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

3 Yummy Ways to Add Fast-Food to Speech Therapy

3 Yummy Ways to Add Fast-Food to Speech Therapy

I’m willing to take a bet that the mere mention of fast food during a speech therapy session will create a tidal wave of smiles. Don’t believe me? I double-dog dare you to simply whisper the words bacon cheeseburger – I guarantee that your therapy room will erupt with the sounds of children declaring, “There’s nothing better than a Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger!” Love it or hate it, fast-food is here to stay (And remember, if we eat it once in a while, it isn’t that bad. It’s all about moderation.)

Is there a way that we SLPs can add some yummy educational flavor to our speech therapy sessions that will result in some great discussion? There sure is, just chat about fast-food! Below you will find 3 ways I like to add some fast-food flavor to my speech therapy sessions.

1. Grand openingsI

Because you never know when your speech student might be on a trivia game show – exercise their listening ears and memory recall by teaching them exactly when/where their favorite fast-food joint was born. Did you know that White Castle was first opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1921? Or that the first Burger King was in Miami, Florida in 1954? Do you like Subway? Well, I bet you didn’t know that the popular submarine sandwich restaurant started in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1965. NICE!

2. Talk about your own place!

Ask your students to use their amazing smarts to imagine themselves opening their very own original fast-food chain. What would they call it? What would the menu consist of? What kind of desserts would they serve? Will their restaurant have kids’ meals? If so, what kind of toy or prize would come with it? Remind them to use their target sound appropriately when expanding on their responses.

3. Draw your own place!

I love incorporating art into my speech therapy sessions for millions of different reasons: it stimulates both sides of the brain, it develops hand and eye coordination, so on and so forth. Encourage your students to draw a picture of what their restaurant will look like. Is the building big or small? Will the building be floating in the sky or stuck to the ground? The possibilities really are endless and the conversation is sure to be as colorful as your students’ masterpieces.

In closing . . . 

Have you ever done anything like this before in a session? Do you think your students would have fun chatting about fast-food? Are you as hungry as I am after reading this post? Are you craving some french Fries right now? Haha! Give this speech therapy idea a shot and please let me know how it goes. (Oh, and it you live anywhere near an In-N-Out Burger, please purchase a few gift cards for me! YUM!)

3 Great Ways to Trash Your Speech Therapy Room

3 Great Ways to Trash Your Speech Therapy Room

Are you looking for a fun way to bring some lively conversation into your next speech therapy session? (Duh, of course you are!) I recommend you . . . TRASH your speech therapy room! Making a mess of your communication headquarters will, without a doubt, get your speech students talking in a BIG way.

But wait . . .

I’m not suggesting that you break the windows and light the place on fire after hours in hopes of acquiring some insurance money (or a few days off from work LOL). When I preach to trash your speech room, I really mean to move some stuff around in hopes that your students realize the changes. Hopefully, this action can persuade them to spontaneously initiate a conversation about what they see. In other words, we just tricked them into exercising their expressive and receptive language muscles. (We SLPs are so sneaky! Hehe).

Below you will find 3 ways that I like to trash my speech therapy room:

1. Get your toss on!

“Students, look! Somehow our speech chairs got tossed up on top of the speech table! What do you guys think happened?! Let’s use our imagination and pretend that the chairs are alive and they hopped up on the table while we were gone! Why would the chairs want to jump on the table?! Do you think they were hiding from something?!”

2. Get your flip on!

“What!? Our beloved speech table has been flipped over!? Let’s use our imagination and pretend that a zoo animal broke into our speech room while we were gone! What animal do you think could be strong enough to flip this table over?! What do you think the animal was looking for?!”

3. Get your tip on!

“Oh my goodness! The trash can has been tipped over! There are crumbled pieces of paper everywhere! Let’s use our imagination and pretend that a little space alien flew into our speech room while we were gone! Do you think his spaceship crashed into our garbage can? What do you think his spaceship looks like? Let’s try to find it!”

In closing . . .

So, what do you think? Could this little speech therapy idea be for you? I really hope it is! If you give this idea a try, please email me to let me know how it went. I always LOVE hearing from fellow speech-language pathologists. Talk soon!

3 Steps Towards Turning Your Speech Therapy Students into Wax

3 Steps Towards Turning Your Speech Therapy Students into Wax

Raise your hand if you LOVE going to wax museums. Earlier this year, I got a chance to visit one for the first time and I couldn’t believe how realistic the statues looked. The wax museum was a great experience for me (an adult), so I can only imagine how awesome it would be if I could take all of my elementary school-aged students to one, but alas, I just don’t have the cash for that . . .

I’m so poor that sometimes I eat my cereal with a fork just to save milk, LOL!

So I figured, instead of bringing the kiddos to the wax museum, I simply just created MY OWN and my speech therapy students were the WAX STATUES! It was fabulous and I want to teach you how to do it, too!

Step 1 – Get started!

Let’s pretend we are working with 2 articulation clients in a group speech therapy session. The boy (let’s call him Brad) is working on perfecting his final R sound and the girl (let’s call her Angelina) is working on creating an appropriate initial TH sound (Brad and Angelina?! YES! LOL!). Have both students write down words that they can think of that have their sound on cards. For example, Brad will probably jot down words like bear, guitar, dinosaur, etc. and Angelina will most likely come up with words like thief, thirsty, thumbtack, etc.

Step 2 – Get waxy!

Next, put all the cards randomly on the table. As always, ladies should go first, so ask Angelina to pick a card at random. After she sees the word, she must stand up and turn into a wax statue of the word she chose. While she is posing perfectly still, you and Brad have to try your hardest to guess what she is; but don’t forget to remind her that she CAN’T MOVE! This is sort of like charades, but with an SLP twist.

Step 3 – Get creative!

Here are just a few examples of what you might see from Brad and Angelina:

  • Bear – a mouth open and claws in the air pose.
  • Guitar – a rock star air guitar pose.
  • Dinosaur – a scary/sharp teeth pose.
  • Thief – a sneaky pose.
  • Thirsty – a sweaty/tongue out of mouth pose.
  • Thumbtack – a one foot up in pain pose (stepped on a thumbtack, ouch!).

In closing . . .

This game is amazing because it gives all students the opportunity to get out of their seats while they practice their articulation. I just adore speech activities that involve ungluing our behinds from those uncomfortable school chairs! Have you ever done an activity like this one before? Was it a success? Did your students have a blast? I look forward to hearing from you. Oh, and Brad and Angelina look forward to hearing from you, too! LOL!

One of the Best Birthday Presents You Can Ever Give in Speech Therapy

One of the Best Birthday Presents You Can Ever Give in Speech Therapy

I love the feeling of putting on a warm sweatshirt in the winter, moments after it has come out of the dryer. So cozy and so nice! I also love the feeling of putting on a brand new pair of sneakers right before I go for a run. It feels like you are jogging on fluffy marshmallows! But do you want to know the number one feeling that I simply cannot live without? It’s that SUPER comfortable feeling of sitting in MY speech therapy office chair! Not to brag, but while my students are sitting on their typical hard metal school chairs, I get to sit on my oh-so-soft speech therapy throne (a.k.a. my computer chair) while I rule my speech therapy kingdom (a.k.a. the speech therapy room).

Share the chair?

Here is a question that I get from my speech students a lot. “Mr. Raj, can I sit in your chair today?” I always have to politely shoot down their inquiry because if I let one student do it, that would likely trigger an unstoppable chain reaction of “What about me!? What about me!?” and things would probably get really ugly. So after much thinking about this situation, I came up with a fabulous idea. When it’s the student’s birthday, I switch chairs with him/her! That’s right, my present to my students is that they get the HONOR of sitting in the one and only Mr. Raj chair during their whole speech therapy session. Sounds like a rockin’ b-day gift if you ask me!

Happy Birthday to you!

I’ll be honest with you. I wish I was rich enough to purchase a totally radical present for each and every one of my fantastic speech students (they are so worth it), but alas, that just is not financially possible. Luckily, I have had such success with this birthday chair idea. Simply letting my students know that they’re allowed to sit in the speech chair on their birthday has done wonders for the morale of everyone involved in the speech therapy process.

Let the countdown begin!

True story — students often pass me in the hallway happily shouting, “Hey Mr. Raj, 19 days until my birthday! I can’t wait until I get my chair day!” I smile and give them a HUGE high five.

Parents dig it, too!

I always get a kick out of the parents I get to meet during back to school night. More times than one I have had parents say to me, “So, this is the chair my child keeps talking about, huh?” It’s amazing to see that a small little gesture of sharing that chair translates to the child actually going home and mentioning it to their mother and father. How cool is that?!

Sharing is caring, my friend

So, what do you think? How about giving up your speech therapy chair to a child as a nice little birthday gift? Do you think that action would make your students giggle? Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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