Archive | March, 2012

Gratitude, Spot, & Break.

23 Mar

First of all, I was so flattered and excited to be featured over on Playing With Words 365’s Thrifty Thursday post this week! Check out this week and the archives for great ideas on the cheap! Starting up a blog can sometimes feel slow—-how do you get the word out? Are people benefiting from what you post? But this week it has felt great to see lots of visitors (welcome! so happy to have you here). Thanks also to PediaStaff for featuring Elena Marie, SLP on their boards.

I’m off to enjoy one of the perks of being a school-based SLP: Spring Break! Leaving you with a printable book I made yesterday, clearly inspired by Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill. My (25-year-old) copy of the book is ripped to pieces—always have to tell my kids that “baby Miss Elena” wasn’t a very good book owner. Whoops. Used it with a student working on spatial concepts & s-blends. Click on the photo below for some sp- visuals as well (it’s one of my favorite sounds, since you also get SpongeBob and Spiderman ;-D).

Happy Spring Break!


Sending It Home.

22 Mar

I’ve loved seeing how other school SLPs communicate with parents (see Speech Room News, Speech Lady Liz’s take-home programs) . I work with a few different groups of students. For my itinerant speech PreK students, their parents bring them to all sessions. We typically get to chat at least briefly after each session, so—along with word list/activities from sessions that get sent home in their “speech folders”—I think they’re kept pretty informed of what’s going on in our sessions. For my students in our preK classrooms, I’ve at least committed to sending home a handout weekly after our large speech/language group. I typically take a visual we used together in the group and add a little written summary of what we’ve been working on/how they could reinforce this at home. This takes only a few minutes to write/print/xerox, and I distribute it at the end of our group along with a rhyming activity (“If your name sounds like Melena, come get your paper!”). Students I work with in small groups/individually throughout the week will also occasionally have artic/language worksheets to put in their backpacks.

At my K-8 school, I don’t always have access to printing. Sometimes the take-home will just be a xeroxed cover of the book we read, along with a quick note on which words were our targets. Other times I make a quick handout regarding the “book of the day” (if applicable) and which sounds we targeted. Some days I send home a note on an iPad app we used in speech therapy. It all varies a bit, but, sure, the overall key is: keep the door to communication open and let parents know what’s happening in speech! Give them word lists/ language activities so that they at least have easy access to continuing practice at home. Does every family utilize these? No. But I still think it’s worth it to try and encourage carryover!

Here are some Word documents and photos of things I’ve sent home, in case you need inspiration. How do you promote carryover?

Does Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? (medial “th”); “Articulation Station”; Pigs Make Me Sneeze (s-blends); Turkey Day (medial /k/); Toby and the Snowflakes (s-blends)

More “Lunch”.

21 Mar

A couple of busy lunch-breaks later, and here are a few more things to share! Just thought I’d post a few photos of some of the previously shared materials in action (I decided to laminate/velcro the printable book I had made to go with Lunch—worked really well with my kids who are working on answering questions/expanding utterances with attributes). And here are a couple of pages I made for a student to target pronouns & word retrieval (page 1, page 2). We brainstormed all the red/yellow/green etc things that he/she/they could eat. In need of more inspiration? Denise Fleming’s website is nice—check out her ideas/downloads for LunchI like the lift-the-flap mouse. Could have students recall different fruits/vegetables from the story to complete the project.

Wednesday’s my day with K-8th graders, which today means: printing/sending progress reports home & seeing a lot of artic groups, a couple of language groups, and having an Annual Review IEP meeting over lunch. Still quite a few meetings on the books before Spring break starts Friday afternoon—feeling the time crunch and I’d guess I’m not alone, school SLPs! We can do it, one day at a time. 🙂

IEPs & Parents.

20 Mar

At this time of year, the IEP meetings (which, for many of my kids, are also transitioning-into-kindergarten meetings) just keep on comin’. Now, I’m only in my second year as a speech-language pathologist. I would never claim to be an expert on communicating with parents, in and outside of IEP meetings. I do, however, believe in describing a student’s strengths and positive qualities. I’m not saying to sugarcoat things. If a student isn’t producing /k/ & /g/ after a whole lot of instruction or is unable to answer questions, even given visual cues/verbal prompts…I’m going to have to tell a parent that, and tell them what my strategy is for moving forward. But I’m also going to come armed with the progress their child has made. The AWESOME 5-word utterance I scribbled down from playing at the sensory table the other day. The way they always greet peers. That, even if an activity is challenging for them, they put in their best effort and stay on-task. That I’ve consistently seen them share items with peers and make eye contact when doing so. That they’re starting to self-monitor speech errors and that this is a wonderful step in the right direction. That they’ve been asking questions and this is a huge deal!

Being in preK, sometimes we are the first people to express to a parent that we have concerns regarding their child’s speech/language development; that, no, we don’t feel comfortable saying that they will just “catch up” on their own. That we would recommend additional support, and this would come in the form of an “Individualized Education Plan.” I’m absolutely still learning, but I do feel a lot of responsibility with this, both in terms of my relationship with parents and their children.

One of my co-workers, who is also mom to three great kids, has said something along these lines that always resonates with me: We are their first experience with school. They are going to be in school for a long time, and it might be a challenging place for them. We want their first experience to be as positive as possible.

Do I care about students making significant progress on their speech/language goals? Absolutely. But I also care about kids (and their parents!) developing positive associations with school and speech therapy early on in life. And, while I could blabber on forever, I started this post with the intent of sharing the perspectives of others. Here are a few posts from parent perspectives or written with parents in mind that I loved reading. Any others you’d recommend? I know that I’d especially like to read more from parents!

“IEPs and Expectations: There’s No Box for the Good Stuff” by Laura D. (parent, SLP, & my former professor/boss)

From The Bearded Iris (who I find to be hilarious): “And that’s why Speech Pathologists are bad mofos”, a post written when her son was referred for a speech screening, & a little IEP hilarity.

“I don’t like my child’s speech therapist” (+what to do!) & “My Mantras as an Early Interventionist” by Kim Rowe, MA CCC-SLP

“Giving the News” by Sharon Gretz, M.Ed.

Therapy vs. Intervention by Cari Ebert, M.S. CCC-SLP

Lunch by Denise Fleming

19 Mar

This week in our motor/speech/language group we’re reading Lunch by Denise Fleming—-one of my favorites! It’s a wonderful book for targeting fruits & vegetables and for making predictions & inferences, and carries over content from last week’s book, in which Bear ate a whole lot of food. My school placement supervisor, Mary, busted Lunch out for a preK large-group lesson back in 2010 and I’ve loved finding ways to utilize it ever since! Nerdy info: my mom ordered me a used copy off Amazon last year for Christmas and it just happened to be signed by the author! Win. 😉

Very possible I’ll share more materials as the week goes on, but for now here are some downloads/ideas for how we’ve used the story:

-Boardmaker visuals to go along with the story: Part I, Part II

Printable book I made to go along with the story (target colors/fruits/veggies/expanding utterances! Have student fill in circle w/appropriate color)

SMARTBoard activity using food from the story; matching colors + items

“Why Question” visuals for Lunch

Play-based: had the kids feed an alligator puppet plastic fruits/veggies of their choosing after saying a sentence (target: “Eat the…yellow banana”, though was pleasantly surprised with some of our kids busting out utterances along the lines of “Mr. Alligator, would you like one yellow banana? And then another banana?”). Have also used this with categorizing fruits/veggies—e.g. have the puppet ONLY want to eat veggies.

Awesome sandwich-sequencing game from Melissa & Doug. Have students label all the possible sandwich ingredients and then take turns building a sandwich from the card, providing assistance as needed.

-More fruits/veggies: Boardmaker visuals (recommend printing/laminating/velcroing so kids can sort onto veggie or fruit board), SMARTBoard activity to categorize (made by Jordan)

1, 2, 3 to the Zoo

18 Mar

Just thought I’d share a book I made last year to target /z/ initial: “1,2,3 to the Zoo”, to go along with the Eric Carle picture book. Could also be used to target matching, labeling zoo animals, plurals, counting, making predictions, etc. I just had students paste the appropriate animal on each page and, depending on their level of practice, typically help me complete the phrase “1 elephant at the ________” to elicit initial /z/.

More /z/: here’s a basic page I made with the phrase “The zookeeper helps…”. I typically print out several copies of this page and let the kids pick whichever animals they would like to finish it (visuals here). Already shared this one, but here’s the /z/ initial story I made up as well.

Over at Autumn’s powerpoint site she has a great “Zoo” one that lets the kids guess which animal is next (great sound effects & visuals). Another nice way to elicit /z/! Was set up for targeting making inferences, so could also be great for that! In play I like to use zoo/farm animals and have the kids categorize them and tell me where the animals live. For word lists/practice in the medial and final positions, check out Mommy Speech Therapy.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech.

16 Mar

Today I got to attend a seminar led by Cari Ebert, an SLP who specializes in Childhood Apraxia of Speech. It was entitled “Suspected Apraxia in Early Intervention” and I loved her perspective as both a speech-language pathologist and as a mother of a child with CAS and autism. You can check out her blog here: Teach Me to Talk.

Take-away-points for me: children must imitate gross motor skills before they can imitate (the very fine motor act of) speech. It’s better to approach a child from a motor planning tx perspective than an articulation tx one until you know otherwise (low pressure, lots of opportunities, shaping syllables). CAS, phonological disorders, and articulation disorders can be seen as a kind of hierarchy: just because a child looks like a phono kid now doesn’t mean they didn’t have CAS years ago—-the brain is always changing (and yay for progress being made!). Keep the focus on families: children may only get an hour of “treatment” each week, but you certainly hope they’re getting far more “intervention”!

Ms. Ebert included a lot of wonderful play-based therapy ideas throughout her seminar. While I try to incorporate play in my therapy on a regular basis, I feel like I’m sometimes guilty of too much drill & too many worksheets. Admittedly, my students are a bit older than her clients, but not by much. Since we’re talking CAS, I’ve included a few of the visuals I’ve made as a result of utilizing the popular “Kaufman cards” in therapy. This workshop really made me rethink how I use them/how much I really need to consider whether I think some of my kids have CAS/artic/phono. Some of them are trickier to diagnose in my mind than others (another way the materials from today should help), especially as—by the time I see a lot of my kids—they’re in more of that “trouble sequencing sounds in 3-4 syllable words” stage…not so much exhibiting vowel distortions, posturing, difficulty moving beyond reduplicated syllables, etc.

A lot to think about—-and that’s the mark of a good seminar!

Attend any great continuing education lately?

Visuals for CVC words (made for a student with final consonant deletion)

C1V1C2V2 words

C1V1C2V2+CVC words

3 Syllable Visual/Pacing Board

3 Syllable Bingo

Book: Who wants to eat the popsicle?

Multisyllabic words for Good Thing You’re Not an Octopus