Re-sharing one of my most popular posts from this spooky-fun season! I’ve had a LOT of requests for these therapy resources. Let me know what you think, and if you’d like to see anything else!
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 (recently updated) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Halloween-Bingo-Game-Set-365240bingo 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!
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!
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 — FREE self-made clipart images. I won’t even go into the hours I spent making these 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.
Who else LOVES therapy and classroom activities with a seasonal flair?! Seasonal themes add such a fun, celebratory element to speech-language therapy. Festive games and activities appear to be my “specialty” — or so I have been told. Looking back, I have created a LOT of seasonal resources! And because I feel like celebrating, I decided to bundle some of my top Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving resources into a discounted mega-bundle! This mega-bundle of activities will last through the ENTIRE Fall Season. Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving activities galore to target receptive language, expressive language, pragmatics, articulation, and phonology as well as vocabulary and literacy! In this bundle you get 137 pages of printable games, lessons, stimulus cards, crafts, recipes, and more. Tried and true fun for your students, from my therapy room to yours. Check it out if you love minimal prep, easy to differentiate, printable activities with a seasonal flair!
I’ve had a LOT of requests for this one — a 22 page bundle of articulation and phonology games showcasing Fall and Halloween vocabulary! Such a favorite in speech therapy rooms and classrooms. Board games, stimulus cards for a variety of articulation and phonological goals, word strips to use on Legos or on Jenga pieces, Bingo Boards and calling cards that can be used memory/matching games, and even some create-your-own supplies! I wanted to get this up on the blog ASAP as I have some wonderful followers who’ve made very patient requests for this content. Here you go!
I wanted to share this visual for you — a FREE graphic organizer/visual support for WH Questions. This recently updated support is a clinician favorite; I’ve received lots of feedback about just how beneficial this visual is supporting students who need help understanding WH questions and their appropriate referents. In my therapy room, I have this visual posted and ready to quickly grab in the moment. From my therapy room to yours! This one-page download is perfect for any therapy room (or classroom.)
One of my favorite activities to use in therapy, especially group therapy, is BINGO! I love how such a fun, engaging, game that feels like a party can target so many skills – object identification/labeling, visual discrimination, auditory processing at the word/phrase/sentence levels, comprehension of wh questions, review of seasonal vocabulary, language formulation, use of vocabulary and related descriptive concepts, as well as speech sound production. These open-ended boards are perfect for differentiated instruction of students in small or large groups, as well as push-in lessons in the classroom. I’ve created a wide variety of theme-based Bingo boards over the years, and they are always a hit. I also use the calling cards from the Bingo sets to use as a memory games, vocabulary pages, card games, pictures for word walls, adapted books, and more. This particular activity set was created to target /k/ and /g/ velar sounds, but its versatility makes it also perfect for any student. I created color pages as well as black and white pages for the Bingo boards and the calling cards. Take a peek if you want!
P.S. I love using the PCS symbols from Boardmaker and Tobii Dynavox. I recently purchased a Maker License from the company (now required for copyright permissions) so I can create all sorts of visual materials and pass them on to other people! Anything you’d like to see? Just let me know!
If you’ve been following me since this blog started in 2012 (bless you if this is you!) you may know that I love to create therapy materials! Over the years I’ve shifted from hosting these materials on an external Google Drive to hosting them on Teachers Pay Teachers (what a wonderful invention by the way!). I have a variety of free and super cheap therapy materials hosted in my TPT store if you want to take a look. And I am SO EXCITED about having time to create again! So I will be sharing lots of materials here (including lots of free resources too!) so stay tuned. For now, I want to share my latest creation, this super fun Feed the Dog activity. I use this with literally any therapy activity or lesson and I get instant engagement and motivation from my clients/students. No need to struggle to find a game that I can use in therapy — I just pull this Feed the Dog activity out and pair it with stimulus cards, activity pages, or any other material, and kids love feeding the dog whenever it’s their turn. I also use this activity as a token reinforcement system to reinforce positive behaviors, task completion, and more. For whatever reason, it really works!
This activity set includes the dog face you can use to create your Feed the Dog activity (using a repurposed tissue box or bottle; see my image below), as well as bones to feed the dog, step by step directions, and a First/Then board customized for the reward of feeding the dog:
I definitely recommend this or similar tools for any therapy room or classroom! Hope you enjoy!!
It’s been a long while since I’ve posted an update here! As many of you know, my career branched out into a Clinical Assistant Professor position at a university, a job I truly loved! After about seven years of university teaching and clinical supervision, I relocated to my hometown in Virginia and began working in the corporate world as an SLP/Learning Consultant. When the world shifted in our post-covid era, I started to really long for personal connection again and dreamed of re-opening my private practice and serving children and families in my community. At the same time, my wonderful, hard-working husband was working to expand his dental practice and purchase the entire building that houses Geary Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. This larger practice and bigger space meant that there would be room for me to share his space (and his love for helping people) and open my speech-language therapy practice right in the same building! I am so excited to have begun this next adventure, serving families in my very own hometown. So, introducing Yorktown Therapy Services! Don’t worry; I plan on continuing to blog here to serve devoted supporters of Live Speak Love! I have lots of information and therapy goodies to share! But feel free to head over to my new practice Facebook page and give Yorktown Therapy Services some love!
Thanks everyone for continuing to support me and my dreams! Check out pictures of my new practice:
I am very excited to serve as featured contributor for the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s online publication, ASHASphere. I was asked to write an article about the groups I facilitate at Towson University for adults with autism. Here is my article, featured today on their website:
With summer just around the corner, I wanted to highlight some summer fun activities I created that were featured on the ASHASphere blog a couple of years ago. There are lots of ideas and FREE resources for you to download! Please feel free to pass on the free downloads — just link back to my site if you do. Thank you and ENJOY!
Interested in some new therapy supplies? Take advantage of Teachers Pay Teachers HUGE Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale! Every single LiveSpeaklove product will be on SALE for 28% off! Now is your chance to stock up on all of the LiveSpeakLove goodies you need. Holidays are our specialty– and we have LOTS of holiday-themed goodies that will give you a December to remember. Keep your prep work to a minimum and target a variety of speech and language goals using my theme-based activities. Fun, engaging activities that allow for differentiation and are aligned to the CCSS…take advantage of this HUGE event and you will have the best, easiest holiday season ever! Don’t forget to check out my FREEBIES!!
Happy November from LiveSpeakLove! As we polish off the last of the Halloween candy, many of us are gearing up for the next big holiday…Thanksgiving! November is typically a blur for me with the ASHA convention, American Education Week and anticipation of the ever popular Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa holiday season. But I always make it a point to very purposefully and carefully appreciate the moment that we have for Thanksgiving. I hope you do, too! To help get you get ready for Thanksgiving in the speech-language therapy room, here are a collection of Thanksgiving activities I made targeting comprehensive skill sets from the CCSS. These activity sets allow for differentiated instruction in individual, small group or whole class settings. Everything you need for this month in one spot…Enjoy!!
Wow, I am loving the response to my cute Owl Clipart – seems I am not the only one who thinks the little owls are perfect for the back-to-school season! You can read more about my year-round obsession with owls here or here. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to my love for the little creatures (in real life, I would probably just watch in awe and run for my life if one dared come close to me, hahaha. I am always fearful that my little five pound ball of fluff puppy, Cooper , will be carried away by a hungry fowl. But I DO love them from afar.)
Anyway, here is a repost of my ever popular WHO questions featuring the Owl Clipart I made. Hope you enjoy!!
Reposting my original OWL CLIPART, because I happen to think that Owls are perfect for the back to school season! Yes, it took me hours and hours to make these images but how cute are they??? Click to download for your personal, educational and commercial use…check it out!
The end of summer…the beginning of a new season, a brand new school year…anyone else just LOVE that fresh, back-to-school feeling that makes you just want to get ORGANIZED and ready for Fall? Back to School season is one of my absolute favoritetimes of the year. Buses rolling through the streets again, children skipping along with back packs and book orders, with visions of soccer games and Halloween costumes not far behind them. Soon we will be ushering in brisk nights filled with pumpkins, scarecrows, hoodies, colorful leaves and homework at kitchen tables as the dusk falls early around our homes. Such a wonderful time of year, filled with promise and the forgiveness of a new beginning. Maybe I am a little sappy and cliche about the back to school season, but to me, this season is the beginning of what life is really all about. Are you ready to start on the right foot??? LiveSpeakLove is here to help! I’ve just posted one of my favorite back-to-school activity sets! This original set is the perfect activity for the Back to School season as classroom routines are formed and baseline data is collected. Use the materials in this set to introduce Back to School vocabulary and the Back to School theme unit. Print duplicate pages to create memory games, take-home practice pages, learning center activities and more! Target receptive and expressive communication skills with wh questions, sentence formulation activities, describing object attributes…these materials can be adapted to meet ANY articulation or language objective. Aligned with Common Core Speaking and Listening standards for multiple grade levels, this set is GREAT for differentied groups!! Hurry, on sale now in my TPT Store!!
I recently posted this meme on the LiveSpeakLove Facebook page and have since then seen it crop up on Pinterest and other sites. I must not be the only one! Anyone else a night owl? When do you get the most work accomplished? I’d love to hear!
Many of you read the recent postfeaturing Gretchen Hines and her poignant story of being Mom to a child with apraxia. Gretchen’s story of a mother’s love, sadness, frustration and eventual success touched many hearts (including mine) and inspired us as parents, therapists, educators and advocates. I am pleased to report that Gretchen’s story is featured in PediaStaff’s Parent’s Corner this week! Special thanks to social media extraordinaire, Heidi Kay, for picking up the story and spreading the word.
SLPs, educators, parents, and anyone needing a bit of inspiration in life today — please join me in welcoming featured contributor, Gretchen Hines. Gretchen graciously agreed to share this very personal, heartfelt account of her journey as a mother of a child with apraxia. Perhaps you are on a similar journey with your own loved one, or perhaps you are working to make a difference in the lives of families like Gretchen’s. Whatever your story, I hope that you will find inspiration in this mother’s words. I know I did. ~Lisa, LiveSpeakLove
The following post originally appeared on Gretchen Hines’ personal blog, MommyCircus. Head on over to her site and let her know how you liked her story!
It has been a few months since I have posted, but September came, school and sports started and my time became sparse. But, I’m back! Hoping to catch up on and continue to post about the happy happenings of our large household.
What got me started tonight has been weighing heavy on my mind for a few weeks and I thought it best to make a post, in hopes that it may change, if only one persons perspective on what I am about to approach.
Sixteen years ago this past October, we were blessed with our first born son, Tyler. As any first time parent would do we carefully marked milestones…first smile, sitting, crawling, walking, first word… Tyler made all of those milestones mostly right on time. right around a year or so old he spoke “mama” and “dada” for the first time. His brother Ben was born when he was 13 months old and Tyler called him “kitty” because of the his large amount of brown hair. But, his words were few and far between. When he turned two I found out I was expecting a third baby, and right about that time fourteen years ago, our beautiful little red haired 2 year old boy stopped speaking at all. Instead, he mumbled as though he had a mouth full of food. We took him to the pediatrician, who referred us to the local children’s hospital for evaluation. We were told initially that he might be autistic. I was devastated. I felt guilty that I was pregnant again while my precious little boy would need so much help. I had no idea what the future would hold for him… We went to lots of appointments and testing and finally ended up in the speech therapy department at CHKD. They explained to us that he was not autistic, however he displayed the high intelligence that a lot of autistic children display. What he had was a condition they termed apraxia. The connection between his brain and his tongue had a malfunction within it, thus making it very difficult for him to form words. The diagnosis they gave stated that they were ” cautiously optimistic” that he would ever be able to speak.
We quickly began daily speech therapy and were told it would be best if we learn sign language to communicate with him. Our precious two year old boy learned to sign to us to let us know what he needed. I desperately wanted to hear my son speak as I watched his tiny hands sign things to me. I became his mouth. I spoke for him everywhere we went. I watched in utter sadness as he would try to play with other children, only to have them walk away because he could not speak to them . On the playground kids would ask why he wouldn’t talk to them. Children wanted to know what was “wrong” with him. So, I kept him to myself. I kept him away from other children. He was always a curious little fellow and dearly loved to scavenge around the yard for worms and lizards. He loved exploring, and we would often explore the woods behind our house, just me and him and his brothers. His younger brother Ben, who at this point was 2 years old and speaking enough for both of them was quick to understand that his older brother could not speak. This, was not going to work for him. Determined to have his brother speak to him, Ben would talk at him, often forcefully “talk to me” he would say. And he would talk and explain to Tyler all day long. To this day, and forever, I owe a debt of gratitude to my little son Ben for his part in helping Tyler speak. He was persistent and forceful and often arrogant, and I believe that he still feels a bit of responsibility towards Tyler that he will never understand.
Many, many months of speech therapy later and one very persistent little brother…. my first born son at the age of 4, began to speak in sentences. And every word he has spoken since then has been a miracle. At this point, our therapy benefits had long since expired and it seemed as though our son had gone about as far as he could with speech therapy. His therapist agreed that he had progressed far beyond their expectations and it was probably best to discontinue his therapy. He did still have some difficulty with certain sounds, but we were satisfied that he could speak, and a slight speech impediment would not be the end of the world. At this point we decided to enroll him in pre school to help him learn to socialize with other children. I was scared to death. I wouldnt be able to be there if he needed help or if someone didn’t understand him. But, in true Tyler fashion, he was so excited to go to school. He went the first day and loved it, couldn’t wait to go back. He had such a good time at school and really seemed to be interacting well and making friends. And then came March of that school year. March is when the school holds parent conferences to discuss your child’s progress and determine a plan for the following year. My husband and I went for our conference on a March afternoon that I will never forget… A very misguided pre school teacher sat us down, and in not so many words told us that our son was “dumb” because she couldn’t understand him. She told us that he would never be able to succeed in a regular classroom and that she really didn’t feel that he should go on to kindergarten. Once again, that feeling of devastation set in. I cried the rest of the day and declared that I was removing him from that school. However, my level headed husband explained that it would not be fair to our son to take his school away from him because he loved it so much. That we would not let that teacher get the best of us. We would push forward, knowing that our son WAS capable of anything.
We enrolled him in private kindergarten the following year, and he thrived. His teacher was kind and understood him. She took the time to know him and she was able to see that beyond his speech, he was a very special, smart little boy. Feeling great about his year in kindergarten, we decided to enroll him in public school for first grade. Again, I was scared to death, but he was so excited. And, once agin in true Tyler fashion, he approached each day with such enthusiasm. I felt really good about our decision to put him in public school. And then, once again, a very misguided teacher decided that since she couldn’t understand him all of the time that he needed to be placed in special reading groups. But, not only could he read, he could read chapter books! I quickly had this situation remedied, however I had to agree to place him in speech therapy through the school so that she could better understand him. Come second grade, a year into public school speech therapy, little progress in improving his “horrible” speech impediment, he is placed into a second grade class for students with special needs. Once again dismayed at the treatment of my son by the public school, I am told that he was placed in this class under the recommendation of his first grade teacher. Determined to push forward, we kept him in the class, and actually found out that he had one of the most wonderful teachers we have had to date. She was kind and understanding, and agreed that he did not belong in that class. She took him under her wing and truly bonded with him. She let him speak in front of the class and give directions and be in charge. It was a wonderful year for him. He ended that year with so much confidence.We also found out this year that Tyler has a beautiful ability to look past others handicaps and differences and see that there is something good in everyone. He would tell me about the little girl in a wheelchair who was his friend and he never once mentioned that she was in a wheelchair. He went on to third grade and was placed in a high level third grade class. Again, he had a wonderful teacher, who saw his potential. He thrived that year and was actually placed in the gifted program. Fourth grade came, and while he again had a very kind teacher, we found out that year that this is the age that children become cruel. Suddenly Tyler was the brunt of a lot of jokes because of the way that he spoke. He would tell kids that he was from another country, and that is why he spoke that way. It was soon found out that this was not the case and he was criticized for everything from his speech to his red hair. But, as I had found out two years previous, Tyler has an extremely kind heart. He never spoke ill of any of the children who teased him, he would tell me that they were his friends.
This ridiculing continued through fifth grade. My worst fear realized, and I could not go to school and fix it for him. I had to stand back and sob. Which I did everyday that year. It broke my heart to watch my precious, beautiful son ridiculed, laughed at, singled out. Why, because he was different. He did not speak the same as everyone else. This year I pulled him out of speech therapy at school as this was a point of some of the ridiculing. Progress had not been made as the school system had hoped. But, I was happy with him as he was. My hands were tied. I tried to fight for him from afar, but this could only go so far. I asked him if he wanted to be home schooled, but he always told me no. Despite the treatment he received at school, he still loved it, and wanted to be a part of it. The bullying continued into middle school, and I watched as my once happy go lucky little boy became quiet, angry. He had had enough, but wasn’t willing to give up. He continued on alone at school.He had some good, understanding teachers, but we were still met with those that just could not get past his speech. He made good grades and was happy at home. He would not give up. I think that he knew somewhere, somehow there was a light at the end of the tunnel… That light finally came the end of his eighth grade year.
In the spring of eighth grade we had to make his schedule for high school. I was once again scared to death. How was he going to make it in high school? He came to me with his scheduling paper for me to sign so that he could participate in ROTC. I was very skeptical about this decision. How on earth with the problems he has had with communication would he make it in ROTC. I agreed to it, and this… became the light…. He entered ninth grade alone, and I think afraid. But, he was met with some very understanding teachers. Teachers that saw past his speech, in fact I said something to one of his teachers, and she replied ” I didn’t know he had a speech problem”. But, by far, his involvement in the ROTC program was a God send. That year, he attended boot camp in the fall. He was awarded numerous merits and by the end of his ninth grade year he was ranked as a Petty Officer 1st Class in his unit. Something very few freshmen had done.He had new friends. He was finally my son again. For the first time in several years he was smiling again. Those cruel children from the past seemed to have dissipated amongst the rest of the school. He was finally able to be himself again, though I believe that through those past years we had lost a bit of who he once was. The outgoing little boy who once would stop and dance for no good reason, or sing out loud was gone, taken by cruelty and misguided expectations.
Last week my little boy, the one who would never succeed was named as Chief Officer in his ROTC unit. His commanding officer asked him which unit he would like to be in charge of next year. Why, because of his ability to communicate with other cadets. Because of his ability to lead and be a leader. This evening that same little boy, my precious red haired boy will walk across the stage at Gloucester High School as he is inducted into the National Honor Society. Succeed… he did! There is a small part of me deep in my heart that wishes those teachers who labeled him “dumb” because of his speech would all be sitting in that auditorium tonight. Would they know my son? Succeed he did… and he will. He will be great things!
So, the point I am trying to make here is this… Please don’t judge. Never label child. All of our children are beautiful blessings from God! They all have a beautiful purpose, whether they can speak or not, whether they are in a wheelchair, whether they look the way that society would have them look. They are all important and great, and can do great things if we just allow them to do so. If you see a child who needs a little extra help… see them, hear them, help them, understand them… And to all of those teachers and friends who did understand… Thank You!
About Gretchen:I am Mom to nine beautiful children. I am a nurse by trade, and worked as a critical care nurse for a few years before becoming a home health nurse. Home health nursing is where I met my best friend and soul mate who is a home health physical therapist. We were married a year after our first date and shortly thereafter began having children… lots of them. I quit working as a nurse after our third child was born to become a full time Mom and to focus my attention on the needs of our first child. I thoroughly enjoy homeschooling my younger children, and dedicate a large portion of my time to their education. In my spare time these days I am a photographer and writer. Being a mom to nine children has been my biggest challenge and my most amazing blessing. At times it can be an uphill battle…but, at the end of the day we are blessed beyond belief and I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. Gretchen Hines, MommyCircus
Are you a Ravensfan? Here in Baltimore, it is hard to go anywhere without seeing the color Purple or hearing about how the Ravens are headed to Denver for the playoffs. But did you know there is a deeper story? A story that may appeal to SLPs, or to those of you who love someone with a communication disorder or life-threatening illness? This story struck me not just because I am an SLP whose mission is to help others communicate — it struck me because I love someone living with ALS. My mother-in-law, Nancy, was diagnosed with ALS on July 3, 2011. Her spirit and passion for loving others and making a difference in people’s lives continue to shine, just as they do with Ravens Player O.J. Brigance. Take a look at this video that premiered on ESPN just before the most recent Ravens game: