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Family Friendly Speech Therapy Insight | Denver, CO

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It’s been a while! I apologize for my blogging absence but it has been an incredibly crazy year.

I’ve spent the past 12 months dealing with some family issues and in the meantime, I got married! It was a crazy ride but I’m happy to be back focusing on my work and feeling inspired by something other than bridal floral arrangements :)

I’d like to start back by sharing a few articles that have touched and motivated me recently. Stay tuned for more speech and language news.

When We Asked Ronda Rousey If She Had Apraxia Of Speech

Father Gets Cochlear Implant Tattoo For His Daughter

Autism Awareness Day

Please take today and the whole month of April to educate yourself, your family, friends and colleagues about Autism Spectrum Disorders. New CDC reports indicate that 1 in 68 children have some form of ASD. We HAVE to put more time and money towards researching this epidemic. Please check out this article which really highlights where ASD was and where it is now:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13180/what-i-wish-everyone-knew-about-autism.html

 

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Teacher Training

Recently, Stevens Cooperative School in Hoboken, NJ asked me to be a guest speaker at their teacher professional training event. I was so honored to be their presenter and offer suggestions for identification, referral and classroom carryover techniques. It just goes to show you when a school is truly invested, they educate THEIR educators and provide as much support to the students as needed. The feedback has been so positive that Stevens is considering a follow-up on some of the topics I touched on.

I did extensive research in order to provide as much useful information as possible. I realize many public school SLPs are probably asked to do this yearly. I thought it would be helpful to share for those of you who are required to provide S+L education. If you’re in need of a powerpoint as continued training or just apart of your school program, please contact me. I’m happy to share or even present at your school :)

 

Sorry I’m Not Sorry.

Do you get sick of answering people’s questions about your child with ASD or special needs? This is a powerful article that explains one mother’s answer to these questions…I’m Not Sorry My Kids Have Autism, So Why Are You?

we LOVE speech.

Last year I blogged about our Valentine’s theme in the therapy room. This year I added some new ideas that I wanted to share. Feel free to borrow!

IMG_4415I’ve been really into decorating my office wall because it needs a good paint job. I dug up some old paper in the craft drawers and found enough to make the wall look festive.

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The kids have been crafting butterflies for their loved ones. All the credit goes to Michaels, of course. I love this one because we added a lollipop as a special treat. We focused on sequencing, matching, and superlatives (big/small heart) with this activity.

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I’ve been working on a Valentine’s themed play dough recipe. It’s not perfect just yet but this one is vanilla-cinnamon scented. I used the same playdough recipe that I love and swear by. I added 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon to spice up the scent. All you need is a heart-shaped cookie cutter and you have the perfect Valentine’s activity. I plan to target speech sounds and following directions with this task.

Don’t forget to spread the <3 this V-day!

 

Superbowl and Speech!

A week late, I know. I was too depressed from the Broncos loss to blog!

Even though we didn’t use the Superbowl theme too much in the therapy room, my boyfriend and I hosted a party at home. Thanks to Pinterest, I was so inspired with crafty football ideas. Here is some of what happened in therapy and at home…

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This was fun to decorate for your preferred team. Thanks to the team names, /r/ blends (Broncos) and /s/ targets (Seahawks) were easy to incorporate.

 

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I decorated our coffee table to mimic a football field, adding fun napkins and yummy snacks! This was inspired from a few different pins, I’m sorry that I don’t have the direct links!

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Who doesn’t love the striped straws? I chose each teams colors and arranged them in ball jars. I threw in some orange tulips and football candies to encourage some more Broncos fans ;)

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Chives, sour cream, cheese and avocados from the chili bar. Yum!

As you can see, I am in need of some new speech and therapy football ideas. Please let me know if you have any to share!

Whole Body Listening

Or…WBL as I call it. I mentioned that this idea of “Whole Body Listening” was one of my favorite take-aways from the ASHA convention (courtesy of Michelle Garcia Winner and Social Thinking). I’ve ACTUALLY used this concept in therapy. I have some children who could and have truly benefitted from this model. Our mascot for WBL may not be as pretty but this is how we target the idea…

 

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^^That’s “Mike.” One of my kiddos named him and he focuses on some key concepts that are important during conversations with adults and peers. I can even refer to “Mike” when my clients are having trouble (e.g., “What would Mike think about the way you are talking to your friend?) Thank you Michelle and Social Thinking, this has been a very resourceful tool! I encourage you to try it with your clients. Let me know what you think!

 

What’s NEW?

Happy New Year!

I apologize, I’ve been neglecting the blog. I’ve just honestly been so busy with scheduling and evaluating. The NEW year means NEW clients and NEW needs to address. I finally have a chance to breathe and re-connect!

Here is FINALLY what we were up to over the holidays…

1. The Mitten by Jan Brett.

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Who doesn’t love this story? It was a childhood favorite and I love sharing it with my clients. It’s a great book to work on sequencing, speech sounds and really just the value of family. At the end of the book, the grandmother makes the boy some delicious hot chocolate by the fire. Some of my children were so thrilled with this idea that we made our own hot cocoa mix. Here are the ingredients:

Homemade Hot Cocoa (inspired by “The Mitten”)

  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup hot water
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 4 cups milk (Dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

This activity was so fun because the children brought home their mix, made it with their families and retold the story of “The Mitten.” Warms my heart! <3

2. A Michael’s Santa.

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I can’t resist the Michael’s craft kits. They’re so fun and creative especially during the holidays. My clients loved matching the shapes to the sample Santa and practiced sequencing, vocabulary and speech sounds with this activity. Some of my 4-year-olds even expanded this activity by telling their craft Santa about their hopes and dreams for Christmas 2013 (mostly Lego-related). The puppet Santa became a great helper because many of my clients were tired of practicing their speech sounds. Now, Santa was their voice and it truly helped them be more motivated to record their speech on the iPad. They graded Santa’s productions–“Try again, Santa! Perfect /s/ Santa!” You can always count on the kiddos to be in the holiday spirit :)

3. Festive Eco-Dough.

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I’ve been a huge proponent of homemade playdough. It’s just smoother, safer and more fun because of the colors you can make. If you can’t find the time for the homemade stuff or you just love supporting eco-friendly companies, check out Eco-kids. This is their blue dough from their “eco-dough” set.

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Each flavor/color smells AMAZING. The blue smells mostly like blueberries. My clients have been so taken back by the smell. They keep asking if they can eat it! It has essential oils and vegetable extracts that make them smell delightful. I highly recommend this dough because it’s incredibly smooth, natural and lasts forever. We made stars, gingerbread men and snowflakes (mostly because I could sabotage my kids into practicing /s/ blends and /dz/ (“j”) sounds). I can’t wait to try out more of their products!

Feel free to borrow these ideas for next year and let me know how they turn out! :)

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I hope you and your families had a wonderful holiday and an even happier new year! There are many amazing things coming in 2014 and I hope we all embrace them :) Stay tuned…

We’re so THANKFUL for DIY SPEECH!

Our therapy sessions have been filled with nothing but turkeys! This time of year is wonderful for incorporating holiday themes into sessions. It also creates the opportunity for practicing new vocabulary words and concepts. I find that carryover of speech and language skills is most prevalent during the holidays because my kids see and hear all about the same information at school, at home and in the therapy room. We used a couple do-it-yourself activities to get the children more connected with their therapy session and to other kiddos in Speech. Here is what we’ve been up to:

 

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DIY Decorations. Each year, I struggle with finding inexpensive ways to spruce up my room for the holidays. This year I decided to have my kids help me with a little DIY decorating. Each child decorated a flag for our “Give Thanks” banner. We worked on sound/letter identification and early reading skills. When the child came back for the next session, they were so proud that they helped make the decorations! We also colored turkeys and wrote things we were thankful for on each turkey feather. My kids with /th/ goals got a ton of practice!

 

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Turkey Match up. My kids LOVE matching games. I decided to make our own turkey-themed version this year. Each child had to color two turkeys in the exact same way. We worked on the concept of same/different. The children with articulation goals wrote Thanksgiving vocabulary words with their special sound on the back. Those children with vocabulary or language goals wrote Thanksgiving activities or food items on the back. I laminated the cards and let the children play their DIY version of Turkey match up. It was a hit!

 

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Pilgrim Pronouns. I have a bunch of children who struggle with use of pronouns. We used this coloring activity to work on possessive pronouns (e.g., color his shoes black, make her bonnet blue). Most of my kids didn’t know about Pilgrims so we read the book “One little, Two little, Three little Pilgrims” by B.G. Hennessey to learn more about Thanksgiving.

 

Feel free to borrow these ideas or store them away for next year. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

ASHA Recap: Favorite Products

When I got back from the ASHA convention, many of my colleagues were interested to hear about what I learned and about new products I had discovered. I decided to share my three favorite products and ideas from the convention.

And the winner goes to…

1. Articulation Test Center by Little Bee Speech. If you’re an SLP who treats articulation disorders, you already have “Articulation Station” on your ipad. Let me tell you, mommy speech therapy just keeps getting better! She now has Little Bee Speech and an app for evaluating articulation and phonological skills called “Articulation Test Center.” As a private evaluator who travels from home to home, I loved the idea of leaving my Goldman-Fristoe at home. I was worried that the app might not be thorough enough and I would have to improvise with some clinical judgment. I was wrong. The app is so comprehensive and it even generates a report for you. The price is right at $49.99 and you have the option to screen with the “quick test” or dig deeper with the “full test.” You MUST download this app!

 

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2. Talking on the Go. This resource is a must-have if you work with early intervention or preschoolers. It’s a great tool to give to parents to work on language facilitation in everyday routines. The tabs on the side are organized by age. I’ve used this resource with parents of a 2-year-old that I see and they have raved about how much it helped. I give them several suggestions during each session but it’s difficult to remember to use them and it’s also hard to know when the techniques are best utilized. This book answers those questions and is so parent-friendly. Check it out!

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3. Social Thinking. Maybe I’m late to the game but I’ve been searching for resources for my children on the spectrum with social language issues. I haven’t really found anything applicable and easy to use until I found Social Thinking. I attended a seminar hosted by Michelle Garcia Winner (the created of Social Thinking) and it just made so much sense. I picked up the “Whole Body Listening” poster and I’m deciding which book I’ll purchase next. Check out the website and other products:  www.socialthinking.com

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