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

68 posts contain the topic "speech therapy idea"

Having Some Recycling Fun in Speech Therapy with Hangers

posted on August 12th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP

I'm all about recycling. It's one of the best ways that we can show our beautiful planet that we truly care about it. So that's why I'm always on the prowl for new speech therapy materials that are both fun and are actually just repurposed items from around the home. Yup, instead of throwing out all of that junk in your closet, you very well might be able to use some of it (or all of it) within your speech therapy setting. You'd really be surprised at just how many different kinds of potential speech therapy items we all have just sitting around in our closets that don't see the light of day. This is a post that will help you to look at those things with new eyes. Ones that can clearly see the speech therapy potential that almost any random object in your closet can have.

So what kinds of random objects are we talkin' about?!

Well, I don't know about you, but I've somehow collected a gigantic amount of hangers over the years. I don't even know how the number got to be so high. It's almost as if they've been multiplying each time I close the closet door. Maybe they're quietly growing an army of hangers in an effort to capture me and take over my house! Uh no! So that's why I needed to grab a handful of hangers (about 20 or so) and bring them into my speech therapy room. (I figured if I separated them, I would slow down their evil plans to get me! HAHA!).

Hangers in speech therapy?! Huh?!

Not too long ago, I had a group of students who were working on perfecting their /R/ sound in the final position of words. I came up with a game called Hanger Ear. The game is simple, the students have to hang as many hangers as they can from their ear WHILE they practice saying words that have the /R/ sound in the final position of words (just like the words hanger and ear). With each correct pronunciation, the student is rewarded with a hanger and that hanger needs to somehow be added to the hanger chain. Who ever has the most hangers is the winner! (See my video for a look at me demonstrating the game.)

Trying to break records is always a hoot!

Hanger Ear is easily able to be turned into a competitive game where students try their hardest to break the record. How many hangers could you have hanging from your ear? 5? 6? 7? More? It's just another way to get students to think about their sounds WHILE they are participating in a wacky activity. It's all in good fun.

In closing . . .

Chances are, you've got a bunch of hangers in your closet that aren't doing too much. So why not recycle those hangers and convert them over to a new batch of silly and crazy speech therapy materials? And while you're at it, be on the lookout for other things in your closet that could be converted to speech therapy materials such as old shoe boxes, old magazines, and so much more!

So, give Hanger Ear a shot and, as always, let me know how it goes. I'd love to hear from you.

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Bring a Guitar to Speech Therapy for a Rockin Good Time

posted on August 4th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP

By any chance, do you play a musical instrument? And don't worry, I'm not asking you if you're a pro at your particular instrument. All I'm wondering is if you play a little bit. If you do, that's VERY cool because I have another question for you. Do you actually own the given instrument that you play a little bit? If your answer is yes, then you simply MUST give the following speech therapy idea a shot because it has the potential to cause a ROCKIN' good time within your speech therapy room.

Bring your instrument to speech therapy!

I'm not the greatest guitarist in the world, but I can play a few songs. So not too long ago, as I was strumming my guitar in my apartment, I came up with a gem of an idea. I started to think about what it might be like if I actually took my guitar to work one day. How would my students react to this? Was there a way that I could incorporate playing my guitar into a speech therapy session? Would my students and I be able to create fantastic tunes together? Or would our music sound something like nails on a chalkboard? Haha!

I gave it a shot and I was pleasantly surprised!

Right off the bat, when I brought my guitar into my speech therapy room, each and every single student on my caseload was surprisingly interested in it. It's not all that common to see a musical instrument in speech therapy, and that's what it's all about . . . doing things in speech therapy that are a bit off-the-wall, in hopes that it can trigger a tidal wave of excitement that would cause students to continue to want to work on their speech therapy goals and objectives. From 1st graders to 7th graders, each kiddos' eyes lit up the second I showed them the guitar.

Would you like to start a band?

I had a pair of students who where working on perfecting their /L/ sounds, so I told them that it might be fun if we could start a speech therapy band. These 2nd graders loved the idea and they both immediately started to come up with band names, but I interrupted them and told them that since we were working on our /L/ sound, our band names had to contain their target sound. They were totally okay with that and had no problem coming up with /L/ names like:

  • The Loopy Log Cabins
  • Little Loaves of Bread
  • Luke and the Lawn Mowers
  • The Leaping Frogs

What about the lyrics?

After we solidified our band name(s), we started to write simple lyrics that contained loads of /L/ words. After we wrote out some sentences, I encouraged them to sing the sentences while I played the guitar. Some of my students were a bit embarrassed to sing, but that didn't stop our band from ROCKIN' out because we came up with the idea to sort of just yell the lyrics. (Don't worry, we weren't yelling at the top of our lungs, just shouting a teensy bit). And guess what? By shouting the lyrics, it opened up a great conversation that revolved around when shouting was appropriate and when it was not. They clearly communicated to me that a library was a location where shouting was forbidden, but a playground was a location where shouting was acceptable. Hooray for sneaking in some language-based stuff into an articulation session!

In closing . . .

Boy oh boy, the songs my students came up with were fabulous and towards the end of the session, I even let each student try to play my guitar. I was quite impressed with how each youngster respected the instrument and treated it with care and kindness. All in all, it was super fun and I encourage you to give something like this a try if you play an instrument. Do you play a tambourine? How about an accordion? Maybe your students would get a real kick out of seeing and interacting with an instrument while they were in speech therapy. So give it a shot because I know you could come up with some neat ways to target articulation, language, and so much more with your given instrument. YOU ROCK!

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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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