Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Am Hiding!

I recently stumbled across "I Am Hiding" by Mercer Mayer and got a little too excited about how perfect it would be for targeting several language concepts.  Each page is very simple, with repetitive text that could be used for working on the pronoun, "I," the be-auxiliary, "I am," action words, and verb+ing.  It could even be used for targeting other pronouns such as "he" and "she" as you describe what the brother/sister is doing.   

Here are some simple ways to work on each of these targets as you read this book with your child, create a group activity for your class, or work with a student in therapy:

  • When targeting "I" just have the child repeat the phrase on each page word for word. ("I am sneaking.")
  • If the target is he/she, describe what the brother or sister is doing and have the child repeat the phrase.  Or ask them, "What is he doing?"  ("He is resting."  "She is looking.")
Be-Auxiliary ("I am"):
  • Have the child repeat each phrase in the book. ("I am hopping")
  • After reading each page, have the child act it out and describe what they are doing. ("I am creeping.")
Action words/verb+ing:
  • Label each action for the child and have them repeat it.
  • If they are at the phrase level, have them repeat each sentence after you read it.
  • Again, simply having them act out the action on the page, and then label it is a great way to work on action words.  
Large Group/Small Group:
  • Give each child a copy of the book so they can follow along as you read it. 
  • Act out the actions on each page and have the children repeat the phrase from the book. 
  • Have the children describe what other children are doing to target the pronouns he/she. "What is Sarah doing" "She is jumping."  or "Who is looking" "She is!")
  • Play hide-and-go seek at the end and have the child 'seeking' use the phrase, "I am" as they are looking. ("I am looking."  "I am walking."  "I am stretching")
  • Once they find the child that was hiding, ask the class, "Who did he find?"  Then have the class repeat either "her" or "him" to target those pronouns.  If you were still working on children's names, you could have them say the child's name. 
For additional activities, Speaking of Speech has a great section on targeting verbs, including "I am." 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summertime, Booktime!

I know I have been very scarce with posts during this summer break, but as I begin my new job I hope to get back in the swing of things. In the meantime, I had to share some great books I have run into that would be wonderful for both therapy and large groups.  The first one was read at my daughter's story time at the library the other day.  It is called, "Jump" by Scott M. Fischer. 

It is a great story that could target animal names and actions.  Each animal "JUMPS" away from the animal they meet, with repetitive text that would be easy for imitation of words and actions while reading it.  I found this fun song that could even go along with it:
I am already planning a fun large group with this one!
The next one is called, "Pepper Picks a Pumpkin" by Linda Bleck.  This one may be a little harder to find, but is a great one for individual therapy focusing on /p/.  Honestly, just reading it word for word provides some great auditory bombardment.  

The last book is another fun one from the library.  It is called "If You See a Kitten" by John Butler.  This is one that could be used for both individual and group therapies.  It has simple text that focuses on simple CV combinations that kids can't help but imitate!  For example, "If you see a snake...say EEEEEEK!"  How cute is that!? After reading this one, you could have the children act out the story and encourage all the children to say the sound/word when they "see" the animal!  

I hope you are all having a relaxing summer!  

Monday, July 7, 2014

National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month

July is National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness & Prevention Month.  I have been excited all year to write this post for some reason.  And I'm sure most of that reason is my nephew. This little guy is seriously the sweetest thing.  I love all of my nieces and nephews so much, but lets just say I hold a special place in my heart for this one.  (I mean just look at this cute kid!)
Photo by: Kassie Crapo Photographer
He was born premature, with a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate. And his parents had no idea until the doctors laid this tiny baby in their arms.  They were beyond shocked and overwhelmed.  To care for a premie is hard enough, but one that can't latch easily and has additional medical needs can seem impossible at times, I'm sure.  Me being the "helpful" younger sister right in the middle of graduate school, went to work getting services in place and providing [overwhelming] them with additional information and resources.  They lived in an area where I had done developmental therapy for the early intervention program and one of my professors was on the craniofacial team in the area--so naturally I was the expert they needed to help them through this. ;)  Truthfully they had wonderful hospital staff who provided them with most of the same information that I did. 
Anyway, I share all of this because I think raising awareness is so important for people just like them.   Everyone knows there are different degrees to a cleft lip and/or palate.  Everyone knows that folic acid is crucial in the beginning weeks of pregnancy, specifically to help prevent certain birth defects including cleft lip & palate.  Everyone knows that the doctors will specifically check for a cleft lip during your ultrasound at about 18 weeks.  Everyone knows that most causes of a cleft lip and palate are a combination of genetics and environmental factors.  Everyone knows there are early intervention programs in every state to help with therapies, family support, and other additional resources.  But are these really things that everyone knows?  No.  My SIL didn't think to specifically ask if the tech could see that her baby had a cleft palate during that very special ultrasound.  Others have no idea that they can receive services or support through their state when their child is under 3 years of age at no cost or reduced costs.  And I'm sure there are still many who have no idea that not taking folic acid during pregnancy may lead to some birth defects.   
There is a website specifically dedicated to spreading awareness this month-  They provide wonderful information on how to get involved, events happening, how to organize your own event, and other helpful resources for families.  The Cleft Palate Foundation is another great resource if you are wanting to learn more.  They have wonderful handouts and information for families and professionals.  The Children's Craniofacial Association is one other website I would like to mention. This site has great information on different syndromes, qualified centers (listed by state), and events happening around the US.  So this month check out an event in your area and get involved or better yet, organize one yourself to spread awareness! 

Friday, May 30, 2014

International Children's Day

June 1st is International Children's Day and what better way to end the year than by having a day to celebrate children!  The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland, announced June 1 as International Children's Day in 1925. There are usually speeches on children's rights and wellbeing, and other events involving or dedicated to children on this day.  So celebrate your children this Sunday in some special way. They truly deserve it!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer Programs

If any of you were here last year, you know that I offered speech and language packets to work on throughout the summer.  This year, I am going to do things a little different.  I will provide wordlists of your child's sounds for the articulation calendars (if you request these lists), but the calendars for articulation and language activities will all be listed below.  No paper copies will be sent home this year.  I have included a PDF version, so it should be very easy to print one off each month.  This way I am able to offer a variety of packets, and you as parents can chose the packet that best fits your child's developmental level or interests.  I have also included some general ideas/activities you can just quickly look over and choose from.  
  • June Summer Language Calendars:

  • July Summer Language Calendars:

  • August Summer Language Calendar:
Note: First Day of School for Elementary is actually August 20th!

  • June Summer Articulation Calendar (be sure to keep the sound collage mentioned on the 10th for practice all throughout the summer). 
  • July Summer Articulation Calendar 
  • August Summer Articulation Calendar:

Enjoy your summer break! 

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Thursday, May 22, 2014


With end of year madness, we will be doing our Songtree for Large Group next week.  This includes singing lots of fun songs,  specifically including one of our latest favorites, "London Bridge Is Falling Down," nursery rhymes, and chants.  We will focus on pronouns, keeping a beat, doing the actions, and phonemic awareness.  There will be no learning card or weekly handout for this week. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Next Year Changes

Some of you may have already heard, but if not I wanted to let you all know that next year I will not be coming back to Willow Springs.  :(  My husband has accepted a position in Seattle, so we will be moving up there this summer.  It has been fun these last 2 years, and I am so sad to leave all the students who will be returning next year.  I plan to keep this blog though, so feel free to check back often for handouts and information related to speech and language development.  I wish you all the best, and hope that you keep in touch. I love hearing from past students about their wonderful progress!  :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mr. Potato Re-visited

Next week for Large Group we will be doing Mr. Potato Head again.  The students LOVED this one and got a kick out of putting his body parts on.  If you would like to read more about it, check out this post.  There will not be a learning card for this Large Group sent out this time.  Just refer to the one listed in the original post, or if you happen to still have the paper copy.  

National Stuttering Awareness Week

This is a busy month for speech and language awareness!  It is also one of the busiest months for school SLPs, so I'm sorry this is so late in the week.  Anyway, May 12-18th is National Stuttering Awareness Week (NSAW)!  This week is all about reaching the thousands of people who stutter who still feel alone and isolated.  It is an annual event that I hold dear to my heart, because I have several family members and friends who stutter.  The National Stuttering Association has some wonderful information about NSAW and how to get involved.  If you would like to learn more about stuttering, The Stuttering Foundation has wonderful resources as well.  It is my favorite go-to site for stuttering information.  So get out there and spread awareness about National Stuttering Awareness Week! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

National Apraxia Awareness Day

Today is National Apraxia Awareness Day.  Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder where children struggle with production of sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness, rather the brain has difficulties planning movements of body parts such as the lips, jaw, or tongue, used for speech. With CAS, children know what exactly what they want to say, but their brain has trouble planning and coordinating the muscle movements needed to say the sounds and words.  Apraxia -KIDS has a wonderful list of ways you can get involved and spread awareness.  
If you would like to read more about CAS, these are some great websites to check out:

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Yes you read that right, we are doing Minecraft…again.  It was such a hit, and I have had several requests from the students to do it again, so it will happen one last time before the end of the school year.  If you would like to read more about our last Minecraft Large Group, including learning card and weekly handout, check out this post.  Also, to give you an idea of how much fun we had, here are a few pictures from the last time:

Ms. Ange's Class

Miss Happy Steve

Ms. Jeana's Class

Scared and Happy Steves

Since our Minecraft Day, many of the kids have been building Minecraft structures with the legos, including Steves and Creepers.  Can you spot the Steve on top of the Lego house?!

There were a few classes that had little to no interest in the Steve Heads, so for those classes we will do some scarf dancing to make it more fun! ;)  Happy Minecraft Madness! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

BHSM: Identify the Signs of Communication Disorders

A new, nationwide effort to educate the public about communication disorders was recently launched by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)—a professional association of which I am a member. Called Identify the Signsthis campaign specifically aims to help people recognize the early warning signs of communication disorders. 

An estimated 40 million Americans have trouble speaking or hearing due to a communication disorder. Millions more family members and friends are also impacted. Here in Utah, there are parents reading this whose children are struggling to speak or understand language; spouses living with partners whose hearing is deteriorating; and co-workers, neighbors and others who see someone who needs help but don’t know what to do. Identify the Signs offers tools to change that.  

With 4 years of experience working in the field of communication disorders, I have seen the debilitating effects that these issues can have when left unaddressed. Too often, people wrestle with these challenges for years because they fail to receive proper, timely treatment. Early detection of speech, language, and hearing issues is absolutely critical to improving academic, social, and career outcomes—and improving one’s quality of life at any age.  

For people with communication disorders, those closest to them are often their biggest asset. Unfortunately, some parents and caregivers are unable to identify the warning signs or dismiss them too readily. A recent poll of speech-language pathologists and audiologists by ASHA reported significant parental delays in getting help for children with communication difficulties. This is just one example of the missed opportunities that commonly occur with communication disorders.  

Through a series of TV, radio, print, digital public service announcements, and the campaign website, the public can learn about the warning signs and be connected to professional help. I encourage you to visit the website, and share the information and resources you find there. Above all, though, I hope you will seek help if you suspect that you or a loved one shows signs of having a disorder.  

Every day, I see in my work that untreated communication disorders often lead to larger academic, social, and developmental issues. Early diagnosis is the most powerful way to reduce or even reverse their impact and can give your loved ones the opportunity to lead the fullest lives possible.

Be sure to check back often this month because I will be posting several flyers/informational brochures from Identify the Signs.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Our Goose Sound

In the month of May we will be working on our final sound of the month, the 'Goose' sound, /g/!

Use the following ideas/worksheets to target our "g" sound this month:
  • in isolation practice in front of the mirror, open your mouth wide to say it in the "back!"  You can even trying lying on the floor, or on the grass outside and practice saying our "g" sound.
  • CV combinations (go, ge, gi, gu, etc.) while playing with toys or games
  • these sheets for initial /g/ and final /g/ at the word level
  • then use the above sheets along with these initial /g/ and final /g/ to practice at the phrase level
All of our sheets for our goose sound are from Mommy Speech Therapy . During drill work you can cue your child to remember and "do it in the back" for correct placement, as this is what we will be talking about during group.  But keep this minimal during daily routines.  /g/ can be a tricky one for some kids, especially because you can't see it produced as easily as other sounds (/f/, /m/, etc.).  If your little one starts getting frustrated, just back off and do some auditory bombardment during play.  This is when you say as many words with our sound in it as you can think of, in a short amount of time… for example, " comes the green goose, he's going to get some gum for the game."  Even though your child won't be producing the sound, they will be hearing it over and over, which is helping to train their ear, and in turn help with production of the sound later on.  Have fun with our "g" sound!!

What Will Fat Cat Sit On?

Next week for Large Group we will be reading "What Will Fat Cat Sit On?" by Jan Thomas. It is hilarious, and wonderful for working on negation!

Here is our learning card:
We will focus on the negation term "not" throughout the entire book, "Fat Cat did NOT sit on the pig."  In addition, we will work on labeling the animals.  Once we finish the book, we will play a game of musical chairs.  Each chair will have a picture of an animal from the book taped to it.  
No, he will not sit on the cow!

Will he sit on the mouse?

He did not sit on the chicken.

He will not sit on the dog!

Sit on the pig!!!
Before each round, one child will be chosen to be Fat Cat.  They will get to wear our Fat Cat headband. 
What will Fat Cat sit on?!?
After the music stops, Fat Cat will have to tell us what he sat on, "I sat on the pig!"  Then we will figure out what he did not sit on, "He did not sit on a mouse, dog, chicken, or cow."  You can get these fun visuals right from Jan Thomas' website.  It's what I used for our chair visuals and headband.  If you would like to review our other handouts on negation, check out these posts.  For next week, try to focus on "not" throughout your daily routine.  While getting dressed, offer your child 2 options for a shirt.  If they chose the blue shirt, say, "You did NOT chose the purple shirt."  Or while eating snack explain, "You did NOT drink all of your milk."  You can also work on receptive language as well.  While reading a book ask your child to point to someone that is not a girl.  Or while walking through the park, say, "Show me something that is not in the sky,"  Have fun with negation!!!

Better Hearing and Speech Month

This month is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)!  I am so excited to share information about this annual event, because it is all about raising awareness for my profession as an SLP and the disorders I treat.  Recently, ASHA has started a wonderful campaign called Identify the Signs.  I will be posting a lot about how to identify the signs, so be sure to check back all throughout the month of May! 

For information about children's language, has wonderful information about early childhood development.  Check out this page and click on your child's age range.  Not only do they give some great guidelines of what your child should be doing, but also some ideas on how to further your child's language development.  Overall, you can view this page to learn more about other communication disorders.  

If you would like to spread awareness, go to this wonderful list that ASHA put together on ways to get involved.  There are also some fun perks this month, including discounted or free apps at SuperDuper Inc., Smarty Ears, PocketSLPHamaguchiSounding Board, Smart Apps For Kids, and Smart Apps For Special Needs.  This handout from Super Duper includes some information about BHSM as well as a coloring page to get your little one involved as well.  Be sure to check back often this month because I will be posting a lot more about BHSM, Identify the Signs, and other fun freebies or information.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Free Apps!!!

Because this month is Autism Acceptance Month there are lots of free and discounted apps.  Check out this post from Smart Apps for Special Needs to see all of them. 

George the Turtle

Next week for Large Group we get to meet George the Turtle!  I will be doing Large Group in both classrooms on Tuesday and Wednesday.

George the Turtle
You can learn a little more about George by checking out this post about PAW.  Here is our learning card:

We will be looking at these pictures of fruits and vegetables and working on categorizing.  They are some of George's favorite, and least favorite things to eat!  The Budget SLP has another wonderful post that has 20+ resources for working on classification or categorizing!  So check out that post and try a few of the activities, especially if you have a little one who will be going to kindergarten next year.  

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Asking Someone To Play

The nice thing about working with a great group of SLPs is that you have such wonderful people to bounce ideas off of and share activities with.  One of our SLPs over at Jordan Valley, Amanda Burr, shared this fun large group with me. She recently did it with her kiddos and it was a hit, so I'm excited to do it with our group of kids!  That being said, after spring break we are going to be working on some social language skills during Large Group.  Here is our learning card:

We will first read this social story about how to ask someone to play. We will focus on the steps of asking someone to play, then we will practice it with each other. To help us practice each other's names and how to get someone's attention, we will play a game of pass the ball as well. Since we will be focusing on social skills, our handout talks about greeting others--another great social skill some of our kiddos are working on. You can get an English or Spanish version. It is from Super Duper.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

National Pets Are Wonderful Month

I love animals, especially cats, so I was excited to learn that April is officially 'Pets Are Wonderful' (PAW) month!  In addition to just being wonderful to have around, many of you probably already know that research shows pets are also good for your health.  They can improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, help with depression, and even facilitate social interactions among those who have them.  Pets can also be beneficial for the elderly and children with special needs.  There are even some wonderful organizations to help those interested in getting a pet for children with special needs.  The Autism Service Dogs of America (ASDA) is an organization that provides trained dogs to children with autism.  A Rinty for Kids Foundation (ARFkids) helps families with children who have special needs.  They assist in selecting appropriate puppies for families nationwide.  The puppy will then be trained to be a pet-assisted therapy dog.  A $25 donation is required during the application process, and it looks like it takes about a year to receive your dog once the application is submitted.  If you are considering getting a pet, make sure to look up some guides provided online for first time pet owners, especially if you are thinking of getting one for your child.  Here are a few for dogs, cats, birds, and choosing a pet for your child.

Turtle at 45+ years, Missy at 12 months
Just keep in mind that getting a pet can be a pretty intense time commitment. ;) My husband got his pet turtle, George (above), at the age of 11.  He is now 33, and George is now 45 (a guesstaminet given by the vet) and the way things are looking, our daughter may get to take her as a pet when she leaves for college!  As a side note, yup you read that correctly, George is a girl--11 year olds are apparently not great at recognizing turtle gender.  But honestly, we love George, and to celebrate PAW, I will be bringing her to school after Spring Break for an exciting Large Group.  Check back soon to learn more about that!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Move Like This

Next week we will be doing fun things with our "clicking camera" sound.  Here is our learning card:

We will be reading "The K Book:" 

It's a nice way to do auditory bombardment, something I talk about often in my posts about the sound of the month.  After we read the book, we will practice some words that have our "k" sound it in, especially some actions that have our "clicking camera" sound.  Next, we will play 'move like this.'  We will try to think of actions or animals to move like, but they have to have our "k" sound in it (kick, kangaroo, cough, catch, kitten, etc.).  We will focus on actions and past tense-ed.  Our weekly handout talks about how to teach children past tense.  It is from Speech and Language Kids, again! :) If you need some action cards, try these from Testy Yet Trying.