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

74 posts contain the topic "speech therapy idea"

Using Silly Sentences to Help Students Grow as Effective Communicators

posted on November 11th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Using Silly Sentences to Help Students Grow as Effective Communicators

Hey! Guess what? I made a new app called Silly Sentence Articulation and it's a hilariously good time. It took me about a zillion years to make and I'm beyond excited that it's NOW finally live on the Apple App Store for you to check out. You're gonna love it!

Want to know more about the new app?

Sure you do! Silly Sentence Articulation is a comprehensive collection of over 500 silly sentences (also known as absurdities) that were specifically designed for us speech-language pathologists to use with kiddos on our caseload who exhibit difficulty producing the following speech sounds: S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH. It's intended to aid in the remediation of articulation impairments, as well as auditory and language difficulties because our clients often need practice in more than one area of communication.

Here's why I think students should be exposed to silly sentences:

Introducing our students to silly sentences serves two purposes - both necessary in effective problem solving and decision-making. First, it helps them become more aware of the need to logically analyze information and apply common sense reasoning to communication. Second, it helps them to begin to recognize absurdity as being a key component of humor, which assists in building emotional balance and intellectual growth. Pretty cool, if ya ask me!

Here's why I know all children will adore this app:

There's just so much audio for their ears to listen to! I spent a crazy amount of hours recording and re-recording the silly sentences AND the audio narrative that details WHY each and every sentence is silly. I poured my heart and soul into this particular app and I know that my wackiness will absolutely resonate with your students. And hopefully, it resonates with you, too!

So how about you give my latest app a try?

The silly sentence format within Silly Sentence Articulation is a departure from traditional articulation drill work and is effective for students ages 6 and up. Because of this unique format, clients enjoy saying the silly sentences to 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 reviewing the silly sentences with the client, paraprofessionals in the classroom and/or parents at home can reinforce the client's skills while sharing a fun activity. And we all know that practicing communication skills in environments outside the speech therapy setting is how we can help generalization to occur.

In closing . . .

I invite you to download Silly Sentence Articulation RIGHT NOW because something tells me that it's just what you've been waiting for. I guarantee you that my silly sentences will initiate exciting and lively conversations within your speech therapy room. And the really cool thing is that every silly sentence has the potential for leading almost anywhere. Even a silly sentence that appears simple can trigger a unique thought process and complex response. There just ain't nothin' cooler than that, so let your imagination run wild and have a ball with Silly Sentence Articulation! (Oh, and tell your friends about it!)

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We Need to Start Talking About Emojis in Speech Therapy [Free Download]

posted on November 4th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
We Need to Start Talking About Emojis in Speech Therapy [Free Download]

Not too long ago, one of my 8th graders came to speech therapy visibly upset. I asked her what was wrong and she replied, "My friend hates me and I have proof! Here! Look!"

It all started with a text message.

She showed me her iPhone and pointed to a recent text message that she received from her friend. It was a happy birthday message that simply read HAPPY BDAY but there was something that came after the "word" BDAY that caused my student to think that her friend hated her. It was an emoji.

Emoji? Huh? What's an emoji?

As stated on Emojipedia.org, an emoji is a type of emoticon (emotion + icon) used on iPhones, iPads, Androids, Macs and Windows devices. The term emoji originated in Japan and means "picture letter" in Japanese. So in short, an emoji is a symbol or a picture that's used to communicate something to someone. For example, you know how when you text message a friend and then at the end of the text message you sometimes type characters that, when combined, look like a happy face (a colon, a dash, and then a closed parenthesis)? Well, that's sort of an emoji. Through those combined characters, you were able to positively communicate your friendship to that person in the form of a picture.

Back to the text message in question.

The emoji that her friend added at the end of HAPPY BDAY text message was a sad face and NOT a happy face. One would've thought that a happy face should've been added to the end of that message but that wasn't the case. So you can see why this 8th grader thought that her friend hated her. My student couldn't help but think that her friend was sad or even mad about the "BDAY."

A possible miscommunication?

I asked my student if she thought that maybe, JUST MAYBE, her friend might have mistakenly put a sad face at the end of the text message? MAYBE she actually meant to put a happy face? She looked at me with the most genuine eyes and said, "Hmm, well, maybe that's a possibility. I guess I should ask her about it later."

Fast forward a few days.

The next time I saw this student, I asked her about her text message debacle and she happily informed me that it was IN FACT a mistake and the sad face was supposed to be a happy face. Phew! Crisis averted!

This situation got me thinking about text messages and emojis.

We, as a society, are quickly adopting text messaging with emojis as a valid form of quick communication. And because more than half of my caseload consists of middle school-aged students (and I even have a private client starting soon who is in high school), it really isn't too crazy to think that they're engaging in that type of expressive communication with their friends and family. So with that being said, I've recently made a conscious decision to explore a few lessons and ideas that touch on the subject of understanding emojis because I believe that it's a functional thing to discuss with students who have communication difficulties. Imagine how many incorrect text messages might have been sent by students who have communication disorders! Or imagine how many text messages could have been misinterpreted by students with communication disorders! These are the problems that I'm hoping to solve by bringing up and discussing emojis to some of my students.

Pairing pictures with emojis is a good start.

One of the ways that I've been working to educate my students about emojis is by pairing realistic pictures with emojis. The emojis that I've been using throughout my sessions come from GetEmoji.com. This is a fantastic location that allows you to copy and paste emojis from a massive library of emojis. Here is a FREE pdf file that I created by copying and pasting a bunch of emojis into a a Microsoft Word document. I printed out the PDF file and then cut out all the emojis so I could spread them all over my table like THIS.

Next, I would show my students random realistic pictures that I had. These pictures could be anything from story starter cards you might have sitting in your speech therapy room to miscellaneous pages you might have ripped out from an age-appropriate magazine. Anything that realistically shows people doing something would work just fine. All you have to do is encourage your students to try to pick out which emoji they feel best describes the chosen picture.

Check out these examples:

After some minimal prompts and cues, my one group of students were able to verbalize how THESE PICTURES were better suited for negative emojis. The girl on the left was crying because she broke her doll, therefore, the emoji that best fit with her was the one that showed a tear drop coming from the sad face's eye. Whereas, the picture on the right showed a girl who was covered with mud, therefore, the emoji that looked like it was nervous and sweaty best fit her situation because they thought the girl was nervous that she might get yelled at by her mother for getting so dirty.

Other examples can be found in THESE PICTURES. The girls on the left were washing someone's car. This kind deed communicates that they are nice children, therefore, the group attached the emoji that had a halo over its head. And the picture on the right shows a girl in a bathing suit having summertime fun, so my students made the connection that the happy emoji wearing the sunglasses was most appropriate because they felt like the sunglasses represented the warmth of summer.

In closing . . .

What do you think? Do you think your older kiddos would connect with Emojis? Have you been doing something similar to this? If so, please do let me know because I seriously love enjoying hearing from awesome clinicians just like you!

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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 thekidshouldseethis.com? 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 thekidshouldseethis.com 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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