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

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 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 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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4 Amazing Date Night Ideas that are Perfect for Speech-Language Pathologists

posted on September 22nd, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
4 Amazing Date Night Ideas that are Perfect for Speech-Language Pathologists

Do you have a significant other that isn't a speech-language pathologist? If so, this post is for that main squeeze of yours. Yup, I'm talkin' to all the non-slp sweetie pies out there, so listen up. If you've given your heart over to an SLP, you're one lucky duck because we all know that SLPs are the BEST. So, in an effort to help you be the BEST partner to your lovely SLP, I'm going to give you four solid date night ideas that I can guarantee every SLP would adore. Trust me, you're gonna thank me for this one.

1. Permission to whisper during the movie.

There's nothing more classic than the traditional dinner and a movie. This date night idea is just that, but it's got the perfect SLP twist to it. During the movie part, allow your SLP soul mate to whisper to you whenever he/she spots any type of communication disorder in a film character. Because, here's the thing, all of us SLPs are secretly diagnosing things like that in movies all the time. So if you give your SLP baby doll permission to whisper the diagnosis (quietly, of course) to you during the movie, he/she will love you to bits. "Oh, that character totally has to be a person who stutters! Those temporary disruptions in his forward flow of speech are called disfluencies."

2. Transcribe some romantic poetry.

Nothing better communicates warm and fuzzy feelings of love than a good poem. So together with your SLP partner in crime, how about shooting over to your local library and findin' some romantic ones to read to one another? Then, allow your lovely SLP to transcribe a few of those poems to IPA. Because here's the thing, all of us SLPs can't get enough of phonetic transcription. In case you didn't know, IPA stands for the International Phonetic Alphabet. It's a standardized representation of the sounds of oral language, so go ahead and give him/her permission to draw out those little symbols. He/she will be all googley eyed for you!

3. Test drive some new games together.

SLPs are some of the most avid game fans out there. For good reason, too, because many of us utilize games as a means for increasing the speech and language abilities of our students. We just have this magical way of tweakin' and changin' a game so that it perfectly relates to the goals and objectives of the given students in our group. But here's the thing, sometimes we need to try out the potential game before we introduce it to the children on our caseload. So if you ask your SLP love bug if there are any games that he/she might be dying to try, changes are that you'll get a loud and enthusiastic YES! Go on over to your favorite store, buy the game, and set up a little game night together to play it. You can pretend to be the student and your significant other can be the SLP. You'd be surprised at just how FUN this game night idea really is!

4. A dollar store shopping spree.

I've got two words for you. Dollar. Store. I know that every single SLP out there will agree with me when I say that dollar stores make us smile wider than, well, a dollar bill! So if you want to melt the heart of your SLP prince or princess, offer to take him/her to the dollar store for a dollar store date night. Ten dollars goes a long way in the enchanted land of dollar speech therapy materials, so tell him/her to go wild because it's on you. Go down the aisles together and encourage him/her to describe to you how he/she could use that particular thing-ah-ma-jig in speech therapy. Because here's the thing, we love talkin' about stuff like that. But the only thing you need to caution with this SLP date night idea is the timeframe. Sometimes a trip to the dollar store for us SLPs can last hours (HAHA! SERIOUSLY!). We're like kids in a candy store when it comes to dollar stores, ya know? So be prepared!

In closing . . .

These ideas are not only awesome for the sake of being awesome, but they can also help you to better understand why your SLP partner loves being an SLP so much. And that can absolutely strengthen your relationship because it's showing your SLP significant other that you have an obvious curiosity and respect for the amazing field of speech-language pathology. So go on! Give these SLP date night ideas a try as soon as possible and let me know how they go!

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