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?
With April being Autism Awareness month, I thought this was the perfect time to do this interview. I’ve been following Nicky on Instagram for the past two years. She has an inspirational, positive feed (Nickys Day) showcasing her days as a mother of a child with Autism. Her son, MJ is 12 yrs old. I can tell from his photos that he has a loving, sweet disposition…that face!
So let’s jump right in. (I’m AP and she’s NB)
AP: Nikki it’s so great to finally speak with you, I feel like I already know you from your Instagram feed! Why don’t you go ahead and tell us why you started your blog.
NB: My son MJ is 12, he’ll be 13 in May. He’s funny sweet and loving. He’s an amazing kid. I’ll just be honest, I didn’t know a lot about autism when he was diagnosed. I’ve been blogging for two years, because now I can talk about it. I thought about how I felt and decided if I can help someone else then I’m going to do it I want to give other parents hope. There is light, they just have to hang in there.
AP: I feel like I’ve learned a lot about you listening to your interview on The Skinni podcast. There you talked about what it felt like when MJ first received the diagnosis of autism. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?
NB: The first time you hear it, you think your life is over. You think, why is this happening. I went into a shell, trying to process and accept. I let myself cry for a day and then it was time to move forward and help my son.
AP: How did you do that?
NB: I was doing research and wondered, did I miss something? But I knew I had to do what I could do. Looking back I didn’t reach out for help, I didn’t feel like anyone could understand. You feel helpless. But day by day it gets better.
AP: I am an SLP who works with many children who have autism. I’m so interested in your point of view (as a parent), about the IEP process and working with the school. Most SLPs participate in 60 to 80 IEP meetings every year. It’ll be so beneficial for us to hear what it feels like sitting on the other side of the table.
NB: This is the first thing I thought of when you asked me about doing the interview. Thinking back to when we were at MJ’s first IEP meeting…you all use a lot of terminology. Expressive, receptive, echolalia. I figured that one out because echo was in the word. But a lot of these terms were new to me. Social language, semantics, apraxia, syntax. And what does four out of 10 trials mean?
AP: I know, it’s a lot of information.
NB: MJ’s first SLP said to us, ‘he may never speak. And if he does it might not be intelligible speech.’ She explained the process well, but there was no hope.
A parent might be sitting in front of you nodding, but inside they’re thinking oh my God.
(Anne’s Note: You guys, this makes me cry! I want to make sure I offer hope and support to all the parents I work with.)
AP: As a mom, what would you like SLPs and special education teachers to know?
NB: Tell us what you actually do. We want to know what happens while you’re with our child, so we can implement it at home. I need to see it.
It’d be great to have a 20 to 30 minute training on this. Handouts explaining the terminology, so we can look at them at home. A weekly progress checklist or even a text. I know you all are busy and I know about the caseloads, I’m a middle school teacher myself.
If you don’t tell me, I don’t know. It’s not like he’s going to tell me. So many more things happen at school than they do at home. When we say our child is different at home, he really is. The MJ at school is not the MJ at home. To him school is for work, home is to relax.
You do start to feel Hope. Especially when the school shares his progress. One of MJ’s SLPs typed his first sentence and sent it to me. THOSE are the things that help you keep going.
AP: Now that MJ’s got his big 13th birthday coming up, what are your hopes for him when he goes to high school?
NB: I want him to be safe, continue to make REAL friends, improve in social skills, and continue to learn as much as he can. He’s a genuinely happy kid and I want that to continue. JOB SKILLS would be amazing as well.
I think I can speak for all of us when I say thank you to Nicky for letting us learn from her journey. I truly admire her for her candor, optimism, determination, grit and fierce love for her son.
If you’d like to learn more about autism, look at these statistics from autismspeaks.org
- Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys
- Autism prevalence figures are growing
- Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S.
- Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
- Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
- There is no medical detection or cure for autism
I hope you found this information helpful and inspirational. Every child needs a powerful, caring team of adults working together to empower him with education, love and knowledge.
Together we can change lives,
Do you struggle with planning functional communication therapy?
Do you leave those sessions feeling frustrated and like it nothing is working?
I sure used to. And then I discovered the power of Core Vocabulary.
You can add structure, consistency and fun to your sessions by using Core Vocabulary. You’ll be amazed at how you can do more with less!
It’s not just for labeling. These words are used to comment, request and command.
Of course, you want students to learn many other words, these are fringe vocabulary. But by focusing on core words you are teaching them a vocabulary that is used most often throughout the day and that they can use throughout their daily lives from classroom to playground to cafeteria to home.
So what exactly is core vocabulary?
Core vocabulary is a small set of simple words, in any language, that are used frequently and across contexts (Cross, Baker, Klotz & Badman, 1997). These words make up 75-80% of the words we use every day.
I love to use big core vocabulary boards with my students. You can choose your core words from many sources and create your own board using symbols.
I just created this core vocabulary board. I spent months tweaking the size, the positioning of the symbols and using it with my students. Here’s what I love about it:
- Big squares are easy for little hands to grasp and large enough to see clearly.
- Made for classroom and/or speech room use
- Uses DLM Core Vocabulary words which are evidence based
It’s available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store now. Included with the board are two different choices of backgrounds, one vibrant and one more subdued. There is also a smaller poster to put on the classroom door to help with carryover. And smaller squares to use for lanyards to encourage use of the core vocabulary words throughout the day.
If you’re sold on Core Vocabulary but wondering how to get started, I also included enough ideas to get you through a few sessions incorporating wind-up toys and movement.
Click on this link to see the Big Core Vocabulary Board.
Psssssst…April 7th only….This is at an Introductory Price of just $5.00 (I know are you kidding me? That’s a whole lotta resource, that will last a lifetime)
I hope this gives you a good start. I don’t teach core vocabulary for the whole session, but consistently work it in for 10 to 15 minutes of each 30 minute session.
Keep coming back, because I’ll be sharing more ideas on how to use core vocabulary to make communication gains. Also join me on Instagram, where I share lots of ideas in my Instastories.
I’d love to hear from you once you’ve tried this. How did it work for you? What new ideas did it generate?
Hugs and high-fives,
In this series I’m interviewing SLP boss women who work by day as a speech language pathologist, but at night (and on weekends) they are building a business. I’m talking about websites, blogs, courses and therapy materials for their fellow SLPs and teachers. These are women I admire professionally and who inspire me. I write this series because I feel we can all make our practice as SLPs better and stronger by connecting with other SLPs.
This month, I’m featuring Adrienne from Learn with Adrienne. I met Adrienne two years ago when we took a massive online course together. I’m pretty sure we were the only two SLPs in the class and we became accountability partners. I was one of the beta testers for her course and am so impressed by what she’s created. She is an ASHA certified speech language pathologist who, along with her sign language course, works in early intervention.
Adrienne, tell me about yourself in seven words:
I teach Sign Language online to beginners.
Where did you go to grad school?:
Western Kentucky University.
What are your top three SLP must haves ?:
1. Powersheets Intentional Goal Planner by Lara Casey. I started using this at the beginning of the year. It helps me set goals and have a structured system to chip away at my goals without feeling overwhelmed. My favorite part is the “Tending List” that you create at the beginning of each month. You can find out more about Powersheets on Instagram here: @cultivatewhatmatters Also, I enjoy following the Powersheets creator, Lara, at @laracasey.
2. My Swell water bottle. It keeps my water ice cold in the car between home visits for Early Intervention therapy.
- 3. My dayplanner: AT-A-GLANCE Academic Year Weekly/Monthly Appointment Book. I have used this type of planner for years. It has a slot for each hour of the day. I book my client sessions, write appointments, block out time for my goals, and plan meals. Love it.
What do you love most about what you do?
My happiest moments are when I am helping people learn Sign Language. I love watching my students add Sign Language to their SLP toolbox while earning ASHA CEUs at the same time.
Julie, one of my students said, “I just got an Early Intervention referral…both parents are Deaf! I am so thankful for this course, not only for Speech Therapy, but now I am able to introduce myself, and show them I am trying.”
Another one of my students, Isabella, told me: “My cousin is Deaf and I have always wanted to have a conversation with her. I want to show her that I care and include her when the family gets together. Now, after practice and watching your videos in your online Sign Language class, I will be able to talk to her and we can become even closer.”
So, I am happiest when I am watching people sign to connect with others. #signtoconnect has become my motto.
Tell me your advice for the newly minted SLP:
My best advice is to start an “Aha-Moments” Journal.
Aha-moments happen when you least expect them.
It is the twinkle in a toddler’s eye when she realizes for the first time that she can use words to make a request.
It is the 5th grader who finally perfects their /r/ sound in a sentence.
It is the high-schooler who delivers his big Graduation Speech confidently and smoothly in the auditorium. When you are sitting in the audience with proud tears of joy because he has dysfluency and has been practicing his speech with you for months.
It is the man in the Skilled Nursing Facility who can remember his daughter’s name again when she comes to visit, because he is using the strategies and tips you taught him.
Chase after the “aha-moments.” Cherish them, celebrate them, and strive for them. In your “Aha-Moments” journal, write down whenever you help someone in a profound way. Write it down and celebrate it. When you feel discouraged, or have a rough day, you will have a beautiful collection of moments to remember times when you changed peoples’ lives. At the end of your career, you will have a unique keepsake to walk down memory lane and reminisce about the lives you touched.
Tell me about your course:
I teach the “Sign Language in 30 Days Online Course” for beginners. This course is for people who have always wanted to learn Sign Language, but feel intimidated. It is for people who are overwhelmed by learning signs from a book or random sources online. It is for people who need to know basic Sign Language vocabulary to use with clients, students, or patients in their speech therapy sessions.
As an SLP, I know that earning CEUs is always a priority for me to further my education on topics that I need to use in my own therapy sessions. My Sign Language course is available for up to 5 hours of ASHA CEUs for my students who are SLPs.
Before I first started learning Sign Language over ten years ago, I thought it would be so complicated and confusing. But once I started coming up with my own secret strategies to remember the words, I was obsessed! I never realized how most signs look like the words they portray. The language is beautiful. That’s one reason I love teaching Sign Language in my online course, because I can help beginners to learn the basics in 30 days. I shortcut the time it takes my students to learn. I teach them strategies to learn faster and remember signs for a long long time.
My students learn over 300 words in one month and have lifetime access to the class online to review in the future.
Tell me about your website:
My website is www.learnwithadrienne.com. There, I give away the first lesson of my Sign Language Online Course as a gift. My site also has videos for Early Intervention SLPs. I share ideas and inspiration for therapy activities with babies and toddlers in my videos.
What SLP-boss inspires you?
Lia Kurtin from SpeechandLanguageatHome.com. She makes amazing resources for Early Intervention on TPT. I use her materials all the time in my Early Intervention home visits. She also has a course about how to go “Bagless” in Early Intervention visits and use the coaching model.
If you are interested in taking an Adrienne’s course click here http://bit.ly/learnsignathome
for more information. I like the course so much that I am an affiliate.
The thing that makes her course different is that she groups the words into categories (of course she does, she’s an SLP) AND she gives you little tips and tricks that help you remember the signs. For example, the sign for pizza (very important to me) looks like you’re putting a slice in your mouth.
I use sign language to provide visual support when I’m teaching core vocabulary. It really helps to have multi-modality. In my primary functional skill classroom we use the sign for “more” a lot. I took her course last summer and really enjoyed it. Since I have lifetime access, I go back and check in from time to time for a refresher.
So there you have it, another inspirational SLP boss. If you enjoyed this interview, head on over to Adrienne’s site and learn more.
Is there an SLP you admire and would like to know more about? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time, together we are stronger,
Have you been working your nicely manicured fingers to the bone? I know I have, it’s just that time of year.
Loads of IEP meetings, evaluations and always progress reports (ugh).
I’m giving you a few handy resources. You can give these to parents, your team, or share them with a CF student you’re supervising…and they’re FREE.
First click here
for those colorful Spring Speech Punch cards, there’s a colored version and b/w.
While some of you may have seen them in my TPT store, a lot of you are new, so I wanted to make sure you knew about these.
Use this as a poster or handout to share with your team at school!
Created to celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month, May 2017; this is a great tool to promote understanding of the role of Speech Language Pathologists in the school setting. Collaboration is key!
Did you know there is a developmental order of prepositional acquisition? Here’s a handy little FREE chart you can show to parents and teachers. Use this to help determine what preposition your student is ready to learn next.
This FREE download explains the difference between speech and language. We SLPs know there is a huge difference. I created these posters/handouts using parent friendly language and visuals for use when you need to give a brief explanation. Perfect to use as posters in the speech/language room, teacher’s lounge, and school conference room. Also great for use when explaining evaluation results to parents.
I hope this helps!
Did you catch my “Putting the Fun in Functional Communication” presentation last week on SLP Summit? I hope so. I really enjoyed the interaction but to be honest it was really hard to talk and keep up with the chat feature of the platform. Luckily, I was able to review the entire chat to make sure I can answer everything for you.
Here’s where you can find the most asked about items:
In case you missed the session, you can still see the recorded version until January 31, 2017 at SLP Summit
. Here is a quick review of how to use each item.
Use as a reinforcer, to teach greetings and farewells. PS don’t let the students hold it or the magic will disappear.
This amazing program is the brainchild of Kim from Activity Taylor and Gabby from middle school speech. This year, my junior high functional skills class in Arizona is paired with a similar group of students in Oregon. With so many opportunities to pair language with a daily living type of activity, this program is a big hit! Learn more by emailing Kim: firstname.lastname@example.org
DLM core words
You can find them here. Also here’s an article
with more details on how are use them.
Products for middle school and junior high
I developed these because I was really having a lot of trouble teaching prepositions to my students. These books combine teaching one concept with errorless learning and lots of repetition.
I like using sign to reinforce the core vocabulary words. Also it seems like I usually have a student transfer that uses sign language. My friend Adrienne who is an SLP has a wonderful online sign language course. Use my affiliate link
to learn more.
Cough drop AAC
I’m just trying this with a student now and so far I’m really impressed. I’ll be interviewing the owner for an upcoming article very soon. In the meantime, Coughdrop AAC offers a two month free subscription for users. They also let SLPs use this app for free to evaluate students. Contact Scott at Coughdrop AAC
for more details.
Teachers pay teachers has many core vocabulary products. Susan Berkowitz, Jenna Raeburn and Felice Clark have resources that you can check out. I’m working on a core board that I’ll be listing soon.
Have you tried implementing any of these ideas yet? I would love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below or send me an email at email@example.com
You’ve got this,