Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Free CEUs through Presence Learning

Do you need CEUs?  How do some FREE ones sound? This summer, Presence Learning is hosting the Decathalon Challenge!  Read more below.

Screenshot of Presence Learning's website

What is the Decathalon Challenge?  It is an opportunity for you to complete 10 self-study webinars.  That means 15 certification maintenance hours or 1.5 CEUs.  That is HALF of your required CEUs for FREE. 

Topics include Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders, Behavior Challenges, and Special Education Law and Ethics.  Presenters include Temple Grandin and Barry Prizant among many others!

Complete these now through August 10, 2016!

Note: I am not affiliated with Presence Learning nor was I contacted by them to promote this.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Printing/Ink Solution

Friends, I have to tell you about something that I think just changed my life! It's not necessarily something brand new, but I honestly don't know many people who are doing it, so I wanted to let you know about it.   It has also come up a lot recently in Facebook groups as people are preparing for Back to School and Fall schedules.

So, what is it?  HP Instant Ink

Here's my story:
Our previous HP printer stopped working. We tried multiple things to try and fix it. I had heard about this HP Instant Ink thing awhile back, but thought that it was a waste of money.  I thought that you would pay them a monthly fee and they would send you ink, but that you still had to pay for the ink.  Well, after a little more investigation, I discovered I was very wrong!  You pay a monthly fee for them to send you ink, BUT you don't have to pay more for the ink cartridges.

If you're like me, you are a numbers person and like to budget.  So let me break it down for you.

We purchased the HP Officejet 5744 for approximately $100.  It came with 6 months free of Instant Ink.  When we were signing up for the Instant Ink package, I noticed there was a coupon code right now for 3 months free.  Sometimes coupons don't stack, but I thought, "Why not try it?"  Guess what? It worked!  So for $100, I got a new printer and 9 months of free ink, printing 300 pages per month! Pretty awesome, right?

After the 9 free months are up, we will switch to a subscription plan.  There are three plans:
Occasional printing: $2.99/mo for 50 pages
Moderate printing: $4.99/mo for 100 pages
Frequent printing: $9.99/mo for 300 pages
 The price includes them shipping the new cartridges to you, the ink itself, and recycling of the old cartridges. 

My husband did a comparison.  The ink we would need to print that much would be about $65 in cartridges.  For two rounds of ink, it would be $130. Who knows how many rounds I would need to print 300 pages per month.  With Instant Ink, even the highest level (~$10) would only be $120 per year!  Is it adding up in your head?  You can save A TON of money!  Oh, and I think I forgot to mention that you can change the plan anytime you want. So if you find yourself needing to print more than the allowed amount, you can change it.  If you aren't printing as much, you can bump down to a lower one.

Want to know the best part? The unused pages roll into the next month!  That means if I don't print anything one month, I have now doubled my page amount for the next. 

I know you may not be thinking back to school or fall yet. But seriously, if you are in the market for a new printer and print a lot of fun TpT activities for your clients or students, you should consider this!

Check it out via my referral link here and you'll get a month free!  Which means you could have up to 10 months free (if you buy a qualifying printer and use the code SCHOOL3 when signing up). You won't regret it!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Games to Play: Fast Flip and Dr. Eureka

I play games all of the time in my therapy sessions.   In the clinic, our goal is to make therapy fun, and a lot of the times, the kids think we are just playing.  They don't always realize it's therapeutic.  I recently received two new games from Blue Orange Games, and my clients have been LOVING them. I couldn't wait to share them with you!

The first is Fast Flip!  If you and your students/clients love Spot It, then this is a game for you!

Here's the description from Blue Orange Games:
"Get ready to scramble for the match in this crazy fruit salad! Match your fruits to a number, or numbers to a fruit; you don’t know what match you’ll have to find next! Whether you play with the tokens or with the cards alone, all players of any age will be fast flipping for this brain teasing match up. The game comes complete in a tin for your cards and tokens, making it an easy travel item. The magic distribution of fruits on the cards guaranties that there is always one correct answer. You just need to be the fastest to find it!"

Watch this video to learn how to play:

They state that it is a perfect game for visual perception, processing speed, and focus/attention.  I agree with all of those. I also think it's a good game for describing and using specific language.  One of my clients kept saying "4 of those" and I kept cueing for her to tell me 4 of what exactly?  Describe by color, number, function, origin, parts, etc. You name it, we talk about it!

I also use this game for pragmatic skills.  Students sometimes get frustrated when they don't find the match or have difficulty in multiple rounds.  I use that opportunity to discuss what we could say during games and how to be a good sport.

The next game is Dr. Eureka!  My clients love this one too.

Here's a description from Blue Orange Games:
"The brilliant Dr. Eureka has important experiments for you to complete! Pick a challenge card, 3 test tubes and 6 colorful balls to solve his scientific formula. Carefully move your materials from tube to tube without dropping them, and position them as illustrated on the challenge card. This brainteasing party game can be played solitary or competitively. The high quality components and the creative concept make it a challenging game for the whole family."

Watch this video to learn how to play:

The description states that it is a perfect game for fine motor skills, visual perception, processing speed, and attention/focus.  While it is a good game for all of that, what about SLPs?  Well I think this is the perfect game for describing/following directions.  I modified the game a little bit when playing with my clients.  Instead of it being a race to see who could complete the card the fastest, I described the card to my client to see if they could follow all of my directions. Then, I had them describe it to me using specific language! Of course, this is a fun one for pragmatics as well.

Overall, my clients and I love these two games.  In fact, I had one client in particular ask me every session if I had more new games like these because she loved them so much.  These games are engaging and are a fun way to target some of their goals.   They can be therapeutic while still playing.  They have quickly become favorites in my speech room.

What do you think? Do you think your students/clients would like these games?  

Note: Blue Orange Games provided me a copy of both games for my review.  No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are mind.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Test of Articulation and Phonology {app review}

As a speech pathologist in a school setting, I used the Goldman-Fristoe all the time to test for articulation.  It was standardized, which meant our state would accept it.  Well now that I have transitioned to an outpatient clinic, it's a little bit of a different world.  Generally speaking, I still use the Goldman-Fristoe.  But what happens when the child has already been given that at the school recently, and you need something else so you don't invalidate the test results?  That's when I look to other tests.

In the clinic setting, it doesn't necessarily have to be a formal or standardized assessment.  So I usually look to some of the awesome iPad apps that test for articulation. My clients are generally fairly motivated by the iPad as well, so it's a quick and easy way to get data.

All that being said, I was so excited to hear that Smarty Ears just released another new testing app called the Test of Articulation and Phonology!  Let's check it out:


Test of Articulation and Phonology (iTap) is administered very similarly to most articulation tests.  A picture is presented, the child states the object pictured, and errors are recorded.  Instead of writing down each of the errors, you can record them on the iPad.  Simply touch the phoneme produced in error, select the type of error (deletion, distortion, backing, devoicing, substitution, and assimilation).  If it is a substitution error, you can select which phoneme was substituted for the other.

Here's the video tutorial for you to watch for more information:

One of my favorite things about this app is the comprehensive evaluation report that is generated.  It provides the accuracy of phonemes by manner and location in word (initial, medial, final).  It also includes a list of all of the words administered and the transcription of each with any comments you may have added.  Finally, it also lists the percentage of the types of errors (e.g. 50% of errors were substitution).

What I love about this app:
-It's very easy to use.
-It's portable because it's on an iPad.
-It generates a very comprehensive report!
-It is great for the private practice/outpatient clinic setting where you don't need a formal test.
-It is great for progress monitoring in the school setting.
-It has norms based in Central Texas, so if you are from that region, you can use it as standardized!
-There is a helpful manual included under "info."
-It's super easy to request support if you need help.
-It stores all of the previous assessments administered, so you can look back to see if any progress has been made.
-It gives you information on both articulation AND phonology in one test!

What I would love to see in the next update:
-A way to mark multiple errors on any word, especially on blends.  Both consonants of the blend are scored together, so there is no way to mark cluster reduction and gliding for an l-blend, for example.  The only way would be to make a comment on that word.
-This would take a lot of work, I know, but I would love to see it normed on more children across the nation, so that we could use it as a full-blown standardized test!
-I would love to see the normative data published/ accessible through the app.

Overall it's a great app. I would recommend it to school-based SLPs to use for progress monitoring or private practice SLPs for an informal test. If you're in Central Texas, it's a great option for a standardized test.  It's comprehensive report is a time-saver for busy SLPs, and it gives great information about articulation and phonology.

If you are interested in this app, you can find it on the iTunes store here:

What are your favorite tests for articulation and phonology?

Note: A code was provided for my review. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are mine. 

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Monday, May 16, 2016

On to New Adventures

If you follow my Instagram, you've seen posts about me saying goodbye to my students and moving on to a new job.  I wanted to share the full story and my heart with you.

Back in August, I started working two evenings a week at an outpatient clinic.  Mid fall, I began working Saturday mornings as well.  I fell in love with the one-on-one for an hour sessions.  I felt like I could make progress with every child, especially the more severe ones. 

In the meantime, I was going to my school-based position and sitting through eligibility after eligibility where students desperately needed help but were not qualifying.  What made matters worse for me was knowing that I COULD help them if they came to the clinic, but according to state standards, I couldn't help them in the school.  You see, my state uses the discrepancy model where a child's language score must be 22 points below their IQ to qualify under language impairment.  True story:  I had a child who scored a 55 on his language tests but did not qualify because his IQ was 73.  So the language tests say he has a language impairment.  My clinical judgment says he has a language impairment.  But the state says no... (By the way, I fought for qualifying him using professional judgement, but it did not happen).  As those kids weren't qualifying, my numbers were still high enough for my groups to be 3, 4, 5, or more kids.  I was missing kids' minutes right and left because of this IEP meeting or that committee meeting.  I didn't see them making as much progress as I knew they could.  I tried my best to make up minutes, but it was impossible to make them all up.

So as you can see, my frustration was growing.  On top of that, I fell in love with the field at an outpatient clinic in the first place.  I knew God was leading my heart in that direction.  So I had an honest conversation with the owner of the clinic about me transitioning to them full time after my school-year ended.  She happened to love the idea, so a plan was put into motion.

So Friday, I said goodbye to my students, and today, I said goodbye to my co-workers and the building that has been my second home for two years.  My tears are both happy and sad tears.  Sad tears because I will miss coming to work and seeing these people.  Happy because I have an awesome set of co-workers and clients ahead of me. 

Today, I'm opening the door to new adventures.  I'm excited to share it with you as I step into this new role.

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Better Hearing and Speech Month!

Happy Better Hearing and Speech Month!  

There are a lot of awesome things going on this month, and I cannot wait to share them with you.  Be on the look out for Instagram posts, app giveaways, reviews, and more! 

This year, I'm teaming up with my friends at Consonantly Speaking and Simply Speech to bring you a fun Instagram contest for BHSM!  Please read the rules below and have so much fun!

In order to participate in the Photo-A-Day Challenge for Better Hearing and Speech Month, you must first have an Instagram account. You can sign up for free at http://instagram.com or on the app on your device. You cannot upload images from the web (Instagram won't let you for some reason), just from a phone or tablet. Then, make sure that your profile is not set to private or that Kristin, Jessica, or myself can follow you to see your images. If it is private, we will not be able to see your entries. Next, look at the image above and post an image for each day throughout the month of May 2016 within the theme of that particular day. Make sure in the description that you use #instaBHSM in order for it to count for our giveaway. If you want points towards ASHA's "Communicating Takes Care" social media Contest, that is a completely different contest (and you have to sign up separately for that one on ASHA's website). However, you can also use the hashtag of #BHSMContest for your image to count for that one as well. Make sure to use both so you get points for each contest!
Be sure to follow [simply speech]Consonantly Speaking, and Home Sweet Speech Room on Instagram so that you don't miss the winner being announced!
The person who most consistently posts images throughout May corresponding to the themes will win a prize basket! In the case of a tie, Random.org will be used to randomly select a winner!
This challenge will run from 12:00 am May 1st, 2016 to 11:59 pm May 31st, 2016 in Eastern Standard Time. It is an Instagram-only challenge, so posts on other social media will not be counted (that doesn't mean that you can't share them elsewhere, we just won't double-count or count posts from other social media).

There will be some pretty awesome prizes, including your chance to win a TpT gift card! 
We can't wait to see your photos, so please share and hashtag them!  Enjoy! :) 

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

More Than Words and The Hanen Centre E-Seminars {giveway}

It's been a long time, friends! I hope all is well with all of you.  I have to apologize. The last couple of months, I have been busy trying to somehow stay balanced with two jobs and time with family and friends.   During my time away, I've been doing some research, discovering new/ new to me products, and have begun some awesome new packets for my students.

With my clinic job, I see a wide range of kids.  They range in age (birth to 21) and range in abilities.  I realized pretty quickly that there were some gaps in my knowledge.  I have spent hours researching for each individual client I see because I want to be the SLP for them that I can be. One of the areas I realized I wanted more information on was helping parents with young children who have a significant language delay.  I had some ideas, but I wanted more.

I remembered back to grad school and my preschool placement. My clinical supervisor kept talking about The Hanen Centre and was raving about their books.  We even had a speaker come in and talk to my class.  So one of the resources that I recently was reminded of is their book/DVD called More Than Words.

 It arrived just in time for me to sit outside in the beautiful weather and read it.

More Than Words is a book geared towards parents with children with autism, which is perfect for this month (Autism Awareness Month). According to the Hanen Centre, it's a book that address very specific challenges that children with ASD face and strategies to help with those challenges. It is designed to improve the understanding of language and the ability to have back-and-forth interactions.

What I love about it is that it's written for parents. I can recommend these strategies and parents will understand them.  I also love that they are research based.  You can read more about their research here. I love that they address every day situations that parents will encounter.  The DVD is a great companion resource to give parents real-life examples of each situation discussed.

If you want to learn more about More Than Words, check out The Hanen Centre's website here.  You can view sample pages, see the outline of the chapters, and read about the research behind the book.

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, The Hanen Centre has also graciously offered to provide one of YOU with a code for a FREE e-seminar. They are 2 hours long, and I bet you can count them towards your certification maintenance hours for ASHA ;)   Enter below if you're interested.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great rest of your week!

Note: I was contacted by The Hanen Centre and a copy of More Than Words was provided for my review.  No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are mine.  

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