Monday, April 14, 2014

iName It {app review and giveaway}

As I'm sitting here writing this, there is a HUGE storm passing through.  We are getting tons of rain and hail.  Hope all of you are staying safe in the crazy weather we are having this spring!!

Today, I wanted to take some time to write about an app from one of my favorite app companies, Smarty Ears!  It's called iName It.  This is one of the very first apps I purchased when I got my iPad.  I knew I needed something that I could use with both adults and children who had language goals.  The best part--it's evidence-based!

Here's a little bit about the app to get started.  Smarty Ears has this description on their website about the app:
"iName It is specifically designed to help individuals with difficulty recalling the names of common items found in the home. Developed by speech-language pathologists, iName It provides users with a systematic way to recall functional words needed for activities of daily living. iName It consists of fifty nouns that are displayed within the context of the rooms where they are typically located, such as bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc… Each target word can be elicited by using one of more of the five different types of cues available: phonemic, phase completion, whole word or semantic."

Pretty complete, right?

Start by adding your student and then selecting one of the following scenes: Bathroom, Bedroom, Garage, Kitchen, or Living Room.

Once you select a room, the app will take you to a picture of that room.  There will be items listed at the bottom for the student or client to name.  Each scene has ten different vocabulary words.  The picture below is the living room.

Select an object at the bottom, and it will make the whole scene go black and white except for the target object.

If the student names the object right away, click the green checkmark.  If he or she does not, hit the blue button.  A series of five cues then pops up.  These cues vary from enlarging the picture, giving the first few letters of the word, sentence completion, or a complete visual cue.  The SLP can mark that the student or client either got it with that cue or missed it.

One thing I love about all Smarty Ears apps is that they take great data for you. Then, they compile a report that can either be printed, emailed, or imported to Therapy Report Center.  It's great for progress monitoring!

Another awesome element of this app is that it is available in THREE different languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese!  As our world is becoming more and more bilingual, this is an awesome feature that I will always be looking for in apps.

Overall, this is a great app that can be used with almost any caseload.  Both adults and children with language or word finding goals will benefit from it!  The app is offered in three languages and collects data for the SLP, which makes for easy progress monitoring.  It is simple easy to set-up and use, too!  Finally, there is solid research behind the app and the cues that are built into it.  It is so important to me to know that my interventions are evidence-based!

This app is currently listed at $14.99 on iTunes, and you can find it here!

Smarty Ears has generously donated one code for a lucky Home Sweet Speech Room reader!  Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note:  I was contacted about writing a review for the app. I previously owned this app.   No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine. 

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Sports and TBI

I'm going to preface this post by stating that it may be a little bit of a rant.   Hopefully, you will hang with me.
My fiance and I were out to lunch with friends, and the St. Louis Blues were playing the Chicago Blackhawks (hockey).  We are Blackhawks fans (we are from Chicago).  We were excited to watch the game, since both teams are great! My excitement stopped when a fight occurred.  Yes, I understand that fights and checking are all part of hockey.  What made me upset was that the two players planned it, had it in the middle of a break in the action, threw their gloves and helmets down, and got set up for it.  This all happened while the refs were watching.  I'm sorry, but HOW do you just stand there and let it happen???  I understand that fights happen a lot during normal play, but this one could EASILY have been stopped.  Of course, the fight proceeded, and both men were hit in the head 5 to 10 times a piece.

As a health care professional, this really bothers me.  One thing we learned in my cognitive communication disorders class is that getting hit in the head over and over and over again can and will lead to a moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI).  This includes punches in hockey, hits in football, etc.  I know there has been a push in recent years to reduce the number of hard hits and hits to the head in all sports.  What I don't understand is why they allow it to happen when it could have been prevented.

Here's why I'm concerned:

-In 2009, 2.4 million visits to the ER, hospitalizations or death were related to TBI.
-In 2010, the estimated cost of TBI was $76.5 billion (per person in a lifetime).
-TBIs can lead to cognitive, emotional, linguistic, and physical deficits.
-Damage is cumulative.

What about concussions?
Concussions are actually mild TBIs.  They are a temporary lapse in brain function and the results look similar (just more mild) than a moderate to severe TBI: emotional, physical, psychological. A person may have a headache for a week or two and some nausea/vomiting, but he/she will return to normal fairly quickly.  However, once a person has one concussion, they are more susceptible to another.  As they have more and more concussions, the damage adds up.  The problem is that a lot the signs and symptoms of TBI may not be present until later in life, when dementia puglistica occurs for example.  Just look at the sad reality of what happened to Muhammad Ali years later.

I'm not going to say that I don't approve of contact sports, because that is just not true.  I LOVE football.  I like hockey.  I did gymnastics when I was younger.  The aggression and danger is just a part of sports.  However, steps should be taken to protect the athletes.  I know they are trying, but the incident during this weekend's game was proof that they are not trying nearly as hard as maybe they should.

I don't know. I don't have the answers.  It's just hard for me to watch as punches to the head are thrown over and over and over again.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Guest Posting over at Twin Sister Speech and Language Therapy

Today, I am guest posting over at Twin Sister Speech and Language Therapy about one of my favorite therapy items: Word Flips!

Head on over here to check it out:


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Plan of the Day Posters {freebie}

One of the big pushes happening at my school right now is metacognition.   According to Merriam Webster, metacognition is the awareness or analysis of one's own learning or thinking processes.  For us, that means talking about our plan for our sessions and then reviewing what we have done at the end of our sessions.  We do this ALL of the time with our students who benefit from visual schedules.  When we forget about it is with those students who do not need visual schedules.

So this prompted me to create Plan of the Day posters for myself and my students to use.  I placed it in a sheet protector, which allows me to erase it between sessions.  It has worked very well so far!! Sometimes, the students want to write on it themselves. I love when they get involved.

I hope this is something you can use for yourself and your students in your speech room, so I've created a freebie for you!  There are two sets of wording, based on your preference/ age level of students.  I've also included three border options.

If you think this would be helpful to you, please head over to my TpT store to download it!! You can find it here.  Feedback is always appreciated!

Hope this is helpful!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

New Design {giveaway}

When I started this blog a little over a year ago, I put together a design myself with a little help from my web developer fiance.  I have been thinking about a re-design for months now, but never had time to do it.  But with the first draft of my thesis submitted, the big parts of my wedding planned, and job applications completed, I had some time to concentrate on this project!  

I hope you like it!!   In honor of this big project, I'm throwing a giveaway! Enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 17, 2014

Speechy Feedback: March {linky party}

We are halfway through March already...WOW! Can you believe that???   Well, because it's a new month, it's time for another feedback linky party hosted by Nicole over at Allison's Speech Peeps!   Head on over to her blog to see all of the participating bloggers and the rules!

This month, we're thanking TWO people who left feedback--one on a paid item and one on a free item.

First up, the paid item.  I was SO excited to hear this feedback about one of the products I'm most proud of--my EBP Binder.  Let me tell you why I love this feedback.  I love it because she is willing to help me improve it!  I'm so happy you like it, Keryn, and cannot wait to hear how I can add to it.

And then on to the free product.  I absolutely love to hear that these Vocalic R cards are being used for more than just traditional speech therapy.  You're absolutely right- it is hard to qualify for speech, so I'm glad these can be used in other ways!

Keryn and Seeds for Your Learning Garden, email me at with your choice of non-bundled product from my TpT store.

Thanks everyone!  Keep leaving great feedback!
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Tricks of the Trade Blog Hop

Welcome to your next stop on the Tricks of the Trade Blog Hop!!

My trick: Incorporating in sensory to our sessions

If there is one thing I learned from my medical placement this semester, it was to incorporate in sensory tricks.  Working with an OT taught me a lot of different ways to add it in my session.  You may be thinking- "Um I'm not an OT. Why I am addressing this?" Here's why it's important that we dot:

-If sensory needs are met, the kids will enjoy the sessions more and will do more work! Of course this isn't guaranteed, but they will be much more productive than if their needs are not met.
-Some of our kiddos have a lot of sensory needs and need to work on them as much as possible.
-For an area like AAC, sensory needs not being met could affect their access method, which in turn limits their ability to communicate.

There are many many more that OTs can list off.

Here are some ideas for you:
-Use a weighted blanket
-Tie some Therabands around the bottom of the chairs.  Students can kick them during the session.
-Have the student push against the wall to try and make the room bigger.
-Apply deep pressure on joints, hands, or back as needed.
-Have student push around a car and stop at each of their cards.
-Have them crawl through a tunnel and say their words at the end of the tunnel each time.
-Do army crawls or crab walks.

You can consult an OT for more ideas, but those are some to get you started.  I know how much it has helped my students, so I hope it helps yours!!

Thanks for reading!  Now that you've made it this far, collect your letter and head on to the next blog!  If you are just starting, head on over to the first blog and start hopping through!  Collect one letter per blog.  If you collect all of the letters and figure out the secret phrase, you can enter to win some fabulous prizes, including a $50 TpT gift card and two $15 TpT gift cards!

Good luck!!

Here's a list of all blogs that are participating:

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