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

72 posts contain the topic "speech therapy idea"

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 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 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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Are You Giving Rushed Greetings to Your Speech Therapy Students?

posted on September 8th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP
Are You Giving Rushed Greetings to Your Speech Therapy Students?

I've been thinking a lot lately about restaurants and how the first encounter with whoever seats you really sets the stage for what the meal's experience will ultimately be. Now I know you might be wondering how this thought even relates to speech therapy. Does it? Yes, it does, trust me (haha!). Just keep on reading and I pinky promise that I will get us there. But before I transition this body of text into something that makes sense to us speech-language pathologists, I feel like I need to describe a couple of typical restaurant greetings that I'm sure every single one of you have encountered before.

Those rushed greetings that feel as if the person doesn't care.

Sometimes I will walk into a restaurant and the first thing that the employee says is . . .

"How many?"

Um, what?! How many?! That's the FIRST thing you say?! Not even a hello?! Or a hi?! Yikes. From an SLP's point of view, this rushed attempt at communicating to me is pure torture to hear. It almost sounds like nails on a chalkboard. And no matter how great the food is, that type of first (rushed) impression seems to always leave such a bad taste in my mouth.

Now let's take a moment to transition that scenario to a speech therapy one (see, I told you I'd get us there, haha!).

Sometimes when I'm in a bit of a hurry, I find myself picking up my students for services and I will say obviously rushed greetings to them (just like those rushed restaurant people). I would say lines like "time for speech" or "come on, let's go to the speech room." Not even a hello or a hi first, just one of those empty and embarrassing attempts at communicating.

Ugh! What's wrong with me?! How embarrassing.

Now, just imagine how my rushed greeting negatively sets the stage in speech therapy. Those rushed types of greetings are communicating, loud and clear, that I'm not in the moment and that my mind is somewhere else (when it shouldn't be somewhere else, it should be on my students and in that moment). That's a terrible thing to be communicating. Just. Terrible.

Let's be intentional with our greetings and let's not rush.

I know I can't be the only SLP out there that has ever given a rushed greeting to a student. It happens to the best of us sometimes, right? Sure. But from here on out, I'm making a very real and conscience decision to be more mindful with the greetings that I choose to use. I want to be more intentional with my words and I want to remember that my greetings can either positively or negatively set the stage in speech therapy. From here on out I'm choosing to adopt a new collection of non-rushed and ultra positive greetings that I promise to say to each and every single one of my students (regardless of how rushed I may or may not be).

Here are some of my favorites that I will use (and feel free to use them, too):

  • I'm so happy you're here today! Let's head on over to speech.
  • Yes! There he/she is! Let's head on over to speech.
  • The one and only (insert name here)! Let's head on over to speech.
  • Woo hoo! We're going to have a blast today! Let's head on over to speech.
  • Hey smart cookie! Let's head on over to speech.
  • You make me smile wider than a school bus! Let's head on over to speech.
  • I have such a great activity planned just for you! Let's head on over to speech.
  • I'm so pumped I get to hangout with you today! Let's head on over to speech.

In closing . . .

Imagine how spectacular we would feel if we walked into a restaurant and they said something along the lines of "oh fantastic, you're here! We've been waiting for you. Let me take you over to your table." We would feel ecstatic and that type of greeting would absolutely set the stage for one memorable dining experience. Well, we can do the EXACT same thing as SLPs in the school-setting with our initial greetings as we transition our students from whatever room they are currently in to our speech therapy rooms. We can (and should) make them feel like VIPs because they are. So, let's all re-think the way we greet the children on our caseloads. Cool? Cool!

P.S. Just so you know, this post is the 100th post on my blog. I feel a great sense of joy to know that I have been able to connect with so many amazing educators through this particular medium. Thank you to each and every single one of you for reading all of my thoughts and ideas as they relate to speech therapy. It really means the world to me!

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Walking and Talking with Your Students Before and After Speech Therapy

posted on August 27th, 2014 by Erik X. Raj, M.S., CCC-SLP

Let me paint you a picture that illustrates how I used to typically start off my speech therapy sessions as a school-based clinician. It looked something like this: I checked the schedule to see which group was next. Once I knew which lucky little kiddos I needed to get, I would leave my speech therapy room to go pick them up. Once I had everyone, we would walk down the hallway together, en route back to my speech therapy room. We would enter the room and THEN we would begin our session.

Notice how I emphasized the word THEN?

In the past, I pretty much wouldn't start speech therapy until we all were in the speech therapy room. No speech therapy UNTIL we entered the magical speech therapy room. It's as if I thought that it wasn't possible for us to work on our goals and objectives UNTIL we were sitting at the speech therapy table.

What missed opportunities!

My transition to and from the speech therapy room is usually something along the lines of 2-3 minutes. So in theory, because of the walking that my students and I do, we lose about 5 minutes of speech therapy time. In my opinion, that's a bunch of missed opportunities where we could've practiced aspects of effective communication that related to our goals and objectives. So now I make it a point to start speech speech therapy the moment I see my students. ASAP!

There's no time like the preset!

I've changed my routine around so that we begin working on our goals and objectives WHILE we are actually walking down the hallway WAY WAY BEFORE we even enter my speech therapy room. For example, let's say you have a student and he's working on perfecting the /CH/ sound. You could easily take that opportunity to say, "Hey, let's look around the walls while we walk to see if we can find any pictures that have the /CH/ sound in it." You might discover a poster next to the lunchroom of a boy CHEWING on food. Or a piece of student artwork of a mouse CHOMPING on some CHEESE. Ya see? There's just so many /CH/ words that begin to show themselves to us, outside the speech therapy room, once we actively start to keep our eyes peeled for them. What a BEAUTIFUL thing!

Why should we do this OUTSIDE of the speech therapy room?

In short, it's because we need our young learners to be able to successfully use their newly learned skills in many different locations, not just in the speech therapy room. Encouraging your students to practice their sounds while walking to and from the speech therapy room reinforces the given sounds in a new location and further helps to move the students along towards mastery.

And it's not just for articulation!

Walking and talking is also ideal for WH questions. It's never been easier to target aspects of WH questions by being intentional with your questions. For example, let's say you have a student and he's working on better understanding WH questions. You could easily take that opportunity to say, "Hey, do you see that trophy case over there? What do you think those trophies are for? Why do you think teams are given trophies? When do teams usually get trophies?" So on and so forth. The possibilities are endless once you make a conscious decision to incorporate WH questions within the students' surroundings outside of the speech therapy room.

In closing . . .

Purposeful walking and talking with your students is where it's at. For real. It's educationally relevant and it also gets the students ready for the main lesson that is usually waiting for them once they enter the the speech therapy room. Nah mean? So, do you think you could benefit from this type of routine? Do you have some other ideas that relate to this one? As always, please let me know. I just LOVE hearing from each and every single one of you.

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