Thursday, March 24, 2016

Things SLPs should always say {NO, NOPE, STOP} The Importance of Punishment in Speech Therapy


Well, this is the flipside - except I couldn't narrow it down :) 

There are so many things we should always say, and this might surprise you, but we need to say more negative things!  We need to say, "NO," "NOPE," "Eh," "nuh-uh," "Stop that," "No way; try again," "That's wrong," "nah," and "no way." 


Before you think I've lost my mind and click away, let me explain myself.  By punishment, I certainly do not mean we should punish children, be rude or mean to children, or make them feel bad about themselves.  If you know me, I'm all about the peace and love with my students. 




  Simply stated, punishment (in the behavior world) is a consequence following a behavior that decreases the probability that a particular behavior will occur in the future. 

As SLPs we are fan-flipping-tastic about giving positive reinforcement! 
Good job!  Great talking! Nice sounds! Good work!! 
I love your effort! Good try! I love your good speech! Keep up the good work!
That sounded awesome! Wow, you're so smart! Super talking! 

Positive reinforcement is so important!! Providing positive reinforcement following a desired behavior increases the probability that the behavior will increase in the future.

Did you know that negative words are powerful, too?  
They're especially powerful when trying to change a behavior, and after all, isn't that what we try to do in therapy?  We try to shape dysfluent speech into fluency speech. We aim to shape new articulation and phonological patterns. We strive to change communication habits. That's our business! 

When trying to decrease a behavior (a lisp, an articulation error, a phonological process, vocal abuse, incorrect pronoun use, poor eye contact, spitting or biting, inappropriate social behaviors, etc.) punishment is important.  Using punishment decreases the likelihood of the behavior persisting.  Isn't that what we want? 

In fact, there's plenty of research out there supporting that using positive reinforcement along with punishment is more effective in changing speech patterns than using positive reinforcement alone. 

Costello and Ferrar (in 1976) compared progress between students who received punishment combined with positive reinforcement and students who received positive reinforcement alone for the reduction of incorrect articulation.  

They used 3 different "punishers" (a buzzer, response cost, and simple verbal "No!" Their results indicated that:
1) punishment in combination with positive reinforcement was more effective than positive reinforcement alone. 
2) introducing punishment did not cause disruptions for children nor did it cause children to become upset or off-task. In fact, disruptive and off task behavior increased when the punishment was taken away. 


Each time I get a graduate clinician from a local university or model therapy for new SLPs, I always get the same response...

Grad Student:  "YOU TELL THEM NO!?!" 
CF-SLP:          "You tell them it's wrong!?"
Me:                  "Well, yes, of course." 

It seems that somewhere along the line, it has become unpopular to tell students they are wrong. I see it in classrooms, too. When I was in grad school I had several wise professors who were adamant that we use a very firm, "NO" for all incorrect responses. It's just science; the child is less likely to make that same mistake again. I've refined my verbal punishment since then, and I provide more specific feedback that equates to "NO." Some are those are shown at the top in the speech bubbles :)  
Sometimes it's just the ole stink eye or grimace or a simple but firm "Uh-uh" or "Eh!" 

I mean, shouldn't we be honest with our students?  How will they know they are doing something incorrectly if we don't tell them?  If they were already capable of self- monitoring their speech, they wouldn't be therapy. If we don't tell them what they are doing wrong, how will they know what to change? 

Don't get me wrong, I would never plunge into therapy with a new student using punishment.  It's important to establish a relationship with a child and show him that therapy is a positive and safe place before using punishment.  It varies with each child, but that trusting foundation can be laid rather quickly.  Once the child understands that you're on his side, and you're there to help him/her, it's time to start being honest (but kind) with our feedback.  

Even though I use punishment (in the form of words or body language), I feel confident that my students still know I care about them. Additionally, they know to try something different than what they just tried.  

(I should note:  if you observe that punishment causes anger, sadness, aggression or self-esteem issues with any of your students, you should stop and consult with the rest of the child's IEP team or behavior experts at your disposal.  Also, never use strategies that may conflict with a child's behavior plan or established plan of reinforcement without consulting with the child's team.)

TIPS for using POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT & PUNISHMENT: 

1) Always use BOTH!!  How depressing would it be if a child only received punishment!? Therapy would be a beat down for both of you!  On the other hand, if you only use positive reinforcement, progress may be slower because your student may not have a clear understanding of what changes he/she needs to make with his/her communication. 

2) Always be sure to only positively reinforce behaviors (communication habits) that you want to strenghten! Likewise, always be sure to only punish behavior you want the child to decrease! Don't let any of those correct responses get by without at least a nod of approval, and don't let the belly flop responses get by without correction.  I see my fair share of SLPs doing drill silently-  tallying away but not giving feedback to the student.  All the while I think, "I wonder if they think they're doing well or not?"  How will they know what to KEEP doing if the therapist doesn't make it completely clear!?  How will they know what to STOP doing if they're not told!? 

3) Vary the type of positive reinforcement AND punishment! Saying "good job" 100 times will surely lose its impact on a student.  Likewise, "that's not right, try this" will also lose its mojo! Change it up to keep your reinforcement and punishment powerful! 

4) Consider each student! If verbal positive reinforcement isn't enough, pair it with high fives, stickers, tangibles, etc.  Positive reinforcement isn't reinforcement at all if it isn't something a child wants. Find out what motivates each child, and remember that reinforcers don't always maintain their power.  Some children lose interest in what you may be providing so you need to keep re-evaluating what's really reinforcing for a child.  In the same way, they may get "immune" to your stink eye or thumbs down punishers.  Change it up! Little Bee Speech got it right with its Articulation Station Pro app which allows SLPs to give a lovely "ding" sound when a child says a speech target correctly and an aversive buzzer-like "bomp" sound when he/she gets it wrong.  That's such a simple but effective form of punishment and positive reinforcement in one place.  (By the way, I don't get anything from that company for saying that! It's just my honest opinion) 

5) BE CONSISTENT and keep your expectations high.  Children thrive with consistent expectations. They will be less confused when you give them clear positive reinforcement for desired behaviors and clear punishment for undesired behaviors.  It's important for all of us not to lose sight of what the real desired behavior is. For example, if a child has a lateral lisp, and suddenly it is less distorted, it's very tempting for us to start packing on the positive reinforcement because...  

It's better!! Hooray!! 
Uh, Oh....

be very careful, because that behavior is likely to increase, and better doesn't mean correct. I recently observed a therapist who was marking all distorted /s/ productions as correct. Soon after, she told me how much better his lateral lisp now was.  Hmmmm, yes it's better, but now he thinks it's spot on! YIKES!  Let's keep our ears and brains finely tuned and expectations high- and let's communicate honestly with our students and clients. They deserve that. 

I admit, I am no expert on this subject; it's just something I have used in my practice for the past 20 years. If you want to read more from the real experts, check out this interesting 2010 article by Anne K. Bothe and Janic Costello Ingham about Using Responses Contingencies in Evidence-Based Treatements for Children's Stuttering. 

Do YOU say NO & NOPE in speech therapy, too?  I want to know that I'm not alone :) 

Be sure to click on the links below to read all about what my cohorts, The Frenzied SLPs, think SLPs should always say! 






Sunday, March 6, 2016

5 things SLPs should never say...




Being an SLP and talking go hand in hand.  
I have met SLPs who aren't big talkers, but I think that variety is few and far between. 
As a rule, WE LIKE TO TALK.  
I, for one, am a major league talker.  In fact, I even talk in my sleep. 
I joke and say that one day my mouth will get me in big time trouble.
It has come close a few times.  
Even more than that, I'm a truth speaker.  Too much truth can rub others the wrong way sometimes.  

I'm not much into censoring myself....
BUT many times, to be the empathic professionals that we are, 
we have to. 

Along with my cohorts, the Frenzied SLPs, I want to share with you...

FIVE things SLPs should NEVER say


You know...lazy.  
Do I think that some students are lazy? 

YES.

We probably all think this now and then. We can vent and rant and rave in private if needed, but we should never ever say it to them...or their parents. 

WHY? 

First, telling a child he/she is lazy won't help anything; it won't fix the problem.  In fact, it would likely do more harm than good.  Saying it out loud would likely embarrass/offend/anger the student (and/or parents) and alienate you from him or her when you actually need to be a team. Secondly, the fact is that we can't prove it.  Maybe what we perceive as laziness is actually hopelessness, depression, apathy, fatigue, etc.  The list could go on and on.

I've heard the "L" word said in IEP meetings, at parent-teacher conferences, in classrooms and in hallways.  It makes me cringe. Frankly, I think it's just plain mean and feels dangerously close to name calling. Kids come to us with many complicated factors, and it's our jobs to treat them as they come- with all their baggage and blessings alike.  It's also out jobs to find a way to motivate them. In most cases I'm all for calling a spade a spade, but in this case it's best to fight the urge.  


When there are 2 or more children together - big or small - stuff happens. 
Schools (and therapy groups) are jam packed with students, and they don't always get along. To be honest, as a young therapist, my immediate response to any conflict (name calling, hitting, mean remarks, snatching toys from each other, you name it) was to say "Why did you do that!? At some point during my career it dawned on me that it was just a stupid question. Yes, I said stupid. Boy, would my little students would be all over me for that! We should never say "Why did you do that" in response to bad choices. 

WHY? 

Well, primarily because asking for a reason implies that there actually is a good reason. There is no acceptable reason for being hurtful to someone else - no matter how much a child may feel justfied.  Instead, we need to verbalize that it was unacceptable.  How will children know that if we don't teach it? 

Also, the chances of a child you have in therapy being able to express, at that moment of frustration or anger, any reason for having done the dirty deed he did, is slim to zilch.  Still, I hear this from the mouths of educators all the time. I've said i which is how I know what an automatic response it can be, but it is never a good one! 


Soooo when scenarios like the ones mentioned above happen, this is another common phrase we hear. 
Don't say it, and I'm sure you can guess the reasons why.  

It's part of our job to teach about expressing feelings, about repairing social breakdowns, about communicating empathy, but we shouldn't force students to apologize for the sake of apologizing (often so we can move on with our lesson).  We can suggest an apology, but if it's forced, it's no good. Also, the moment we say it, we are giving the "hitter," (for example), more attention than the child who was hit.  Also, when we spout off, "Say you're sorry," any sympathy they might have been feeling for their peer will likely be replaced with humilation. We may even get into a power struggle. Instead, tend to the other child and give the child who behaved poorly some time to feel remorse and accept responsibility on his own.  If it doesn't come, later we need to teach that what he/she did was wrong/hurtful/harmful/unacceptable, and even why it was wrong. Explain that part of repairing mistakes is making amends by apologizing.  We can tell about how we had to apologize to someone one time, and we should model it. An apology should be expected AND shoud happen, but only when the child is emotionally ready to remorse regret to his "victim." Otherwise, it's empty.

This, for me, is a biggie.  I've said it.  Then I quickly regretted it.  I would never say it again, and I don't think any SLP should.  No matter how easy I think something is or how much I think "they've got this" it might just be hard for one of my (or your) students.  If we say it, how in the world would a child not feel inadequate/dumb/worthless/humiliated if they can't do it? What if it's not easy for them?  I would be devastated to know that my words caused feelings of failure.
 Let's erase this phrase from our profession altogether.  It's just too risky to say out loud.

(or some variation of that)

As SLPs, we've probably all felt this way at one time or other.  
Some students have big, even seeming unsurmountable problems, and sometimes what we are doing doesn't result in progress. Sometimes we feel hopeless, and that there is nothing else we can do for a child.  I once heard a teacher say, "we have exhausted all means of helping your child." 

I thought....really???? No we haven't.  It might feel like that sometimes, but it's not true.  There is always something else to try. We may not know what that is at the moment, but it's our job to find out.  Consult with other SLPs, research, pick the brains of mentors, harass your supervisor for assistance, beg for help from your resources, try something out of your comfort zone, email your former professors or even strangers at the local university.  Go in search of answers and input. We might be the only person in this child's life going to battle for him or her.  If worse comes to worst, get the child assigned to another therapist. 

Can you think of more!? 
I want to know! I'm still learning. Aren't we all? 

To read more posts on the topic, check out my SLP friends below! 


Sunday, February 7, 2016

SLP Love Hurts {sometimes}

With Valentine’s Day approaching, my friends, the Frenzied SLPs, and I thought it was the perfect time to talk about love.

I like to think of myself as professional, but I have a hard time viewing the children I treat as simply my “clients” or “students.”  I get attached, and they usually get attached, too. Whether they’re little angels or little devils I usually ended up sincerely loving them.  Even more so, I LOVE being an SLP,  but over the past 20 years I’ve discovered that sometimes it hurts.  Literally! 


Does this look familiar?... 


I’m betting it does.  
When working with 3 years olds (and up!) there’s plenty of pouting and crying. I can ignore it for a while.  Everyone is entitled to a little pity party sometimes.  Eventually, I go over and console and coax.  

Ahhhh that brings me back to this one time.....

I had been working on articulation and social skills with one little guy who happened to have anxiety and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) for about two years.  In the beginning, therapy sessions were mostly disastrous and chock full of defiance and aggression.  He regularly trashed my room and lashed out at me. Little Johnny was in a bad place.  School in general was not something he was fond of, and his parents were still trying to find the right medications to treat his conditions. 

Over time, with lots of medical attention and behavior modification, he improved. We had finally progressed to the point where he could attend a social skills group with a peer.  There was a time that any compliant behavior at all seemed like pipe dream, but now he was happier and more agreeable. He was even taking turns and accepting disappointment- which had been a long time problem.  I grew to love him.  He still had tough days, but instead of aggression, he just did the little-head-in-the-hands or head-buried-in-the-knees  and then pull himself together.  

One day it was taking longer than expected.  He had lost the game had played in our social skills group.  He had said all the right things out loud to himself, “It’s just for fun,” “It doesn’t matter who wins,” and he even told the winner “Good job.”  I was so proud of him, but his fortitude didn’t last long.  After a few grunts and crumbling of paper, he resorted to curling up in himself like a pretzel, and he wasn’t budging. Finally, I walked over and squatted in front of him.  I put my head over his and whispered words of encouragement in his ear.  Then I reminded him that it was almost time for recess, and he would get to play on the swings soon (his favorite).  His speech partner perked up and said, “Uh-uh, he moved his clip too far down so he can’t go out today.”  
Gee, thanks.  

As soon as he said it, Little Johnny whipped his head up, knocking me squarely in the mouth (my money maker!) and tossing me firmly off my squat and onto my butt. I instantly tasted the blood and realized my lip was busted - not to mention I was seeing stars.  Oh, and my pride/dignity was pretty banged up, too.  


He was immediately filled with remorse, apologizing and crying. We both took some time to lick our wounds, and then the day resumed- along with some Motrin and ice on my lip. I learned a valuable less that day-  not to put my head (or any other part) next to a pouting munchkin!! They’re unpredictable no matter how well I think I know them! I also squat next to kids much less often! 

Since then, I’ve learned other valuable lessons like: 
  1. Don’t attempt to assist handling a wild and unruly child with a lanyard around your neck- they most definitely will grab it and pull! Until I experienced this first hand I had no clue why anyone would ever buy a breakaway lanyard.  Now I most certainly do.
  2. It’s no use to even try to pick up a child who has turned into a wet noodle and has fallen limply to the ground.  At that moment, he/she has lost all bones, and attempting to handle them can result in slapping, biting, spitting and scratching. 
  3. Don’t chase a child you know you cannot catch (which for me is most of them). Instead, call for anyone walking in the hallway to head them off at the pass.  
But seriously, handling escalated behavior really is all about focusing on safety.  During my 7 years as “lead teacher” at my school (in addition to SLP), I intervened in behavior situations every week.  Now I am the CPI trainer for my district.  It’s so easy for someone to get injured.  Even at a primary school, kids are little but unruly and surprisingly strong!  I, myself, have been to urgent care after intervening with a violent child.  Sometimes it’s better just to keep a child safe and supervised (in an area free of dangers) and let him release and let off steam than it is to intervene. 
Keeping everyone safe is always the goal.  


Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Favorite Organization Tips

Happy New Year, y'all!! 
Every year when I go shopping right after Christmas, it's always the same thing....stores like Walmart and Target pack the shelves with organizational totes and containers. I thought it was just ME, but apparently it's that time of year when we ALL want to get organized. I think it's part of feeling like we have a fresh start. So in the spirit of the fresh starts - along with the Frenzied SLPs - I'm bringing you some organization tips! 


Let me start by confessing that.....I'm really not that organized....at least not in a traditional way.  I really try to be, but my love of knick knacks and all things cute gets in the way sometimes.  

When I had a bigger therapy room, I did a better job. I mean, let's face it....the more space you have the easier it is to be organized.  

This was my lovely, organized life a couple of years ago when I had a full fledged room....


Ahhhhhh look at it.  It just makes me happy. Everything in it's place and a place for everything. Not to mention- everything was labeled!  It's easy to be organized when you have a ton of space.  In fact, you can read my post about how I organized my therapy materials (back when I was living the good life in the room pictured above) HERE

It's a lot harder when your "therapy room" was is actually a closet - which is what I worked in until very recently.  Yes, it is literally a closet between the teacher's lounge and bathroom. The only way I can describe it is dark, stuffy and dismal (hence the fan and lamp pictured below).  It didn't even have an electrical outlet so I had to run an extension cord into the teacher's lounge (where my desk was housed) to give me some power. 

As in my older post about organization, I'm all about bins and cans. They make me :)


So as you can see..... I'm thinking I am NOT the person to be giving anyone organization tips; however, I will  tell you that using wall space (vertical storage) is THE way to go in a small space.  Those white wall mounted paper trays are less that $20 from IKEA and I can't live without them! My speech world has revolved around bins, paper trays and plastic drawers- oh, and cute carousels that spin my pens, pencils, dry erase markers, and sharpies around like preschoolers on a merry go round.  

Then all the mess gets hidden behind the curtain - organized chaos at its finest. 

Before you call for my adminstrator's head, you should know that my principal didn't want to shove me into the closet.  Our school houses double the amount of children that it was built for, and we are just bursting at the seams. 

Sooooo if you noticed that I'm using some weird past tense in his post it's because...I moved out of this room in December! I moved out to take a new job (more on that soon on a future post!) 

One organization tip that I can share is that, like many SLPs,  I organize my materials by theme whenever possible.  I have a plastic container for each season and holiday that houses crafts, TpT packets, seasonal books and props I use with books for that season.  

For worksheets that I have accummulated over the years, I use a hanging file crate.  As I acquire new worksheets, I just file them away under the corresponding season or holiday.  It's not rocket science by any means, but I adore my seasonal files. 


Notice I'm not all anal about nice typed labels or continuity with tabs, colors, etc.  Does that drive you crazy?  As you can see, I don't sweat it.  (Remember I admitted I'm not that organized!) 

Oh, and since I'm confessing,  you may have notived that I don't know how to print on file folder labels or hanging file tab labels.  If any of YOU do, can you send me instructions?  I like to consider myself "techy," but for the life of me, I can't figure it out! 

What I DO like to keep organized is my computer desktop.  My friend, Laura, from All Y'all Need got me hooked on this idea when I downloaded her desktop organizer freebie (which I use on my work computer). You've GOT to check it out! It has changed my life. NO MORE random files on my desktop! 

She inspired me to design my own desktop organizer images, and this is the one I'm using on my personal laptop right now....


Now in my new job, I'm supporting SLPs all over our huge district, and I'm slammed on a daily basis  with various adminstrative tasks, emails, calls, trainings to plan and give, meetings to attend and schools to visit. I've gotten myself organized by 1) finally succombing to using a digital calendar and 2) splitting my To-DO list into  TWO lists: "To-do NOW" and "To-Do LATER." This has really helped me prioritize.  I kept two different note pads, but then I saw THIS at Office Depot and I almost fell to my knees in the aisle...



It's like it was made JUST for me!
It's from the See Jane Work line at Office Depot.
It's even magnetic! I seriously should have bought these in bulk.

For MORE (and likely much better) organization tips, click on the logos below and check out how these fabulous' SLPs get organized.  I'm pretty sure some of them have at least a mild form of OCD which makes their organization quite impressive! :)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Day in the Life of a School SLP

I was pumped to recently be featured on Speech to the Core to share a day in the life of ... me!  Thanks for the invite, Lyndsey!  If you didn't catch it there, here's what you missed....I'm a PreK-5th grade school SLP and so very proud to be one.  I have a hunch that my life closely resembles the lives of many SLP moms. 

4:45  The alarm starts torturing me.  I snooze for a solid hour.  My brain and body need time to accept that I actually have to get out of bed.  During this time my cat, Juni, and dog, Lola, typically climb all over me to help the process along. 

5:45  I give in to the alarm clock, take a sec to thank God for another day, and kick off the covers.  I'm out of bed but disgruntled.  I am not a morning person, y'all.  I'm a night owl.  I dream of the day when school starts opening later or my district starts hiring part-time SLPs.  I would love to only work the latter part of the day.  A girl can dream, right?  The first thing I do is march right the mirror to access the status of my unruly hair and determine if I can possibly get by without shampooing.  If I shampoo that means I have to shower, and if I have to shower, my water obsessed Siamese cat will act berserk the whole time.  (It's the whole If you Give a Mouse a Cookie predicament.)  Bath and makeup commence along with the feeding of the animals and outfit decision making.  Thankfully during this time, my husband gets my teenage son, who is also anti-morning, in motion.

7:00   We are out the door, squishing our bags and a trombone into my teeny VW Beetle.  As I back out I typically recall what I left behind (my lunch, my ID, my iPhone) and my husband fetches the item of the day for me.  Basically, we are just one big hot mess. 

7:40  After dropping off my son (who does not drive yet/don't get me started) at high school 10 miles away, I head to Central Primary School.  I've been on the faculty there 19 years; we were once a middle school as well.  It's like my second home, and that staff is my extended family.  We have seen each other through marriages, births, divorces, tragedies and celebrations. Both of my sons attended my school as well.  Upon arrival, I head right to the coffee pot!



Our secretary knows I require coffee to function and if the pot is empty she has been known to make emergency coffee deliveries to me on duty.  Ahhhhh duty....the D word.... I'm at hallway duty everyday from 8:00-8:30.  


8:30  It's on!!! Let the games begin! Therapy time! I service several students with autism and intellectual disabilities. Technology programming, making social stories, prepping individualized lessons and adapting materials consumes a good chunk of time, but sometimes it just has to happen after hours at home. 


My other students run the gamut from developmental delays and language delays/disorders to cleft palate, articulation disorders and phonological disorders.  This is the first year in my career that I don't have a hearing impaired student.  Our district has a large population of deaf students, and I love aural rehabilitation.  For years families came from far and wide to participate in our deaf education program which included the use of Cued Speech.  Because of that I cue everything in my head.  It's like my second language, and my students who grew up cueing are all such proficient communicators. 

Our school was built for 500 students, but we currently have nearly 1,000.  As a result, here is my current teeny tiny room...



  Sometimes it feel cozy and other times it just feels suffocating.  


I have a desk right outside of this room in a shared room where another SLP does therapy.  Thankfully, we also have a locked storage closet next door for our materials. 


With some articulation students I implement 5 minute speech (especially those with short attention spans) multiple days per week while with others, I use traditional individual or group therapy.  Likewise, I provide a mix of inclusive language therapy or pullout language therapy depending on each child's needs.  Since my daily therapy has to meet the needs of every child ranging from age 3 to 12 and address a hodge podge of goals based on their unique needs, the planning for it can be brutal. You know what I'm talking about! On Fridays, I write down my plans for the entire next week of therapy.  You can read about that here at my blog and even grab the document I use! 

I love my students; they're definitely the best part of my job.  This semester I'm also loving my graduate student! I have a local graduate student doing an off campus practicum with me, and she has been a huge help with managing my caseload.  I've had many over the years, many of whom are now my friends, and I love that part of my job, too! 

LUNCH:  There were days when I had a social lunchtime.  Sadly, those days are long gone. Now it's just me wolfing down lunch at my computer while I work.  Nothing glamorous there.  

3:16  Back to duty! At dismissal, I have another daily hallway duty...but at least this one is short.

I usually stay after school to clean up, prep for the next day and catch up on paperwork (of course).  

4:30  It's off to pick up Riley at band practice and then finally head home.  Being that we live in one of the fastest growing suburbs in the country (between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, LA) it takes us almost an hours to drive the 15 miles required to pick him up and get home. Traffic is my nemesis. 

5:30  You never know what afternoons and evenings will bring us.  My husband works shifts so some days he is off and some days he gets home at 8:00.  I just love the days he is off; those days I come home to a clean house and something yummy - like maybe a gumbo - bubbling on the stove.  My husband even cooks outside to keep the kitchen clean!  If you ever swing by our house, you'll hear Cajun music playing on the back patio. It's true what they say about is Louisianians- we let the good times roll. 

8:00ish  I sit with my pup in the living room with my remote, a blanket, and my laptop and get busy  creating materials; they all come about based on what my students need. If I'm not doing that, I'm knee deep in laundry, bills or trying to sneak in some reading or crocheting. OH, and of course there is social media squeezed in there. We do the family dinner and DVR time (Once Upon a Time, Blacklist, Survivor, Project Runway, and HGTV) while I keep working.  Occasionally there are school projects to help with and essays to edit - you know- the usual stuff.  On the rough days, there are serious naps :) 

10:30   Being a night owl, I begrudgingly head off to bed about 10:30 only because I know if I don't I will pay dearly the next day.  We pile in bed with the animals and call it quits, and then we do it all again tomorrow! 

I'd love it if you would follow me here, there and everywhere to find out more about my SLP life and therapy. Thanks for reading! 

www.puttingwordsinyourmouth.com
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XO
-Mia

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Story about Gratitude (and some freebies!)

Soooooo... I have spent much of the day procrastinating starting preparations for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow.  I'm mostly putting it off because my kitchen is so wonderfully clean and I really want it to stay that way just a tad longer.  Since I'm avoiding food prep,  I decided it was the perfect time I link up with my friends, the Frenzied SLPs to yap about holiday goodies. 


At the very end of the this post, you can click on their logos to read about more holiday goodies- everything from holiday lessons, craftivities, therapy ideas and recipes! 

I always say November is good for the soul.  I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my blessings, prioritizing spending my time with people instead of things and telling those that mean so much to me exactly how grateful I am to have them in my life.  You should know I'm grateful for you, too.  Yes, you, you reading this :) 

One of the things I'm thankful for these days is my sweet and talented graduate student who has spent this semester with me.  The week after Thanksgiving is her last week, and the students and I will miss her so much.  I'm so impressed with her and feel sure she will make a great SLP.  Before we left for Thanksgiving break, I broke out every Christmas goody I had in my arsenal and let her have at it. 

By the way, in the bucket below you'll spy:  1) Christmas sticker scenes from Oriental trading, which I love for the little ones 2) some snowflake foam beads great for making winter necklaces and reinforcing any skill 3)  Gingerbread themed board games for articulation perfect for your Gingerbread Man units 4) Reindeer games for articulation 5) and Christmas themed lists of word for drill by phoneme which come with my Christmas quick drill games

She planned for her last week of therapy and I planned for the dreaded next week when I will be back in the trenches without her.  Here are some things we have on tap: 

...my Santa's Naughty and Nice Lists for articulation.  I love these list so much because nothing all year long makes my kids giggle like these do.  Here are the Naughty and Nice Artic Lists below along with my Suit Up Santa open ended game (also sure to produce giggles). 

My grad student zoned in on these Christmas Barrier Games for my kids with receptive language goals, 


I love having my students with expressive goals tell us where to place the objects for the barrier game as well! 


I even use these for my articulation students who need to address carryover of sound productions into conversational speech. 

After Christmas, the barrier games continue ... The Winter barrier games are ready to go! 


My students with language goals will also be listening and following directions with this Listen and Color page from my Christmas Fun Pack.  It's not as easy as they all think it will be! 


We will also be using EETchy to write about all sorts of Christmas topics (also from my Christmas Fun Pack - which really has enough activites to last all of December!)



 My older students and I will be reading about Christmas Traditions Around the World (and so will my entire inclusion class, actually).  These are so fascinating!! I learned as much making them as my students do reading them!  Did you know that in Japan, it's tradition to eat Fried Chicken on Christmas- especially KFC!?!  They take orders in advance!! 

I have student who is working on learning "emotion words" and interpreting facial expressions, and this will be a fun addition to his therapy one day I think :) 


By the way, this is a FREEBIE in my TpT store! It's a fun way to address emotions and  articulation and fluency in connected speech as well because the packet includes lots of questions the students have to answer about Santa's mood or what may have happened to the Gingerbread Man so make him feel this way.  

Celebrating Hanukkah?  I wouldn't leave you out!! 
My Happy Hanukkah Quick Drill game just makes me smile! 


My articulation students will also be making some cut and paste Speech Snowglobes. After I hang them up and show them off for a couple of days, they'll also be taking them home as the dreaded homework.  Do your kids complain about speech homework, too? 
I mean, come on, it only takes a few minutes! 


We will also be doing some Snowglobe Quick Drill (and the varieties of Christmas quick drills in my TpT store!)  I love that sometimes my students want to "trade" cards after we play.  
They're very protective of their favorites. 


With my little bitty ones, we always decorate Christmas trees.  You can use tree template or cut out along with sequins or these great peel and stick gems that I buy on Amazon, LakeShore Learning or Oriental Trading. I use them as reinforcers for any skill.  After students perform a skill, I let them stick a gem or two.  As you can see below, we also always make reindeer food for Rudolph and his hungry deer friends, too!


Hot off the press (just yesterday) I finally finished and posted my Christmas Dot Art for  ALL Sounds- mostly because these are on our plans for next week!! Previously I only had /r/, vocalic r and /s/ dot art pages for Christmas.  Now I have the whole shabang - 69 pages in all!! There's a Christmas tree scene, a Santa scene as shown below, and a Christmas stocking.  OH, and it includes open ended pages, too, which is what is shown here.  Since my little guy was just learning /s/ in isolation in this day, I just wrote a simple "s" on each circle and he dotted them as he said them correctly.  Then he filled in the whole page to make Santa's suit complete. This Santa was rocking the green sleeves and britches. LOL 


You can grab a sample of the Christmas Dot Art featuring Vocalic R only HERE.  Hooray! 

My kids will also be doing some scratch art which is an ideal way to keep groups busy while rotating old fashioned artic drill with students.  I buy mine at Oriental Trading. They double as ornaments! 


Do you want some real goodies this Christmastime? Last year, we made both of these goodies in my speech room: 

Oreo Reindeer Snacks 
All you need is one big, broken pretzel for antlers, 1 oreo taken apart and put back together,  2 mini M&M eyes, and 1 big red Rudolph nose M&M. It makes for a great sequencing activity! 


Snowman Cookies!

I give each student a sugar cookie and have them spread white icing on it (no licking the plastic knife!). Then they add Twizzler strips for the ear muff headband and smile, mini M&Ms for his eyes, and an orange TicTac for his nose.  Finally, the kids cover those hypothetical snowman ears with 2 big Lifesaver Gummy ear muffs!! This is a fun activity for following directions, discussing winter and winter gear, chatting about building snowmen, sequencing, emotions (we can make frowns, too) or just discussing the irony of a snowman wearing ear muffs!! It's a tasty follow up activity for any snowman book, too :) 


I guess it's time for me to stop procrastinating and go chop veggies for tomorrow's stuffing (here in Louisiana we call it dressing).  I can't wait to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while I get my cooking on in the morning!! If you're so inclined, say a prayer for everyone gathered there in Manhattan tomorrow for that big event.  With Paris on my mind, we must keep praying that kindness and peace may permeate the hearts of those who hate and for the safety of our fellowman. 

After lunch, it's tree trimming time!! My family is already complaining. YIKES.  
Happy Holidays from Louisiana! 




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