Motivation, humor, and ideas that every school-based
speech-language pathologist will love!

3 April Fool’s Day Pranks You Can Play on Your Students in Speech Therapy

posted on March 25th, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
3 April Fool’s Day Pranks You Can Play on Your Students in Speech Therapy

Pop quiz: What's the name of the silly and mischievous holiday that's celebrated each year on April 1st? If you guessed April Fool's Day, give yourself a round of applause because you nailed it. Great job!

I can still remember how fun April Fool's Day was back when I was a child.

That day was the best. My elementary school teachers would always pull hilarious pranks on us students. These pranks were not malicious at all, far from it. They were tasteful and had the ability to make each and every youngster in the class laugh out loud. Ah, thinking about those wonderful April Fool's Day memories seriously causes me to smile ear to ear.

Fast forward a few years . . .

Now I have the ability to keep that wonderful April Fool's Day tradition going as a school-based speech-language pathologist. That's exactly why I've collected 3 of my most favorite favorite April Fool's Day pranks that any SLP can play on his or her speech therapy students in order to generate a barrel of laughs and a boat load of conversation.

1. "Did you bring in your signed permission slip?"

Once your students sit down in their seats, ask them if they have their signed permission slips. After they look at you with confused eyes, go on to say, "I can't believe that you all forgot about today's field trip to the zoo! Well, since no one remembered to bring back their signed permission slips, the trip is now canceled." Keep this going for a few moments, and don't forget to add in some WH questions such as:

  • How could we get to the zoo?
  • What animal could we see at the zoo?
  • What else, besides animals, could we see at the zoo?

Then, announce nice and loud, "April Fools!" Chances are, it won't be their first exposure to an April Fool's prank, so take the opportunity to discuss some other fun places that could've been said instead of the zoo. Tell the students that you will use their suggestions for when you prank the next group of students that you see later in the day for speech (children love helping out like that!).

2. "Trick or treat?"

Once your students sit down in their seats, ask them to close their eyes. While their eyes are closed, put on a quick Halloween costume (I usually just throw on a pirate eye patch). Then, tell them to open their eyes. Once they do, shout, "trick or treat!" Go on to ask them where their costumes are and why they didn't wear a costume to school today. All of those questions should force them to communicate that Halloween is October 31 and since it's April 1, there's no need for a costume, etc. But make sure you go on and on about, "Oh, you didn't hear about the new law? Yea, Halloween got moved to April 1st from now on." After a few minutes of conversation about the "new law" - give them a loud and proud, "April Fools!"

3. "Hi! I am your substitute today!"

Once your students sit down in their seats, proceed to tell them that you're not who they think you are. Tell them that you’re actually the twin brother (or twin sister) of their regular SLP. Make up a brand new name, maybe change around your voice, or maybe even put on a fake mustache. Ask them WH questions about their "absent SLP" such as:

  • What is your favorite thing about about your regular SLP?
  • Why do you think your SLP is absent today?
  • When do you think your SLP will be back in school?

After all the questions have been answered, give a hearty, "April Fools!"

In closing . . .

So what do ya think? Will these pranks could cause your students to smile on April 1st? Do you think they will crown you the ultimate prankster? Give these April Fool’s Day tricks a try in your speech therapy room on April 1st and let me know how it goes.

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8 Places Any Speech-Language Pathologist Would Like to Visit

posted on March 18th, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
8 Places Any Speech-Language Pathologist Would Like to Visit

I have a little confession to make. Sometimes when I get home after a hard day of work, I plop myself down on my couch, grab my iPad, and explore Google Maps. It's so much fun to just type in random places to see the interactive maps and satellite/aerial imagery that often comes along with each search. And currently, I'm obsessed with looking at maps of the United Kingdom because I've never been there before and BOY do I hope to get over there sometime soon. (I really want to see Shakespeare's hometown, Stonehenge, the University of Cambridge, and oodles more!)

While peeping UK maps, I came across something speech-tacular!

What did I discover? Well, a random street in Broadwell, United Kingdom was called Speech House Road. And the moment I saw it, because I'm a speech fanatic, I started to squeal with pure delight. Speech House Road! What a cool name, right? So speechie! So wonderful!

That road triggered me to see if there were any other speech-related streets out there to be found.

One thing lead to another and before I knew it, I was coming across THE COOLEST streets out there that all had one glorious thing in common: they all were somehow related to the field of speech-language pathology. It just doesn't get any better than that! So without further ado, please take a moment to peruse the ones that I collected just for you.

Speech Lane, Ponsanooth, United Kingdom (LINK)

Yet another great street in the UK. I'm about one second away from booking myself an airplane ticket so that I can see Speech Lane for myself. Oh, and also get some fish and chips in the process (yum!).

Speech Lane, Ponsanooth, United Kingdom (LINK)

The UK does it again! Speech Lane just sounds like a dream come true. It has such a perfect ring to it. Speech Lane. Yeah. So speech-errific, indeed!

Speech Street, Rayne, Louisiana, United States (LINK)

Finally, the USA has one. Phew! I was gettin' a bit scared. Big props to LA for this one! I'd love to visit Speech Street. I'd imagine that my speech super powers would grow immensely if I ever had the opportunity to walk along that street. True? Yup!

Communication Avenue, Boca Raton, Florida, United States (LINK)

Yes! Communication! The beautiful art of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange ideas, thoughts, and feelings to someone else. Us speech-language pathologists can't get enough of communication, so you know I need to visit FL as soon as possible so I can see this avenue in real life!

Voice Road, Carle Place, New York, United States (LINK)

As speech-language pathologists, one thing's for sure, we all try our hardest to help people find their voice. So it goes without saying that when I found Voice Road, I was one happy clinician! Being that I'm currently based in New Jersey, I just might take a trip over to NY to see this particular road in the near future. (Don't worry, I'll snap a pic to show ya!)

Talkin, Brampton, United Kingdom (LINK)

The UK is back again with a good one. It's not a street, it's a town. Talkin. It's short. It's to the point. It's pure speech goodness. If there's one thing that all of us can agree on, it's that talkin' about talkin' is the best. So because of that, I'm so addin' Talkin to my list of places I want to visit.

SLP (San Luis Potosi), Mexico (LINK)

Hola amigos! Mexico is a country that is packed with history and culture. But did you know that it also contains an area called SLP? You can't go wrong with that letter combination. Sign me up, it's time for an SLP fiesta in SLP! Who's with me?!

In closing . . .

This beautiful world we live in, it's filled with wonderful places. It's also filled with awesome speech-related names of places. Did I miss any cool ones in my list? If I did, please let me know. Let's get the list even longer!

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The ABCs of a School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist

posted on March 10th, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
The ABCs of a School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist

This is a blog post that has to do with food, or more specifically, the alphabet soup that I'm currently snacking on (fun fact: I love to eat alphabet soup from time to time, I'm such a kid at heart!). Well, actually, the blog post really doesn't have that much to do with alphabet soup, but it does have everything to do with the alphabet. I currently have the ABCs on my mind, so I decided to write about the ABCs of a school-based speech-language pathologists.

Let me give this a go! Tell me how I do.

A is for assessments because we all like to give 'em! They help us to better describe and interpret an individual's communication ability.

B is for Behavioral Intervention Plans because we love to follow 'em. We understand that by changing around a student's environment, providing positive reinforcement, and/or exploring other methods of support, we are absolutely able to help that kiddo shine.

C is for communication because it is, hands down, the most incredible thing in the whole world! Once a student is able to successfully transmit or convey a message to another, we get all weak in the knees. So cool!

D is for diadochkinetic rate because PUH TUH KUH, am I right?! That's always so fun to say! LOL!

E is for ears because we know the importance of listening. Each and every single day, we use our ears to listen to the dreams of each student on our caseload and we do everything we possibly can help those dreams come true.

F is for floor play, in that we're never afraid to get our clothes dirty for the sake of perfect therapy! We can often be found sitting right on the carpet with our younger kiddos during a session.

G is for the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation - Second Edition. I know that test like the back of my hand. 'Nuff said!

H is for the hand-over-hand method we use with some of our students in order to help them follow through on various directions. We guide them by holding their hands to complete the tasks!

I is for Individualized Education Plans because those are the documents that we know better than anyone else! We know exactly how to design the most appropriate plan so our students have access to the education that they deserve.

J is for Jenga because it's one of my favorite games ever! Like, ever EVER! It takes amazing physical and mental skill to remove those blocks one at a time (and if you think you can beat me at Jenga, boy you have another thing coming! Haha!).

K is for the Kaufman Speech Praxis Kit. A total must have for any of us that work with younger students. These flashcards are able to easily teach kiddos how to simplify word pronunciation patterns, thus, making it easier for them to communicate!

L is for language. As in expressive, receptive, and pragmatic. We get it. We TOTALLY get it.

M is for mini homework sheets for articulation speech therapy. Because. Ya know. Homework sheets are just TOO big sometimes! Go HERE to find out more about what I'm talkin' about.

N is for Ned's Head because it's the funniest (and ickiest) game out there that will have all of your students giggling (and communicating) in no time. Trust me!

O is for OWLS, as in, the Oral and Written Language Scales test. It's a super informative test that provides a simple means of assessing oral and written language skills across a wide age range. I dig it and you probably do, too!

P is for pretests and posttests because these help us to see the growth that has occurred in our wonderful students.

Q is for questions because through those, we help our students grow as fantastic communicators. We're seriously the best at WH questions, wouldn't you agree? (See, that's a WH question right there! I'm smooth like a ninja! A speech ninja!)

R is for repetition because we use that to our advantage. Working on perfecting a specific articulation sound? You better believe that we're going to have you produce a high number of articulation words because the action of repeating them over and over again helps with solidifying the given sound!

S is for Secret Mission Articulation. That's a cool app I made that you should probably download right now! LOL! Go HERE to check it out. You won't be disappointed.

T is for the TAPS test, as in, the Test of Auditory Processing Skills - Third Edition. Do you adore that test as much as I do? I seriously think I've given that test to over 100 kiddos in the last few years. It's a solid assessment!

U is for Uno, the card game. It's a classic. It's a crowd-pleaser. It's often used in my therapy room. How about you?

V is for voice because every single kiddo on our caseload has one and it should be celebrated!

W is for Word Search Articulation because it's yet another app I created. If ya ask me, it's a winner (but yea, I'm totally biased, haha!). Download it right over HERE.

X is for Xavier. That's my middle name.

Y is for you because you are the best. Thank you for reading this silly little ABC post.

Z is for . . . well, I can't even think of one for that letter (I ain't that creative!). How about you give me a Z idea or two? I'll be your best friend if ya do!

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Game Show Articulation is the Speech Therapy Trivia App You Have Been Waiting For

posted on March 3rd, 2015 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Game Show Articulation is the Speech Therapy Trivia App You Have Been Waiting For

How would you like to win a brand new car? Or maybe win a pet elephant? What about winning a bag of popcorn that is bigger than a house? If you said yes, you're in luck because you can absolutely win all of these things and more by playing Game Show Articulation! (Well, you can SORT OF win these things. Keep on reading and I'll explain.)

Game Show Articulation?! What's that?!

Game Show Articulation is my latest speech therapy app and I ain't lying, you're gonna love it. It's a unique speech therapy game that turns your students into game show contestants and challenges them to answer super fun trivia questions for a chance to win cool prizes. The prizes are imaginary though, but that's probably for the better because having a pet elephant sounds like it would be quite dangerous. Am I right?

Tell me more about Game Show Articulation!

Don't mind if I do! Game Show Articulation features a comprehensive collection of over 600 sound-specific articulation words and questions designed for us speech-language pathologists to use with our students who exhibit difficulty producing the following speech sounds: S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH. This thrilling trivia game is intended to aid in the remediation of articulation impairments, as well as language and auditory memory difficulties because clients often need practice in more than one area of communication.

Can you share an example trivia question with me?

Sure I can. If your student was working on his initial /S/ sound, he might get a random question that reads "A green vegetable that is grown for its long light stems and leafstalks." Your student has to choose between these words - SEPTEMBER, SUBMARINE, and CELERY. After being presented with minimal prompts and cues, he would probably be able to verbalize how September is a month and how a submarine is a type of underwater vehicle. So that would leave him with celery. If he goes with celery as his answer, ding ding ding, he got it right! Then, he would be presented with a wrapped box with a bow on top. Go ahead and tap on that wrapped box because it will happily announce to you, in a wonderful game show host voice, what has been won!

Kid tested, kid approved!

I have a pair of private clients right now and they both request this app over and over and over again. Because of Game Show Articulation, we are able to turn the kitchen table into a game show stage and they love to pretend like there are television cameras pointed at them as they answer these trivia questions. I always tell 'em, "ya gotta make sure you have some solid articulation skills if you're gonna to be on a television game show!" They get a real kick out of that.

In closing . . .

Game Show Articulation is quickly becoming my most favorite app and my articulation kiddos are all about it, too. It's simple and intuitive. All in all, I believe it to be a wonderful experience from start to finish, so it would mean the world to me if you gave it a try. Would ya? Pretty please? All ya gotta do is go HERE to download it from the Apple App Store. Thanks!

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