Looking for a fun, engaging, interactive, FREE speech app for your toddlers, preschoolers, and young students with special needs?
I found an awesome one called Speech Blubs
This subscription-based app is free for SLPs for use on one device. Children mimic sounds and words while looking at videos of engaging kids. My primary functional skills classroom loved it when I used it as a reward activity during therapy. A couple of my students that generally won’t try to imitate words, actually tried this. I was sold right then and there.
The kids really enjoy seeing the kids in the app. It’s just so natural for them to imitate other kids.The colorful images are clean, super-fun and engaging. When you activate the camera the kids can see themselves on screen, which they love (it’s like looking in the mirror). In the Early Sounds section, the kids imitate an animal noise. When they do this, fun things happen. Donkey ears appear on their head or maybe even a duck.
You have to see for yourself in this short little video I made.
Isn’t that great?
If you feel you can use this with your students, go to the App Store and download Speech Blubs. Follow the prompts and make sure you indicate that you’re an SLP so you can get your free copy.
Guess what? For a limited time, I’m giving away 10 free codes for you to share with the parents of a student. I think this would be so great for practice and interaction at home. The code is good for a 6 month subscription. If you’re interested, just comment below with your favourite animal from the app. I’ll choose ten winners on Monday, September 18, 2017.
I’m still riding high from SLP Summit earlier this month. In case you missed it, my presentation was titled “Building Language supports through AAC”. I co-presented with Brian Whitmer from Coughdrop AAC. He handled high-tech while I spoke about low-tech AAC.
The excitement, the connections, the information and the buzz was so uplifting and informative. I’m so thrilled to have been a presenter during this groundbreaking activity. The comments and questions, were so good, and I want to take the time to answer some of the really pertinent questions here. I’ll also provide many of the links and resources that I talked about.
No more FOUA (fear of using AAC).
So let’s jump right in…
“As the year for me is gearing up, I was discussing some suggestions for low-tech AAC or no-tech communication opportunities with one of my colleagues. I suggested to her that she might try some routines during sessions, and what came to my mind was the “magic wand” greeting and greeting song from the webinar you did during the Winter SLP summit. I was just wondering if perhaps you had a list of suggestions for routines you might use that would have an expected or repetitive response, similar to those activities I mentioned above?”~Caitlyn
This is a great question from Caitlin. I agree that routines are amazing in the special needs classroom. Here are some of my favorites:
Use the magic wand to reinforce greetings when entering the room. A lot of our kiddos are not expected to greet anyone in any way. This is a really important social skill and a way for them to connect. Model waving and saying hi, hello. As soon as you get any type of response, give them some magic.
With the younger kids, integrate a Hello song and Goodbye song. The links to see them are here on my YouTube channel
. (please excuse my bad singing, haha).
As the kids get older I like to use something more age appropriate such as Whole Brain teaching rules
. We start each and every session with the “rules”. I use the posters for visual support, hand movements, and consistency. We love them. Here’ a little video
of us using them during our speech session.
I’ve had really good success with the use of a simple visual schedule, just three or four little picture cards to show what we’ll be doing during our speech time. It doesn’t have to be perfect or beautiful, just consistently used.
Incorporating songs and song choices
into our group time has also been a big hit. I use a Go Talk (more low-tech AAC) with little recorded snippets of each song for each buttons. Some examples are: Wheels on the Bus, Looby Loo, Twinkle Twinkle and Head & Shoulders. Over time you get the advantage of the students learning the songs too (especially if you incorporate hand movements and make it fun). Here is a link to my Pinterest
board of transition songs.
Routine and predictably are your best friends. Last year, I followed the same basic routine in each of the three functional skills classrooms I work with. Here is my magic list.
Primary functional skills: Magic wand, hello song, criss cross applesauce, go talk song Choices, core vocabulary board activity, 3 – 4 minutes iPad time for the whole group as a reward, the Goodbye song.
Grade 4 5 6 functional skills: Say hello and shake hands as they enter the room, whole brain teaching rules all together, core vocabulary activity, 3 – 4 minutes iPad time for the whole group as a reward, age appropriate song on iTunes that we all chose together.
Grade 7 8 functional skills: Say what’s up and shake hands (or fistbump) as they enter the room, whole brain teaching rules all together with more age appropriate hand movements, therapy activity, 3 – 4 minutes iPad time for the whole group as a reward.
I hope this gives you some good ideas for your sessions.
“How do you print the Core Board so large?”
Great question. You don’t need any oversize printer or Kinko’s. Each page has four symbol squares, I have them in order, with really complete instructions. Just glue them to a poster board and then laminate. Easy peasy. Click here to learn more about the BIG Core board
Is there research to support the 10-second hold for pointing when modeling? Everyone loves research
to back up what they’re saying especially when trying to get ABA professionals on board. -Amanda
Another great question! I don’t have the answer yet. There are several references to the 10 second point, but as far as research for the exact time I’ll have to keep looking. I’d say it is a suggested time by some highly experienced AAC experts (see these references).
“Can I get a handout of the slide presentation?”
So many people asked for a copy of the slide presentation, I apologize for not including it. You can click here for the attachment.
I’m also answering some of the questions on Facebook. Click here to see.
Thank you so much to everyone who attended. I’m working on another AAC presentation as we speak.
Remember feel the FOUA and do it anyway,
As a school speech language pathologist (SLP) we are lucky to be a part of some wonderful SLP success stories. After all, that’s why we do this job; we love to be able to make a difference.
This is a really cool little story with a happy ending. A few years ago we got a new student in one of our functional skills classrooms. He was really quiet and when he did speak, he was very difficult to understand due to a severe phonological disorder. Little Ivan (not his real name) had also gone for years with an undetected hearing loss.
With time we were able to correct a lot of his phonological errors. As people begin to understand him, he became more confident and less shy. Ivan was a very kind student and quickly became the leader of the class. So much so, that we started to wonder about his diagnosis of moderate intellectual disability.
When he was reevaluated, sure enough Ivan’s former diagnosis did not fit. Turns out he simply had a learning disability. I guess that the learning disability paired with the extreme shyness, the inability to be understood, the language impairment and the hearing loss had all combined against him.
Our team slowly transitioned Ivan into the resource room and general education setting. We took it slowly and had lots of supports in place. The first day he took the regular bus home (instead of the sped bus) the school psychologist and I followed the bus to make sure he was able to independently get off the bus and go straight home. (He was).
It wasn’t an easy transition and we had to stand up against a lot of people that didn’t believe us. But it was so worth it!
I’m happy to say that Ivan has is still in a general education classroom with resource support. I still get tears in my eyes telling this story, we were able to change the course of his life. That is so powerful!
Let’s celebrate our wins together! Today is the start of a new feature. I’m sharing one of my SLP success stories today and in the coming weeks I’ll feature yours. I’d love for you to submit a quick story, just email me at email@example.com if you’re interested. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.
P.S. You can read more inspirational stories about SLP bosses here
. I’d also love for you to come and join the fun on facebook
, you can be the first to see live videos where I share SLP tips and tricks.
Do you love planners as much as I do? I created a special SLP summer planner just to help you make sure your summer doesn’t slip away.
And the best part…it’s FREE!
WE made it through another year! Now for a well-deserved summer break. If you’re like me you start the summer with very well-intended plans of projects, revamps and things-to-do. Sometimes the transition from flat out running and wrangling kids all day to summer relaxation can be a little tricky. SLP Summer Planner to the rescue.
So you take a few days to adjust. You make some vacation plans and you sleep in. Binge watch Netflix and before you know it, summer’s over. If you’re happy with that then great.
But… what if you start the summer knowing how you want to feel at the end of it? What if we a take little time to reflect on the past year and celebrate our successes? Let’s make time for what we really want to do with these precious months and use the SLP Summer Planner to make it happen.
What can you do to take care of yourself and refill the well? Who do you want to spend your time with? Figure out if you really want to do projects. If yes, pick ones that will make you feel good. Maybe you just want to sit under a tree and get lost in a book.
Give yourself what you need. The work you do is so very important. You really do make a difference. Because you “SLP”-ed Like a Boss all year, you deserve to be the boss of your summer.
I hope you use this SLP Summer Planner with a sense of play and intention. Then when summer comes to an end (which it always does) you can use the final sheets to transition into the coming school year.
Wishing you an incredible summer,
Beautiful Speech Life
P.S. Watch for the SLP Like a Boss School Planner coming soon.
Want to do something for Better Hearing and Speech Month (every May) and don’t have time to prepare something? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a school based SLP who decided May was the best month for this.
I’ve got you covered with these free handouts/posters. There’s a black & white version or four pretty color options. Use them as posters or handouts, they’re actually great all year!
Better Hearing and Speech month is the perfect time to place these posters in the staff room, on your speech room door, and anywhere else that teachers may congregate. These are actually great to use as handouts (the b&w version). They’re also great for in-service days to help new teachers understand how we can all work together.
After working in the schools for many years, I’ve noticed several common factors. Teachers are over-worked. SLPs are over-worked. Teachers have too much paperwork. SLPs have too much paperwork. Teachers want the best for their students. SLPs want the best for their students.
The students who make the most progress are generally the ones who have a team behind them.
The more we can work with the teachers to help our students take their newly learned communication skills into the classroom, the faster our students will have success across all environments.
I hope these handouts will spark ideas and stimulate discussions. I know there are some great teachers our there who fully understand what a speech language pathologist does and how we can work together. I also know there are some well meaning teachers who think we “just work on articulation.”
It’s our job to help bridge that gap.
To get your free printables just click here.
I hope this helps you out. Remember summer is almost here, we can do it!
Happy Better Hearing and Speech month,
P.S. Need a fun low-prep year end activity that will take you through at least two therapy sessions and works for multiple goals?