Thursday, March 16, 2017

CEU Course: Helping Parents of Late Talkers Use Gestures

I've had an influx of "late talkers" recently, so I've been looking for some continuing education courses in that area.  I'm going to the Hanen Centre's More Than Words program in April, which will be fantastic, I'm sure.  Hanen also has an e-seminar called Helping Parents of Late Talkers Use Gestures to Support Expressive Language Development.

Here's the description from The Hanen Centre:
"It’s well recognized that children’s gesture use is an important part of their expressive language development. What’s also well known is that children tend to use more gestures when they have parents who do the same. But for parents who are not natural gesturers, it can be difficult to consistently incorporate gestures into interactions with their child.
This e-Seminar explores what is known about the connection between gesture use and the development of word combinations, and helps you develop a plan of action for supporting parents of Late Talkers to add specific gesture types to their verbal language models to encourage their child’s expressive language development."
This seminar reviews the various types of gestures, the developmental milestones, and then how to teach kids gestures.   The course is full of videos to help you learn exactly what she is talking about.  The presenter also provides a lot of research/resources throughout.

Overall, this course was extremely helpful to me. I learned a ton of information that I did not know before. I can take this information and put it into practice today. I will now be looking at gestures more, include them in my therapy, and stress the importance with parents.  This course is 2 hours in length and can be done in the comfort of your home on you time.  I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is working with late talkers.

If you are interested in taking this course, you can find more information here.  The Hanen Centre is graciously offering 40% off to all Home Sweet Speech room readers now through April 7, 2017. Just enter the code HSSR40.  That means you get 0.2 CEUs for only around $50! Super cheap for a great course.

Note: Access to this course was provided for me to review the course. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are mine. 

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Friday, March 3, 2017

First Blubs {app review}

I have a lot of apps that are geared toward older kids working on some higher level skills.  I don't have many apps for younger kids that are also specifically designed for speech therapy.  I was excited to see First Blubs, which is designed for those early communicators.

Affiliate links may be included for your convenience. 

First Blubs is designed to help young children begin to imitate animal noises. This is a goal I work on a lot with my late talkers.  The app is designed to use peer models. A child will watch videos of children saying the animal noises.

Then, the child has a turn to try the sound.  They will "become" the animal that they are imitating.

As a reward for watching the videos several times, a child receives a sticker, funny videos, or animal facts.

When you have completed the sound, you receive a sticker to place on the main page.

You can watch it in action here:

Overall, First Blubs is a very simple app to use.  It is engaging for young children.  My clients loved the ability to turn the camera around onto them and "become" the animal they were imitating.  It is a fun, new way to practice one of their goals.

In future updates, I would love for there to be a multi-user function that would save the stickers that each child has completed.  Additionally, not all of the sounds are true English sounds, especially the vowels.  I would really like to see accurate models of the sounds.

If you are interested, this app is FREE to download and has an in-app purchase of $6.99 for all animals or $0.99/animal.

Blub Blub has generously offered to give TWO readers a code for all of the animals.  Enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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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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