Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pronouns with Splingo {app review}

A couple of my clients have been having some difficulty with pronouns recently.  All of them are motivated by the iPad, so I was excited when I found out there was an app to target pronouns!  Check it out below. Affiliate links may be included for your convenience. 
The app is designed to teach the following pronouns: we, I, they, he, she, him, her, them, me, us, hers, his, theirs, mine, and ours.  To get started, select which pronouns you would like to target.

Then, the app will pop up an object and a sentence, directing the child where to put the object.

They also include a visual Hints and Tips section, which I love because I'm such a visual learner.

Overall, Pronouns with Splingo is a good app to get started with targeting pronouns as well as working on following simple directions.  My clients enjoy playing with Splingo again and liked the sticker reinforcer.  It is easy to customize and start using immediately.  In future updates, I would love to see a way for the app to take data.

If you are interested in purchasing this app, it is available for $2.99 in the App Store at the time of this review.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

February 2017 Love TpT Sale + Giveaway

The next TeachersPayTeachers site-wide sale is happening this week!  It will be Tuesday, February 7 through Wednesday, February 8.  This is your chance to stock up on materials for easy planning this spring.

Some items you don't want to miss:

Looking for speech and language activities to go along with There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Rose by Lucille Colandro? Look no further! This 53 page download is a storybook companion for you! This is for preschool and lower elementary students. 

This is a fun 12 page download with lots of fun Valentine's Day facts with a focus on listening comprehension. 

If you don't own it already, my best seller:

One of the most important aspects of our practice in speech-language pathology is making sure our assessments and interventions are evidence-based and are in line with the current research. This binder is intended to be used as a tool to guide you in your decision-making.  It is intended to serve as a guide and summary and is, by no means, a replacement for the actual articles and research and is not intended to be an exhaustive list. 

To spread a little love, I'm giving away a $10 TeachersPayTeachers gift card to one lucky Home Sweet Speech Room reader. Enter below for your chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Splingo's Language Universe {app review}

A lot of the kids on my caseload are working on following directions, so I am always looking for a new way to target it.  Splingo's Language Universe is a new-to-me app that I have been checking out recently.  Affiliate links have been included for your convenience. 

The app is designed to increase a child's listening and receptive language skills.  It specifically targets following directions with a fun space theme.

To start, choose your level.  There are four levels within this app.  Here's how the creators of the app explained them: 
"A guide to the levels:•Level 1 -contains instructions of 1 main word and is suitable for children at a developmental level of about 18 months onwards, e.g. “find the apple”•Level 2 - contains instructions of 2 main words and is suitable for children at a developmental level of about 2-3 years, e.g. “find the red apple”•Level 3 - contains instructions of 3 main words and is suitable for children at a developmental level of about 3- 4 years and upwards, e.g. “find the big red apple”•Level 4 - contains instructions of 4 main words and is suitable for children at a developmental level of about 4 years and upwards, e.g. “give the big red apple to the boy”"

The app will then take the children through a series of directions to follow.  Here's an example:

Kids help Splingo build his spaceship as a reward: 

You can save the game to pick up at a later point.  You can save the games for 10 students. 

Overall, Splingo's Language Universe is a fun app created by a speech-language pathologist for targeting following directions, vocabulary, prepositions, listening comprehension, and reading comprehension.  My clients enjoy the space theme and Splingo's alien voice.  I also like that there are multiple levels for the kids to move through.  In future updates, I would love to see a way to take data in the app.  I would also love to see a multi-player option. 

If you are interested, you can purchase the app for $2.99 in the App Store at the time of this review. 

Note: I was provided with a copy of this app for my review.  No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are mine. 
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Compassion Without Burdening Your Heart

One thing I remember very vividly from one of my last classes in undergrad was a statement from my professor: You're going to hear some sad, devastating stories from your clients/students. You cannot let them burden your heart.  As a compassionate, "helper" type personality, this has been very difficult for me at times.  I've learned over the past couple of years that there is a difference between compassion and burdening your heart.

Let me be clear, I do NOT mean that any child is a burden. Sometimes, their stories just weigh heavy on my heart. Since we see them on a regular basis (sometimes more than once per week), the kids build up a trust with us.  They tend to start opening up to us.  We then hear the stories about how their parents are struggling in their marriage.  We hear stories about how one of their family members is in jail.  We hear stories about how they don't have much food at home.  We hear stories about how this is their Xth number of school this year alone.  Then, I start to want to help them all.  Maybe this is what my professor was warning us about.

I think it's natural.  As I mentioned, I am a helper by nature and probably went into a helping profession for that reason.  I have to remember that I am helping them. I am helping them with their speech, language, social skills, fluency, and more.  I am helping them by making them feel safe and loved in my speech room.  I am helping them by approaching them gently and sincerely.  I am helping them by providing the best services I can for them. I am helping them by fighting for appropriate services in their IEP meetings or when writing letters of medical necessity.

This is easier said than done, of course.  So, there are some things that I can do to help it not be a weight on my heart:

  • Journal. I write down my thoughts down. Sometimes they immediately go into the shredder, fire, or recycling.  It helps to get your thoughts out, but there is also an important step of letting them go. 

  • Do some small things to help, but also acknowledge that you cannot fix the whole situation.  For example, if a child comes into your room and is always hungry, have a snack option available for all students.  Always smile at them.  Give them high-fives.  Give them hugs when they ask and when is appropriate. 

  • Refer them to different resources or professionals, as appropriate. 

  • Find someone to talk it out with.  Be careful about HIPAA and FERPA here, of  course.  Sometimes it just helps to vent and let your burdens out to another.  Not to burden them, of course, but just to get you thoughts out (see #1).  

Last,  but certainly not least,

  • PRAY.  This is probably the most important one. I pray for my clients every day.  Prayers for their situations.  Prayers for peace.  Prayers for their hearts.  I know that I cannot do things on my own for my own life. I am in desperate need of His love.  So how can I expect to be able to do it for them.  I can't.  They need Him as much as I do. 

Remember, you are helping them, probably in more ways than you realize.  Sometimes those things may go unnoticed, but I'm acknowledging them today for you.  So carry on, compassionate one. Rest easy and allow your burden to be light.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top 10 Repetitive Books for Speech and Language Therapy

I am a big proponent of using books in therapy.  Literacy has been a big push recently, and I am a firm believer that you can use books to target ANY goal in therapy.   Today's topic is about books--more specifically about repetitive books.

Repetitive books have many benefits.  They encourage participation from all students or clients.  They are perfect for individual sessions and group sessions.  They have a pattern, so they are easier for children to pick up on and thus participate more.  I ask my clients to repeat those lines with me.  I will model the line a couple of times, say "Say it with me," a few times, and then just pause the next couple of times to see if one or more of them will fill in the gap.

I also use repetitive books with my clients who use AAC devices.  This allows them to participate as well.  I do similar things as I mentioned above.  This helps encourage vocabulary, language development, and allows them to explore various folders on their devices.

For articulation sessions, I choose books that have repetitive words or phrases that contain my clients' sounds.  For example, if I have a child working on CH, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is perfect.

Here are my top ten repetitive books for use in therapy (in no particular order):

1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

2. We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

3. Any of the There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a ___ books

4. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault


5. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

6. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

7. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

8. Are You My Mother? by. P. D. Eastman

9. Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

10.  Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins

What are your favorite repetitive books to use in therapy?

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

Happy New Year, everyone!   I hope you had a lovely weekend saying goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017.

2016 was like most years, some highs and some lows. I would say on the whole, it was mostly highs.  I resigned from my position at a school to begin full-time at an outpatient clinic.  We spent the first year in our first house.  We watched our friends welcome their first-born children.  I bought a new car.  We took weekend long trips to Nashville and Branson.  We celebrated two years of marriage.  I'm looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings.

There's a trend right now to pick a word for the year and focus on that.   My aunt posted a video montage on Facebook.  You were to screenshot it, look at your photos, and see what word you got.  Here was my pick:

Definition-a very large quantity of something; the state or condition of having a copious quantity of something; plentifulness.

I'm not quite sure where God is going to take me this year, but I'm looking forward to finding out why abundance was the word that popped up.  I'll keep you posted.

Happy 2017!

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Game Spotlight: Pin Point!

I'm starting a new set of blog posts called "Game Spotlight."  People always ask me what games I love for therapy, so I thought this would be a fun way to highlight the games that I love to use, both new and old.

Today's game is called Pin Point! from Blue Orange Games.  It is brand new, and I cannot wait to share it with you.  If you are familiar with Spot It, you will love this game.

Description from Blue Orange Games:
"Develop your eagle eye abilities with this new twist on the classic “find the differences” game! Each card has 5 images on it- one Original image and four with variations. Players use process of elimination to locate the Original by pointing out differences in the other four pictures. This brain teasing game will delight kids of all ages as they race to spot the differences in the printed pictures. There is always one original- can you find it?"
This game includes dice, directions, and 72 different challenge cards.

To play,  you flip a card over and look for the "original."  You compare the variations on the card one-by-one.  If there is something that only appears on ONE of the images on the card, then it is considered a variation.  The first person to call out the color of the "original" wins the card (one point).  If a person calls out the wrong color, you lose a point (discard a card).  The first one to 5 points wins.

Let's try one:
This card below has five different snakes. The first thing I notice is that the green one does not have a tongue sticking out and the rest do. Therefore, green is NOT the original.  Then I notice that pink does not have nostrils and the rest do. Therefore, pink is NOT the original.  Blue does not have stripes on his belly and the rest do. Therefore, blue is NOT the original.  Down to yellow and red. When you compare those two, you notice that yellow does not have dots on the end of its tail. Red and the rest of the snakes do. Therefore, yellow is NOT the original.  You would shout out, "RED!" at this point and collect the card.

Watch this video to find out more and see it in action:

This game is a great way to target language (similarities, differences, descriptions, vocabulary) and social skills.  It is also great for problem solving. I have also used it a few times as a reinforcer for my speech only clients. The occupational therapists that I work with love this game for visual perceptual skills.  It was a bit difficult to understand the game at first.  However, once we understood the concept and had played a couple of rounds, my clients loved this game!

If you are interested in this game, check out Blue Orange Games for more information!

Note: A copy of the game was provided for my review. No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine. 

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