On the eleventh day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some ideas for the last week of therapy.
Back in the day when this Speech Lady had time to make all kinds of therapy activities I had not one, not two, but three winter posts here , here and here. Don't worry I'm laughing at myself thinking about a.) how busy I was at work and b.) my days in Austin and the snow. Chicago has no pity on me now.
On the 9th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, two apps that she uses all the time!!
The wonderful people over at Mobile Education have patiently waited as I've taken forever to put up this review. Trust me, it's not because I haven't been using it. These are some of my most frequented apps currently!
Language Builder has some pretty exciting awards such as:
Winner – 3rd best educational app of 2011 by AppsForHomeschooling.com
Winner – 9th best educational app of 2011 by SmartAppsForKids.com
This app is a wonderful addition to your arsenol as you increase MLU (mean length of utterance), increase your student's lexicon and work on syntax.
Below is the home screen.
It allows you to track by each child's name, choose hint level (see below) and pick the picture theme most appropriate for your students. Depending on the level of your child you can turn off the audio and you can also choose what hint level your student is at.
Level 1 Hint: A sentence is given with two blanks. The student can then fill in the blanks with appropriate words.
Level 2 Hint: Level 2 gives the student a carrier type phrase to help them start the sentence related to the picture.
Level 3 Hint: Gives the student an auditory clue. It gives them key words to use as they build the sentence.
Within each of these levels you can record the sentence your student produces. This recording can then be archived to send yourself or playback to your student as reinforcement or another teaching method.
I've used this a lot with my older kids that I want to increase the amount and complexity of their utterances. I would definitely recommend this one and you can get it here for $9.99
They were also generous enough to provide me with the code for Conversation Builder
Conversation Builder has also won an award.
Winner – 2nd best Educational App of 2011 by Smart Apps For Kids
Below is the homepage
Just like Language Builder it allows you to track progress by student's names. You can also decide what type of conversational exchange your are targeting, 1:1-4 exchange, 1:1-8 exchange and group conversation. You can also choose who the initiator of the conversation will be-student or peer. Then below that you have the option of a number of different picture modules. The pictures are clear and super engaging.
Below are some examples:
Student initiated conversation
Peer initiated conversation
This app is great for your social skills group as well as your older students working on expanding MLU, syntax, lexicon etc. I used this app with my Social Language class and while the conversations turned into 4 year old conversations, it definitely started conversations that were then easy to target initiating, conversational turns, on-topic comments etc.
On the 8th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some friends for Superflex.
I've posted ideas from my friend Angela before (because she's pretty genius), and I couldn't help but want to post this as soon as I saw it. I mean Superflex has all these enemies, but he needs some sidekicks too, right?!?
On the 7th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some apps that are freaking awesome!
The nice people over at Smarty Ears sent me a code for Custom Boards to review. Custom Boards is a bang for your buck kind of app. There are a number of things you can do and make with this program.
On the main page you can choose from a number of pre-made templates (over 100 templates). The templates include game and activity boards, boards that go along with AAC devices, an option to make signs and labels, schedules and calendars, worksheets and custom grids and boards.
Here are some examples of the game boards I've created.
Pick your game board theme, then decide what pictures you want in each circle. Custom Boards has a huge amount of pictures in their picture dictionary to choose from AND if you can't find the right image then there is a direct link to google to search for pictures. Once you have selected all your pictures you can email it to yourself as a PDF, print or save to your photo library. Here are some examples:
If you are making pages for devices or switches, Custom Boards gives you the option to choose from 33 different AAC devices and switches. I've made several Go Talk pages from this app.
The signs and label option is great for making visuals for you classroom. It has an option to make something as simple as labels for boxes to traffic symbols and speech bubbles.
The Calendar option is great for your kids that need visual schedules. You can make custom schedules so easily it would be silly not to! Here is an example of a first/then schedule I made.
The Worksheets option has a lot of great visuals to use with any activity. There are worksheets for sequencing, making small books, before and after, sorting and other themed worksheets.
All in all I really love this app. It takes all the hard work out of making homework sheets, class activities, schedules etc.
You can buy Custom Boards here for $39.99. I really think this one is worth the price!
The next app is also from Smarty Ears and it's called Wh- Questions.
This app allows you to have multiple students saved and you can hand pick based on that child's goals what type of questions are asked. Most if not all of the students I've worked with that have a language disorder or delay have some kind of wh-question goal. Wh-questions can be targeted in a number of ways, but this app has engaging pictures that help keep the attention of the child.
My suggestions for future versions of this app would be the ability to pick and choose what questions are asked as well as the difficulty. It would be great if the questions had a multiple choice option where the children could use visuals to answer the question. Because my students are so little, the visual representation of answers is key in their ability to be successful. I do really like this app for progress monitoring. Every couple weeks go through and see the gains the child has made towards their goals.
On the 6th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some games to elicit language.
1. Zingo Bingo-I recently came across this game and love it. Zingo has this cool little contraption that's like an old school credit card swiper. You move it back and forth and each time two cards with nouns on it appear. I have used it multiple times with my kids that have Apraxia. We keep the phrase "I have ....." and then they list one of two of the cards they get. All I know is if you can keep a 3 year old entertained with this for 45 minutes, then it's a winner for sure!
2. Elefun- This game just makes me happy. I have my kids collect as many butterflies as they can and then they bring it back to me. However many butterflies they get is how many times they have to practice a word. It's just so fun to see how excited the kids are as the butterflies start flying in the air.
3. Whac-A-Mole- I use Whac-A-Mole for a number of things. I use it for more obvious things like a reinforcer and then I have used it for working on multi-syllabic words, phrases, sentences etc. Here is a fun addition from Speech Room News and how she uses Whac-A-Mole.
4. Crocodile Dentist-When I want to use Kaufman cards and know there is no way my 2 or 3 year old is going to tolerate drill practice, I pull the Crocodile out. We feed the Crocodile all the cards and they say them as we feed him. This is definitely a reinforcer to have in your arsenal.
5. What's In Ned's Head?-I see mostly little boys, so anything gross is super enticing to them. I like this because you not only can work on body parts, but you can pretty much stick anything in Ned's head and use it to work on target sounds, vocabulary, inferencing etc.
6. HedBanz-This game is great for working on basic concepts, answering wh questions, asking questions, turn taking and the list goes on and on. My friend Angela even made it into a Superflex game.
On the 5th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, an appy hour for disfluency!
The generous people over at Balbus Speech provided me with a code to try out their app Speech4Good. When I first saw this app nightmares of Speech Science classes came flooding back. Speech Science was the one class that never clicked with me. So needless to say I was thinking how the heck am I going to use this app. I was surprised at the number of possibilities I came across as I used and played around with this app.
Speech4Good can be used for a number of different purposes.
-Vocal quality including pitch and intensity
The home screen looks like this:
The SpeechCenter takes you to the oscilloscope (a.k.a. speech graph) where you can record sessions, keep data and use Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF). DAF is a speech therapy technique used mostly with individuals who stutter, have Parkinson's or other voice disorders. The DAF in Speech4Good takes voice input and outputs it at an adjustable time, generally milliseconds of time, so that you can naturally slow down your rate of speech to increase awareness of changes in your speech. Below is a screen shot of the SpeechCenter.
Below are some different speech graph views.
One of the children that I used this has difficulty with prosody. He has a very monotone voice, so we work on inflections in general conversation as well as when asking questions. This was a great tool to use to compare speech graph views. I said a sentence and then he would try to match the sentence. In the end we wanted our speech graph to look similar. This was also helpful in increasing the intensity of his voice. Those soft-spoken students have to match their speech graph to yours (my loud and obnoxious SLP voice). I don't currently have any students who demonstrate disfluencies, but I played around a lot with this app and will be extremely excited to use it when I get a child working on fluency. The visual representation is an integral part of therapy for any child or adult.
The rest of the homescreen offers a library where you store past speech graphs and recordings.
It also has an option for sharing. You can share your speech graphs through email, Facebook, Twitter. I'm not so sure I would use the Facebook or Twitter option, but email for sure. Telepractice is becoming such a growing part of our field. Imagine your patients could send you speech graphs so you can monitor and track their progress.
The Lite app is offered for $4.99. The difference in the Lite app is that you cannot record. The regular app is $19.99 and you can buy it here.
Have any of you used this app? If so what are your favorite features?
On the 4th day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some ideas to teach preschoolers.
About 90% of my caseload are boys. That means I've gotten really good at crashing cars, making horrible wrecking noises and knocking things down. I like to directly teach my kids how to play with toys and then help them generalize that in real-time play with peers. Last week we focused on cars. I made this poster with some target vocabulary for the kids to use.
Some additional activities were a car wash. I like this because along with teaching pragmatics, it is so important to teach play skills. A lot of my kids use 1-2 step play sequences and it's important to expand that as you get so much more language with just one extra step of play.
With a car wash you have a novel 3 step sequence. We just used two bins and a towel, but how cute would it be to make these with your kids?!?
We also went on a scavenger hunt for tools around the school so that we could fix a wounded car. I couldn't have dreamed in my wildest dreams how many peer to peer interactions I got with this activity. It was very exciting.
Cars are also a great opportunity to work on basic concepts like size, quantities and color. I usually like to categorize them by colors, type (car/truck), size etc.
Love this book to go along with our play!
Play is such a critical part to teaching language and pragmatic skills with little guys. I know I always forgot about just playing when I worked in the schools. The school I'm at now is a school founded on the importance of play.
All I know is I've gotten really good at playing and I make some pretty legit environmental sounds these days :)
The Common Core Early Language Screener is a screening tool used to identify weaknesses in early language skills. The screener is made for children Pre-kindergarten-Kindergarten age. This screener has some great features including:
"1. Ability to watch a video tutorial of how to effectively use the app;
2. School and evaluator information only has to be entered one time, then it is automatically added to each new screening and report;
3. Ability to enter a student’s name and track progress over time;
4. Ability to review past screenings;
5. Generate a report analyzing performance in each subtest;
6. Ability to print evaluator form and/or child form."
I have used this app to monitor progress with several of my kids. I initially gave the screening, and then 9 weeks later gave it again to track progress. The analyzing of data that this app provides is extremely helpful in determining what comes next for short term goals and what goals have been mastered. Below are the language targets in the screening.
Here are some screen shots of test items. I love all the colorful images as this helps with keeping kids attention!
This assessment is a series of pictures targeting English phonemes in initial, medial and final position. This test is not a standardized measure, but it is made to be used in conjunction with standardized assessments (I would use it along side the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation-2).
It starts with adding students. You enter their name, birthday (which they automatically calculate the chronological age) and whether English is the only spoken language. Then you can start the assessment. Each picture is a clear, colorful and engaging picture. The word is at the top and the targeted sounds are green. When there is an error you click on the sound and you are given options of whether they deleted, distorted, assimilated, substituted etc. as well as the most common phonological processes associated with that sound. I love that you can also record your session while giving the assessment (the only suggestion I would make is that you can have more than one recording). Once the assessment is complete it gives you a detailed description of all the errors including phonological patterns etc. It gives you a raw score which you can then compare to your standardized assessment to decide if they are commensurate with each other. What I like about this is the ability to progress monitor without pulling out files and going through millions of papers (or is that just my files?!) I really like the fact that it's on the iPad because let's face it kids are waaay more likely to entertain the idea of sitting through 20+ pictures if it's on the iPad and there are pretty pictures.
All in all I'm very excited to have these two items in my arsenal!
On the 2nd day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some tools that help speech sounds.
The generous people over at Articulate Technologies sent me Speech Buddies to trial with my kids. I had been hearing about these tools for quite sometime and had only heard positive reviews about them. So naturally I was super excited when I was given the opportunity to try them.
Speech Buddies is a set of tools designed to target the five most difficult speech sounds R, S, SH, CH, L. The tools are designed to teach proper tongue placement through the method of tactile bio-feedback.
I tried all of them on myself first so that I would know how to use them properly with my students. Each specific sound tool has detailed instructions on proper placement and method in which to achieve each sound. Below is a table provided in the pamphlet, but each tool has more detailed written descriptions on how to use them.
I was really excited to use the /l/ speech tool with one of my kids that was really struggling to achieve proper placement. I was nervous the child wasn't going to let me use the tool, but he thought it was pretty cool. We used the tool the entire 45 minute session and by the end of it, he didn't need the tool to get /l/ in the initial position of words. After seeing what these tools could do I was excited to try out the others. Next up was the /s/ tool. I was working with a child that has an interdental lisp. I was worried he would just push the tool right out of his mouth as his tongue moved forward. The first couple times that is exactly what happend, but then after some verbal prompting and pulling out the mirror he got the sound spot on. It started in isolation and then by the end of the session we were able to get an /s/ in CV words. After perusing the Speech Buddies website I saw a testimonial that suggested using the "ch" tool to elicit /k/ and /g/. I was excited to try this as any velar sound is difficult to show and/or describe to children. This one was a bit more tricky as my student wanted to push it out with his tongue the whole time, but at the end we got that /k/!
Fortunately for me and unfortunately for my review, I do not have any children working on the /r/. I work with pre-school aged children so /r/ goals are few and far between. That being said I used the /r/ tool on myself as if I turned my /r/ to a /w/ and was able to understand and appreciate all this tool can do for that pesky sound.
I was pleasantly surprised at how effective these tools really are. That tactile reinforcement that you get from using these is so beneficial, especially for my preschoolers. My preschoolers tend to have difficulty and lack the attention that is required to listen to me describe and watch how to appropriately achieve placement for these sounds. They are enthralled with these tools. I don't blame them, because finally they have success with a sound they're working on!
Another great resource from Articulate Technologies is the Speech Buddy Blog. They've got some great articles and information for SLPs and parents.
If you are still skeptical about these tools, here is the research that Articulate Technologies provides on their website.
I'm really excited to continue using these tools and they have become quite a hit in our speech office. I have a lot of materials that I've collected over my short time as an SLP and these are by far the items I get asked the most for. Do any of you use Speech Buddies? Which one have you had the most success using?
On the 1st day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, a list of really cool books.
It's no secret here, I LOVE children's books. I love the illustrations, rhymes and cute messages hidden inside the stories. Below are 7 books that I think you all should have on your wishlist.
1-Llama Llama Time to Share-I love all her books, but especially this one for my little guys because sharing is just SO hard. This is a great book for my social language class as well as when I want to directly teach a play skill like sharing. Anna Dewdney can do no wrong in my eyes.
2-Look, Look- This is a great book if you are working on expanding utterances that include different verbs, nouns etc. It's supposedly the "it" book for infants while they do tummy time, but within the pictures they have phrases like "children run", "fish swim", "stars shine" etc. There are a bunch of other books by this author that I would love to get.
3-Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site-I had a parent buy this book for me at our Scholastic book fair and was so excited to read it with my 2-3 year olds. They loved all the illustrations in the book and were able to participate at the end of each page as the author says "goodnight" to all the different construction vehicles. We currently have quite the construction site outside of our classroom, so we've learned all the different machinery and the interest in construction is very high!
4-Dear Zoo-I first saw this book when my niece got it for her birthday. It is so cute and works on some great attribute words that refer to animals. One of my new favorite books that I will get my friends and all their upcoming babes.
5- The Thankful Book- I have recently become a big fan of this author. The illustrations are so bright and engaging. Most of all the books are super silly and cute!
6-Pete the Cat-I Love My White Shoes- I know that Pete the Cat has been around for awhile, but I'm new to it and I love him. I love that the books are repetitive so it's great for kids with speech sound disorders. Excited to check out some of the other books too!
7-Blue Hat, Green Hat- This book had my 2-3 year olds rolling with laughter. This book is not only great when working on colors, but clothing, body parts and negatives. It happened to have a turkey in so I used it for Thanksgiving too. LOVE this super silly book and it's amazing how much language you can get from kids with this book.
Seeing as I'm working in a pre-school, I'm doing way more hands-on sensory activities. Card games rarely work for me, unless there is a gross motor component to it. That's why I liked this one below. Have the kids all around the room and then they have to walk around and ask friends if they have the picture they're looking for.
Lessons for Little One's Blog has all kinds of Halloween activities. I would use this tissue paper candy corn activity with my kids working on articulation and think about your kids with Apraxia...Holy drill practice! Give them a piece of tissue paper for each time they say a word/word in a sentence etc.
Here's another fun (and edible) activity to get lots of practice.
Over at No Time For Flashcards, she's also making spider webs out of tape. I would put targeted sound cards or different verb cards all over the spider web. Then they have to stay on the lines to pick up the card, say the word or put the verb in a sentence.
I'm thinking 10 target sounds/words and they get to pop a balloon. I would LOVE to do this in a classroom!
I'm for sure doing this! A sensory bag with eyeballs in it. I'm also thinking it would be fun to add little spiders and worms. Think about all the wonderful spontaneous language you'll get. My kids are going to flip over this!
I love Halloween and am excited that my school has a "Halloweenie Roast" every year. The whole school is turned into a fun haunted house and the kids go around to their classrooms and trick or treat.
Has anyone else been eating way too much candy to prepare for the holiday or am I the only one? Anyone, anyone?!?