Most Popular 2012 ASHAsphere Posts

2012 ASHAsphere Wordle

Since the year will soon be coming to a close, it’s the inevitable time for year-end lists.  Rather than be left out, we want to celebrate the upcoming New Year’s holiday by sharing with you the most popular posts from ASHAsphere for 2012.  A broad range of topics was presented this year.   We want to thank all of our contributors and readers for making ASHAsphere a continued success.  We look forward to another great year in 2013!  If there are specific topics you’d like to see us cover in 2013, please provide them in the comments.

The Best Speech-Language Pathologist Blogs from ‘A to Z’
Heidi Kay presents a fairly comprehensive list of SLP blogs in her popular post. The comments fill in any missing holes in her initial list.  This is a great post to start exploring the SLP blogosphere.

Google Forms and Spreadsheets—Fun Times with Data Collection!
How often are the words “fun” and “data collection” used in the same sentence?  Ruth Morgan shows you how to make your data collection a little more enjoyable with Google Forms and Spreadsheets.

Speech Therapy Ideas for Preschoolers
Sherry Artemenko provides some great tips for parents and SLPs getting started with a preschool aged population.  Key take-away: Play-Doh is an essential.

Habilitation – What it is And Why it Matters to You
Habilitation is getting a lot of national attention right now due to the implementation of the health care reform law. ASHA’s former Associate Director of Health Care Services in Speech-Language Pathology, Amy Hasselkus, gives readers a quick breakdown on what it is and why it matters to SLPs and Audiologists.

Auditory-Verbal Therapy: Supporting Listening and Spoken Language in Young Children with Hearing Loss & Their Families
Todd Houston discusses the trend of parents choosing spoken language options, such as Auditory-Verbal Therapy, for their children with hearing loss.

Fun Resource for Therapy Ideas: Pinterest
ASHA’s Maggie McGary breaks down Pinterest for the uninitiated. “SLPs and other therapists and educators are ‘pinning’ therapy ideas by the hundreds, making Pinterest an invaluable resource for therapy ideas and inspiration.”

Rate That App
“More and more SLPs are using apps in therapy and more and more speech/language apps are flooding the app store.” Deborah Taylor Tomarakos discusses how SLPs can determine which of those apps are appropriate and useful in therapy or educational settings.

Low-Tech Speech Therapy
While high tech tools and apps seem to be all the rage these days, Elizabeth Gretz shares some decidedly low-tech (and “super cheap”) options for speech therapy.

Using Your iPad in Dysphagia Therapy
Tiffani Wallace takes the app theme into the field of Dysphagia therapy.

Picture Books to Improve Your Toddler’s Speech
Kimberly Scanlon selected and reviewed a sampling of picture books for toddlers that are having difficulty producing Ms, Bs, or Ps.

Tom Jelen is the Director of Online Communications for ASHA.

Appdapted: Speech and Language Therapy Apps for the Holiday Season

Hopefully most of you found my Halloween Edition of Appdapted very useful. I really wanted to do a thanksgiving one but honestly there were only a few apps out for Turkey Day and most involved hunting turkey, not a good therapy activity. We have now moved into the Holiday Season so take a look at some great apps to use in therapy. A good majority focus around Christmas. I tried my best to find some relevant Chanukah or Kwanza ones with very little success.

I have lots to share so keep an eye on this post as I will be updating it regularly. For now start off with these awesome apps that will keep your kids motivated!

Updated 11/27/12

Snow Doodle ($0.99)

Snow Doodle is the latest addition to the Doodle family by Shoe the Goose. This app has tons of potential and was released just in time for the winter season.  You have the ability to not only build “snow people” ( Have to be politically correct here, not all snow beings are men after all) but also build things using your imagination and tools like a pail, castle block, coffee cup, or a tube. Just tap the tool and out pops the snow. You can also use the free form tool and manipulate the snow ball into any design you want. This app has tons of potential and with the ability to import anything from your photo roll you can Appdapt it into any speech or language activity.

Built using the Pail tool

Turn your designs into a puzzle

Why is the Snowman scared?

Toca Hair Salon: Christmas Gift (Free, Highly Recommended)

This is an obvious gem when looking for a Christmas app to target therapy goals. You have the option to cut Santa’s hair! I mean who wouldn’t want to have fun doing that. There is also a Christmas tree option where you can trim and decorate the tree. Target all the goals you would with Toca Hair Salon but throw in some fun Christmas Vocabulary!

Gift-Wrap-App (Free, My Favorite!)

I searched and searched for an App like this hoping it existed and it does it does! This app has such a simple premise you will be taking every therapy goal and targeting it with this app. You take a picture , pick the gift wrap, and unwrap them! Target articulation, language, or pretty much anything. I would download pictures of popular toys this year and wrap them up. Have your clients describe what the toys do or how you would play with them. In the example below I used an action picture “drinking.”

Santa’s Magice Phone-Deluxe (Free and Fun)

PERSONALIZE certain calls by recording your voice, and we will disguise your voice as Milo, Santa’s Elf! Santa will then ask Milo a question during the call, and Milo will bring details into the phone call that your child would never have imagined! “Wow Mommy! How did Santa know I was polite with little Johnny?” Receive the call at your choosing for the ultimate reaction. You can select from numerous Naughty or Nice prerecorded messages, such as Good Job Being Polite, Eating Well, Sharing, You’re Off the Naughty List!, Not Listening, and many more!

Christmas House Decoration (Free, iOS)

In this app its all in the name. You decorate the exterior of a house for Christmas. This will work great as a motivator, following directions,  or for tasks requiring knowledge of spatial concepts. Decorations include snowmen, trees, Santa, lights, etc..  Endless possibilities for a creative child or therapist!


Chanukah Dreidel (Free)

This is one of the few apps that I found that incorporates Chanukah. It’s  a virtual dreidel so not so exciting but could be a proper motivator for those clients of yours that celebrate Chanukah.


Peekaboo Presents  ($1.99, iOS and Android)

Here is a another solid app by Night & Day studios, developers in the ever popular Peekaboo series. I featured there Peekaboo Trick-or-Treat app in my Halloween Post. To play the app you tap on the present that is under the Christmas tree  shaking and making noise. The child must make a guess on what is inside the present based on the noise it is making. Lot’s of fun presents to open and noises to guess! Have fun with this one.




Toys “R” Us Toy Finder (Free)

I have been using this app to help create my client’s wish list for their holiday presents. You are able to make a profile for a child and then save their list of toys. This app would work well in a group setting to foster some good conversation about what the children have selected and why they made those selections. Also offers a good opportunity to explain what a toy does and what it looks like. Ever have that child that suffers from word retrieval difficulties and is trying to explain a toy that they play with daily but they don’t know the name? Well have them search by  the  toy categories, etc.. to help them narrow it down.



(This post originally appeared on The Speech Guy)

Jeremy Legaspi, CCC-SLP, is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Foundations Developmental House. He concentrates on autism, AAC, apraxia, articulation,phonlogy, and some feeding. You can follow him on twitter @azspeechguy and check him out on and

Things We Should Know About Socializing and Homeschool Communities

Liz Guerrini and her homeschooled son in various settings

Thinking about writing pragmatic goals for a homeschooled client? Here is some information that might help ahead of time.

A homeschool — like a public school or private school — is diverse in its pedagogy, curriculum, locations, educators, peers. The word ‘homeschool’ really is a misnomer. Some parents or caregivers do one subject one-on-one at home while they work with other homeschooling families in coops for other subjects or vice-versa. Some do the academic skills via online group settings similar to online CD classes. Many homeschoolers attend daily group setting classes — be it academic or music or fitness or art, etc. Many have therapies or volunteer in the community and have more flexible hours in doing so.

Laurie Olsen wrote a superb book based on a longitudinal study done in Berkeley, CA, called ‘Made in America’ and it discussed school settings which assumed interaction among kids. Her conclusion was that just because kids are in a class setting or school recess setting with other kids doesn’t mean that they are socialized. She gave examples of the child who goes to recess and is completely alone despite being with other children (e.g. sitting on the bench alone day after day, or isn’t called on in class, etc). Defining socializing and using interventions for socializing must be put in place whether it is on the public or private school lot, homeschool backyard or nearby park.

One way to address pragmatic goals for the homeschooled child is to see where SLP goals can be put into action. For instance, if the child is homeschooled one-one for core academic areas in order to achieve curriculum content, find  areas in the day or week where the child can practice pragmatic goals. It could be within a large private class setting — or even recruiting some of the classmates that become friends and play in the park after class ends. Playing games that involve turns with these kids, be they ball games, card or board games, etc, would also provide some wonderful opportunities to implement pragmatic goals. Many parents of typical children welcome these opportunities to help their children’s peers who have ASD with pragmatic challenges, for example, or other speech-language goals in need of peer assistance.

The key is to find the areas of socializing that occur during the week — and use these as those goal opportunities on a consistent basis. Ask about the times of the week where the child is in group settings — and if the child is not involved in any group setting at all during the week then encourage them to find a consistent group setting during the week so that pragmatic goals can be implemented for desired outcomes. In need of role model examples of homeschooled kids? For starters, Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin did pretty well pragmatically. As SLPs we can seek out non-traditional ways of inserting pragmatic goals for our kids regardless of the academic setting.

Liz Guerrini has been a K-12 and college teacher for the past 18 years and is entering her final graduate year in Communicative Disorders at CSUN. She’s an Olympian who finds many applications of her sport world to the teaching and therapy worlds. She home-schools her bright and beautiful son who lives with trisomy 2, severe dysarthria, severe CAS, hearing loss, ASD and hypotonia. She is a member of ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program. Liz blogs at  Christopher DaysSLP to-Be and the Signing Time Academy.

Telehealth = Tell Me The Definition!

Yes, we know it’s coming, but what does it mean?  Some use the word “telehealth” to describe a virtual service delivery model between a patient and clinician.  Others expand the definition beyond the patient and clinician to also include innovative platforms.  Until the term is defined in the Scope of Practice for the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) or American Academy of Audiology (AAA), acknowledged by insurance companies, and understood by policy makers, we will continue to vaguely use this term.  In the meantime, this is my humble perception of “telehealth” in the future.  Specifically, these are my ideas for a mobile application that is beneficial for the manufacturers, profitable for the audiologist, and most importantly, easily accessible and user-friendly for our patients.

What’s your definition of Telehealth?

(This post originally appeared on TinaTheAuD)

Tina Penman, CCC-A, AuD, is a clinical and research audiologist.  She received a BS in behavioral neuroscience (2006) and clinical doctorate in audiology (2010) from Northeastern University.  She has enjoyed her time serving ASHA as the SIG 8 CE Content Manager and looks forward to continued service to the organization.

Disclaimer:  Content represents only the blogger’s views.  Content does not represent the views of the blogger or any other organizations the blogger belongs to or represents.

“Appdapting” Flashcard Apps to Address Social Skills

boy throwing ball

I have to admit, I don’t really like flashcards. I especially don’t like it when parents or SLPs use flashcards to drill vocabulary in toddlers and preschoolers, much less school aged children. I feel that it produces very limited learnability and generalization. I am personally a proponent of thematic language learning, since it allows me to take a handful of words/concepts and reinforce them in a number of different ways. The clients still get the benefit of information repetition, much like one would get during a typical flashcard drill.  However, they are also getting much more.  Thematic language learning allows the client to increase word comprehension, make connections to real life scenarios,  develop abstract thinking skills, as well as to transfer and generalize knowledge (Morrow, Pressley, Smith, &  Smith, 1997; Ramey, 1995).

However, even though I dislike flashcards, I still don’t necessarily want to give up using them completely, especially because nowadays many different type of image based language flashcards can be found for free as both printables as well as Iphone/Ipad apps.  Consequently, I decided to pick a free flashcard app and adapt it or rather  ”appdapt” it (coined by “The Speech Guy”, Jeremy Legaspi, the “Appdapt Guru”) in a meaningful and functional way for my students.

After looking over and rejecting a number of contenders, without a clear plan of action in mind,  I stumbled upon a free app, ABA Flash Cards – Actions by, which is designed to target verb labeling in ASD children.   When I saw this app, I immediately knew how I wanted to appdapt it.  I especially liked the fact that the app is made for both Ipad and Iphone. Here’s why.

My primary setting is an out of district day school inside a partial psychiatric hospital.  So in my line of work I  frequently do therapy with students just coming out from  ”chill out rooms” and “calm down areas”.  This is definitely not the time when I want to bring or use a lot of materials in the session, since in a moment’s notice the session’s atmosphere can change from calm and productive into volatile and complicated.  I also didn’t  want to use a bulky Ipad in sessions with relatively new children on the caseload, since it usually takes a few sessions of careful observations and interaction to learn what makes them “tick”. Consequently, I was looking for an app which could ideally be downloaded onto not just the Ipad but also the Iphone. I reasoned that in unexpected  situations I could simply put the phone into my pocket, unlike the Ipad, which in crisis situations can easily become a target or a missile.

Given the fact that many children with psychiatric disorders present with significant social pragmatic language deficits (Hyter, 2003; Hyter et al 2001; Cohen et al., 1998; Bryan, 1991; Goldman, 1987 ), which is certainly the case for the children on my caseload, I planned on adapting this app to target my students’ pragmatic language development, social problem solving skills as well as perspective taking abilities.

So here are just a few examples of how I appdapted the cards.  First, I turned off the sound, since the visual images were what I was going after.  Then I separated the cards into several categories and formulated some sample questions and scenarios that I was going to ask/pose to the students:

Making Inferences (re: People, Locations and Actions)

iPhone Screenshot 2

What do you think the girl is thinking about?

How do you know what she is thinking?

How do you think she is feeling?

How can you tell?

Where do you think she is?

How do you know?


Multiple Interpretations of Actions and Settings: 

iPhone Screenshot 3

What do you think the girl is doing?

What else could she be doing?










How does the boy feel about the flower?

Give me a different explanation of how else can he possibly feel?









Who are the boys in the picture? (relationship)

Who else could they be?

What do you think the boy in a blue shirt is whispering to the boy in a red shirt?

What else could he be saying?

How do you know?



Supporting Empathy/Sympathy and Developing Peer Relatedness:










How does this child feel?

Why do you think he is crying?

What can you ask him/tell him to make things better?









The girl is laughing because someone did something nice for her?

What do you think they did?


Interpreting Ambiguous Situations:










What is the boy doing?

Who do you think is the woman in the picture?

How do you know?

How does she feel about what the boy is doing?

How do you know?


My goal was to help the students how to correctly interpret facial features, body language, and context clues in order to teach them how to appropriately justify their responses. I also wanted to demonstrate to them that many times the situations in which we find ourselves in or the scenes that we are confronted with on daily basis  could be interpreted in multiple ways. Moreover, I wanted to teach how appropriately speak to, console, praise, or compliment others in order to improve their ability to relate to peers. Finally, I wanted to provide them with an opportunity to improve their perspective taking abilities so they could comprehend and verbally demonstrate  that other people could have feelings, beliefs and desires different from theirs.

Since I knew that many of my students had significant difficulties with even such simple tasks as labeling and identifying feelings, I also wanted to make sure that the students got multiple opportunities to describe a variety of emotions that they saw in the images, beyond offering the rudimentary labels of “happy”, “mad”, “sad”, so I took pictures of Emotions Word Bank as well as Emotion Color Wheel courtesy of the Do2Learn website, to store in my phone, in order to provide them with extra support.


The above allowed me not only to provide them with visual and written illustrations but also to teach them synonyms and antonyms of relevant words.  Finally, per my psychotherapist colleagues request,  I also compiled a list of vocabulary terms reflecting additional internal states besides emotions (happy, mad) and emotional behaviors (laughing, crying, frowning). These included words related to:  Cognition (know, think, remember, guess), Perception (see, hear, watch, feel), and Desire (want, need, wish), (Dodd, 2012) so my students could optimally benefit not just from language related therapy services but also their individual psychotherapy sessions as well.

I’ve only just began trialing the usage of this app with the students but I have to admit, even though its still the early days, so far things have been working pretty well. Looks like there’s hope for flashcards after all!


———Bryan, T. (1991). Social problems and learning disabilities. In B. Y. L. Wong (Ed.), Learning about learning disabilities (pp. 195-229). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

—Cohen, N. & Barwick, M. (1996) Comorbidity of Language and Social-Emotional Disorders: Comparison of Psychiatric Outpatients and Their Siblings. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 25(2), 192-200.

Goldman, L. G. (1987). Social implications of learning disorders. Reading, Writing and Learning Disabilities, 3, 119-130.

—Hyter, Y. D., et al (2001). Pragmatic language intervention for children with language and emotional/behavioral disorders. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 23(1), 4–16.

Hyter, Y. D. (2003). Language intervention  for children with emotional or behavioral disorders. Behavioral  Disorders, 29, 65–76.

Morrow, L. M., Pressley, M., Smith, J.K., & Smith, M. (1997). The effect of a literature-based program integrated into literacy and science instruction with children from diverse background. Reading Research Quarterly, 32(1), 54-76.

Petersen, D. B., Dodd, J & Finestack, L. H (2012, Oct 9) Narrative Assessment and Intervention: Live Chat. Sponsored by SIG 1: Language Learning and Education.

Ramey, E. K. (1995). An integrated approach to language arts instruction. The Reading Teacher, 48(5), 418-419.


(This post originally appeared on the Smart Speech Therapy LLC blog)


Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP, is a bilingual speech language pathologist with a full-time hospital affiliation (UMDNJ) and a private practice (Smart Speech Therapy LLC) in Central, NJ. She received her MA from NYU and her Bilingual Extension Certification from Columbia University. She specializes in working with bilingual, multicultural, internationally and domestically adopted at risk children with complex medical, developmental, neurogenic, psychogenic, and acquired communication disorders.