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

You Need to Thank Someone Right Now [Free Download]

You Need to Thank Someone Right Now [Free Download]

To be completely honest with all of you, I’ve wanted to be a speech-language pathologist since I was 6 years-old. I know that might sound cheesy, but it’s the truth. While all of my friends were saying popular lines like “I want to be a rock star, movie star, etc. when I grow up,” . . . I was the little boy who proudly shouted “I’m going to be a speech teacher when I grow up!” (In fact, check out the FREE DOWNLOAD at the end of this post to see what I mean, lol).

Those tricky /S/ and /R/ sounds

I had some extremely common articulation difficulties as a 6 year-old that included sloppy /S/ sounds and a far from perfect /R/ sound. I started to see a speech-language pathologist and within a year, I was able to make my sounds (yippie!). I had such a great time during my speech sessions that I knew I wanted to do that as an adult. In my 6 year-old mind, I thought the only thing we were doing was playing games, but it was not the only thing that was happening (as evidenced by my new found ability to produce the /S/ and /R/ sounds).

Learning CAN and SHOULD be fun!

We, as speech-language pathologists, have such a unique opportunity not only to combine learning with pure fun, but to influence and inspire by giving the gift of communication. There is no other job in the world like this and not a day goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars that my family took me to see Miss R., the self-proclaimed speech lady, as a child.

Who has helped you?

So here is a question for you to ponder . . . none of us live in a vacuum; therefore who has helped you become who you are now? (And have you thanked them lately?) Miss R. passed away before I even graduated high school, but she helped to plant the speech therapy seed in my head. I really wish I could’ve thanked her as an adult for all she did for me as a child. I’m positive that she is smiling down on me every time I give one of my students a high five.

In closing . . .

So is there a phone call you need to make? Is there a letter you need to write? Chances are your answer is probably yes. Take this moment to contact that educator (or person in general) that has influenced you. Even if you have no idea where that person is now, you’d be amazed how simple it is to find them through the magical and mystical powers of the Internet. Trust me; you need to do this right now. Let me know how it goes.

Oh, and don’t forget about your FREE DOWNLOAD!

Click HERE to download your very own SLP poster that answers the age-old question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I pinky promise, it’ll make ya happy as a clam. 🙂

5 Reasons Why a Shark Would Not Make a Good Speech-Language Pathologist

5 Reasons Why a Shark Would Not Make a Good Speech-Language Pathologist

In my opinion, when a bright and motivated HUMAN college student decides to major in speech-language pathology, that’s a moment that should be celebrated. We really need passionate HUMANS to enter this field so that they can positively impact all of the HUMAN children with various communication difficulties. HUMAN clinicians are the best clinicians out there! (Yes, I know I’m biased because I’m a human, but hear me out.)

I just got home from my local aquarium and I can’t stop thinking about SHARKS!

Here is a question to sink your teeth into . . . do you think a shark would make good speech-language pathologist? I have been pondering this all day and my answer is no. In fact, I think a shark would make a terrible SLP. Here are my 5 reasons why a SHARK would NOT make a good speech-language pathologist.

1. No fingers!

Sharks have fins, not fingers. This means that they are not able to effectively utilize the finger-sensitive touchscreen that iPads have. No iPads in speech therapy?! Oh no! That means the clients will not be able to use any of the fun and affordable applications I made!

2. Wet from water!

Let’s pretend for a minute that sharks actually have fingers and are able to use an iPad. Well . . . they would surely ruin the device because they would get the iPad soaking wet! All the fun battery-powered gadgets and electronics that we SLPs love would never survive!

3. Printer headaches!

Here is a common scenario. You are trying to print out that IEP you have been working on for hours, and low and behold . . . you are fresh out of printer ink! If this were to happen to a shark SLP, I am 100% positive he/she would eat a co-worker out of pure frustration (and last I checked, eating co-workers was a no-no).

4. IEP craziness!

You know how sometimes a parent needs to reschedule an IEP meeting? Well, if a parent cancelled with a shark SLP, I think he/she would eat the parent out of pure aggravation (and last I checked, eating a parent was ALSO a no-no).

5. Homework anger!

Oh no! Little Johnny forgot to complete his articulation homework?! How do you think a shark SLP might handle this situation? Yup, you’re right, little Johnny would probably become shark food in NO TIME! (and last I checked, eating students was a SERIOUS no-no!!!)

In closing . . .

I really hope I don’t get too many angry emails from sharks about this post. Don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE sharks. They are one of the most magnificent creatures in the sea, but come on, a shark SLP would be beyond SCARY! Agree/disagree? I would love to hear your thoughts. Lookin’ forward to our chat 😉

Playing With Boogers and Dog Food in Speech Therapy

Playing With Boogers and Dog Food in Speech Therapy

Remember when you used to have numerous magazine subscriptions and every single month, the good ol’ mail carrier would bring you a brand spankin’ new magazine to read? Well, if you’re like me, you cancelled all of your old subscriptions because you finally realized that you can obtain all of your favorite current events, news, and celebrity gossip from various internet sources (blogs, podcasts, etc.) for a fraction of the cost. So, what can we do with the hundreds of old magazines that we have sitting in our closet? Is there a way to incorporate those random magazines into our speech therapy sessions? Pshh, OF COURSE THERE IS and I’m going to tell you all about it. Get ready to have a fun (and yucky) time!

Break out the yucky sticks!

All you need to do is bring in a bunch of old magazines and grab a handful of green and brown markers (no other colors, just green and brown). For this session, I call those markers YUCKY STICKS. What is so special about yucky sticks, you ask? Well, they have the ability to instantly add boogers and dog food to any magazine page you want! Now if that doesn’t sound exciting, I don’t know what does!

Boogers and dog food on pizza?

Let’s say that you and your students come across an advertisement in your magazine for a pizza brand that features a happy family smiling and enjoying what seems to be a pizza with extra cheese on it . . . that’s until YOU use your yucky sticks to yuck up the scene! Encourage your students to scribble their hearts out by adding green lines (boogers) and brown dots (dog food) all over the slices (and the faces)!

Are you having fun yet?!

Let’s say that you guys stumble upon a cereal advertisement that’s promoting the fact that it now has over 50% more raisins in each box. Funny up that advertisement by adding 100% more bits of boogers and chunks of dog food into the bowl! Man, when we all use our imagination, those yucky sticks sure are powerful, huh?

Perfect for anyone!

This hilarious speech therapy idea could easily be manipulated to fit into any student’s communication goals and objectives. Here are the two most recent ones that I have tried.


I used this activity for a client who was working on perfecting his final R sound. He loved to say the word boogers – and we were able to move from the word level to sentence level effortlessly by practicing sentences like, “The family was eating a pizza with boogers on top of it.”

Auditory memory

I used this activity to work with a client who needed practice with remembering and repeating sentences that gradually got longer and longer. Here are some we created together.

  • The boy was eating cereal. (5 words)
  • The boy had dog food in his cereal. (8 words)
  • The boy with the red shirt had dog food in his cereal. (12 words)
  • The boy with the red shirt had brown bits of dog food floating in his cereal. (16 words)

In closing . . .

I know it might sound wacky, but you’d be surprised how excited and motivated my students get when I let them squiggle in magazines with green and brown markers. Do you think that this activity could bring some great giggles into YOUR next speech therapy session? Can you think of some other ways that we can tweak this activity to make it even more fun? As always, I would LOVE to hear from you.

2 Simple Things Every Speech-Language Pathologist Should Do

2 Simple Things Every Speech-Language Pathologist Should Do

“Erik, in your opinion what is one thing that I can do to become a better speech-language pathologist?”

That’s a question that I often get from people during my various workshops (and it’s really is a spectacular question). Welp, today is your lucky day because I’m going to give you not ONE, but TWO suggestions that just might change the atmosphere and overall culture of your speech therapy room for the better.

1. Know your kiddos

In my humble opinion, all amazing SLPs know their students on a personal level. Remember to talk to them during the speech therapy sessions. Do they have any pets? What is their favorite cartoon? What is their favorite breakfast food? Not only do you ask them, but also make it a point to specifically bring up the information you know about them. For example, if your student didn’t complete his speech homework and you know that he has a dog named “Princess” – why not say something like, “Oh no, let me guess, Princess ate your speech homework, huh?” Trust me, when a student sees that you remember things like that, the connection that the two of you will make will be fantastic!

2. Show up for your kiddos

Are you looking to be just an okay SLP? Or, are you looking to be an A+ and top notch SLP? (Actually, you don’t even have to answer because I know you want to be the best!) Well, in my humble opinion, the best SLPs attend school events here and there. Does your school have a holiday chorus concert coming up (and you know that a bunch of your speech students are also in the show)? That’s the perfect opportunity to make a strong connection with your students. When you are seen by the students and parents at these types of performances, it helps them to know that you care and support them!

In closing . . .

I have made a very conscious decision to practice these suggestions and it has helped me and my students a great deal. I hope you give them a try, too! Please shoot me an email and let me know how it goes. Stay awesome and I look forward to hearing from you.

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