Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Break Speech and Language Boost

Holidays are a great time to help your children boost their speech and language skills.

Your children will learn from everyday events and family game time:

1. Holiday  planning, organizing making lists, and follow through with so many things.
You are teaching them "executive functioning skills"as you talk out loud your steps to them.  These are higher order skills; steps to making plans, How to organize, How to prioritize,  How to make decisions, How to be flexible, making adjustments.
2. Baking time is a great time to learn, set aside time to let little hands help as much as they can. They will learn from you pulling out ingredients, following directions, following procedures, and service as you share your holiday goodies.

3. Gift giving; Let your kids help you see who is on your list, how you make decisions for what they want, how to budget, shop, wrap, and mail, etc.

4. Family events and games;  This is loaded with fun learning; learn lots of social skills; how to take turns, ask complete questions how to give answers, knowing when to ask and make clarifications, repair conversation breakdowns, and so much more.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Freezer Paper for Speech Activities

I've discovered a love for Freezer paper.  It can print in your printer. It can stick to other PAPER or FABRIC so you can actually print on fabric too. (That will be another lesson).
It can stick by ironing it onto other paper and it can liven up stuff you have on hand to use for speech therapy.

Here is one activity I made using freezer paper as my basic print.
I downloaded Teacher pay Teacher (TpTs)  Christmas vocabulary pictures.  

Here are the general steps for my Paper "Money Talk" project.
1. Find your image you want to print.
2. Cut your" FEEZER  PAPER"  8.5 by 11 inches and run it through your printer, rough side print side up.
3. Cut pictures out
4. Iron pictures onto the paper dollar bills.  Only takes about 1 second per picture. it sticks well.

Have the kids say their words 5 Xs for a five dollar bill, 10X with a ten dollar bill, You will get lots of productions.  If they get to 100 productions give them a 100 bill to collect to 500-1000 dollar points to earn prizes. (about 2-4 sessions).

Friday, November 11, 2016

Sticky Wall Toys Therapy Tip

How to use Sticky Toys.
I found a new favorite sticky toy.  I  got them at Target for $2.00 for a set of 12 sticky men in the party section, Walmart has them for $3.21.

Lesson Plan for using these sticky men for any articulation session.
1. Your student or client does warm ups correctly saying their target sound 20-40 times each in isolation for placement, manner and voicing  (best used with the SmartPalate System). Check out CompleteSpeech Company for this system.

2.  Have your student says his/her word or phrase 5Xs at 80% or greater accuracy first; then they or you  toss the sticky man up  on the wall, and every time the mad turns,, falls, flips, or moves, the child has to say his target word. You get tons of production.

3. Variation; toss up two different men and they have to say and remember which target word goes with which man that moves.

The beauty of this is for generalization of their speech.  The man moves at random times, so the student has to be prepared to say their words at any moment.  sometimes they say them many times in a row, other times with more breaks.  They get tons of practice. They want to keep tossing the man up over and over again.

I also send one man home with them to carry over their practice.  They LOVE this.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sales Alert

I love shopping alerts.  This is a great shopping alert for one of the BEST articulation apps.
Check out Articulation Station App

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Home Chores and meals together teaches more skills, way more than people think.

Speech and Language can be developed and generalized  at home in so many ways.

Home chores are the easiest and highly valuable moments to promote and develops vocational and speech and language skills.
Children naturally gravitate towards wanting to "help".  We used lots of words; watering can, water, slow, pour, on the dirt, be careful, plant, thirsty, hot, day, more water, help, etc.

Basic meal times have traditionally been the main time for families to unite.
But recently surveys have shown that less than half the families actually prep together or sit down and eat together.


ASHA Leader Magazine recently wrote; "SLPs can target many speech and language goals associated with food preparation. Useful skills learned by the child include:"
Take a minute and think about these skills and see how valuable they are for so many areas in life.
  • Sequencing
  • Literacy
  • Expanding vocabulary
  • Articulation
  • Describing and commenting
  • Actions
  • Answering “wh” questions
  • Problem solving
  • Turn taking
  • Recalling information

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Power of Choice

We are in the weeks of the Big Election, the thought "the power of choice"
stood out to me.  I actually saw that this ad was written for a local power energy company but it made me think of personal choices for many other areas in life.

This blog deals with speech and language services so I will tie this statement "the power of choice" with parents, teachers and therapists.  Each of us may be the first line of defense for bettering a child's life and refer particular help that a child may need at a critical moment.

1. Parents have "the power of choice" for their child's therapy service.  They can refer their child for an evaluation at any time they feel their child isn't keeping up and see if the child qualifies for free school speech and language services.  They then can seek out other additional private therapy if they wish. Research shows that early intervention is the way to go.  Of course, It's never too late to get help.  ASHA Developmental NormsMilestones from Michigan UniversitySpeech Sound Disorder Chart

2. Teachers see many children so they have a good idea what skills are being met or not.  They may be the first to refer a child for testing too.  Most schools have a tier method where the teachers will try a few extra supports to see if the child responds to the support or will need more direct intervention.
Milestones ProEd

3. Therapists have an obligation to refer parents/clients to more testing if they observe deficits or  referral to other professionals (not in their scope of practice) as needed. This may save a child's life literally.  I've only referred parents to specialists when three out of three questions confirmed a need to refer them.  In every instant it was needed.  Pediatric referrals for speech

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Pinterest Links

Please check out my Speech Pinterest Links for ideas for homework or therapy ideas.
 Stay tuned for weekly updates

 Articulation        Auditory Processing      Autism, Aspberger

Behavior Management    Cognitive        Conversation skills

Kid's Dramatic Play    Language Ideas   Literacy Activities 
Speech Therapy    stories and Narratives   Stuttering

Theory of Mind Activities   Voice

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

What Quality Is Best?

 What quality do you want in an SLP for your child and you?

I was reviewing a blog by Erik Raj where he discussed this question. Here is a list from my notes taken from his blog and video.  For full details visit his site.

Choice Qualities listed below.

     Trait                                        Reason
1. Encouragement          Let's clients take risk to try 
2. Patience                      Helps build trust
3. Humor                        Laughter heals self and others
4. Self Awareness           Increases growth
5. Imagination                Allows creativity
6. Empathy                     Perspective taking
7. Organized                   Prepared to work
8. Humble* (I added)    Willing to learn 

Beware of consequences for your child, if you do nothing to help your child's speech and language.

It's spooky how long it can take to correct speech and language errors the longer you wait.
Why do witches wear name tags?  So you know Which Witch is which? Learning figurative language is critical for advancing both receptive and expressive language skills.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Balance Work with Breaks

Neuropsychology shows that taking intermittent breaks helps reset and refocus the brain to work better.

We have a concept in speech therapy called "Drill and Kill".  We need to make sure to provide breaks every 10 minutes for 1-2 minutes. (Use a timer, time can escape). Put the fun in therapy; they can actually practice saying their word or phrase in a relaxed way while taking turns during their break too." under less pressure.

In Speech Therapy, the idea is to get lots  and lots of practice, called "mass practice".  It helps motor memory, muscle memory set in.

Then we want to practice across days, people, places and situations, called "distributive practice". This helps generalize the new motor skills.

In order for the brain and muscles to engage optimally, we need to take BREAKS.  They can be 1-5 minutes.  Here is a list of breaks.

Physical outlet; toss and catch games,  walking, marching, stretching. balancing, musical chairs or mats, flicking objects,Table top activities; bingo, angry birds, bouncing balls, magnet tosses, 

Cognitive outlet;  hide and seek objects, flashlight search, categorize - Secret Squares,  Quick Cups, Bounce balls, Minute to Win it type games, patterns with color sticks, blocks shapes. matching, puzzles, quick card games, Spot It game, 

Creative outlet; stickers,  dot art, cut and paste, coloring pictures, playdough mats, leggos, blocks,  etc. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

"Simplify" Last Thursday's Thought

Theory of Simplicity
"If you can't explain it simply you don't understand it well enough." Albert Einstein

This is so true with so many professions.  Why should people care what you have to say?

 Speech and Language Therapists, you should read scientific papers and know how it effects clinical decisions but be able to explain the rational and main message in simple clear terms to your clients.

Remember, if you clients can't "buy" into it, they aren't going to use it or value it.

Some people think if you are too simple people won't take you seriously but in reality clear simple messages empowers your clients.

We want the simplest directions to get somewhere not the most complicated way!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Thursday Thoughts for Therapy: "Why should I care?"

I'm reading a good book on kindle currently, called "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.
I"m  6 chapters into the book and it's  intriguing .  Some things I knew and some chapters have shed some needed light.
The message I've pondered on was when you share a presentation answer the audience's questions, "Why should I care?"  

I liken this to when you teach a class or  teach one student.

I realized when we work with young or older clients, we need to make sure we address that same question.  We tend to think of this as a "rationale".  Why should I do that?  Or why is this better for me?""How does this benefit me?

Yesterday, I asked one of my preteen client, "Do you know why I want you to do this?"  By her facial expression and off reply, I knew I had to do a better job explaining.  I said, "When I ask you to do something, You should have a very clear understanding why its important to you and how it benefits your life."  "You want to make sure the reason is super clear."  That led us into a great experience during the session.  She actually was more receptive  than previous sessions.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Lesson Learned Series 1 2016


1. At the beginning; Take time to teach slowly and accurately during the first two weeks of therapy session for  the following items; Each lesson begins with   the word "relax"  This helps start out the client in the manner that's best for learning the new way to speak.

    a) Placement- Location; where sounds are physically made with lip, tongue, jaw, teeth, so on.
    b) Manner of sound- How the sound is made; with correct airflow, central or lateral, burst or continuous, with full contact or minimal contact, etc.
    c) Voicing- If voicing is required or not (if the vocal fold vibrate or not;  e.g. say /s/, now say /z/  same with /p/ vs /b/, so on.

2.  Keep Parents in the loop:  Parents appreciate knowing what to expect from therapy; I let the the parents know the sequence of events.
     a) Build accurate sounds first (as noted above).
    b)  Then build consistent accurate sounds over many trials (build production number to 200-300 using a clicker. Also by using several methods;  the sandwich method; (start out slow rate, regular rate, slow rate, then move to regular rate, slow rate, regular rate.  Then fade the use of computer displays; look at the computer/ look away from the display if using the SmartPalate Technology, or use facilitating tools to promote placement like mirrors, straws, or flosser, then without them).
    c) Then work through the linguistic complexity; accurate sounds in all positions of words; initial medial, and final position, to phrases, sentences, conversation, Q and As, readings, retells, so on.

3.  The most frequent question parents have about speech therapy;  When will my child make the correct sounds on their own in everyday speech??  (in other words; when will they generalize what they learned in therapy to regular speech).
     a) The answer of course is "it depends" on the child's age. The older and longer a person has had persistent articulation error, the longer you can expect to create new "muscle memory" and fade the old habits.
     b) Mindset of the client;  does he only give his best practice during the "sessions" and never practices his "good speech" at home, in the car, at school, wherever he is too?. Recently I had several kids say, I don't think about my speech anywhere else except during speech time.  Do you see a flaw with that line of thinking??

4. Homework;  this ties in with generalizing- using their "good speech" patterns in other places and with lots of people.
    a) When parents help set up regular homework time, use data charts and provide rewards of some sorts, Progress flows more consistently and naturally. The practice time only needs to be 5-10 minutes per day  or at least 3X per week. 
Here are the rationales for practicing outside the therapy room.
Rationale for Homework
1. Develops better neuro-pathways with practice
2. Strengthens generalization and automaticity
3. Correct productions become more accurate and consistent with less effort.
4. Progress seen across linguistic complexity.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016


This is one of the best designed comprehensive speech apps around.
This sale goes through This Thursday!  Be sure and check it out.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


This may be on the minds of many children who don't say their words accurately.
Help them to use the SMART-PALATE technology as they fix their speech sounds.

People like to "SEE"

The SP technology makes practice easier and more accurate

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Gut Feelings

As a new school year begins, remember to listen and follow through with your parental "gut feeling" about helping your child.  It can be improving his/her academics, or organizational skills, social skills, or articulation.
Don't let another year go by without getting the speech-language therapy your child needs from a certified speech language pathologist.
Here is a reminder of what certified speech therapists work on.

Standards III-V must have evidence of competency in the following nine areas:
1. Articulation
2. Fluency- stuttering
3. Voice/Resonance
4. Language  (receptive and expressive, literacy and social language).
5. Hearing- aural rehab, auditory processing.
6. Swallowing  disorders
7. Cognitive aspects of communication
8. Social aspects of communication
9. Communication modalities

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Vacations are so important.  The older I get the more I realize how important it is to change up your everyday work and life, with a real break; a real vacation, a real change.  It needs to happen for your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.  You become a better professional and person with breaks, you see things differently which can be a huge benefit.

This summer as a private speech therapist; I decided it was time to allow myself to take one week off each month during the summer months.  I still held my summer intensive program in June for three weeks, then I took one week off, then worked two weeks then took one week off then worked two weeks then took another one week off.  Then I will be more than ready to get back to working full time.

Vacations can start out small, even driving or hiking to your location (camping). You don't have to fly but if you can plan and pay for larger trips and cruises, it's all the better; you can spend more time there than  spending the time driving there.

Here are a few photos from each of my breaks;  You will see how very different each was.

Nebraska: Visiting a friend who moved.


Vancouver British Columbia; 
Adele Concert, Harrison Hot Springs along the way.

Adele Concert was what we really came to BC Vancouver for.  It was one of the best concerts I've been to.

Manzanita Beach Oregon; Along the Columbia River, passed Cannon Beach to Manzanita Beach for my final R and R break.


Here are a few thoughts that popped into my mind; Prepare lunches ahead, get backpacks ready, signing off papers, and making sure your kids get on the right bus.

Long term; don't hesitate to get the help your child needs for long-term success.  Make sure if your child needs speech therapy or extra education support that you start early with the process of signing up.

Common question: what can I do to help my child get the right resources to succeed in school?

A few answers:

1. Call your local school district and get your child tested.
Then follow-up with them about getting into the right program. Attend all meetings that make decisions about your child's needs.
2. You can also sign up your child at your local university for testing and therapy.
3. You can also check with private therapy clinics.  (FYI medical insurance do not finance speech therapy, but they will usually pay for testing for particular cases).
4. Check online at for developmental norms and speech therapists licensed in your city and state.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What Speech Language Pathologists do.

Do you know what  Speech therapists (SLPs) work on?
ASHA (American Speech Hearing Association) governing body states that SLPs work on 9 different areas.

Standards III-V must have evidence of competency in the following nine areas:
1. Articulation
2. Fluency- stuttering
3. Voice/Resonance
4. Language  (receptive and expressive, literacy and social language).
5. Hearing- aural rehab, auditory processing.
6. Swallowing  disorders
7. Cognitive aspects of communication
8. Social aspects of communication
9. Communication modalities

Of course not every SLP will be specially trained in every area.  You will have to ask them.
For example, I work on everything except Feeding and Swallowing disorders.