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

4 Imaginary Speech Therapy Apps That I Wish Were Real

posted on October 28th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
4 Imaginary Speech Therapy Apps That I Wish Were Real

As you already know, I create some of the most fun and affordable speech therapy apps around. Apps like Multiple Choice Articulation, I Dare You Articulation, and Charades Articulation have been downloaded hundreds and hundreds of times and believe me, I'm working hard to continue to make new speech therapy apps just for you. But ya know what? There are a few speech therapy app ideas that I've had in my noggin for quite a while now and I haven't gotten around to making them. The reason why is because these particular ideas are a bit "out there." In fact, they're so "out there" that I don't even think it's possible to create 'em right now.

Would you like to know about these app ideas?

Sure you would (haha!) so that's why I wrote this blog post. Below you will find four of my favorite imaginary speech therapy app ideas that I wish I could make. Oh boy, if these apps were real, they would absolutely make my life as a school-based speech-language pathologist so much easier. My hope is that someone reading this post might be smart enough to actually create one (or all) of these apps. And if you do create 'em, please do let me know because I will totally purchase each and every single one!

A sneeze warning app!

This app would sound a warning noise right before a student sneezed all over me. The warning would give me enough time to grab a tissue for the student and to also whip out the hand sanitizer. Just gotta do what I gotta do to keep myself and my speech therapy room germ-free, ya know?

A homework reminding hologram app!

This app would create a hologram of me. Then, after going into the setting part of the app, I could program it to send the Mr. Raj hologram over to my students' houses. The Mr. Raj hologram would knock on their doors and remind them to do their speech homework. This would absolutely do the trick and improve my homework return rate, for sure!

A missing game pieces app!

This app would be able to utilize GPS technology to somehow locate all of my missing game pieces that I just can't seem to find. For example, that one random Jenga block that vanished last week or those two puzzle pieces that disappeared last month. Where oh where could they be?!

A dream monitor app!

I don't know about you, but sometimes (err, lots of time) I have nightmares about IEPs and IEP meetings. This app is simple, it would monitor my dreams for me while I slept in an effort to stop bad IEP dreams before they happened. What I mean is if at any moment my pleasant dreams started to turn sour because crazy thoughts of IEPs started to rush the given dream, the app would automatically delete the IEP portions of my dream and replace them with more pleasant visions, like, ice cream. Or the beach. Or a puppy. Or maybe even combine all three: a puppy on a beach eating ice cream. Now that sounds like a much better dream than one that had to do with IEPs!

In closing . . .

My fingers and toes are crossed that someone out there can turn these imaginary speech therapy apps into a reality. If you're that special someone, get crackin' on programming those apps. I guarantee that you WILL become a millionaire. Enjoy the cash, buddy! ;-)

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Looking for the Best Website to Discover Perfect Videos for Speech Therapy? Look No Further!

posted on October 21st, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Looking for the Best Website to Discover Perfect Videos for Speech Therapy? Look No Further!

I received an amazing email last week from a friend of mine. In the message, she wrote about how she loved my recent blog post about using YouTube within speech-language therapy sessions, but wondered if I had any suggestions on how to actually go about finding videos online that were appropriate for school-aged students.

My answer is YES!

I sure do have a suggestion that I know every single speech-language pathologist will adore. Have you ever heard of thekidshouldseethis.com? In short, The Kid Should See This is a growing online library of ridiculously fun and informative, "not-made-for-kids, but perfect for them" videos that are absolutely perfect for the students on our caseload. Each week Rion Nakaya (and her children, ages 3 and 6) update the website with new videos that they come across and let me tell you, the amount of solid videos that they post is nothing short of incredible.

They do all the hard work for us! How lucky are we?

What I love most about thekidshouldseethis.com is the fact that Rion really seems to understand that it's quite difficult to find high quality videos online that are both entertaining and educational. One really has to comb through lots of dirt before discovering a diamond. That's why I'm truly grateful for this website. Ya'll did the dirty work for me and for that, I'm so grateful.

Here are two of my favorite videos that I've recently incorporated into random speech-language therapy sessions:

This video about a huge dinosaur made out of balloons - it's a 2-minute long video that was a total hit with my elementary school students. We had an out-of-this-world conversation about the possible outcomes that might ruin the various balloon statues. This particular small group was working on improving their ability to predict possible outcomes in various scenarios. Because of this video, I was able to get them to ask and answer intelligent questions to each other like what if the balloons were outside and the wind suddenly started to blow? Or what if there was a prickly cactus next to some of the balloons? The list goes on and on. Show your students this vid!

This video about how crayons are made - it's a 5-ish minute video that was a surprise hit with my middle schoolers. It highlights exactly HOW crayons are made. I mean, think about it, crayons are something that our students use consistently, but they rarely take the time to think about HOW they are actually made. The small group of students who I showed this video to were working on improving their sequencing skills. After watching the video, I encouraged them to write out (in crayon, of course, haha!) the steps that they remembered about how crayons were made. Show your students this vid!

In closing . . .

As an SLP, I know that you'll agree with me when I say that my time, as a clinician, is extremely limited. This is why I give The Kid Should See This two thumbs WAY up. Thank you to Rion for exposing my students and me to such fantastic videos. The videos all triggered a tidal wave of beautiful conversations, and that's always such harmonious music to this SLP's ears. So dear reader, please do me a favor and check out The Kid Should See This as soon as possible. Oh, and tell 'em that Erik sent cha!

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Do You Use YouTube in Speech Therapy?

posted on October 14th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Do You Use YouTube in Speech Therapy?

As a speech-language pathologist that has been affectionately nicknamed "the app guy" by literally every single one of my co-workers, you could only imagine the massive amount of app-related questions that I receive. One of the most popular inquiries that I get from my colleagues is something along the lines of "Erik, what's your favorite speech therapy app?"

Such a great question!

But such a hard one to answer because each day I seem to have a new fav. Seriously. Like, if you asked me that question on a Monday, I might say one thing, and then if you asked me again a few days later, I would probably name a completely different app. This is because I'm constantly exploring new apps in an effort to find the best ones that can fit into my specific speech therapy setting.

But guess what?

I think I've finally made up my mind, with regards to what my all-time favorite speech-therapy app is. I would like to go on record as saying that the YouTube app is my all-time favorite speech-therapy app! (And my second favorite speech-therapy app would have to be Multiple Choice Articulation - so go buy that one ASAP, hehe!)

The YouTube app? That's not even a speech therapy app!

Oh but believe me, it is. You see, the YouTube app is THEE gateway to the world's most extensive video-sharing website and it gives you access to TONS of videos that could potentially be viewed and discussed during speech therapy. TONS of videos. Just how many videos do you think are on YouTube? Well, as mentioned in the statistics portion of Youtube's website, approximately 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Every. Minute! That means that there's an endless amount of content that we, as clinicians, have access to and we could easily share that content with our students, in an effort to help reinforce the given goals and objectives.

The power of videos.

You don't need me to tell you that videos are more stimulating than pictures. Pictures are static. They lack movement (and audio). So whenever possible, we must try to utilize videos in our sessions because they contain movement and are often much easier to relate to than a standard two-dimensional presentation of whatever is being presented. For example, while recently working on WH questions with one young boy, I showed him a picture of a child giving her muddy dog a bath. Now, anyone who has ever given a dog a bath before knows that the whole scenario is a messy one that often results in the human getting soaked from the pup shaking water all over the place and sometimes even trying to escape from the tub. I found myself asking questions to my client such as "Why do you think she might want to change her clothes after she washes her dog?"

He was silent and confused.

This particular student wasn't able to make the connection that the human was getting wet during the dog wash. He continuously kept mentioning that the dog was the only one getting wet because the dog was the only one in the tub. And you know what? He was right (to an extent). All he had to really guide my question was the picture that I was showing. A picture that lacked movement and action. So that is when I grabbed my iPad, opened up the YouTube app, and did a quick search of dog washing videos.

That is when I was immediately greeted with dozens of videos.

Together, we watched a handful and each one showed a happy dog shaking its fur furiously after having water and soap all over it (this video was our favorite because it's a slow motion one!). That's when it hit my student, it was one of those lightbulb moments that us SLPs live for. He got it. He made the connection that even though you might not be in the tub with your pooch, you still might get quite wet, therefore, that would cause you to change your clothes after you wash your dog.

In closing . . .

Thanks to the YouTube app (and Wi-Fi, of course), I was able to get my student to where I needed him to be. This is just one of the many examples that I have that illustrate what YouTube can do for our students with communication difficulties. From social skills to articulation to everything in between, there are hundreds of video presentations on YouTube for us to explore. So my question to you is, have you ever used YouTube in speech therapy before? If your answer is no, what are you waiting for? Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

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6 Zombie Jokes that will Make Speech-Language Pathologists Giggle to Death

posted on October 6th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
6 Zombie Jokes that will Make Speech-Language Pathologists Giggle to Death

When I say the word October, what's the first thing you think of? Pumpkins? Caramel apples? Oh wait, probably Halloween, right? Well, for some reason, the first thing that pops into my mind is the word zombies. October is one heck of a spooky month and there just isn't anything more spookier than zombies. (Well, maybe having 10 IEP meetings in one week. That's actually spookier, but you get the gist!)

Long story short, zombies are AWESOME!

I love zombies. So with that statement being said, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you some speech therapy related zombie jokes. Why? Because the world needs MORE speech therapy related zombie jokes and I'm just the guy to deliver them to ya (hehe!). So without further ado, boys and ghouls, get ready to laugh your heads off!

Question: Why do zombie students simply love their SLPs?
Answer: Because they have huge BRAAAINS!

Question: Why did the zombie student always bring back her speech homework?
Answer: Because she was DEADicated!

Question: How do you know if a zombie student needs speech therapy?
Answer: If he says BWAAAINS instead of BRAAAINS!

Question: What is a baby zombie's favorite toy to play with in speech therapy?
Answer: A DEADY bear!

Question: What kind of candy do zombie students NOT want to see in the speech prize box?
Answer: LIFE savers!

Question: What time does the school-based zombie SLP usually get to work?
Answer: At around ATE o'clock!

In closing . . .

Can you think of any other speech therapy related zombie jokes? If you, please share them with me on Twitter because your jokes will make happier than a little zombie piglet playing in a bathtub filled with mud and brains. LOL! As always, I look forward to hearing from you!

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