Low-Tech Speech Therapy

Here are some of my go-to (super cheap) activities (when I’m not feeling all creative, Speech Lady Liz- like).

Bags
paper bag activity

I get white, paper lunch sacks and the kids decorate their own.  I put cards in the bag that target each child’s articulation goal.  The student rolls the dice and they have to say the word that many times.  Such an easy game that often gets requested by the kids.

I also use this for my language kids.  I put in verb cards and they have to put the word in a sentence, tell me the past, present, future tense or whatever their particular goal is.

Wh-dice
dice activity

This is a good activity to use after a holiday or weekend.  The student draws a picture of what they want to talk about and then depending on level they:

  1. Tell me all about the picture and then we roll the dice and their classmates have to answer the who, what, where, when questions or…
  2. I roll the dice and the student answers the who, what, where, when questions.  I write the answers on the board and then we figure out how to put all the information in 1-2 sentences so it’s cohesive and listeners can understand what they are talking about.

 

Dobbers
dobber activity

Each child gets a dobber and a month themed page.  We practice sounds and depending on how many they get, they get to either color in or use the dobber to mark off how many they produced correctly.

Beans
beans activity

That’s right, beans.  For this activity you need two cups and a bag of dried beans.  One cup is for “good” sounds and the other is for “not quite there” sounds.  It’s a good activity for those visual learners.

I hope this post goes to show that one does not need all the fancy, expensive products to facilitate appropriate and successful speech therapy strategies.  That being said, anyone want to donate an IPad to this speech lady?

(This post originally appeared on Speech Lady Liz)

Elizabeth Gretz, M.S. CCC-SLP is currently working as a school-based SLP, clinical SLP and an avid SLP blogger in Austin, TX. She is the creator of www.speechladyliz.blogspot.com , a blog dedicated to providing other SLPs and parents easy, adaptable, fun and functional therapy ideas to use in any setting.

Best New Games for Speech Therapy

I have always used toys and games in my speech therapy sessions that are designed for all kids, meaning the fun factor comes first. It has been my passion to find outstanding products marketed for the general population, that have the DNA to build speech and language skills. I want to share some of my Best New Games for Speech Therapy:

1. Buzz Blast by Discovery Bay Games

I knew “Buzz Blast” was a favorite when kids begged to go first to share their answers as soon as a new challenge card was presented. Kids delighted in the timed task of coming up with original answers to four challenges: describing the differences between two pictures in “Check and Double Check,” filling in the blanks on “Silly Sentences,” answering abstract questions in “Brain Play” or blurting out their “Tongue Twisters.” Kids fed on each other’s creativity as they gave an answer, passed the Buzz Blast timer to the next player, and continued generating original answers until the buzzer went off—oops, you have to talk fast so you’re not left holding that buzzing buzzer! “My perfect picnic would include____ but no____, called up favorite foods, games and people, and even “making a new friend” to be perfect. Kids need to think in categories, describe, “How is a window different than a mirror?” use abstract reasoning, “Name a way you are like a pencil” and compare. You get the most for your money with this set of 4 games. Buzz Blast gets the conversation moving while building critical language skills:

  • categories
  • association
  • similarities and differences
  • abstract thinking
  • can be used in later stages of carryover for articulation therapy

Recommended age: 7 and up

2. Chuggington’s Traintastic Cargo Game by I Can Do That! Games

Hang on to your conductor’s hat for a clever, multi-leveled, game of fun, strategy and learning. Drive your favorite Chuggington train into the depot to load up your boxcars, making sure your cargo is in the proper order. Spin to determine what boxcar to open and select tiny cargo pieces based on their color, shape or number. Faced with several options, players must decide what category to pursue to sequence their cargo pieces, matching a chosen Vee card. Ensuring that different ages can play together, the Vee cards are as simple as a sequence of five colors, or as difficult as ordering a combination of 5 numbers, shapes and colors. Kids loved opening the game board boxcars to retrieve their cargo, requiring an element of memory as players try to remember what car holds which cargo. All bets are off when a player spins “Move the Train,” and the circular board rotates to mix up the boxcars and their loot. Language is strengthened while kids learn early categories of color, shapes and numbers, as well as use the words to sequence their cargo–first, second, third, last–and pick up some emergent literacy skills while matching and ordering game pieces.  This high quality game is enhanced by the packaging, providing a detailed town around the inside of the box to create more opportunities for talk. Language learning:

  • vocabulary: colors, shapes, numbers, first/next/last
  • learning sequences
  • can be used as a reinforcing game for articulation therapy

Suggested Age: 3 years and up

3. I Built It! Memory Match+Tic Tac Toe by I Built It! Games

The possibilities are endless with Memory Match+Tic Tac Toe as kids create and customize their game before playing. Continually under construction, this set of games is flexible for endless fun and learning. Unscrew the 18 game pieces and insert your personalized pictures, drawings or stickers to set up for play. If you want to play Memory, be sure to draw in duplicate! A sample sheet is provided to jump-start your play. Extra free drawings–including 3-D Shapes and Numbers– are easily downloaded from their website or simply create your own. My kids started out coloring the pictures provided but wanted to customize the second round along their favorite theme. I used this game to teach what insects do to prepare for winter by having a child draw the insects in duplicate and giving facts about their survival when they made a match. The language learning potential is unlimited:

  • vocabulary
  • concepts
  • emotions, facial expressions
  • opposites
  • sounds for specific articulation practice
  • word-finding

Age 3 and up

Who Am I? by HABA Toys

Who am I? An astronaut? Rain boots? Or a fried egg? Ask the right questions and you’ll discover the answer. The “Guesser” straps on the headband, while the rest of the players select a picture card and attach it to his forehead with a cute question magnet. Through a series of yes and no questions, the child determines what picture is on his forehead. Guess your picture card before you use up your 10 tokens from “no” answers.  All the pieces fit into a small cartooned tin which makes this game ideal for travelling in a speech therapist’s bag!  This game is a great language building experience which is a load of fun:

  • Asking and answering questions
  • Thinking in categories
  • Deductive reasoning

Recommended Age: 5 years and up

Mermaid Beach By Gamewright

Intrigued that a girl their age actually created this game, kids jump right into “Mermaid Beach” and love this beachy-Go Fish card game. There is no lying around on Mermaid Beach because you have to be on your toes to craftily play the right cards to empty your hand and possess the most high scoring shell cards at the end of the game. The colorful cast of undersea characters include Priscilla Pearls,  Swirly Shirley, and Mussels Mark–a speech tongue twister in itself! Play your cards to win some shells, but watch out for Sneaker Waves who laps up an opponent’s shell card, or the yucky Seaweed that adds another card to your hand. Don’t be left with The Sea Monster or your tally will diminish. I’ve seen parents pick right up on teaching their child vocabulary of who has “more” or “less” shell points. Language lessons:

  • beach vocabulary
  • math vocabulary of more and less, 2 more than you, etc
  • if/then discussing options and strategy
  • articulation practice

Ages: 6 and up

What’s In the Cat’s Hat? by I Can Do That Games

Wait a minute, The cat  just left his hat behind with a little surprise inside. It’s our job to guess what it is. Kids love being the Hat Master who selects an item from around the room, hides it in the hat and waits for you to guess. Each turn you choose two cards to ask questions of the Master –Is it round? Does it come apart? or carry out a clue–Lift the hat by the brim, or Feel the hat with your elbows. Little flaps open on the hat to give a smell, a peek (you only see shadows), or a feel of the object hidden inside. A language building game of deduction, “What’s In the Cat’s Hat?” gives kids lots of practice combining information, asking questions and describing the hidden object. After the clue to “Jiggle the hat,” my little friend said, “That gave me a clue, it’s heavy!” or after poking his finger in the hole he said, “It’s definitely hard.” Your therapy room provides all the variety for many rounds of this game. Kids selected a train car, remote control, cotton ball and scotch tape dispenser. Children had so much fun with this game, after an hour of play, one said, “Do we have enough time for another round? Of course! Language learning:

  • Asking questions (kids are given some help with picture cards depicting the question
  • Answering questions
  • Descriptive vocabulary by category (how it feels, looks smells)
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Auditory memory

Recommended age: 3 years and up

Disclosure: The above products were provided for review by their companies

(This post originally appeared on Play on Words)

 

Sherry Artemenko M.S.CCC-SLP, a speech language pathologist for over 35 years, has  a private practice, Play on Words LLC, popular blog, www.playonwords.com, and is the founder of the PAL Awards (Play Advances Language) which distinguish the best new toys, games and books that have the DNA to build language skills in children.

Where Are They Now? Marketing Can be Fun And Professionally Rewarding.

A few years ago, I came down with a bad case of the “marketing bug” and I just can’t seem to get over it.  I have found marketing to be very contagious.  You have one successful story or event and you just can’t wait to do another one!  I have also learned the benefits go far beyond the publicity it brings to our services.  It has given me much professional satisfaction and reward!

So, last fall I was thinking….. “What creative marketing story could I come up with for this year?”  Hmm…… let me think….. 2011 is the 20 year anniversary of our pediatric Cochlear Implant program, so maybe we could locate one of the first patients we implanted and find out how they are doing now!  People love those “Where are they now?” stories.  So, I contacted our marketing department and they thought it was a great idea.  Luckily, we were able to find Ashley (the cute little girl in the picture above).  We contacted her and she willingly agreed to come in for a picture and story.

I remember sitting in the marketing department anxiously awaiting Ashley’s arrival the day of her interview.    Would she remember me?  What would she look like?  How would her speech sound?  Would she still have that big smile and cute laugh?  I was actually a little nervous!  To my delight, Ashley walked through the door and we took one look at each other and immediately embraced in a warm hug.  It was like a big family reunion.  And, I had the answer to all my questions. Yes, she did remember me and coming to therapy here 20 years ago.  She also remembered some specific tips I had given her to improve her articulation skills (in fact, she was still using them today!).  Her speech was surprisingly clear and intelligible.  She also still had that warm smile and cute giggle when she laughed.  Hearing her talk about her marriage, job and school work made me very proud.  Little Ashley had grown into a mature, successful and happy young lady.

 Ashley’s story and pictures ran in our hospital newsletter and the Ohio Speech Language and Hearing Association’s website.  It turned out to be a very effective marketing tool. The responses from everyone who read it were positive.  I was very proud of Ashley and the small part I had played in her life.

So, I hope I have inspired you to come up with your own marketing story.  I guarantee it will have a positive effect on the patients and you will find it professionally rewarding.   Please check with your employer before looking up any former patients to assure you are not breaking any HIPAA laws.  We were able to look up Ashley as it was approved as a marketing story.

 

Terry Wiegel M.S.CCC-SLP is the director of rehabilitative services at Dayton Children’s Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio.  She has been a speech language pathologist for almost 32 years, working mostly with pediatrics.  Terry is also the public relations and marketing director for the Ohio Speech Language and Hearing Association.

It’s Not You, It’s Me (Staying Motivated in January)

an unwitting victim...bwahahhahahaa

Photo by bark

Here we are in the middle of January, middle of winter with spring break a very distant light at the end of the tunnel.  As a child, I remember dreading this January-February time period and endless gray days, going on…and on…and on.  Now I realize the staff wasn’t any happier than we were!

When I find myself a little crabby, a little slow getting out the door and with a little less spring in my step, I take responsibility.  “It’s not you, it’s me,” I say to myself as a very wiggly boy manages to hit both sides of the door frame on his way in and I feel my eyelids blink a beat too long.

Here’s my list for re-sparking my motivation:

  1.  Focus on one child or issue:  Sometimes when I choose one child or a specific issue that seems to be plaguing a couple of kids, and really delve into it, my outlook shifts across the board.  It’s amazing how improving success in one session “catches on” and suddenly, I’m on a streak! *Note: it doesn’t have to be your toughest kid you focus on.  Usually they’re getting the majority of your mind share anyway.  Pick the one that’s more….prosaic.
  2. Plan an “event” a month from now:  You’ve got a month until Valentine’s Day.  You could plan a party, an elaborate craft or cooking activity.  And there’s no reason the event has to tie in to a holiday.  When I’m thinking “big”, I start noticing all kinds of inspiration throughout my day.  As you get closer to the big day, you can start building the anticipation in your kiddos too.
  3. Change of scenery:  The Caribbean….Ah, that would be nice, but generally not practical.  Change the scenery where you are:  switch treatment rooms, change the posters on your wall (does anyone notice?), stand or get on the floor, sit on physioballs.
  4. Buy a new game or workbook:  Nothing brightens a day more than peeling off shrink-wrap.
  5. Continuing ed class:  I love being a student for a day and leaving with lots of new ideas and techniques.  I bring a notebook for taking actual notes and keep a separate sheet on the side for jotting down specific ideas for specific kids as they comes to me.  I end up leaving with a list of plans for the next week or two!
  6. Drinks:  No, I’m not suggesting a nip in your coffee to get yourself through.  Many of us are sipping something throughout the day.  I’m partial to black coffee or water, but recently I’ve switched to orange spice tea with a little honey.  I notice when I take a sip.  I think mindfulness is a good thing.
  7. Constructive complaining:  I don’t like groups of adults bellyachin’ about kids, parents, politics, whatever.  I get plenty of negativity from the news.  So, I don’t need to be sucked into the whirlpool in the teachers’ lounge.  That said, a little constructive complaining with someone upbeat can often help shift your perspective.

Enthusiasm is contagious!  Let us know what keeps you going!

 

Kim Lewis M.Ed, CCC-SLP has a private practice for pediatrics in Greensboro, NC. She is the blogger at www.activitytailor.com, providing creative ideas for speech therapy, and the author of the Artic Attack workbook series.

Maximizing the Performance of Your iPad by Closing Your Apps

Do I look tired? yeah! I guess this episode was recorded late at night and it shows. However, I think you will learn some good deal of information about closing down your apps from running in the background and therefore improving its performance.

 

 

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.