Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dog Collar Rhyming...a Forever Freebie!

Happy Monday, Friends!

It was a super busy crazy weekend for us, so I got very little therapy planning done! When these weekends happen, I'm so thankful I have go-to therapy activities already prepped and ready to pull out of my arsenal at the last minute.

Anyway, I happened upon an oldie-but-goodie freebie this past week that I used for the first time with many of my kiddos....and it was a big hit! I currently have tons of kids working on phonological awareness and rhyming, and who doesn't love dogs? So this was perfect for them. For some kids, we played a game with the game board and penalty cards. For others, I used the cards as flash cards. And for some kids, I turned the cards over, and we played a matching game.



You can download Dog Collar Rhyming from my TPT Store below. If you do, please remember to leave some feedback love!








This set also goes great with my "In the Doghouse" Social Scenarios Packet. You can find it below: 



Hope you enjoy!




Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer-Time Sing-a-Long....Speech-Style!

Hi Friends!

While many of you are just beginning your summer vacations, I'm still planning for the weeks of summer therapy at the outpatient hospital clinic where I work. Here in South GA, it's hot. Really hot. I want to be outside (in the pool) enjoying summer, and so do the kids. They've just finished school, and just about the last place they want to be is inside doing speech therapy drills. So I'm having to be creative with my therapy to keep them excited and engaged. For the month of June, we're doing everything beach-themed. (More on those activities coming to the blog soon). For many of my younger kiddos though, I use lots of toys and lots of music. Lots and lots of music. In keeping with the summer theme, I thought I'd show you several of my favorites right now to elicit all kinds of speech and language while celebrating summer! Click on the pictures below to see the Youtube song...and while you'e there, you may want to subscribe to several of these channels....they're awesome!




  • Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun-Performed by Barney & Friends

  • 5 Little Ducks-Performed by Little Baby Bum

  • How's the Weather-by Super Simple Songs

  • Ice Cream Song-by Little Baby Bum

  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive-Performed by Little Baby Bum

  • Great Big Ocean, by GiggleBellies

  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game-Performed by Mother Goose Club

  • 5 Little Speckled Frogs-Performed by

  • Under the Sea (Sing-A-Long Version) by Disney

  • Frozen in Summer-by Disney



Do you have any other songs you love to sing in Summer? I'd love to hear!




Monday, June 8, 2015

Speech Buddies {A Product Review}

Hi Peeps!

I hope your week is off to a great start! I'm here today with a new product review: Speech Buddies!

Over the past few years, the Speech Buddies company has made quite a splash into the World of Speech Pathology. Though I had heard many different thoughts and opinions, I had not tried the product out for myself. I'm currently working at an inpatient/outpatient hospital, and I had several kiddos on my caseload who were real zingers in artic therapy. It seemed I had tried just about everything, and I was willing to give just about anything a go! One of the kiddos, a 3rd grade "r" student, had been in speech at school and had been coming to the clinic for quite some time, with little progress. His mom had heard about Speech Buddies and asked my opinion. I don't like to give an opinion on something I haven't experienced for myself, so I told her I'd give them a try.

Disclaimer: Speech Buddies provided me with a Speech Buddies toolkit; however, no other compensation was provided. The following opinions are all mine. 

When my Speech Buddies kit came in the mail, I have to admit, I liked the way they were packaged. I spend a large portion of my day traveling around to different day cares. This means I have to take what I need with me, and hauling things that are big and bulky is just not my style. I really appreciated the small, sturdy case the Speech Buddies are housed in and the box they are packaged in. Definitely a plus for me.






When I agreed to review the product, I mentioned that I needed time to do my research. I didn't want to rush a review, but rather wanted to take my time to try them on a variety of students. For the past 5 months, I've been using the Speech Buddies on 6 different patients. One patient for /sh/, one for /s/, one for /ch/, one for /l/, and two patients for /r/ (disinfected in between, of course!)

This is what I've found:

Patient #1: A 7 y/o male working on /s/. Initial examination revealed patient had a frontal lisp on /s/ in all positions, including blends. After 9 weeks of using the /s/ Speech Buddy for placement practice, the patient had corrected all /s/ errors at the connected speech level, and was discharged from speech therapy.

Patient #2: A 8 y/o male working on /sh/. Initial examination revealed patient produced /s/ for /sh/ and was at the time, not stimulable for correct /sh/ production in isolation. After 12 weeks of using the /sh/ Speech Buddy for placement practice, the patient had corrected all /sh/ errors at the sentence level, and is now working on carrying over correct placement into conversation (with minimal errors at this time).

Patient #3: A 6 y/o male working on /ch/. Initial examination revealed patient had a lateralized /ch/ sound, which sounded extremely "slushy." Parent reported patient lateralized /sh/ and /s/ previously, but had corrected those sounds in a previous speech therapy environment. After 10 weeks of using the /ch/ Speech Buddy for placement practice, the patient is able to correctly produce /ch/ at the word level with 70% accuracy.

Patient #4: A 5 y/o female working on /l/. Initial examination revealed patient produced /w/ for /l/ and was not stimulable for /l/ in isolation. After 3 weeks of using the /l/ Speech Buddy for placement practice, the patient was able to produce /l/ in all positions of words. She is currently working on /l/ at the sentence level with 75% accuracy.

Patient #5: A 9 y/o male working on /r/. Initial evaluation revealed patient was not stimulable for a correct production of /r/ in any position, including vocalic /r/ sounds. This patient had previously been taught the retroflexed /r/ approach in speech therapy in school, although it did not sound or look "natural." After 12 weeks of using the /r/ Speech Buddy for placement, the patient continues to have "groping" tongue movements that do not look or sound natural for /r/. This is the case with or without the Speech Buddy. I am currently now teaching the Bunched /r/ production, which is also proving to be difficult with this tricky little guy!


Patient #6: A 7 y/o female working on /r/. Initial evaluation revealed incorrect production in all positions. Patient was stimulable for correct production with vocalic /er/ and /ar/. After 16 weeks using the /r/ Speech Buddy for placement practice, the patient is now producing /r/ correctly in all positions of words, including r-blends and all vocalic /r/ sounds, at the phrase and short sentence level with 75% accuracy.

Overall Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • The Speech Buddies are well-packaged and easy to tote along wherever you go.
  • Many kiddos respond well to a tactile cue for artic placement. 
  • The Speech Buddies are perceived as "cool" to kids, and seemed to make them more interested in placement practice of their sounds. 
  • The instruction guide has good directions and pictures to show how to position the speech buddies. 
  • The online videos are helpful for making sure you get the correct placement. 
  • Speech Buddies can be used along with the iPad apps I use regularly for artic drills, such as Articulation Station Pro, from Little Bee Speech. (This means there is very little to carry around to different clients). 
Cons: 

  • Speech Buddies are expensive, especially when you're living on an SLP  budget. Most SLPs don't get money from their schools or job sites, and if they do, it's minimal. Also, many of the parents of my clients just simply would not be able to afford them. 
  • Speech Buddies must be thoroughly cleaned in between each client. Although having a Speech Buddy for each client would be ideal, this is simply not possible due to the cost. 
  • Speech Buddies are not an instant, "quick fix" for most clients. 

Some final notes:

My experience with Speech Buddies is just that: my experience. Based on everything I've read and others I've talked to, there are a lot of different experiences and opinions out there. They work great for some clients and not so great for others. Where I found them most helpful was in teaching the proper placement for clients who were not already stimulable for the sound in isolation. They served as a tactile cue and provided a little more detail than a simple tongue depressor.

I was very careful to use them and remove them often so my clients did not become too reliant on them for correct production. (We practiced 10 words with them, and then 10 words without them).

Finally, Speech Buddies are NOT a replacement for traditional speech therapy with a certified SLP, and should never be considered as such. As a trained SLP, I sat with my clients to ensure the correct placement and monitored their productions. I would not feel comfortable with any of my patients using Speech Buddies at home for the first time without the help on an SLP. Having said that, I am always looking for ways to encourage parent involvement and practice at home, so if a client is interested in purchasing Speech Buddies for home, they are willing to let me (or another certified SLP) assist in getting started, and they are continuing to consult with an SLP for guidance, I'm all for it!

If you're interested in purchasing your own Speech Buddy tools or learning more about their products, you can check out their website HERE.

Do you have any experience with Speech Buddies? What has your experience been?



Thursday, May 14, 2015

RtI/MTSS/SBLT/ESE....OMG!

Hi Peeps!

Happy Speech & Hearing Month! I'm loving all the extra-special "speechie" activities going on this month in celebration of the profession we all love. So I was extra excited when Jen from Speech Language Literacy Lab put together a blog hop about RtI!

As many of you know, last June I transitioned from years in the school system into an inpatient/outpatient hospital back in my home town. As you can imagine, there are some MAJOR differences in the schools and hospitals, but I'm so thankful for my background as an SLP in the schools with my current job, because it helps me communicate with my patients' SLPs in the schools. Many of them are going through RtI now, and many more I am referring to the county RtI team as 3 year olds, who are getting ready to start in the public school system. I'm thankful of my background knowledge with schools, IEPs, and RtI, because it enables better communication between me and the school therapists, and helps me walk the parents through the process on our end as well. 

Anyway, I wrote the following post a few years back when I was working in the schools...and even though I'm now in the hospital, most of it still applies! I still use the same materials to work with my kiddos each week! Enjoy :)

How many of you are dealing with RtI (Response to Intervention) as part of your jobs? Well if you haven’t heard, RtI is now being referred to as MTSS (Multi-Tiered Support System), because, you know, once we learn an acronym, the natural thing to do is change it! Believe it or not, SBLT is not a tasty sandwich!  SBLT stands for School-Based Leadership Team, which is just what we call my school team that gets together to discuss school data and those struggling students requiring help from the intervention (RtI/MTSS) team.  I’m sure your school has a different name for this team.  

Anyway, since it looks like RtI/MTSS is here to stay and is becoming a large part of our SLP responsibilities, I thought I’d do a post on information on RtI/MTSS from my point of view! I realize that every state, and every county, and many times every school is different in how they go about RtI. This has been part of the problem in implementing it. In my particular county, they have realized the inconsistency and are working to develop a more consistent protocol.  A small group of SLPs, me included, developed an RtI Workgroup.  We meet once a month or so to work on a system for SLPs to help implement RtI.  Through our research, we learned that many teachers did not understand the role of the SLP.  If they don’t know what we do, they don’t request our help.  Because of this, we developed a PowerPoint to share during a staff meeting to explain what we do and how we can help. 

We also discovered that many classroom teachers are asked to implement interventions for students, many of which are language-based interventions, but they don’t know where to begin.  They know their student has delays, but they aren’t sure what intervention(s) to put in place.  This is where the SLP comes in!  In my particular school, I am part of the SBLT (School-Based Leadership Team) where we discuss struggling students and their needs.  We discuss when to begin the RtI process and if there is a need for the SLP to be involved in the process as a consultant.  Before we as SLPs got involved in the SBLT, we would all of a sudden receive consent to evaluate a student that we had never heard of before.  Even worse, we would hear about a student who was in Tier 3 of RtI and was not making any progress.  It was then that we decided that the SLPs might could (and should) help.  Now, when a struggling student is brought before the SBLT, we make sure to rule out any language difficulties when we first initiate RtI.  If there are no language concerns, we back out of that case.  If there are language concerns, we address these in the interventions and make suggestions for possible interventions to use.  Most of all, we make sure to let the teachers know that we are here to help them if they need help.  We don’t actually implement the interventions ourselves, but we show them where to turn.

Now might be a good time to make a couple of acknowledgements.  First, I acknowledge that being involved with these kids who are not “technically” on our caseloads means more work for the SLP. However, what it comes down to is that it is best for the kids. Second, I acknowledge that there are some SLPs out there who are doing a whole lot more than simply suggesting language-based interventions.  In GA where I’m from, the SLPs are actually seeing the kids in RtI and implementing their interventions along with kids on their caseloads. Thus, they are seeing the kids as if they are on their caseloads, but not being allowed to count them in their numbers. I am also sure that there are other SLPs out there who are doing other things that are not necessarily “in their job descriptions.”  However, this is what we do. We wear many hats.   We do what is best for our kids.  We may not be able to do everything, but we do everything we can. Whatever your role in RtI may be, I encourage you to get involved in helping suggest language-based interventions for your classroom teachers.  Another very important part of what our RtI Workgroup is working on is a book of interventions (and progress monitoring tools) to give our SLPs for the different strands of language.  This way, when a student is struggling with, say, syntax, they can flip to the syntax section and have at their fingertips an array of interventions and progress monitoring templates to give to the teachers.  It is crucial that the classroom teachers know we are there to be team players and assist them when we can.

In conclusion, I wanted to suggest a few interventions we have been using with students going though RtI/MTSS:
1. Story Grammar Marker by Mindwing Concepts, Inc. (See my previous blog posts on my love for SGM!) (Picture from mindwingconcepts.com)



2.       Bridge to Vocabulary by Judy Montgomery-a personal favorite of mine. Very easy to create progress-monitoring templates for. (picture from Amazon.com)


 

3.       RtI In Action by Roth, Paul, Adamczyk, & Dougherty (picture from Amazon.com)





4.       FCRR-Florida Center for Reading Research(picture from fcrr.org)



5.       Language Lab by Wiechmann, Rudebusch, & Kuhles  and sold by Super Duper Publications (Picture from superduperinc.com)

 

I am very interested in hearing from you on this issue.  How are you involved with the RtI/MTSS process in your school? What questions do you have about RtI/MTSS? Do you have any interventions that you have found have really worked?

Monday, May 4, 2015

What's In Your Cart Linky Party {Teacher Appreciation 2015 Edition}

Hi friends!

I know I'm a little late to this party, but better late than never, right? I'm linking up with my friend j Jenna from Speech Room News to show you what's in my cart for the 2015 TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale!




The Sale starts Tuesday, May 5th, and ends Wednesday night at midnight. So get your carts ready...I know I am!

First, here are a few of my items that I recommend you take a gander at:


 My Year-Round Sequences Bundle includes 5 different sequence products: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Year-Round Sequence activities, bundled together at a discounted price!



My May Book Club Bundle includes 4 great books to get you through May, and even well into summer!

Ok, so here's a look at the items in my cart:


Jenna's Print-N-Go Preschool Summer Packet looks amazing. I can't wait to hand them out to my parents!


Who doesn't need Grammar activities? Jenn's Beach Grammer is going to fit in wonderfully with my Ocean theme for June!


I have several kiddos with Apraxia on my caseload right now, and finding materials for them isn't easy. So Kate's Apraxia Activity packet looks amazing!


Felice's Flip Books are adorable...And they'll be so easy to tote in and out of my daycares!


Since I work on WH Questions every day of my life, I've gotta have these adorable scenes from Kristin!


And finally, these Speaking and Writing Prompts from Nicole look incredible....and look like exactly what my students need!

What's in your cart? Is there something great I'm missing...let me know!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Verb Quest! {An App Review}

Hey Friends!

Have any wizard fans on your caseload? Smarty Ears has an app called Verb Quest that has a wizard-theme....it's perfect motivation for all my Potter fans! You can read my review of the app below. Disclaimer: Smarty Ears provided me with a copy of the app for review, but no other compensation was provided. The following opinions are all mine. :)




When you first enter the app, you'll need to add users. You can add players individually, or you can import already created players from the TRC (Therapy Report Center).


Under the settings tab, you can modify settings such as whether or not to display a hint, whether or not to increase levels, etc.


You can also select or deselect certain sentences from each level.


Once you add the players, you can adjust the activity level for each player based on their ability level. There are 20 different levels for the students to play!


You can select which levels each player will play. You can select more than one level at a time! You can also play with up to 5 students at a time, or you can play with an individual student alone.


The students are presented with a sentence prompt, and they choose the correct word to fill in the blank.



Once they correctly fill in the blank, they are asked if they want to repeat the sentence back and be recorded. You can record their voice, or you can skip this part and move on to the next prompt. (Hint: You can also disable the recording prompt-I do, because I don't have time for each kiddo to ask to record themselves after each turn!)


Once they have completed 10 correctly without hints, they can move on to the next level, or continuing practicing the same level.



Under Report Cards, you can view a student's awards, or check out their progress reports.


Students earn different wands for each level they master! My kiddos adore this!


You can view progress reports by session...


And by level! You can also share progress reports via email!

Overall, Verb Quest is another awesome app by Smarty Ears. Verbs are really important. SO important that I work on them every single day with almost every single student. Verb Quest breathed new life into our therapy sessions where we target verbs. It's fun, motivating, and educational. Who could ask for more?!?!

You can read more about Verb Quest HERE.

Verb Quest sells for $19.99 in the iTunes app store. You can see it HERE.

What are your thoughts on Verb Quest???