Thoughts and Inspirations

A Very Special Halloween from LiveSpeakLove!

Happy Halloween! For those of you who will be greeting trick-or-treaters this evening, consider this advice that I found posted in a few different places (author unknown):

“Tonight a lot of children will visit your door. Be open minded. The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy might have poor fine motor skills. The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy might have motor planning issues. The child who does not say “trick or treat” or “thank you” might be painfully …

shy, non-verbal, or selectively mute. If you cannot understand their words, they may struggle with developmental apraxia of speech. They are thankful in their hearts and minds. The child who looks disappointed when he sees your bowl might have a life-threatening allergy. The child who isn’t wearing a costume at all might have sensory defensiveness or autism. Be kind, be patient, smile, pretend you understand. It’s everyone’s Halloween. Make a parent feel good by making a big deal of their special child.”
So, please remember that Halloween is for everyone, and help make each parent and child feel special this Halloween! Thank you and have fun!!
~Lisa, LiveSpeakLove

 

Articulation, Language, Resources, Thoughts and Inspirations

Hurricanes, Blizzards and Earthquakes…Oh My!!

Anyone else wondering just WHAT is going on with Mother Nature? A recent earthquake, a hurricane, a blizzard? Here in Maryland, it seems a bit odd and armageddon-ish to be seeing forecasts for both a massive hurricane and a stormy blizzard. I’ve been hosting a slumber party in my living room for the little people who live here — all of us excited to be home from school and work obligations, but still rather in awe of the storm’s potential and what the night may bring. Here is a glimpse of our Storm Headquarters, a camp that has evolved a bit throughout the day:

Children love to talk about the weather phenomena that we experience each year. With weather events opening the door for incredible conversations relating to science, social issues and language themes, I have used many weather-related games and activities to address a variety of skills in speech-language therapy. And so, as I wait for the modern-day privileges of electricity and the internet to end, I am sharing my year-round favorite — Weather Bingo. Here is a glimpse at the set I have created:

Use the picture vocabulary to increase knowledge of specific vocabulary, then target a variety of language skills as you play the Bingo game in small or large groups. Picture vocabulary can be used to target wh question comprehension, use and comprehension of descriptive vocabulary, visual discrimination skills,
formulation of phrases and sentences and more! What you get: 6 unique Bingo boards, all containing the same picture vocabulary; 1 page Bingo stimulus cards (can be printed twice to create instant memory/matching game!) I hope you enjoy using this activity to support important structured and conversational learning that can take place using a timely, relevant theme.

Thanks for checking it out!

~Lisa, reporting to you love from Hurricane Headquarters 🙂

Language, Therapy Tools, Thoughts and Inspirations

Revist: Encouraging Spontaneous Communication

As I’ve been working with graduate students and guiding them to incorporate strategies to increase their client’s spontaneous communication during therapy sessions, I’ve been covering some of the basics like:

  1. Ask open-ended questions, avoiding questions that can be answered with a simple yes/no or other one word answer
  2. Provide choices as much as possible, encouraging statements of preference
  3. Try not to anticipate the needs of a child – allow them time to formulate their wants and ideas into their own verbal attempts
  4. Set up the environment purposefully with preferred items out of reach
  5. Use visual supports to increase communication independence
  6. Provide modeling and expansion of a produced utterance– reinforce verbalizations and show them how to take it one step further

Beyond these basics, there are a few strategies I have blogged about in the past that people seem to particularly appreciate. My post on Communication Temptations is a steady favorite, along with my handouts for encouraging speech and language skills in the classroom and home settings. One particular blog post has been making the rounds again on Pinterest and Facebook — my Top Five Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language. I do like this post quite a bit, not just because I still stand behind the content but also because it pretty much captures who I am.  Reading the post gives you a glimpse at my therapy style (and my general personality, I believe,) and highlights what I feel is a real desire to connect with children in the moment. The techniques I recommend in the post are not necessarily natural for many people, especially new therapists, but I am encouraging the graduate student clinicians I supervise to give these five tricks (and many others) a try as they discover their own therapy styles.

Interested in my Top 5 Ideas? Here is the link to my original post:

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

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!!

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

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!

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.

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.

Free Downloads, Language, Thoughts and Inspirations

Top Five Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language

One struggling parent recently described her son’s speech to me as sounding “like nothing more than a robot.” This description spoke volumes about what it must be like as a parent of a child with autism or similar disorder.  A child whose very personality is veiled by a mask of robotic speech — scripted sentences, drill-like productions, automated phrases to answer questions or label objects . As a mom, I can understand the ache that this mom was feeling for her child. She longed for a genuine conversation, a sweet moment to  glimpse into her child’s mind and hear him speak with intention and meaning. Working in the public school setting and my additional private practice, I encounter many families struggling with this issue. A large number of my students are children with autism or similar disorders that include significant expressive language impairments. Many of these students are somewhat verbal, but their expressive language appears limited to verbal imitations of given models or simple, scripted sentences following a visual. Often, the presence of echolalia and/or attention difficulties further compound the expressive language issues. ABA or structured expressive language trials often increase verbalization of targeted concepts and scripted sentences, but the spontaneous language may still be very limited.  As a trained speech therapist, I know that repetitive trials are often the key to skill acquisition, language memory and motor planning. But I also know that for students struggling with functional, spontaneous language, I need to move beyond the drills, repetitions and the neat sets of ten that convert easily into percentage scores. I need to create moments of intention and meaning that can be reinforced naturally, in the moment.  There are a few tricks I’ve acquired that I consider very effective tools to create spontaneous language opportunities. I am pleased to share them with you here in my first official “Top Five” post. Many of these ideas may come naturally to you as a parent or clinician; maybe not. Either way, I hope these ideas will inspire you to think and reflect, and to seek genuine, spontaneous moments of language with your child or student.

Top Five Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language:

1. Use Communication Temptations – I previously posted about lots of ways to “tempt” children to communicate. Temptation is a very powerful motivator. Though you may be finely in tune with your student and know exactly what they want or think, be sure to encourage functional communication skills as you interact. Offer activities that require the student to be motivated by something they want, need, love or desire. In my post, you can read some of the tools I often use and how to effectively create communication temptations.

2.  Use Elements of Surprise – this tool is one of my favorites for increasing spontaneous language. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a quiet, hard-working but rather disinterested child suddenly come to life with exclamations of excitement, laughter and delight. The surprises do need to be varied and presented infrequently or they become, well, not very surprising. And some surprises might be startling or even scary for students, so you should closely monitor students’ reactions. But the right balance  of surprise can be an extremely effective tool in fostering expressive language and meaningful connections with your student. Here are a few of my favorite surprises:

  • Surprise idea #1: Motion sensor toys – I have had very good success with toys that come to life in song, dance moves or cascades of giggles. These toys can be found just about anywhere they sell toys. My latest find is animals that roll and erupt in side-splitting, contagious, can’t-catch-your-breath fits of giggles. My students have all loved my new roly-poly giggling guy, who I first introduced as “my very kind friend who sometimes gets a little silly.” We enjoyed lots of laughs as we practiced language concepts. I have the alligator version of this toy, but it does the same thing as this little pig:
  • Surprise Idea #2: Planned “accidents” – Accidents catch people off-guard and create instant reactions. I love hearing students express their surprise,  pleasure, or even worry as a train drives right off the track or crashes into another train. When a puzzle is “accidentally” knocked off the table onto the floor, I often hear complete sentences like, “Oh no, what happened? It’s ok, I’ll help you!”  We work together to remedy the problem, and their spontaneous language is reinforced in a very real-word situation. (Photo courtesy of YummyDelicious.com.)

  • Surprise Idea #3: Hidden objects – Yes, it’s true, I am known as the Bag Lady in some parts around here. I often bring bags of interesting objects, toys or theme accessories with me. Admittedly born with a somewhat dramatic flair, I take pride in my ability to create an atmosphere of anticipation, mystery and eventual excitement/awe with a mere “something” hidden in a bag. Before the big reveal, I encourage students to guess what might be in the bag, accepting and reinforcing virtually any answer but also calling attention to the bag size and shape. Students can reach in the bag and pull out  –whatever it is– which can be fun or even delightful to a curious child. Spontaneous language, as well as other targeted language concepts can be elicited as they react to what they have found. You can also hide objects buried in sand for students to discover as they dig,  use the computer or smartboard to reveal hide pictures that can be revealed with the click of a mouse or stylus. Hands-on, interactive activities like these create opportunities for spontaneous language that traditional flash card or picture stimuli do not.  (above photo courtesy of glamzzle.com.)

                                                                                                          (photo courtesy of Vappingo.com)   
 3.  Make Mistakes – Many times as I am working with a student, I purposefully insert mistakes to catch them off guard and create a reaction. Often, their reaction involves correcting my mistake, a task eliciting language targets without direct prompting. I may use the wrong word in my sentence and simply pause with a confused look on my face as I scratch my head and say, “Is that right?” Another mistake I often make is to hand them the wrong tool or object. If we have just decided to use a certain toy or game, I might hand them a puzzle instead, or maybe even the plant from my desk! A confused look from me usually elicits a reaction, and  possibly a clarification of what I was supposed to get. One of my favorite moments using this “purposeful mistake” strategy was when a student remembered what I had done and spontaneously made a similar mistake in our next session. Before I could respond to his mistake, he burst into laughter saying, “I didn’t make a mistake; I tricked you!” Yes, REAL language, without structured prompts; a glimpse into his mind and heart.

4. Use Humor – Closely related to using elements of surprise and making mistakes, there is another skill I am proud to exhibit– the ability to be silly and often make a fool of myself! Whether it be acting out silly animal actions, donning a ridiculous hat or mask, or getting goofy during some interactive play, the use of humor can elicit focused attention, interactive smiles, giggles and of course, spontaneous language. One trick I tried recently came from an idea I found on Pinterest, originally from I Love 2 Teach.  I modified the idea slightly and created a Boardmaker file of different voices to produce. I used the idea with a group of students working on following directions, and they each picked the voice they wanted me to use to give the direction. INSTANT engagement, amusement and focus on my verbal direction! I plan on using this tool in other types of activities very soon, encouraging the students to try out the different voices on their own. Here is the Boardmaker file for you to download:

5. Play – This Top 5 idea may sound obvious, as many clinicians, teachers and parents incorporate play into their time with language-impaired students. But play, REAL play, is essential for developing spontaneous language, social skills and creativity. Many children do not know how to play. They need experience and appropriate models. When I first began using play in therapy, I would bring out bins of fun toys and then initiate what I thought were interactions, but were actually play-based commands. “Okay, where’s the bear? That’s the bear! Ok, put the bear on the table. You say, ‘On the table!’ ” Sometimes my “play” more closely resembled correction…”No, that’s a chair;  I said on the table, put the bear on the table. ” Looking back, I am pretty sure that the children to whom these commands were directed during their “play” time did not really have very much fun. These directives involved toys, yes, but the activity could hardly be called interactive play. Now, I realize the things I wish my much younger self had known. Specifically, real play should involve letting the child explore and choose what he/she wants to do, with interactions built-in to the chosen activity. Interactions are encouraged during moments of play as the child discovers what they find intriguing, amusing or just plain fun. I watch their behavior, and join them in their exploration. As we play, I initiate dialogue using characters or toys as the “speakers” As we play, I also model language production and elicit responses through play behavior, but I stay away from the commands. Throughout the session, I might encourage them to verbalize requests or imitate words and language concepts, but our play is child-led and consists of much more than a series of commands. Using true interactive play is an engaging activity that sets the stage for spontaneous verbalizations, comments, requests and engaging time to connect.

Okay, so there it is…my first Top Five list. Thank you for reading, and if you use any of these ideas, please let me know how it works for you. Thanks for visiting LiveSpeakLove!

~Lisa

Thoughts and Inspirations

Spring Cleaning: Pinterest Organization

With the launch of my new website and with my ever-growing collection of Pinterest Pins, I decided to do a bit of re-organization. I have created a separate board for my pins that come directly from LiveSpeakLove, and I have another Speech Therapy Board to collect all of the fabulous ideas that so many of you have. For those of you who have been following the original Speech Therapy Board, make sure to add a follow for the new LiveSpeakLove board. Enjoy!

LiveSpeakLove on Pinterest:

 Speech Therapy Pinboard:Pinned Image(photo courtesy of Pinterest user Jenna Rayburn of SpeechRoomNews)

 

Scroll to Top

 

Thoughts and Inspirations

Spring Break

Live Speak Love is on Spring Break this week! I am enjoying the chance to relax and spend time with my family. But don’t worry, the relaxing just means I have had more time to brainstorm new ideas for fun, engaging speech therapy sessions. I am also working hard to lay the foundation for my move into the private practice arena. Many thanks to those out there in internet-land who post such fabulous resources– your work makes my research an easy, insightful process.

If you are looking for ideas and downloadable resources, you will not have to wait too long. In the works are ideas for Earth Day (by special request from Heidi at PediaStaff,) Gardening Galore, Animal Antics, Restaurant Week and more!

Please let me know if there are any other special requests…I will do my best accomodate your wishes. Until then, blessings to you all for a fabulous spring holiday season. Thank you for visiting Live Speak Love!

~Lisa

Articulation, Free Downloads, Holiday Theme, Language, Therapy Tools, Thoughts and Inspirations

The Egg-stravaganza Continues!

We’ve been having a fun-filled, colorful time in speech-language therapy! Out of all the Spring activities I’ve tried, students have been most enthusiastic about using the colored, plastic eggs I purchased for a few dollars at my local craft store.

I’ve paired the eggs with other technology-based activities, like the virtual game-board I featured in my last post. I used this activity in my therapy room, and also in the classroom setting as a co-treatment with the social worker. We used previously-posted pragmatic questions inserts for the eggs, and each team got to pick an egg and answer the question when it was their turn. Because the pragmatic questions were a BIG hit out in blog-land (as judged by Pinterest pins and downloads,) and because I found I needed some lower-level questions for those students needing more concrete stimuli, I also created an additional set of pragmatic inserts for you to download:

I also co-treated with the occupational therapist in an adaptive classroom setting. We filled the eggs with these “Following Direction” inserts and “hid” the eggs around the room. Students got to hunt for eggs, then we answered the questions or followed the directions that were in the eggs. We did many of the directions as a whole group, and each student got to come to the front to demonstrate to the class when it was their turn. For directions requiring drawing, we used the classroom smartboard, but you could also use a chalkboard, dry erase board or easel.

Another fun activity I’ve used in large and small groups working on simple descriptive vocabulary is to pair the eggs with colored pom poms and colored objects. Students can pick a color/colored object, and then hunt for an egg that is the same color. Sentence formulation, use of color words in descriptive phrases, matching and answering simple what and where questions are all targeted in this active game.

I used the following visual for language support with students who needed the visual input to assist with formulation of sentences using the concepts:

I also paired the colored eggs with pacing board activities as an extra motivation for students working on length of utterance, fluency strategies and/or sequencing of sounds for multi-syllabic words. Students “stamped” on the pacing board with the egg, or tapped the top of each egg as they spoke to mark the sounds or syllables. The same materials could be used as a token reinforcement system where students earn each color for the trials they produce. Students working on matching activities could also use these tools.

I’ve recently been described as often posting activities with a “seasonal bent,” and I’d say that is definitely true. I just can’t resist all of the holiday fun! Some of my best childhood memories revolve around the holidays, even seemingly insignificant ones.I like to think I am creating memorable experiences for students, using motivating activities that target goals and keep kids moving and smiling while they work.

Thoughts and Inspirations

Permission to Pin

Do you love Pinterest? I have to admit that Pinterest sparked my desire to start blogging…seeing so many great ideas in one spot, many of the ideas linking to the blogs of truly talented and creative people. I quickly jumped in and have found that Pinterest is a great way to generate blog traffic and share resources. In only a month, my humble little speech-language blog went from being non-existent to featured on high-traffic Pinterest boards like Pediastaff and on the ASHASphere website as one of the “Best Speech-Language Pathologist Blogs.” I’ve also been mentioned on other blogs like Speech Lady Liz, Jill Kuzma’s SLP Site, Sublime Speech, Playing with Words 365, and Let’s Talk.

Due to the Pinterest Terms of Use, however, I have decided to join blogger Laura Candler in efforts to make pinning from blogs a bit easier. This means that you have my permission to pin any image from my  blog on Pinterest. Also, feel free to follow me on Pinterest and repin any images you find there.

Thanks for reading Live Speak Love, and Happy Pinning!

Thoughts and Inspirations

ASHASphere Feature!

What a difference a day makes! In addition to a much less stressful day at work, I received a very exciting email informing me of a little news…Live Speak Love is featured in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s latest blog article, The Best Speech-Language Pathologist Blogs from A-Z. Check out the article and the other speech-language blogs who made the list: 

ASHASphere

Also, look for Live Speak Love on the Pediastaff and ASHASphere blogs in the upcoming future! I’ve been asked to be a Guest Blogger/Contributor on both of these sites. What fun! Thanks for visiting Live Speak Love and for helping to spread the word.

~Lisa

 

Free Downloads, Language, Resources, Thoughts and Inspirations

Not-So-Super!

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: