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

66 posts contain the topic "speech therapy idea"

Hunting for Speech Therapy Words in Word Search Articulation

posted on June 23rd, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Hunting for Speech Therapy Words in Word Search Articulation

I have two words for you: Word. Searches.

I have two more words for you: Are. Fun.

Now, I have four words for you: Word. Searches. Are. Fun.

Yes, word searches ARE fun!

Didn't you love doing word searches when you were a child? I know I did and that's exactly why I created my latest app called Word Search Articulation. This fun and exciting speech therapy game allows you to practice your searching skills WHILE working on your articulation abilities. Word Search Articulation is jam-packed with over 1,000 sound-specific articulation words that can be hunted for. These puzzles contain hidden words to use with individuals who exhibit difficulty producing the following speech sounds: S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH.

Exercise your eyes!

Have your students take Word Search Articulation for a spin. Then, watch as they happily give their eyeballs a serious workout as they try their hardest to find their hidden articulation words.

A round of hide and seek, anyone?

Word Search Articulation is so easy to play. At the start of each round, the given word hides in a grid filled to the brim with jumbled letters. In an attempt to discover the hidden word, children must concentrate and focus their eyes on the grid to spot that sneaky word. These puzzles demand great detective work because each and every single word is fantastic at hiding.

But don't worry, there's always a hint!

If a student gets stumped and is unable to find the hidden word, the 'hint' button is always an option. This could be pressed at any point during the word search and it causes the first letter of the hidden word to become highlighted. This child-friendly feature ensures that all students will experience success as they participate in this wonderful word hunt adventure.

Give it a try!

I guarantee that you will fall in love with Word Search Articulation. And if you hate it, don't worry because I'll come over your house and wash your dirty dishes for you. That's how I will apologize to you. (Please note that I can only come over if you live within a 15 mile radius from me, hehe!). So, I invite you to use this game to spice up your speech therapy session. Click HERE to download the app from the Apple App Store. Enjoy!

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Using Background Noise as a Tool in Speech Therapy

posted on May 19th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Using Background Noise as a Tool in Speech Therapy

Most of the time, my speech therapy room is fairly quiet. I wouldn't say it's as quiet as a mouse, but it doesn't seem to have an awful lot of background noise going on. Most of the time, I'm thankful for this lack of background noise because I believe the silence allows my students to better focus on the new information that I present to them. However, sometimes I want there to be some background noise. Why? Because most of my students tend to lose their focus once there's a bit of background noise thrown into the mix and I figure that if I introduce a small amount of background noise from time to time, it can help to build their background noise tolerance.

Why should we build background noise tolerance?

Because environments that have various background noises are realistic. In fact, I would be dare to say that they're almost the norm. Think about it, environments such as a quiet classroom, or a silent library, those places seem to be VERY few and far between. But environments that have background noises, such as a lunch room/cafeteria, gymnasium, hallway, playground, etc., these are the places that students are often exposed to and I want them to be able to effectively communicate in those non-quite types of environments, too.

So, I make my quite speech room not so quiet to give them some practice.

In an effort to attempt to recreate an environment filled with potentially distracting background noises, I have been turning to Coffitivity for help. Coffitivity is both a website and an app for your iPhone and iPad that does one thing perfectly . . . it plays the most realistic background noises I have ever heard. As of right now, the website features a few different background noises to choose from that includes Morning Murmur (which is described as a gentle hum that gets the day started), Lunchtime Lounge (which is described as the bustling chatter of the lunchtime rush), University Undertones (which is described as the scholarly sounds of a campus cafe), and more!

So many background noise possibilities can be introduced into the speech therapy setting!

For example, if your student is able to properly pronounce his /R/ sound in all positions of the word during spontaneous conversation, I'm almost positive that you've only been practicing that goal in a silent speech therapy room. Why not crank it up a notch and play some background noise WHILE that student is practicing his /R/ sound? Does the student become distracted? Does the student misarticulate the /R/ sound because of the background noise that threw him off? If so, this is the perfect opportunity for you, as the speech-language pathologist, to start a valuable discussion about background noise and how it's all around us. Together, you and your student could easily come up with some strategies to stay focused and "block the noise" (as one of my artic kiddos once said) to ensure that the /R/ sound is as crisp as possible.

Though Coffitivity is not necessarily created as a tool for speech therapy, it's PERFECT for speech therapy!

The main audience that tends to use Coffitivity for their background noises are creative folks - graphic designers, authors, painters, etc. The reason that these types of people are playing various background noises while they're working on something is because the research is starting to show that being exposed to a certain amount of background noise while being engaged in a task has been found to increase abstract processing in the listener, which seems to lead to higher levels of creativity. How cool, right?! So, it makes perfect sense that these creatives are using background noise to get their creative juices flowing.

And we can do the same thing with our speech students!

Not only do I want my students to be the most effective communicators that they can be, I also want them to be the most creative students that they can be. If this simple background noise tool could help them to get closer to all of that, then it's totally my job to introduce them to it. So do me a favor, give Coffitivity a try and let me know how it goes. (Oh, and tell 'em I sent ya! Hehe!)

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Having a Fireplace in Speech Therapy is a Red Hot Good Idea

posted on May 11th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Having a Fireplace in Speech Therapy is a Red Hot Good Idea

Often times, I encourage my students to use the power of their imaginations to pretend that we're not sitting in a boring and typical room during our speech therapy sessions. For example, if we were doing some sort of ocean themed speech therapy activity, it really wouldn't be uncommon to see my students and I holding our breaths while we were flopping our arms around in a manner that looked as if we were swimming in a large body of water. And it also wouldn't be too strange to hear my students yelling at me because I just "splashed water" all over them while we were "swimming in the ocean." It's such a blast to do stuff like that and I've noticed that those little touches always tend to inject a large amount of laughter and fun into the overall speech therapy experience.

So here's a question for you, have you ever started a fire in your speech therapy room?

Well, I hope your answer is no! Of course you should NEVER start a REAL fire in your speech therapy room, but a fake (digital) fire is acceptable. I've been happily using an app called Fireplace that allows me to turn the screen of my iPad into a super realistic wood-burning fireplace. Then, I place my iPad right on top of the speech therapy table in an effort to better set the mood. This wonderful visual allows us to imagine so many exciting things while we're working on perfecting our goals and objectives. Below you will find some ways that I love using this app in my speech therapy room.

Pretend you're roasting marshmallows in your speech therapy room.

If you work in a setting that allows you to bring in edible treats from time to time, consider bringing in a bag of marshmallows. You could easily practice essential basic concepts using marshmallows (this marshmallows is NEXT TO this marshmallow, this marshmallow is UNDER this marshmallow, this marshmallow is ON TOP of this marshmallow, etc.). Or you could create tons of multi-step directions for your students to follow that involve marshmallows (first, clap your hands, then, touch the marshmallow, and last, bark like a dog, etc.). Once your students have successfully practiced a few rounds of questions and/or statements, have them pretend to roast their marshmallows on your iPad. Then, allow them to pop 'em in their mouths. YUM! Ask them to describe what the marshmallows taste like. Are they hot? Are they sticky? Are they sweet?

Pretend you're deep in the woods telling scary ghost stories next to a fire.

My older students can't get enough of trying to scare each other by telling spooky stories to one another. And guess what? The ability to properly sequence the different scenes of a story and the ability to remember key characters that were mentioned in a story are some of the most popular goals and objectives that appear on their IEPs. So why not use this app in conjunction with actually turning off the lights in your speech therapy room? Have your students practice manipulating their voice during important parts of the story. The scary parts should be said with a monster-ish voice. The successful voice should be said with an exciting voice. So on and so forth. Ask them to recall main characters while attempting to retell the story they just heard.

Pretend you're lost in the middle of a snowy forest and need to keep warm.

Huddle around the iPad while this app is burning bright. Blow warm air into your hands and pretend like your speech room is completely frozen. This could be a fantastic way to practice questions that relate to categories. Ask your students to list off some things that they would hope to have if they were lost in the middle of a snowy forest. A jacket. A scarf. Gloves. Wood. Matches. Then, you could take it one step further and act like you heard a bear growling in the distance. Ask your students various open-ended question like what they think they would do in a situation like that? (And if you adore open-ended questions as much as I do, you must download my app called Open-Ended Articulation.)

In closing . . .

Not only does this Fireplace app look like a real, burning fire, it also sounds like one, too. My students get a kick out of hearing the wood crackling. Between the stunning visual and the realistic audio, it truly does set the stage for a unique speech therapy experience. I'm confident your students will appreciate this app. So, what are you waiting for? Download Fireplace for your iPad right now so you can finally get that speech therapy room upgrade that you know you deserve -- a fireplace in your speech room! Now THAT is teaching in style, am I right? Haha!

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Charades Articulation Allows Students to Have Fun While Guessing Target Words

posted on April 13th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Charades Articulation Allows Students to Have Fun While Guessing Target Words

I'm going to let you in on a little secret of mine, I adore the game of charades. It's a timeless game that has the ability to turn any uneventful get-together into an action-packed party! So, that's exactly why the game of charades has found its way into my speech therapy room on more than one occasion (err, hundreds of occasions, to be a bit more truthful!). It can turn any uneventful speech therapy session into an action-packed speech therapy party!

Do you ever play charades in speech therapy?

Charades is an easy-to-play and fast-paced game that allows all players to have fun while describing, acting out, and guessing random words. However, in the past, charades had nothing to do with speech therapy. But that's all about to change with this brand spankin' new app that I created called Charades Articulation. Now, thanks to this app, charades and speech therapy have been effectively combined (and I'm happy to announce that they both live together in perfect harmony!). This app elaborates on the classic charades party game by including a comprehensive collection of over 1,000 sound-specific articulation words that can be chosen from to appear during a round of play. These word lists were designed for speech-language pathologists to use with individuals who exhibit difficulty producing the following speech sounds: S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH.

Let's chat about how to play!

Players of Charades Articulation have the opportunity to describe or act out a set of sound-specific articulation words to a designated person who is called the guesser. Everyone will be able to see the given sound-specific articulation word except for the guesser. The goal of each round of play is to provide the guesser with as many clues as possible, either verbally or physically (or both!), so a large amount of sound-specific articulation words can be successfully guessed. The more words guessed, the higher the final score!

Fun for the whole family!

I tried extremely hard to create an app that could not only live within the speech therapy room, but could also live within the home-setting. With Charades Articulation, children could easily challenge their friends and family members at home, in a way that doesn't look or feel like completing a typical "speech homework" assignment. This smart disguise helps children to further practice their articulation skills and thereby facilitates the sometimes difficult stage of carrying over newly-acquired skills. I sincerely believe that by playing Charades Articulation with a child at home, all parties involved can reinforce that kiddo's skills while sharing a fun activity that everyone can participate in. Practicing communication skills in environments outside the speech therapy setting increases opportunities for generalization of communication skills.

So, what are you waiting for?

Give Charades Articulation a shot today. Regardless of when, where, or how this app is used, one thing is certain, children (as well as adults) will have a delightful time giving it a try . . . and in the process, your children will continue to practice the correct pronunciation of their sounds at the word level. It just doesn't get any better than that. Click HERE to download the app from the Apple App Store. Enjoy (and please let me know what you think)!

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