Motivation, humor, and ideas that every speech-language pathologist who works with children will love!

Category Archives: Speech Therapy Idea

Record Your Own Speech Therapy News Segment with Newscaster Articulation

Record Your Own Speech Therapy News Segment with Newscaster Articulation

Lights, camera, action! Have you ever wanted to be a television newscaster? Well, today is your lucky day. Newscaster Articulation is my latest speech therapy app (iPad or iPhone) and it sets the stage for a mock television broadcast by taking advantage of video camera technology. Through Newscaster Articulation, students are able to video record themselves presenting realistic-looking television news segments.

Whoa really?!

Yes! All a student has to do is choose which speech sound he or she is working on. Pick from either /S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, or TH/.

Let’s say your student picked the /S/ sound. Now, go ahead and get even more specific with the /S/ sound sound.

Let’s do the initial /S/, shall we? Once your student finalizes his or her choice by tapping on it, he or she will be shown a sound-specific picture prompt at random that can be used as a visual reference to talk about. For example, here’s a sailboat (/S/ in the initial position).

Oh, not the biggest fan of a sailboat? No problem! Just have your student tap on the die and he or she will be given another sound-specific picture prompt. This time, it’s a soccer ball (/S/ in the initial position). Nice!

Now your student is ready to start his or her news segment! After tapping on the check mark, the video recording screen appears with the sound-specific picture prompt in the corner (in this case, the soccer ball)! Encourage your student to make up and verbalize a story about a soccer ball (or soccer, in general) while Newscaster Articulation video records the news segment. Afterwards, review the news segment by watching it together with your student to discuss his or her /S/ articulation progress and further practice proper /S/ pronunciation and /S/ articulation strategies.

The format of Newscaster Articulation is a departure from traditional articulation drill materials and is effective for students ages 6 and up. Because of the mock television broadcast approach, students enjoy video recording news segments with their friends and classmates outside of the speech therapy room, further practicing their communication skills and thereby facilitating the sometimes difficult stage of carrying over newly-acquired skills. By talking about the news segments with the youngster, paraprofessionals in the classroom and/or parents at home can reinforce the targeted articulation skills while sharing a fun activity. Practicing these skills in environments outside the speech therapy setting increases opportunities for generalization.

My invitation to you!

I invite ya’ll to use Newscaster Articulation to spice up your speech therapy sessions. All of the sound-specific picture prompts are intended to initiate excitement and humor. And in all honesty, each news segment has the potential to spark stories that could lead almost anywhere. Even a sound-specific picture prompt that appears simple can trigger a unique thought that surprises all parties involved.

In closing . . .

Regardless of when, where, or how Newscaster Articulation is used within the speech therapy session, one thing is certain, children (as well as clinicians) will have a blast video recording news segments and talking about them . . . and in the process, all of the youngsters will continue to practice the correct pronunciation of their sounds. So what are you waiting for? Let your imagination run wild and have fun with this one of a kind video-based speech therapy material!

Making Articulation Speech Therapy More Fun with Wacky Selfie Articulation

Making Articulation Speech Therapy More Fun with Wacky Selfie Articulation

Like it or not, ‘selfie photos’ are now a modern fact of life and people of ALL ages enjoy taking selfies. The iconic self-portraiture has been finding it’s way into every aspect of daily living, so why not let selfies exist within the speech therapy room? If you can get behind that idea, and I know you can, let me introduce you to my brand new app called Wacky Selfie Articulation because it allows you to take speech therapy selfies.

Speech therapy selfies?! HUH?!

Let me explain. Wacky Selfie Articulation, which is available for your iPad and/or iPhone, takes advantage of camera technology to create a truly unique speech therapy experience for all students who love taking selfies. This app gives a youngster the opportunity to snap a selfie of him or herself and, like magic; the app randomly adds a sound-specific sticker right on top of the student’s head (hence, making’ the selfie VERY wacky and VERY speechie)!

Here’s an example of the app in action:

After you choose the sound you’re working on and it’s position within the app, simply place your face in the displayed outline and tap the red button to snap your selfie!

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How about a soapy selfie!?

Since this child chose the /S/ sound in the initial position, his selfie shows that he has some soap on his head! Now he can easily say some silly /S/ sentences that revolve around the fact that there’s some soap on his head.

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How about a seafoody selfie!?

If he wants to see other random initial /S/ things on his head, all he has to do is tap the Randomizer icon (the die picture at the top) and the app will generate another sound-specific selfie sticker. Anyone hungry for some seafood?! HAHA!

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Lots and LOTS of sound-specific selfie stickers!

Wacky Selfie Articulation features a comprehensive collection of over 450 hilarious sound-specific selfie stickers for the following speech sounds: S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH. Are you excited to try out this app yet, or what?!

Personalized fun for ALL students!

The format of Wacky Selfie Articulation is a departure from traditional articulation drill materials and is effective for students ages 6 and up. And because of the personal selfie approach, students enjoy talking about the various selfies of themselves with their friends and classmates outside of the speech therapy room, further practicing their communication skills and thereby facilitating the sometimes difficult stage of carrying over newly-acquired skills. By talking about the selfies with the youngster, paraprofessionals in the classroom and/or parents at home can reinforce the targeted articulation skills while sharing a personalized fun activity. Practicing these skills in environments outside the speech therapy setting increases opportunities for generalization.

The possibilities are endless!

I invite you to use Wacky Selfie Articulation to spice up your speech therapy sessions. All of the sound-specific stickers are intended to initiate excitement and humor. And in all honesty, each selfie has the potential to spark conversations that could lead almost anywhere. Even a selfie that appears simple can trigger a unique thought that surprises all parties involved.

In closing . . .

Regardless of when, where, or how Wacky Selfie Articulation is used within the speech therapy session, one thing is certain, children (as well as clinicians) will have a blast taking selfies and talking about them . . . and in the process, all of the youngsters will continue to practice the correct pronunciation of their sounds. So what are you waiting for? Let your imagination run wild and have fun with this one of a kind photo-based speech therapy material! Download it RIGHT HERE, my friend.

Slow Motion Videos Have Invaded My Speech Therapy Room and I Totally Love It

Slow Motion Videos Have Invaded My Speech Therapy Room and I Totally Love It

Earlier this year, I was doing a speech-language evaluation with an 11-year-old child. One of my favorite aspects of a typical evaluation is the student interview portion that I typically do. Before I even begin any type of standardized assessment with a child, I usually start off with a few “gettin’ to know ya” warm up questions. Why? Two reasons: (1.) so I can begin to informally asses the child’s ability to use and understand language and (2.) so that I can begin to know the child’s likes/dislikes because that ultimately helps with rapport building.

Conversations about T.V.

Whenever I do student interviews with children, without fail, I always find myself asking, “What’s your favorite show on T.V.?” And in my past experiences, that question usually kicks off nice conversations about, say, a show on the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, or something along those lines.

But this child wasn’t a fan of T.V.

When I asked that particular student to share with me his favorite thing to watch on T.V., he looked at me in an eye-rolling pre-teen kind of way and stated, “Um, yeah, I don’t watch stuff on T.V. because T.V. is boring.”

“Come on, really? You mean to tell me you don’t watch ANYTHING on T.V.?” I jokingly shot back at him.

“Nope. I only watch stuff on YouTube.” Said the proud lil’ guy.

That was an opportunity for me to learn something new!

If there’s one thing I like, it’s when I discover new things from my students that I could potentially introduce into an upcoming speech-language therapy session. This YouTube aficionado, I knew I could learn about a bunch of new YouTube channels that I probably didn’t know about. He happily shared with me all of the different YouTube channels that he was a fan of. One of the channels he was gushing about was called The Slow Mo Guys. He exclaimed, “Mr. Raj, you have to check them out.” So I told him that I totally would when I got home.

Open your mouth.

As I continued on with the evaluation, I got to the oral mechanism examination portion. Because I wanted to make sure that everything oral-motor was structurally sound and adequate to support speech, I asked him to open his mouth so that I could take a peek. He opened up and as I was checking everything out with my mini flashlight, he said to me, “Ya know, Slow Mo Guys have an episode all about the uvula thing.”

Uvula?! Whoa! Cool!

I truly loved how that 11-year-old was able to connect the whole “uvula thing” to the quick oral mechanism examination that I was doing. But even more, I LOVED how when he spoke about those Slow Mo Guys, you could just see in his eyes how PUMPED he was. After asking him if that uvula episode was appropriate for school, I decided to check it out right then and there on my iPad, with him at my side. “My friend, these Slow Mo Guys, they sound beyond awesome so I don’t think I can wait until I get home to check ’em out!” I beamed.

I was impressed!

The whole gist of the talented Slow Mo Guys is that they have an amazing high-speed video camera. They use it to film something that moves quite fast – then they slow the footage down (hence the name of “The Slow Mo Guys!”). So in the case of their uvula episode, they used their video camera to film a person’s uvula as he was gargling water! Then, they slowed down the footage and it showed the uvula thrashing around in slo mo while the silly Slo Mo Guys provided some hilarious commentary about how weird it looked! From a speech-language pathologist’s point of view, it was SO RAD to see that uvula moving around like that! And the student in front of me, I could tell that he was SUPER excited because he saw how SUPER excited I was. It was a wonderful experience and it really helped to pave the way for a successful evaluation.

Don’t be afraid to learn about new things from your students.

As I write this blog post, I can’t help but think about all the other times that I’ve incorporated a Slow Mo Guys video into a therapy session over the past few months – tons of times! And it’s all thanks to that one kiddo who told me about them during an evaluation. Each time I’ve showed a Slo Mo Guys video, my students loved it and they seemed to enjoy answering my various questions about the video (all of the questions OF COURSE always connect directly to the students’ goals and objectives).

Big thanks to that student.

Here’s why I’m so jazzed: I didn’t read about the Slow Mo Guys on an SLP blog. I didn’t hear about the Slow Mo Guys from a speaker at a continuing education event. I learned about the Slow Mo Guys from a student. An 11-year-old student. I believe it’s important to emphasize that I found out about that YouTube channel from him because it goes to show that not only can we, as educators, teach youngsters, but those same youngsters can teach us, too. Through their sharing, we learn about new and exciting things. It’s crucial that we recognize the reciprocity that exists within the client-clinician relationship. It’s not symbiotic; it’s mutually beneficial. We all can learn new things from our students. Every single day. We just have to let it be known that we, as adults, want to know about new things from the children we have the privilege to be surrounded by.

In closing . . .

Do me a favor. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I would like for you to genuinely ask a few of your students this simple question: “Tell me about something that excites you that you think I might not know about.” Who knows what you might be introduced to – maybe you’ll learn about a new book, band, or maybe even a YouTube video! Then, check it out together with the student, right then and there on your iPad or computer (of course, make sure it’s appropriate for school). Be in the moment and express to the youngster how happy you are that he/she has shared that with you. Because when someone chooses to share something they like with you, it shows that the person cares for you. And on the opposite side of that coin, when you actually check out what the person likes, it shows that you value that person’s opinion. As educators, we should always be doing as much as we can to clearly communicate to our students that we value their opinions because their opinions really do matter. Am I right? 😉

Using Hilarious Dinosaur Video Clips to Motivate Speech Therapy Students

Using Hilarious Dinosaur Video Clips to Motivate Speech Therapy Students

Have you ever seen a dinosaur splish splash’ around in a swimming pool before? Or how about a dinosaur playing some rockin’ beats on his very own rock and roll drum set? If you answered no to those questions, well, you’ve never seen Ralph the Rex! That particular Twitter account is one that I’ve been keepin’ my eye on for quite some time now because it features something a lot of my students love – dinosaurs!

But it’s not just any dinosaur. Ralph’s got talent!

Ralph the Rex is a Tyrannosaurus rex that’s well-versed in so many different activities! From skateboarding to working out, I often wonder if there’s anything that this talented prehistoric animal CAN’T do? And here’s the best thing of all, he seems to always have a video camera pointed at him as he does (or attempts to do) odd things you’d never picture a dinosaur doing. So with that being said, there’s a massive amount of video footage of the talented Ralph the Rex that can be consumed for hours and hours.

Loads of videos means loads of speech therapy possibilities!

We all know that introducing our students to wide-ranging types of therapy materials is always the way to go. So, how about in addition to the random dinosaur toys and worksheets you’re already using in therapy, you also introduce some Ralph the Rex video clips? They are FREE to watch and let me tell you, the students on your speech therapy caseload, they’ll absolutely get a kick out of watching and talking about all the wild Ralph the Rex antics.

WH questions galore!

Recently, I was able to easily weave a handful of these Ralph the Rex video clips into a session where my student was working on asking and answering WH questions. These videos were a real breath of fresh air because there’s only so many times you can show your students WH question flash cards and/or WH questions apps. Ya know what I mean? Seriously, these videos broke the tedious repetition and routine. Ralph the Rex helped my student to ACTUALLY WANT to continue working on perfecting his understanding of WH questions.

Here’s my favorite video clip!

Give this car washing video clip a watch and ask some of these WH questions to a kiddo:

  • “Who is washing the car?” – (Ralph the Rex is washing the car.)
  • “Why is he washing the car?” – (Because it has dirt on it.)
  • “Where is he washing the car?” – (Outside on his driveway.)
  • “How does he wash the car?” – (He scrubs the car with soap and water.)
  • “What are some washing tools he uses?” – (A soapy sponge, a hose, a bucket of water.)
  • “When do people usually wash their cars?” – (When it’s warm outside and when the car is dirty.)

Short and sweet!

Just like Ralph’s arms, all of his video clips are short and sweet. Each video clip is between 20-30 seconds in length. And that’s great news for us clinicians because our time is VERY limited. So rest assured, you’re going to be able to show 3-5 video clips of Ralph the Rex within your given speech therapy session without having ’em eat up too much time. Hooray for quick video clips, am I right?

In closing . . .

If you want your speech therapy to go from “dino-snore” to “dino-mite,” Ralph the Rex has your back. His video clips are totally where it’s at and I know that you will be able to incorporate them into your speech-language therapy world. Have fun exploring the video clips and let me know how it goes!

I like to share things on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat. Sweet!