face it – many parents can become desperate to find an enjoyable activity for the kids on those stifling hot, lazy days of summer. Enjoying an air-conditioned theater for a two hour respite can be just what you and your child need. (For children with sensory issues that make trips to movie theaters a challenge, look for sensory-friendly movie times, like those offered in AMC theaters.) In addition to creating motivating content for future discussions and activities, movies also generate opportunities for language before and after your excursion. Decide with your child what you will seewhere and when you will see it. After the show, review with your child the movie plot, characters and sequential events. Ask questions like, “What was your favorite part? Why?” to help your child formulate and support their opinions. Offer your own opinion, too! Encourage critical thinking skills by asking “why”  “how” and “what if” questions. Some families I know even keep a log of movies they see throughout the year, giving each movie a rating after a family movie discussion.

Schedule Playdates – Effective speech-language therapy often includes group sessions to promote socials skills and to create opportunities that reinforce generalization of skills. Foster peer interaction, interactive play, functional communication and other skills by arranging a short playdate. Around two hours is a good length of time for a get-together, allowing ample opportunities for play, exploration and a small snack. Offer a few summer activities (bubbles, balls, sand toys, etc) and encourage conversation/interaction, but do resist the urge to organize their activities. Children need time to develop play with each other and discover what is motivating or fun in the moment.

 Read, Read, Read – Reading with your child is one of the best activities you can do to promote language and literacy skills. Studies show that time spent reading with your child is the best predictor of overall academic success. The AmericanAssociation of School Librarians reported a study, (Wells, 1988) where researchers found that “the amount of experience that five-year-old children had with books was directly related to their reading comprehension at seven and eleven years old. Wells stated that of all the activities considered possibly helpful for the acquisition of literacy, only one—listening to stories—was significantly associated with later test scores.” Read more.

 Not sure how to incorporate language into reading? The U.S. Department of Education outlines things you can do to help your child develop language and literacy skills. Read more.

Whatever your plans this summer, do take time to engage with your child in real ways using everyday activities. For more ideas/activities that target communication skills, please visit my speech-language blog at LiveSpeakLove.

Language, Therapy Tools

Super Duper Fun!

I was very excited to come home and find this package on my doorstep today!

I will be reviewing this product from Super Duper Inc, one of my favorite speech therapy supply companies. I am really looking forward to trying this program with students that have auditory processing difficulties. The processing program (at first glance) appears to be based on research stemming from investigations of altered auditory signal presentation to remediate intermittent/delayed auditory perception in children. I find research like this –glimpses into variations of how the brain processes auditory signals as explanations for disordered comprehension– to be completely fascinating. I am very excited to learn more about the Altered Auditory Input technique proposed in this program, and will be posting my impressions very soon,  So, look for my review in an upcoming blog feature ~stay tuned!

 

Thoughts and Inspirations

Top 10 Must-Dos for SLPs

Are you new to the Speech-Language Pathology profession? Or are you perhaps a soon-to be SLP in search of a graduate program, clinical fellowship or fully licensed position? Or maybe you are an experienced SLP in search of affirmation and renewed energy. Whatever your reason for stumbling onto this article, you will want to read my list of MUST-Dos for SLPs. As an SLP who has worked in a variety of clinical settings and who now must check the “forty-ish-something” box on questionnaires, applications, and telemarketer surveys, I feel that I have learned a thing or two about what is necessary in this profession. Not that I profess to know it all, by any means…in fact, with all of my…let’s just call it ” life experience,” I seem to keep learning how much there is to keep on learning. But I do have some advice for SLPs that is presented to you in my  TOP TEN LIST. (Who doesn’t love a top ten list?) Many of the items on my list are things that I have, in fact, learned the hard way…it is what it is.  Life is about learning the hard way, right? Except when we can learn from each other! So, please feel free to share this list with others, and also share additional MUSTS that you have learned; we all know there are more than ten MUST DOs in this profession!

Top 10 Must-Dos for SLPs

  1. Keep on Learning – yes, I just told you in my introduction that there are always lessons to be learned; definitely true. It is also true that graduate classes, textbooks, journal studies and seminars do not fully prepare you for real-world clinical situations. Expect to learn on the job. Your clinical style and professional skills will develop as you learn more about different populations, and as you gain individual experience with the people you meet.  Also, take advantage of CEU opportunities — ongoing education is critical to developing skills that draw from the most current literature and best practices.
  2. Establish a Network of Support – some clinical settings in this field involve therapists traveling/working by themselves or in a building full of professionals that do not have the same background or knowledge-base that they do. It is critical that you establish a person or group of people to consult as you make clinical decisions and navigate your professional world. Your CFY Supervisor, Team Leader, or other colleagues will prove very useful during those times when you need to ask a question, relate an idea, confirm a  decision, or just feel moral support.
  3. Build Online Connections – in these modern times, most professionals are turning to the internet and its veritable abundance of online resources. Beyond blogs, therapy supply companies and professional organizations, there are also many ways to connect with other professionals and resources. A few of my favorites? Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Speech-Language Forums. Yes, the advent of social media brought us new ways to form relationships and acquire knowledge! Start by checking out #SLPeeps on Twitter, or my Pinterest board for a glimpse at some of the online possibilities.
  4. Embrace Technology – You may know that I am a fan and proponent of using technology in speech-language therapy. Check out some of my posts for ideas and resources. I believe that interactive technology is the key to reaching clients in a motivating, meaningful way. You may want to save money or negotiate with your employer to purchase an iPad or similar device. Even if you can’t purchase an iPad, tablet  or other interactive device, you will still want to learn about these types of resources. Every day, there appear to be more and more tech options and apps for speech-language therapy. You will want to learn how to discern appropriate clinical tools from the hype and hogwash. Check out Geek SLP, SpeechTechie, Speech Language Neighborhood, and ASHASphere for ideas, thoughtful reviews and recommendations about tech tools and apps to use in speech-language therapy.
  5. Stay Organized – Success as a clinician is critically balanced on the ability to remain organized in the busy world of documentation and caseload management. You will want to develop a system for maintaining pertinent information for each client, and for managing your schedule. I prefer to use online documentation and scheduling, available to me wherever I go via computer or mobile device. I use DropBox filesharing to securely and instantly transfer my documents between all of my devices. Whatever system you use, be vigilant about sticking with it…organization is more than half the secret to success!
  6. Be Confident (or Fake It!) – As an SLP, you will likely be responsible for making clinical decisions and eligibility or service-level determinations, and reporting therapy progress to a variety of other professionals. Family members and people from other disciplines or clinical settings (including those who do not know anything about speech-language therapy) may question you, pressure you or confront you as you make clinical decisions. You will need to develop confidence as a professional to deal with these situations. Rely on your supervisors or mentors for support when you need to, but otherwise  remember that YOU are the trained service provider responsible for making the clinical decisions. Have faith in yourself, smile, breathe deeply, and learn from each experience. Developing confidence takes time…until you develop true confidence, you can Fake It Till You Make It!
  7. Create Professional Goals  Where do you see yourself in a year? Five years? Ten years?  Think about it, and put those goals in writing. Committing to the goals in writing will create a mindset that can drive your day-to-day actionsand decisions. Even if you are in your CF year and feel overwhelmed just understanding the sometimes chaotic demands of your current position, you should have goals about where you want to go. If you don’t know where you want to go, you may be surprised to wake up one day and find that the ride continued while you weren’t paying attention…and you have arrived at the destination! Make sure YOU are in charge of your destination.
  8. Keep a Record of Your Accomplishments –  Start a file for yourself that will hold any and all things that show accomplishment. Did you receive an email from a colleague thanking you for the resource you shared? Print it out and file it. Did you receive a positive letter from a client, family member or team member? FILE it; file it all. Keeping a record of your successes is not trivial or considered bragging — you should acknowledge your every success and embrace it. Bring your “Accomplishments” file to performance reviews and evaluations, or submit any letters of commendation when you apply for a new position or potential recognition. Keeping a file of your professional accomplishments is not silly; it’s smart and savvy. Do It Now.
  9. Find Your Passion Many Pretty much all clinicians feel frustrated or discouraged by the demands of paperwork, meetings and large caseloads at some point in their early careers. How do you combat the frustration and weariness that can develop? Find your passion; focus on what you love. Ask yourself, “What types of duties do I most enjoy about my job?” Working with students who have autism? Performing modified barium swallow studies? Writing reports? Using those crafty-creative-DIY skills to plan innovative therapy activities? Think about your passions, and when you know what you like — make it happen on purpose. Focus on those preferred aspects of your job, developing your expertise and skill in the areas you most love. Seek out opportunities that will allow for more of what you love. You may still find it hard to balance what you enjoy with things about which you feel less-than-passionate, but the struggle is necessary for discovering who you are as a clinician. Soon you may have an idea of what you really want to do in life, and you can commit yourself to that idea (in writing! See #7.)
  10. Keep a Sense of Humor – What’s the saying…”Laughter is the best medicine?” Yes, that goes nicely with the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  🙂 Do try to keep a sense of humor about challenges you face. You WILL make mistakes. You WILL second-guess yourself. You WILL NOT please everybody. You may not always love your job, even if you love what you do. Through all of the ups and downs, maintaining a sense of humor will serve you well and help you through some stressful times. Need a little help?  Take a peek at the video in this post…it works every time.

Well there you have it; my experience in a nutshell…the secret to becoming a fabulous, successful clinician. Basically I recommend that you believe in yourself; go after your dreams — remember to learn voraciously, laugh deliberately, and LiveSpeakLove in all you do.

Resources

Featured on ASHASphere: Better Hearing and Speech Month Roundup

I am once again very pleased and honored to be featured on ASHASphere,  the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s  official online publication! Maggie McGary, ASHA’s Community and Socia Media Manager, wrote an article highlighting some resources available for spreading the word about Communication Disorders. The article features resources I posted on LiveSpeakLove, along with some other fabulous SLP ideas, tips and resources. Check them out and spread the word to “Connect People Through Communication!”  Just click on the image below to view the article:

ASHAsphere