Thursday, September 20, 2018

New Resources to Add to Your Speech Room for 2018-2019



I believe everyone is back in school now.  This summer, I've been compiling a list of new games and resources that I have added or want to add to my speech room.  Some of these may be new to you; others may be products you already love!  These are listed in no particular order, though they may include affiliate links for your convenience. 

Resource Books:
1. Retro Toddler: More Than 100 Old-School Activities to Boost Development by Anne H. Zachry.  

This is a great book written by an occupational therapist.  I was excited to receive a copy of this book so I could integrate some of these suggested activities into my therapy sessions with my little friends.  I think this could be a great resource for those starting out in early intervention, but also for parents.  It is a very easy read and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. 


2. Thirty Million Words: Building a Child's Brain by Dana Suskind

I originally bought this book for myself when I found out I was pregnant.  As a speech-language pathologist, I knew it was important to boost her language early and have conversations with her.  I thought this book would be a great addition to my personal library.  Turns out, this book is a great one for my professional library as well. This is another great recommendation for parents to read.  It can help shape the way they speak to their children!  Interesting tidbit--it is written by a pediatric surgeon who worked with patients with cochlear implants! 



3. Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz

I first purchased this book to read with my co-workers in a book study.  It has been such great foundational information about what dyslexia actually is that I have now integrated it as part of my graduate student training program.  My state just passed some significant legislation regarding dyslexia, so I want to be ready myself and want my students to be prepared for when they enter the job market.  This is another great one to recommend to parents who are just starting on this journey as well. 



Books for Kids:

1. Help Me Be Good Series 

This series was introduced to me by the BCBAs that I work with.  These are great books for targeting social skills.  They have been a good way for me to target social skills AND reading comprehension with one of my clients.   I want to add these to my personal library! I have used the following books: 






2. Fruit Salad Friend by Maria Dismondy 

I love the Maria Dismondy books.  They all have great lessons to be learned.  These are perfect for all kids, but especially those working on social skills.  



3. The Girl Who Thought In Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin

This is a fun biography of Temple Grandin written for kids.  Temple Grandin has always been fascinating to me, so I love sharing it with my clients.  This is a great book that you should all have in your speech room!   



Games:

1. Super Genius-Reading 1

This is such a fun game that is similar to Spot It.  Ever since I received it a few weeks ago from Blue Orange Games, my clients have been asking to play it.  I love that it targets sight words (Dolch words) because several of my clients are working on them.  It makes for easy planning on my part since they enjoy it so much! 

2.  Fluxx

Ok I'll admit, Fluxx is not new to me.  But it's new to almost everyone I talk to about it.  I grew up playing this game.  Now I'm using it in my speech room.  This has been a great game for me to use to help my clients become more flexible.  It is a game of ever-changing rules, so it's great for following directions as well! 



3. Superfight

This game was introduced to me by one of the occupational therapists that I work with.  It is a game of absurd arguments.  This game allows kids to be creative and think critically about what attributes would be stronger than others.  It is a great game to work on persuasion.




4. Snake Oil

This is another great game for persuasion. One player is a customer and the rest are "salesmen."  The salesmen are trying to convince the customer why he/she needs that product.  It is a great way to work on describing objects as well.  

 


Hope you can add some great new games and resources to your speech room this school year! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Early Intervention SLP Must-Haves



So you just accepted a job as an Early Intervention SLP.  Maybe you're a CF just starting out.  On the other hand, maybe you're a seasoned SLP making a career move.   If you're using this summer to get prepared, here's a list of materials, outfit notes, and other necessities that you will need/want to get started.

Materials:
  • Bubbles.  I haven't met a kid that didn't like bubbles! They are super motivating. 
  • Blocks.  Kids love to build towers and knock them over.  There are a lot of language opportunities here. 
  • Cars. 
  • Dolls. There are so many pretend play opportunities here! 
  • Pretend Food. There are also so many pretend play opportunities. 
  • Play Doh.  So many language opportunities here. 
  • Books.  Do I need to explain?  There are SO many things you can target with books! 
  • Anything in your clients' houses--this will allow for the parents to see activities and do them with their children later 
  • iPad--there are a lot of great apps for EI/preschool-age kids. 

Outfit:
  • Fun socks.  You're likely going to be taking your shoes off in your clients' homes.  Have some fun socks to wear! 
  • Shoes that are easy to slip on and off.  See above for the reason. 
  • Clothes that are comfortable and easy to move around in.  You never know where you will be sitting or what position you may end up in. 
  • Change of clothes.  It is more than likely that you will get something on your clothes somewhere along the way.  You're going to need to change at some point and probably won't have time to run home or to the store.  
  • Dress in layers.  You will never know if a client's home is going to be hot or cold. 

Other Necessities:
  • A good mug that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. You're going to be in and out of your car a lot, so keep your drink the correct temperature is important! 
  • A good thermal lunch box and ice packs. Same reason as above. 
  • Hand Sanitizer. You are going to encounter a lot of germs.  Keep this handy! 
  • Lysol wipes.  Again, you're going to encounter a lot of germs.  You're going to want to wipe everything down. 
  • Mileage app. Track your miles for tax purposes!
  • A car charger.  You will want to charge your phone/iPad while you're driving.  

For more great ideas, check out Laura Mize's ideas over at Teach Me To Talk

What are your must-haves for the early intervention population? 



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lively Letters {app review}

A few years ago, I heard a presentation at MSHA (Missouri Speech-Language Hearing Association) on Lively Letters.  It started out as a set of cards, and now they have expanded to an app!



What is it? 
Lively Letters is an innovative program created by an ASHA certified SLP that takes the letters of the alphabet and gives them each a character.  The whole program is based on multi-sensory ways of learning phonemic awareness.  There are images, hand/body cues, kinesthetic cues, mnemonic stories, and songs to go with each character.  Pretty cool, right?  You can find out more about the program and cards here.  You can download free samples from them as well. 

Image: Reading with TLC



Who is it for?
Lively Letters is great for children with speech and language disorders, reading difficulties, dyslexia,  and memory weaknesses.  It is also great for children learning English as a second language.  The targeted grades are preschool through 2nd grade. 

The App
The new Lively Letters app uses the same cards and stories in three activities!  Like the cards, the app also incorporates multi-sensory learning opportunities.



To start, select the student from the list or enter a new student.  Under each student, you will be able to view their progress. 




For every activity, you may choose the letter type--plain versus Lively and uppercase versus lowercase.  You also may choose which specific letters you want to target. 




The student may choose a theme for the background. 



The first activity is Flashing.  The Flashing activity is great for teaching the letters and sounds as well as practicing them. 

Click on the book icon to her the story read in English or Spanish.  Click the music note icon to hear the song.  Click on the lips icon to see a picture of a person making the sound with the hand cues.  Click on the pencil icon to have the student write the letter.  Click on the ear icon to hear the sound made.  

The second activity is Tracking.  In this activity, students will practice blending, segmenting, and manipulating sounds.  They can read words that the SLP gives them or they can spell a given word.  They can also play the "Alien versus Human" game.  Click on the alien if it is a nonsense word or click on the human if it's a real word.   Click on the pencil icon to trace the letters.  



The last activity is Matching.  This game is the traditional memory game, and it gives students another way to practice their letter/sound associations.  It allows students to match all combinations of Lively letters to plain letters and uppercase to lowercase for maximal generalization.  



You can track the progress for each activity: 


In summary, Lively Letters is a great research-based program created by an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist to target phonemic awareness.  It makes blending, segmenting, and manipulating letters/sounds fun! The app has three fun and easy activities to supplement the program (or stand alone).  My clients have really enjoyed the fun stories and songs that correspond with the letters.  They keep asking to use it again and again and have even asked their parents to purchase it for them!

If you are interested in purchasing this app, it is typically available in the App Store for $24.99 at the time of this review.  BUT, through March 12, 2018, the app is $5 off, so you can get it for $19.99. An affiliate link is below for your convenience.  



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


Enjoy!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dew Drop Academy {app review}

Note: A copy of this app was provided in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine. This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. 

A brand new language app was released on Christmas Day called Dew Drop Academy.  It was inspired by the flashcard system an occupational therapist created for a boy with autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays.  I was given the opportunity to check it out, and I'm excited to share it with you.



This app is designed to help children learn colors, shapes, numbers, letters, everyday objects, and high frequency words. Here's an important note from the developer of the app:
"Dew Drop Academy's artificial intelligence constantly tracks how quickly the student is learning, and adjusts the difficulty up or down so that the student is never overly challenged nor finds it too slow. The application also reviews words the student has previously mastered to ensure long-term memory of each word. The teacher may review what words the student has learned, how quickly the student is learning each word, and the overall speed of learning."

The first thing the app does is a quick assessment to determine where the child is.   This is called a "Probe" under the data section.  This is done periodically to measure generalization.

Every activity is run the same way; they just have different targets.  The screen will pop up one or more flashcards with the target (and other words/letters/numbers).  The child will receptively identify the word spoken by the app.   Here are a few examples:




Note-the app varies the font for the letters and words and the shape for each of the colors so that the child generalizes the word/letter/color.  I really like this feature!

The app will give positive reinforcement for you, such as "Alright!" "Yay," "Ya-hoo!" or "Way to go!" It also will give the children a chance to pop clouds to find Dewy, the dew drop, as a break in between activities.   The dew drop will create fun cloud designs, such as the one below.



Another fantastic thing about this app is that it tracks data for you.  The percentage that it gives is the percentage correct of the past five times that the child was asked that word.   The second data point you will see is "Trials to Mastery."  This is the number of times the child was asked to receptively label the object before the score was high enough to be considered mastered (80%).



I would love to see a multi-player option.  While this would work well for individual sessions, a lot of SLPs see children in groups.  It also doesn't stop when a child achieves 80%.  Let's say a child hits the 80% mastery criteria after 5 tries (4/5), I would think that the app would switch to another letter.  Instead, it keeps going until all of the rainbow bars are filled in on the side of the screen.  Yes, repetition is important.  However, my clients who have mastered it get bored after awhile.

Finally, an awesome thing about this app is that 10% of purchases are donated to charities to help kids with developmental delays!

So in summary, Dew Drop Academy is a great app to work on receptive labeling of colors, numbers, shapes, letters, and high-frequency words.  It uses a flashcard type system to elicit multiple repetitions per target.  The app focuses on mastery and generalization.  I also think this would be a great app for parents to use at home for practice (with consultation from the SLP of course).

If you are interested in purchasing this app, it is available in the App Store.  It is a FREE download with options to purchase the various activities.  The activities range in price from $0.99 to $2.99. 





Let me know your thoughts!


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