Now that the North American school year is winding down, I am left to reflect on just how useful I was in the past 2 years! I have been working with a lot of kids with moderate to severe articulation and phonological delays and got into the habit of regularly assessing them to determine whether the therapy approach that I chose was working and how much it impacted their speech sound acquisition. After attending an Excel workshop I decided to put my new skills to use and make a Speech Sound Development Chart so that I could track growth.
The Speech Sound Development Chart lists all consonant sounds in initial, medial and final position, as well as a space to check stimulability. I have included a number of ‘s’, ‘l’ and ‘r’ blends as well as some triple clusters. It is quite simple to use – just assess the student’s sounds and color in the boxes of sounds produced correctly.
I am a very visual person, so some of the things that I like to do are:
- Write in the error sound to look for phonological processes
- Review my formal/informal assessment and black out a box if the sound is not assessed so I know to discount it
- Color newly acquired sounds/positions in a different color so that the growth is more obvious
This is GREAT to show parents, especially at the end of the school year. Report cards and IEP progress notes are hard enough to understand and this chart is a simple visual summary of their child’s progress.
As school-based SLPs, our role is to support the child’s ability to access THEIR curriculum. If your school uses the Houghton Mifflin as their curriculum, then you will know that the Kindergarten themed units are particularly easy to get resources for – and if your school uses a different curriculum, check to see if one of them is season related. Theme 9 is called ‘Spring is here’ and I have made some seasonal resources that complement this theme. If you use a different curriculum then check to see if it includes a season based theme.
You will find a season map, as well as 12 cards for each season. This activity is great for categorization, expanding vocabulary and defining functions and attributes. For each season I have included 4 sub categories so that you can work on semantic goals.
For example: ‘Summer’ has 3 cards for clothes, foods, tools that you use at the beach, and sea animals.
Download here the: Season Map, Fall Cards, Spring Cards, Summer Cards and Winter Cards
These resources support the following Common Core Standards:
L.K.5. With guidance and support from adults, explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
- Sort common objects into categories (e.g., shapes, foods) to gain a sense of the concepts the categories represent.
- Demonstrate understanding of frequently occurring verbs and adjectives by relating them to their opposites (antonyms).
- Identify real-life connections between words and their use.
There are so many new sites, products and apps being released every week that I thought I’d share the two that I am most excited about: Co-Known and Drillaby.
If you need a new way to keep all of your essential internet resources at your fingertips, then head over
to Co-Known and start ‘scrapbooking the internet’. In basic terms, Co-Known allows you to:
- Clip and save any part of a webpage to your project page.
- View your clippings in a list or pinboard form
- Drag and drop to organize clippings on your Co-Known Pinboards.
- Add additional notes and custom tabs
- Offers free premium accounts for educators
This is a great professional resource – I know that some school districts block social media sites so it is easy to be able to keep all
of your sites and clips together. Pippa May, SLP has been generous enough to share how she uses this site and my eyes lit up when she wrote that she clips and saves bookmarks on her Co-Known page. I am particularly excited because I will be handing back my school computer in 7 weeks and do most of my bookmarking on that! Pippa also mentioned that any link can be saved, even links to call in absent or Medicaid. So get organized this upcoming break and view Pippa’s projects on Social Skills and Stuttering for some ideas.
There is a brand new articulation app on the market called Drillaby, from SLP TechTools which is particularly close to my heart as it
features a wallaby named Drillaby trying to get back home by collecting speech sounds (and I will be heading back to Australia in a few months, though I don’t have to collect stickers to get there!). This app focuses on drilling specific speech sounds and works great with RTI groups or a Five Minute Therapy approach. You can choose which position, adjust difficulty levels and target words and phrases. Drillaby collects the sounds for his sticker book and the students
can definitely monitor it themselves. I love that Drillaby is accent friendly and appeals to international SLPs with the choice of US, UK and Australian speakers. There are 2 versions on iTunes; Drillaby Pro ($24.95) and Drillaby ($5.99). Drillaby Pro contains more sounds, but you also have the option with Drillaby to purchase more sounds if you just want to give it a trial without spending a lot of money.
I was looking for a quick reinforcer game for older students a couple of months ago and chanced upon a math based card game that I quickly adapted to serve multiple purposes to work with my students. As many of you know, you start clicking on links and end up somewhere completely random, that I cannot find the original math game creator to give them their credit! This game is so fun and brings out the competitive sides of students from 2nd – 8th grade (and probably higher, though I haven’t tried). All you need are these cards, a calculator and a whiteboard or some way to keep track of scores.
The game is pretty simple, all the student has to do is pick up a card and follow the math equation. The original cards have different math problems such as add 100, minus your age, divide by the number of people in your family – but I have added a twist: introducing the concepts of ‘before’ and ‘after’. I have found that numbers are quite a concrete way to introduce ‘before’ and ‘after’ while throwing in complex directions with the same concepts can easily confuse a child! So the cards read ‘add the number that is before 99′ or ‘multiply by the number that comes after your shoe size’.
What is great is that you don’t even have to be working on language goals to use these cards. This reinforcer game is great for any group (because who doesn’t want to win?) and may be especially useful if your student is also weaker in maths.
As most of my readers are aware, I am not bombarded by app developers vying to have their product mentioned on my site. If I do share an app or product it is because a colleague or reader has suggested it to me or I won a competition. I am so thankful I won a competition for SpeechBox because this app is changing therapy for me, just like iBooks and Notability did. Now you can go to the SpeechBox site and read other reviews including a photo-by-photo analysis of what it looks like…. but I think that all of the reviews are missing a bigger picture – so I have to share.
First off, I think ‘SpeechBox’ is a narrow title for this app as it does so much more than target speech. It should be called the ‘CommunicationBox’ or something a little more broader. In a nutshell, this app has ‘boxes’ for speech sounds in initial, medial and final position that contain colorful photographs. The person can hear the word and then use their finger to swipe the picture away, which the kids love. In concept it is similar to other paid articulation apps…. but SpeechBox has a huge advantage: You can edit, add, delete photographs and customize it to your heart’s content.
Every SLP likes or dislikes some target words – some of the articulation apps that I have purchased (and cost more than SpeechBox) I rarely use now as the number of images are limited, I don’t like the pictures, the words may be low-frequency or just too complex. So for an app to let ME decide what and how many targets I want and choose my own pictures trumps everything else out there on the market. This is especially great for international SLPs. As an Australian, most apps are developed in America… which means American pronunciation and vocabulary. This is all fine while I am working here (it actually helps expand my vocabulary), but in a few months when I show my Aussie students a picture of a ‘faucet’ they will look at me and say ‘That’s a tap. And what IS a faucet!?’
Now onto my ‘CommunicationBox’ idea. This app allows you to create your own boxes, so we have now moved from articulation to grammar, social skills, semantics… whatever you want. I currently have boxes for irregular verbs, prepositions, cause and effect, ‘wh’ questions and identifying emotions just to name a few. The other feature that I like is that you can record up to 10 seconds of audio to play once a photo is selected. This can make your app really unique and entertaining… YOU create the type of app that you want. For example, with my prepositions box I didn’t record ‘under’ to go with the image, but ‘Where is the dog?’ So that the child has to identify and name ‘Under the table’. Google images has so many photographs out there (and there are soooo many images of cute baby animals to teach prepositions) that I think we can all agree that they engage students more than the good old black and white line drawings!
The potential for SpeechBox is mind-boggling for an SLP who likes to create resources – just step out of the ‘articulation’ mindset and see it as an app that can help support anyone with a communication disorder in whatever way you envision it.
I receive so many emails about amazing SLP opportunities, great informative websites and little tidbits here and there that I want to regularly inform other SLPs on what I see, read and hear. If you have any information or know of sites or places that may interest SLPs wanting to work around the world, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can spread the word.
ASHA Certified SLPs working overseas
I have had a few emails from US trained SLPs who are entering their Clinical Fellow Year (CFY) and wanted to work abroad – but they need contact or supervision with an SLP who has their CCC’s. If you are or know of one and want to see if you can help – please email me at email@example.com for more information.
Are there any Aussie SLPs aged 18-30 years old looking to get away? There is still a 12 month AYAD assignment in Suva, Fiji available. It’s tropical, you can sip coconuts and explore some of the best soft coral reefs I have ever seen. What are you waiting for?
For SLPs wanting to work in the UK
Although Anna is from New Zealand, she has put up a great read on the steps she had to take to work in the UK. She outlines the requirements, visa information and tips on how to look for work. She succinctly describes what it entails to move your profession overseas.
Competition For US SLPs/clients
Complete Speech is hosting a ‘Spring for Better Speech’ giveaway. It is for school aged students and has a great selection of prizes for students. So if you work with 5-18 year olds, view the Giveaway Overview and check out their Facebook page.
There are so many SLP blogs out there and in my recent viewings I have realized that everybody has a different opinion on some form of therapy. Take the humble articulation worksheet. Some SLPs embrace them, others blast them. I personally like worksheets. Why? Because they really work for some of my families. At the end of the day when I am trying to communicate to a parent how simple therapy can be in the home environment, sending home a worksheet with guided instructions can ease a parent into the concept of therapy at home before I ask them to monitor their child’s sounds at the conversational level.
But I do have some super parents out there, and when I get them I can’t help but tell them how easy it is do speech homework without any worksheets. What is more important than what you like as therapist, is what the family likes, needs or wants to use. So just ask them and adapt!
So for those families who despise worksheets but still want to put speech practice into their child’s everyday environment, I created these sheets for the ‘s’ sound in initial, medial and final position. The sheets describe everyday objects and actions that contain ‘s’ that can be part of speech therapy at home. These are great sheets to send home to families to show them that they don’t have to make extra time for speech therapy.