Sunday, December 4, 2016

Surviving the Speech Therapy Holiday Season: How to use No-Print Activities

Are you super busy during the holidays and have no time to prep for your speech therapy sessions?


How To Use NO-Print Activities in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com
No-Print Christmas Following Directions

The holiday season always seems to be a giant time crunch for me ...and that means precious little time for prepping great activities to use in speech therapy.

Right now I have 15 ARDS (That's what we call IEP meetings in Texas) and 6 assessments due within the month. I know many of you probably have even more.  With no time to prep, a great solution is using No-Print activities on your ipad, tablet, computer or whiteboard. They are ready to go, and require no printing, laminating or cutting. If you like using apps, I bet you will love No-Print activities too.

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What are No-Print activities? 

No-Print activities are usually PDF files that can be opened on your tablet or your computer, and used with a mouse. Some are PowerPoint files, but today we will be mainly talking about PDF files.

There are many No-Print Activities available on Teacher's pay Teachers. You can see Speech Sprouts No-Print activities HERE.

The Mitten Book Companion and Speech Therapy Activities www.speechsproutstherapy.com
The Mitten Book Companion


Touch or click the correct answer.

We all use cards in speech therapy to adress a multitude of goals. The advantage of a No-Print activity is that it is all stored digitally!

Better yet, No-Print activities are interactive. When the correct answer is touched or clicked, the picture advances to another slide. Sometimes it's the next question, or it might be feedback or a motivational game as in Christmas Following Directions. Fun!

No-Print Christmas Following Directions in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com
No-Print Christmas Following Directions
The No-Print format saves you ink and requires no prep other than downloading and opening the file. Win-win when time is at a premium, and it makes for an activity that is really portable too. This is great if you are a traveling therapist or do in-class therapy.


Using a No-Print Activity on Your Computer

First, if your file is a zipped file, you need to unzip it before using it. You will see a folder with a zipper on it. On my Windows computer I just right click and choose EXTRACT ALL. 

How To Use NO-Print Activities in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Wheels on The Bus No-Print Interactive Story
If you are using a No-Print activity on your computer, you will need to be sure you have a program to open that file type. For activities that are in PowerPoint format, you will need PowerPoint on your computer.

For PDF files, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is a free download from Adobe.

To use a PDF, open it then click:
VIEW
PAGE DISPLAY
SINGLE PAGE VIEW.

If you don't do this step, the file may skip two pages at a time when you use it.


My favorite way to use No-Print activities is with a touchscreen- my iPad or whiteboard. 


No-Print Christmas Following Directions in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com
No-Print Christmas Following Directions
If you are lucky enough to have a whiteboard like I do, simply open the No-Print file on your computer, and project to your whiteboard. You now have a jumbo-sized interactive activity that is sure to engage your students.

Using a No-Print Activity on Your iPad

How To Use NO-Print Activities in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com
A PDF activity can be used on any tablet and it's a super-portable, easy way to use the activity.  I'm going to show you how to set up your activity on the iPad, since that is what I use. 

We are going to save it to iBooks for best results. You can also open it in the Adobe Reader App on your tablet, but Adobe Reader scrolls top to bottom. iBooks will scroll left to right like a book.

The first thing to do is to email the file to yourself, or you can put it in Dropbox or Google Drive. Open the file.

From there, you will click the box with the arrow. Click: Open In... then choose iBooks.

Now you will have the file stored on your iPad and ready to go in iBooks. Oops! Looks Like I have saved them to my iPad more than once! 

How To Use NO-Print Activities in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

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No-Print Packs at Speech Sprouts

This week we have been using No-Print Christmas Following Directions. You can see this activity in action on my Facebook Page Video HERE.

No-Print Christmas Following Directions in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com
No-Print Christmas Following Directions

You'll target following directions with 1-3 details: color, size and object. It is a great auditory comprehension activity and is perfect for Christmas vocabulary too.

Pre-checks are provided for vocabulary, color and size.

You can work on 1-step directions with these pages. Identify colors, small, medium and large and name the Christmas vocabulary.


No-Print Christmas Following Directions in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com
No-Print Christmas Following Directions

Next, click the box you choose on the menu page- it will advance to that activity. 


No-Print Christmas Following Directions in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com
No-Print Christmas Following Directions

Children will touch the answer to advance each slide. 

See that tiny Christmas tree under the gingerbread man? Shhh, don't tell your students, but that is your clue that they are about to be "transported" to decorate the Christmas tree shown above. What did you just add to the tree? My kids get excited to see what is next on the tree. It's just for fun, but is a good visual memory activity too.

 Here's a peek at my other No-Print Packs at Speech Sprouts:

The Mitten Book Companion provides both No-Print and Printable cards- choose your format.
Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Where Can You Be? is a No-Print Activity with additional printable activities in the pack.
No-Print Wheels On The Bus Interactive Story is available as a stand-alone activity, or in my: 
Wheels on the Bus Interactive Speech and Language Activities. which also  includes a busload of fun printables for speech and language.






Wheels on The Bus Interactive Speech and Language Activities www.speechsproutstherapy.com
NO-Print Wheels on The Bus 

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More No-Print activities

Check out these great packs from a few of my SLP buddies over at Teachers pay Teachers!

No-Prep Categories by Susan Berkowitz
Artic Pop! No Print by Panda Speech
Snowball Fight Game- No-Print by Speech Therapy Fun with Jennifer Bradley
How I Became a Pirate by TLC Talk Shop
Winter Sports Games by Gold Country SLP
No Print Articulation Bundle by AGB Speech Therapy.

How To Use NO-Print Activities in Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

What Do You Think?

Do you like the idea of No-Print, or prefer the tried and true printable activities? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time, enjoy the season!


Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Power of Story Props with Matt and Molly

Story props make a great story come to life.

Young children love hands-on story activities. Even my most reluctant communicators engage with me when I bring out a few fun props in speech therapy. Story props are wonderful for increasing story comprehension, spontaneous language and story re-telling. They draw in my concrete thinkers and inspire my creative ones.

The Power of Story Props in Speech Therapy with Matt and Molly

You can use story props with any simple children's story. 

I suggest you limit the number of props to 5 or less. The props should enhance the story (rather than distract from it) and allow children to act out portions of the story. For instance, when reading Goldilocks, you might bring a teddy bear (for baby bear) a bowl and spoon for the porridge. Your students can be Goldilocks. They can eat their porridge, sit on a chair, then curl up on the floor (the bed).



The Matt and Molly series is perfect for combining with story props.

One of my favorite activities to do with my preschool and kindergarten speech therapy students is sharing a story from the Matt and Molly series by Linguisystems/ Pro Ed. The Picture Stories and Language Activities Interactive Software is perfect for showing on a computer or whiteboard. It is a collection of 40 simple four-part stories.

(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Linguisystems or Pro-Ed. I receive no compensation or consideration for this post. All opinions are my own. I am simply sharing what works for me in my speech therapy room. The link is only provided for your convenience in case you want to see more about it.)

I have collected props for each story. It doesn't have to be expensive at all. Garage sales are a great source for toys to use. Other items you may have at home or at school already.

Prop suggestions are included with the card set version of the stories, but not in the software version. Here is a shot of the fall story Raking Leaves shown on the smartboard. I go into our integrated Pre-K room to do Matt and Molly lessons.

The Power of Story Props in Speech Therapy with Matt and Molly

In Raking Leaves, Matt is outside raking up a big pile of leaves. His dog is watching. 


I bring in three props: paper leaves, a rake, and a stuffed animal dog. I cut these leaves with our die-cut machine at school. I actually did this about 8 years ago, and use the same bagful every year. If you don't have access to a die-cut machine, you can draw a simple leaf  as a pattern to cut out your leaves from construction paper. If you are hand-cutting, I recommend you layer a few sheets and cut them all at once to save time.

Acting out a Matt and Molly Story in Speech Therapy using die-cut leaves



I have the children rake the leaves into a pile. 

They love this! What are you doing? "Raking!" A big pile or a little pile? Who's raking? I don't have a child-sized rake, but I think that would be even better.

Finally, Matt finishes the job, and he is looking pretty proud of all of his hard work. Look at all those leaves!

But what is the dog doing? Uh-oh. I think he is jumping!

At this point in the story, I have a student come up and take the dog.They make him jump high into the air... and land in the pile of leaves! We scatter the leaves with the dog.

Oh NO! Matt has to rake the leaves all over again.

Poor Matt. I wonder how he feels? This is a great conversation starter about what makes us mad. 

There are so many goals that can be addressed in a simple story like this. We talked about the autumn season, raking, jumping, leaves, a rake, a pile, landing. We ask wh questions, yes/no questions. We act out the story and then retell the story. 


The Power of Story Props in Speech Therapy with Matt and Molly


What are your favorite ways to use props with children's stories?

I would love to hear them, I am always looking for fun new ideas to use with stories in speech therapy. So glad you stopped by!

Until next time,









Sunday, November 20, 2016

Why I Became a Speech-Language Pathogist: My SLP Story

What's Your Story?

Did you always know what you wanted to do for a career, or did you happen upon your profession another way? What influenced you to take the path you did?

My SLP Story- How I finally found the perfect profession for me. www.speechsproutstherapy.com

The Frenzied SLPs are sharing their SLP stories with you this week.

I can't wait to read how each of them arrived in our wonderful profession. Be sure to check out the linky below, to find SLP stories from some of my favorite slpeeps! But first, I would love to share my journey with you too. Here's how speech-language pathology found me. This is my SLP story.

My son's kindergarten teacher noticed his three-year-old brother was very hard to understand. 

She asked me if I would like to talk to the school speech therapist about him, and see if he needed speech. "But he's only three, not old enough to go to school," I said. I knew he had a hard time pronouncing his words. Robin Hood was his favorite "boovie". He would get mad at his brother and tell him "top it!" He ate his "pood" with his "poon". He loved when his "tat" would jump up and purr. I tried modeling words for him, but we didn't have much success.

My son's doctor had never mentioned anything, so I though it must still be ok. I had faithfully marked off my son's developmental milestones in his baby book. It never mentioned intelligibility....I figured he would grow out of it. Right?

In those days, I considered myself a good mom, and I was. I played with my kids, took them to the zoo, to the museum, joined play groups and scouts, let them dig in the sand, build pillow forts, fingerpaint and cook with me in the kitchen. I truly didn't know much about speech therapy. I vaguely remembered there had been a "speech teacher" at my elementary school growing up, but I never went to see her. Taking my son to a speech therapist never occurred to me, since he was so little. And I had certainly never heard the term speech-language pathologist.


That was my first real introduction to the profession of speech-language pathology.

After my son's initial evaluation, there was a meeting. The results were explained to me, along with a lot of  terms I was not familiar with. Speech therapy was recommended for him, and I was grateful someone would work with him to help him pronounce his words. He got so frustrated when I couldn't understand him.

My son had therapy through first grade, then began working on those lingering /l/ and later the /r/ sounds. (He said my first name was "weezette"). By second grade, therapy services had become pretty infrequent, instead of the twice a week he was scheduled for. I think one semester he was seen twice in total.


The school said there was a shortage of therapists, and just hadn't been able to find enough therapists to cover all the speech students.

Fortunately, with my prompting my son at home, he continued to make progress, and we dismissed him from speech therapy that year.

The following year, I began subbing at the school. I had been a stay-at-home mom for a few years and was considering going back to school. I had my bachelor's degree in psychology, but I knew that wasn't really going to help me get a good job without an advanced degree. I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go. I wasn't interested in becoming a teacher, as so many members of my family had done. I wanted something different.

 I was subbing in the early childhood classroom when the speech therapist came in to do a lesson. 

The school had found a speech therapist now. She read a story and asked the children questions. They sang a song. I thought, "I could do that." So I asked her more about it. She told me about the various goals she worked on, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension and listening in addition to articulation. She told me she would be leaving soon to do private therapy for a much bigger and better salary, and how there were so many jobs open at that time for speech-language pathologists in all kinds of settings.

My interest was definitely piqued. I started looking up more information about the profession... and I decided that this was it.


I had found the profession that really seemed right for me. Eureka! 

I loved language and science,  I enjoyed working with children, and a school-based job would allow me to have summers off with my own children. I headed to grad school, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

My SLP Story- How I finally found the perfect profession for me. www.speechsproutstherapy.com


This profession has given me such wonderful opportunities to grow, learn, create and help others.  It took me a while to find my perfect "niche", but this is definitely it! I love my job. That's my SLP story.

My SLP Story- How I finally found the perfect profession for me. www.speechsproutstherapy.comI would love to hear your story. 

Just leave a comment on this post. Then click the links below to read some more interesting stories from some of my speech peeps in the Frenzied SLPs. I'm so glad you stopped by.

Until next time!






Sunday, November 6, 2016

SLPs Have Super Powers- No Debate!

There's No Debate, SLPs are Great! 

That's the theme of today's fun Instagram hop by The Frenzied SLPs. I need a little positivity, a few laughs and diversion from this week's intense election, so I am really excited to join in. 

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of today's post for information on the hop, and how you can enter to win one of two $25 gift cards. That sounds better than watching political ads, now doesn't it?


SLP's Have Superpowers- No Debate! www.speechsproutstherapy.com


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Why do I think speech-language pathologists are great? Because SLPs have superpowers! 

Just think what we can do...

1. Identify articulation errors faster than a speeding bullet.  

2. Write reports more powerful than a standardized score.

3. Use x-ray vision to shape that stubborn /r/. 

4. Leap over tall piles of progress reports with a single bound.

5. Change the course of stuttering and apraxia.

6. Build vocabulary more powerful than a video game lexicon.


Look! Up in the speech room! 


Is it a teacher? Is it a nurse? Is it an administrator? No, it's Super SLP! Disguised as a mild-mannered therapist, we fight the never-ending battle for kids, communication and super success!


All joking aside, I am continuously amazed by you, my fellow SLPs.


 The level of caring and dedication, professionalism, problem-solving skills, collaboration and expertise of my colleagues inspires me. I'm proud to be a speech-language pathologist. I vote for you! Enough said :)


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Now more about the Instagram Hop

The Frenzied SLPs would love you to come "vote" and enter to win one of two $25.00 Amazon gift cards.You'll be asked to follow, and  cast a "vote" at each stop (comment) So follow, vote, click, and you may win! 

The contest runs from 11-6-16 at 6pm EST and ends on 11-8-16 at 9pm EST. Two Winners will be chosen and announced on 11-9-16. Oh, and I must note that the contest is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by Instagram.


At 6pm EST, head over to Speech Sprouts on Instagram @speechsprouts

 or to any of your favorite Frenzied SLPs on Instagram. There, you will find the full scoop about the rules and can get hopping. 

Once you are there, you will need to "vote" in a comment on each Frenzied SLP's post. There will be several topics to vote on. I'll be asking you to vote on your favorite SLP super-power. Then follow and click through the hop, until you get back to the first page. That's it!

Good luck, and remember to go vote in the election November 8th as well. 


Happy Voting!








Thursday, October 27, 2016

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy

There are monsters in my speech therapy room.

I'm ready for Halloween in my speech therapy room, with bats and ghosts and pumpkins galore. But this week, the monsters moved in.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

Monsters have been here before, helping us to learn prepositions, concepts and telling us stories. But this time the monster was big and green and had sharp teeth. He came in when we read a favorite storybook of mine, Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly.

Go Away, Big Green Monster is great for Halloween speech therapy.

I read Go Away, Big Green Monster to my preschool and kindergarten students every year.  I try to read it at Halloween because of the fun monster theme, but it's a great story for any time of year. It does not mention Halloween, so it could be appropriate for those settings where Halloween activities are not encouraged.

The monster theme helps children face their fears. 

When you use not-too-scary monsters it's really fun. Every child has had fears, and monsters are a way for children to express and their fears and face them. With this book, they can even make them disappear!

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The story begins by telling us the Big Green Monster has two big yellow eyes.

Spooky right? As you turn the pages, more parts appear. 


Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comGo Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

The pages are die-cut, and you can see the layers below, giving the monster a feeling of depth. The simple, bold illustrations are colorful and eye-catching. This story features repetitive text, which is perfect to encourage the children to participate in "reading" with me and re-telling the story.

This is a great story for working on body parts and adjectives.

The monster adds eyes, mouth, teeth, nose, ears, face and hair as you turn the pages. He looks scarier as you go. The body parts have wonderful descriptions, creating an opportunity to work on adjectives: big, long, sharp, squiggly, scraggly.


Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comThese monster puppets are perfect for following up the story later. I have my children request the body parts to make their puppets.

I snagged this set at a garage sale, and have not been able to find another. However, if you are interested in a build-a-monster puppet set, Melissa and Doug have one, available on several sites. (I do not receive any compensation for providing this link, and have no relationship with Melissa and Doug. I simply want to point out that similar sets are available.)

You can see it HERE.



Use the "I'm wondering" strategy

Make comments and ask questions as you read.  Use the "I'm wondering" strategy to make a comment, and children will be anxious to participate and enlighten you. "Oooh, I'm wondering how those teeth feel. Sharp?  I think you're right. What else can we think of that's sharp? What do you think scraggly means?"

We also talk about feelings when we read this book. Is the green face scary? What else is scary? Are spiders scary? Are bunny rabbits scary?


Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comPractice expanding sentences and articulation of velar /g/ with the repetitive text.


After the monster has fully appeared, children can practice telling him to "go away" on each page. It gives them a wonderful feeling of control and empowerment to tell that monster to leave, they love this part!

The phrase "Go away...." repeats, offering multiple opportunities to use initial /g/. Each page describes a body part, encouraging children to use 5-word sentences to re-tell the story. "Go away, sharp white teeth."



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Children love re-telling the monster story.

I have used several ways to work on narratives with this story. We use these magnet board pieces while we read. They also make a great center activity when placed on a cookie sheet.

You can find these free printable storybook pieces at KizClub HERE.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com


Last year I found this cute puppet with velcroed pieces at Lakeshore

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com


If you don't have the budget for that, you may want to make this simple set from a few pieces of felt. It was pretty easy and inexpensive.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

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Art offers plenty of opportunities for requesting and sentence construction. 


 We have tried several projects, here are two of my favorites.

Make a construction paper Big Green Monster.



The first one simply requires glue and construction paper. I pre-cut the body parts and put them in the bags. The children have to request what they need. I don't limit them to the colors in the book- let them be creative! Pinking shears make great scraggly hair, and a hole punch will make lots of little black circles for the pupils in the eyes, or just draw them on.

Try painting with this monster project.

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.comIf you are a little braver, get black construction paper, brushes, and tempera paints. 
1.Cut out eyes, ears, noses, mouths and teeth to add to your painting. 
2. Fold a large piece of paper in half. 
3. Have the children generously paint one side of the paper. We use green, purple and blue. 
4. Fold the paper in half again, with the paint on the inside. Press the whole surface of the paper.
5. Now open it up. You will have two sides. Symmetry anyone? 
6. Add the paper body parts with a bit of white glue to the painted face... you can do this while it's wet. 

I love seeing how each creation is different, and that is another great topic of conversation. 

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Go Away Big Green Monster Book Companion


I'm excited to share my new book companion for this wonderful story. I wanted additional opportunities to target speech and language, so I created some these monstrously fun activities. Take a peek!

Work on final s-blends and syntax.

 There are round cards for final /ps/, /ts/ and /ks/. Put the silly items in the monster's tummy, and say the sentence.

My children loved this activity today. You will also work on plurals, third person singular and irregular past tense "ate" with these hungry monsters.



Practice articulation and sorting by categories.

There are colorful cards for articulation of initial /m/ and initial and final /g/. The cards double as a category sorting opportunity with this mat.


Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com


Say the sentence as you smash the dough

Expand sentences and practice articulation at the sentence level, as you smash the balls of dough on these smash mats. This was a big hit in my room. (no pun intended)

Go Away Big Green Monster: Best-Ever Books For Halloween Speech Therapy www.speechsproutstherapy.com

Wh questions, Yes/ no questions, story comprehension, object function and prepositional concepts and an open-ended game too. 

I really like to have a wide variety of activities and targets in my packs, so that I can pull one... and done. It's so much easier to pull a single pack for the day, rather than searching for multiple activities to meet your caseload's needs.

You'll find cards for many targets. You can use them as you play Chomp! This is a fun open-ended spinner game. Use candy corn for teeth, or the included "teeth" to place on the squares in the monster's mouth. Be the first to collect a mouthful of teeth. Hope he doesn't bite!  

Have a monstrously good time.

  I hope you enjoy a few spooky activities with your children this fall. I would love to hear about your favorite monster or other seasonal activities.

Until next time!



Sunday, October 23, 2016

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier.

Team relationships are critical for SLPs (and everyone else) at work.  

The Frenzied SLPs are talking about team-building this week, and I am linking up with them on this important topic.


SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier. www.speechsproutstherapy.com
How SLPs Can Build Awesome Team Relationships


You see your co-workers every day, often more than your best friends and family. These are people that can make your work life happier and easier if you build great relationships. A rocky relationship can make you dread going to work, feeling grouchy and alone.

What are the keys to successful team relationships when you are the supervisor? 

This year I have added a speech pathology assistant and a paraprofessional to my team. I am happy to say, it's going great. These tips are also valuable for many other team relationships as well. Here's what works for us.


Offer respect and acknowledgment.

Everyone wants to feel their contributions are valued. I think this is the most important of all.  Let your co-worker know when you appreciate something they have done. Acknowledge their ideas, and encourage them to run with them if it fits with what you need to accomplish. You have great ideas, I bet they do too.

You will likely be amazed at how fresh ideas perk things up in your therapy room, and your co-workers will get to take pride and feel invested in your activities and practice. My para suggested we paint pumpkins with our preschoolers and it went beautifully with targeting initial /p/ and language skills.

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your work life easier and happier.  www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Painting Pumpkins for Initial /p/

Be clear about expectations and duties.

Talk about it, better yet write it out at the beginning. This can avoid misunderstandings and hard feelings. No-one wants to be "called out" on something they weren't clear on.


Explain what you are trying to accomplish, and why. 

It can be frustrating and confusing to be asked to do certain things when you don't understand the end goal or big picture. We need to feel invested in a worthy goal to give our best, be cooperative and be cheerful about it! I like to explain the "why" when I give a task or direction to my co-workers.

Why is it super important for my student with apraxia to repeat a stimulus word 25 times? Give a mini-explanation of block practice and motor-learning theory. (See more about CAS HERE). Why do I speak in such direct, short sentences to my non-verbal student with autism, when I give directives? Why should your co-worker  talk less and show more too? A brief overview of language processing difficulties can help with understanding and carry-over of this strategy.

Pitch in and help.

Everyone needs a hand sometimes.

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier. www.speechsproutstherapy.com
Articulation Cards for Go Away Green Monster Book Companion

I know our plates are overflowing, but a few minutes of offering to help can go a long way toward team-building. When you pitch in and help occasionally, your co-workers see that feel you are in this together and are not placing yourself "higher" than they are in respect. I'll bet they will be more likely to cheerfully go that extra mile for you when you need it. 

Get to know each other as a person. 

SLPs- How to Team Up For Success. Making your Work Life Easier and Happier. www.speechsproutstherapy.comWhat does your co-worker enjoy? What are they proud of? Ask about their family. People will respond much better to you if they feel you really "see" them as a person and are interested on a personal level. It builds trust and you will likely enjoy your time together much more too!

Be sure to check out more great posts on this topic by my blogger buddies in the Frenzied SLPs. 

Just click the links below.






Until next time!



Thursday, September 15, 2016

10 Things You Should Never Say to a School-Based SLP



Sometimes school-based SLPs feel a bit misunderstood, and there a few things we would love everyone to know. 


10 Things you should never say to a school-based SLP. Which ones have you heard? www.speechsproutstherapy.com

Don't get me wrong, working as a school-based SLP is very rewarding. I love my school. We have a terrific principal, and we have a warm friendly staff who can be very supportive and understanding. I wouldn't trade working with my children, and many of my parents are absolutely wonderful.

Still, speech-language pathologists are often reminded that many people at school really don't understand what we do. I am not really sure why. I know I explain it all the time, and it's something we have to work on every year.

There is no mystery surrounding the role of teachers, the school nurse, the school psychologist, diagnostician or even the physical therapist.  Yet somehow, people have a hard time understanding what SLPs do, and that we are highly trained specialists with a lot to offer.

There are certain comments SLPs hear that can make us feel less valued. 

I asked my fellow SLPs to share, and the following list are some of the most commonly heard remarks. Have you heard these, or GASP! said some yourself?  Please, if you are an administrator, staff member or parent, inform yourself and think before you say anything like the following comments.

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10 comments that can make SLPs cringe!


1. "You work on vocabulary too? I thought you only did speech." 

If you didn't know: SLPs work on articulation, fluency (stuttering), language skills (vocabulary, concepts, comprehension, expression, grammar, inference and more), voice disorders, swallowing disorders, and social skills.

2. "It must be nice to only have 4 or 5 students at a time." 

Actually, it can be very difficult to address 5 sets of individualized goals at once, while taking data and scaffolding for each child. I am very aware that teachers have a demanding job, please understand we are working hard too.

3. Are you the speech teacher? 

Here's the thing: I am not a teacher. My mom was a teacher, my sister is a teacher. I am not. I do not hold a teaching certificate and have never taken education coursework. This is true for SLPs in many states.

I am a specialist with medically-based graduate training. While I highly respect our amazing teachers, when you call me a "speech teacher" it creates misunderstanding about my area of expertise and what I have to offer. Please call me the speech-language pathologist, or if that is too long, the SLP works great.

4. You play games all day, don't you?

I do play games with my young students. A motivated student is a child who is engaged and learning. The games are a tool. Serious work happens in the therapy room.

5. Can he bring his snack to speech? 

Well...no. Speech therapy is a setting where we talk while we are learning and practicing important foundational skills for academic success. These are areas your student has demonstrated weaknesses. Your student can't do that with his mouth full, and it will distract him from the work. Please have him leave the snack behind when he comes to speech.

6. My child doesn't need to see the speech teacher. I take her to a real speech therapist after school. She has a master's degree and knows how to help my child.

Dear Parent: There is no difference in our credentials and training. School-based SLPs and private therapists both go through the same coursework and hold the same degrees. I choose to work in the schools. (This is one example why calling me a "speech teacher" causes misunderstanding).

7. He needs additional help in math and reading, so we want to start him with a speech label. What can we qualify him for?

A speech impairment is based on a speech or language disorder and is a disability requiring specialized speech services. It is not a gateway for services for children who do not qualify under another recognized disability. Please don't ask this.  It is unethical and illegal to "qualify" a child as speech impaired when the child does not demonstrate a speech or language disorder and doesn't require speech services.

8. We need your room for storage/ another staff member's office/ employee lounge or a "real" class. 

You can do therapy in this closet. It has room for a table and a couple chairs.

Ask a group of SLP's about the spaces they are given to work in, and you hear tales of the hallway, the bathroom, tiny crowded closets, an area in a noisy cafeteria or other inappropriate areas. Suffice it to say that when SLPs are given inadequate facilities to see children, there is a negative consequence to student progress and therefore the school may not be providing FAPE. There is also a negative consequence to the SLP's morale, who may feel they are last on the list, and their services are not valued.

9. You are going to make up the sessions you missed when you were at assessments, ARD/IEP meetings, mandatory trainings, or out with the flu, right? 

10 Things you should never say to a school-based SLP. Which ones have you heard? www.speechsproutstherapy.comDear teachers, admins and parents, I may not be able to. That is the real truth. When other staff members are out, a substitute is hired so that children continue to be served.

Speech-language pathologists are very rarely given qualified subs, and the burden is placed on us to meet therapy time. This is often impossible with bulging caseloads, even if we give up planning time and lunch.  If the school district would hire more SLPs, this would be possible. Please talk to them about staffing adequately.

10.  Do you have to take Johnny right now? We were about to.....

Please understand that my schedule is filled with over 60 students. There is virtually no wiggle room and as I mentioned, it is unlikely that a session can be made up.  If this is Johnny's scheduled time, he needs to go. Thank you for understanding.

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SLPs,  it's our job to educate others about our profession.

It's up to us. In order for others to understand our role, and the expertise we have to offer, we need to speak up. Often. With everyone.

Don't be shy, tell others about your background. Talk about the goals you are currently working on. Discuss the challenges you have with caseloads, facilities, and scheduling. Get out of the therapy room and mingle occasionally at lunch. Give your administrators literature from ASHA to read on caseloads, and scope of practice. Advocate for your students and yourself. Share this list if you like, and keep on talking!

Until next time,