Monday, April 18, 2016

A Spring Time Freebie!

Hi again, friends!

If you're like me, you're so, so happy Spring has sprung! I don't do cold very well. In fact, I try not to do it at all. So warm weather, sunshine, and new life is my jam!

We're finishing up with State standardized testing tomorrow (FINALLY!), and then this speech room is moving OUTSIDE! I love doing speech outside in the warmth and fresh air....and *most* of my students do too!

I love using Chalk in therapy. There are SO many ways to incorporate speech and language goals into drawing with Chalk. We have recently been working on an "Imagination" theme, and the book Chalk, by Bill Thomson, works perfectly! This book has NO WORDS! The kids in the book find a bag of chalk near the playground, and everything they draw comes to life! I love getting my students to "write" the story with their own words!

If the weather cooperates, we'll go outside and draw after reading the book. If the weather is rainy, the students can draw with chalk inside on construction paper! 

I also created this quick FREEBIE to go along with this lesson. The students simply add to the shapes to create pictures. Then, I have the students share what they made, and we talk about how different people can see things differently, and there are no right or wrong answers!

Here's an example. I recently updated the FREEBIE to include a second page with added shapes!

 You can download this FREEBIE in my TPT store by clicking the link below.

Do you use chalk in therapy? How do you work on imagination? I'd love to hear! 

Tacos & EZPZ Play Mats

Happy Monday,  SLPeeps!

If you've been reading my blog or following along on any of my social media accounts, you know I have a major obsession with the Happy Mats and Bowls by EZPZ. I seriously believe they are the best thing ever.  EVER!

You probably also know that I have a 2 year old, Halle Jane, though I haven't talked much about some of the sensory/anxiety issues we've been experiencing with our precious toddler. As an SLP, I work in a school with Pre-K through 5th grade self-contained classrooms for students with Autism. The majority of my caseload is students with Autism or other special needs outside of just speech and language impairments. Most of the students I work with have sensory needs.

When I first started noticing a few "red flags" with my own daughter, I flip-flopped back and forth between believing there was something there, and thinking maybe I was over-thinking things since I see it all day long. In the end though, especially when others starting noticing as well, we all agreed that there was something going on.

Most of her sensory issues center around not wanting to get dirty. She wouldn't eat a doughnut without a fork. She wouldn't eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich unless it was broken up in bite-sized pieces so the jelly didn't get on her mouth. She didn't like to go outside without shoes. She didn't like to play with play-dough unless I cut her nails short so it didn't get under her fingernails. She didn't like band-aids or stickers on her skin, but loved to wear them on her clothes. She LOATHES tags on clothing, her dolls, her blankets. She pretty much just loathes tags in general. And she's terrified of loud noises (the vacuum, the flushing of an unfamiliar toilet, airplanes, lawn mowers, and anything that makes a noise that she can't identify.)

We've slowly but surely worked through many of these issues. We did a lot of playing barefoot outside, and we planted a garden. We covered her in stickers and band-aids. We played with a lot of play-dough and finger paint. We DID NOT cut ONE single tag off of anything, unless it was a particularly hard or scratchy tag. My mom took her to the airport to sit in an airplane. We flushed a lot of public potties. (so gross!) We vacuumed and went outside when daddy was cutting the grass. And we worked a whole lot on eating.

Eating was the one area that was killing me. We were fighting a battle at every meal, just to get her to eat a few bites. Part of the problem was that she just didn't want to slow down to eat. But she also didn't like getting her hands or mouth dirty, so eating finger foods or anything sticky would sometimes just about send her over the edge.

Enter EZPZ, and everything began to change, You can read my previous blog post on what the EZPZ Happy mats and bowls did for our mealtime HERE. But let's just suffice it to say that the mats made eating fun and interesting, which reduced her desire to leave the table, which increased the opportunities we had to work on sensory needs with eating.

Today, I wanted to show you another EZPZ product, and how we've used it to work on sensory needs while also fostering her independence and ownership in mealtimes: The EZPZ Play Mat!

While there are SO many ways to use the play mat (stringing beads, arts and crafts, finger paint, Legos, just to name a few, we've been using the Play Mat to let Halle Jane help make her own dinner or snacks. Instead of me preparing her food for her, she gets to help me "cook dinner" by fixing her own plate. Last week, we had tacos for dinner, and it was a HUGE deal to see her happily making her own tacos, getting her hands dirty, and EATING the tacos she made....THREE TACOS, to be exact!

She loved getting to do it all by herself, and this SLPMommy loved the mess she made! Side note: While she did have some spillage, the mess was contained to the mat. The beauty of these silicone mats is that they stick to the table, so they aren't knocked off, and when you're ready to clean up, you simply peel them off, and rinse with soap and water. They don't harbor bacteria, and they're also dishwasher safe. You can read many more "Pro's" to the EZPZ mats in a previous blog post by clicking HERE. 

We've also used the Play Mats for decorating cupcakes and sugar cookies with different toppings, making a bowl of ice cream with different toppings, fruit salad, and many others! Below, Halle Jane helped put strawberries and whipped cream on pound cake in an EZPZ bowl.

If I've made a believer out of you, and you want to order them for yourself, or your friends, or for baby gifts, you can use my link below for 10% off your order!

Are YOU using the EZPZ mats? I'd love to hear what you think! 

Stay tuned for another post coming soon on how I use them at school! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Time Timer {A Product Review}

Hi friends!

I'm back today with a product review for one of my favorite tools ever....the Time Timer MOD!

For those of you who know me, I pretty much live by the clock. Organization and punctuality is paramount in my life, because so much of my day is planned out. Although I can be flexible and adapt if needed, I generally feel much more calm and efficient if I'm sticking to a plan. ;)

So I was SO excited to see this super cute timer at the ASHA Convention in Denver last November. The representative from Time Timer provided me a Time Timer MOD for free to review, but the opinions following are all mine.

The Time Timer MOD comes is a durable cardboard box, with a slate gray removable silicone cover. The silicone cover is easy to clean, and it protects the timer from falls! The glare-free lens also protects the timer!

I got a pink silicone cover to go with mine. Silicone covers are also available in sky blue and lime green! I was also given a Time Timer screwdriver to open the back door for the battery (one AA battery required and not included), but you can easily use any eye-glass screwdriver. 

The Time Timer MOD is small enough to travel with me, home, in the car, to swim lessons, to the bathroom, restaurants, etc. You name it, it's been there!

My early morning groups bring their 5-minute math drill work with them when they come to speech. They know they have 5 minutes to finish up, and then their folders go under their seats, and speech begins! I love that they are so accustomed to the Time Timer now that they come in, sit down, and turn it on themselves!

I compiled a quick list of 10 ways I use the Time Timer in Speech, but there are SO many other ways to use it.

Finally, here's 10 ways I commonly use the Time Timer at home with my 2 year old, Halle Jane. She's so used to it now, she regularly asks where it is!

Honestly, the Time Timer has become such an important asset to my life...both at work (therapy), and at home. I've even turned it on for myself before....only 10 more minutes of work left....then I can go home!

You can read more about the Time Timer MOD and other products from the Time Timer website:

You can purchase the Time Timer from the Time Timer website, or from Amazon! 

Click the link below to buy the Time Timer today! 

Time Timer MOD

 Have YOU used the Time Timer before? Do you use other types of timers? How do you use them?