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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Speech Therapy for Toddlers | Speech and Language Activities for Nonverbal Children

Hey friend! Speech therapy for toddlers doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as you might think, and I’m so glad you stopped by. By the way, if you have have a child (or teach a child) who is not toddler-aged, but is non-verbal or minimally verbal, I know you'll find some great ideas here. Not only am I a pediatric Speech- Language Pathologist, but I’m a mama, too! My baby boy is almost 11 months, and we’re basically doing speech and language activities at home, all day, every day. What a lucky boy he is, right?  (Cue the eye rolls from my husband). In all seriousness, though, language development is super important, so I’ve put together some speech therapy activities you can use with your little at home (or in the classroom or therapy room). Just an FYI- these ideas aren’t meant to replace you taking your kiddo in for a speech therapy evaluation or speech therapy session, especially if you have concerns! Early intervention is key, and the more carryover you as a fabulous parent can do at home- the better!


Speech Therapy for Toddlers

            


My Thoughts on Speech Therapy Tools for Toddlers and Children who are Nonverbal

Let’s just get a few things out of the way first. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t freak. You don’t need to spend hundreds on fancy toys or pay for cable to watch “educational” shows. In fact, research is telling you to do just the opposite: kids learn language from face-to-face interaction, not from hearing it on the television.

Screen time actually rewires the brain, and not in a good way. It’s actually pretty scary when you read about it. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time for children under 18 months. It really doesn’t matter what the content of the show is- my advice to you is to turn off the TV, hide your smart phone, and do whatever it takes- because it really does matter.


speech therapy for toddlers! speech and language activities to try at home!

            

Speech Help for Toddlers and Children who are Nonverbal

If your toddler or older child isn’t talking yet- or is only talking a little - you might consider introducing some form of multimodal communication. Don’t panic- that just means allowing your child- or student- to use lots of ways to talk- like signs, gestures, or communication boards. Start with a few basic signs containing core vocabulary, such as ‘more’, ‘want’, ‘stop’, ‘go’, ‘eat’, ‘drink’. Think basic verbs, adjectives, or prepositions. Of course, signs like mama, dada, hi, or other meaningful words can be great starters, too! You can absolutely still talk in sentences, but don’t be afraid to sign those target words, and then say the target word one more time for good measure.


speech therapy for toddlers


Speech Therapy Activities You Can Try At Home

My biggest tip? Talk all day long to your child, even if he isn’t responding yet. You might feel like a crazy lady, talking to yourself, but remember- it really does help! Talk about what you’re doing, what he’s doing, and describe things. Here are examples of modeling language:


“Why should we push the ball? We want it to go down.”

“Put the green ball ON top. Let’s push the ball. Look! It’s going DOWN! Down.” (Please make sure there are no small parts or choking hazards! But you already knew that ;-) Just went into helicopter mama mode, sorry!)

speech therapy for toddlers


Sometimes modeling actions- and simply saying the verbs- is super fun. “Shake, shake, shake! It’s your turn!”

speech therapy for toddlers


Make reading interactive! Read the words, but don’t stop there! 

“Let’s read a book together. Book. It’s so soft! It’s a soft book. Can you open the soft book? Open. Great work!”

“Let’s turn the page. Look at that snappy crocodile!” I then make my fingers “snap” against his arm. (We were reading "Charlie Monkey", in case you're wondering!)

“Let’s feel how soft the big, brown gorilla is. He’s soft. It’s mama’s turn. Now it’s your turn! Okay, let’s turn the page!”

speech therapy for toddlers


“Let’s push it and make the fish go. Push it down. Down! Go, fish, go! Awesome job!”

speech therapy for toddlers

“I want to pull the colorful flower down. Let’s pull it down. Down! Look! Wow! It’s going back UP now!”

speech therapy for toddlers


“It’s mama’s turn to make the ball GO. Ready, set, GO!” Bounce the ball and say something like, “Bounce, bounce, bounce! We bounced the round, colorful ball!” Before you toss the ball in the air, say and sign the word up. “Up. Mama’s going to throw the ball UP in the air! Look!”


speech therapy for toddlers



Hopefully this gave you some speech therapy ideas for toddlers- or kiddos of any age using augmentative and alternative communication! Keep modeling language through play! Keep it fun and interactive! That’s how kids learn best. You’ll absolutely want to follow my speech therapy for toddlers board on Pinterest for more fabulous ideas! In addition, you'd love my parent handouts for modeling core vocabulary- these are super easy ideas for implementing language modeling all day and throughout the year!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Sale on TPT

Are you ready to shop?!
You can save 20% off my ENTIRE store May 8th & 9th, plus an extra 8% when you enter the promo code "thankyou17".

If you're like me, the end of the the school year is approaching. Don't stress out in these last few weeks. You can shop all of my no prep resources here. Send home my no prep, low ink parent handouts to encourage carryover this summer, or get ready for fall with these resources.
AAC Carryover Handouts for Parents

speech therapy parent handouts for AAC! You'll love these no prep, low ink handouts- make AAC carryover easy!


Minimal Pairs & More Bundle
Minimal Pairs for phonological disorders- make your life easier with this no prep speech therapy packet!


Middle School Speech Therapy Bundle
carryover articulation that your middle school speech therapy students will actually enjoy!


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Preschool Speech Therapy Ideas

The Basic Concepts BUNDLE is available! Wahoo! I have a lot of students working on various goals centered around basic concepts, so I wanted to create engaging resources to target this important skill. These are the concepts that students will be expected to understand all day long at school.
"Get in line BEHIND so and so..."
"BEFORE we take attendance, we'll do calendar time."
"Write your name at the TOP of the page."
I could go on, but you get the idea! Your students NEED to understand basic concepts to be successful in the classroom. Why not make learning the concepts fun and interactive?

speech therapy basic concepts bundle: fall, winter, spring and summer basic concepts


There are activities for every season, so you'll be set throughout the year.



speech therapy basic concepts bundle: fall, winter, spring and summer basic concepts

Each packet includes:

✔ (1) Basic concepts seasonal flip book, which targets a variety of basic concepts, including next to/ beside, same/ different, over/under, behind/ in front of, first/ second/ third, and first/ middle/ last.

✔(2) “I can… follow directions” worksheets, which target following directions (basic and multi-step) containing location and size basic concepts.

✔(1) Following Directions Prompt Page: SLP or teacher reads directions to student. Use this page along with “I can… follow directions” worksheets.

✔(2) I can… spin & find the opposites worksheets, which target basic concepts that are paired together because they are opposites (for example, hot/ cold).

✔(1) Roll It! Answer It! Time Basic Concepts: cut out the cube template provided and assemble it. Student will answer each “time” basic concept “when” question asked on the cube.

✔(3) Hide & Peek… First/ Middle/ Last: these basic concept worksheets target first, middle & last. Student will listen to each instruction to lift the correct flap before answering each question.

✔(1) Hide & Peek: SLP/ Teacher page: this page includes the flap pieces to be used on the Hide & Peek: First/ Middle/ Last basic concept worksheets. Cut out and glue where indicated. Student will lift these flaps in order to follow directions containing basic concepts.


speech therapy basic concepts bundle: fall, winter, spring and summer basic concepts



speech therapy basic concepts bundle: fall, winter, spring and summer basic concepts


I'm so excited to finally be able to share this interactive discount Basic Concepts Bundle with you! These activities are perfect for the SLP, preschool teacher, and special education teacher. Be sure to also check out my other discount bundles here. Also, if you're completing your CFY, I've got you covered too- here are my must have recommendations from my store for your CFY year.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It's Spring! Fresh Ideas for Speech Therapy


I'm feeling excited to have the opportunity today to link up with the Frenzied SLPs for their super fun spring-themed blog hop!
I've enjoyed reading all of the posts so far and have gotten some fresh ideas for therapy! I'm currently on spring break right now, and enjoying every second with my baby boy... but I do know that next week will be here soon! So here's what I have planned for April in my speech therapy room:

Spring makes me think of rain, puddles, and bugs. If you're looking for a quick, low ink activity for your preschoolers, you might want to scoop up my bug-themed Preschool Print & Go packet.




I'm planning on targeting directives and requesting with my kiddos who use AAC. That frog toy, by the way, is about $5 at Walmart. It's pretty awesome, because it croaks. Seriously. I got it last week, sooo... hop on that deal. Literally. (OH, and p.s. That's my personal iPad, and a communication app I have ON my personal iPad. It's called LAMP. I'm using this pic for demonstration purposes, not to promote one device company over another- these toys would work great with whatever communication board or system your students are using!)



I JUST finished creating this book companion, and I'm pumped about it. That's pumped with a capital P, folks. Seriously. This product has consumed me for the past month. It was one of those, you're already in bed, but you need to turn the light on so you can document another idea you have for a worksheet type of packets.
In other words, my husband is so, so glad I finally finished this one!

It's a spring-themed book companion for ANY book! I designed it with my upper elementary kiddos in mind.

Alright, so I'll finish with this. I mentioned that frog I bought at Walmart earlier in my post. (Scroll up if you missed it). Well, while I was at Walmart, I ALSO found a 98 CENT CARROT JUMP ROPE. Whhhhhhhhhhhaaaaat?! My first thought was, "OMG. OMG. It's less than a dollar." That means when my husband checks the credit card bill, he won't be like, "Uhhh... what on earth did you buy?" The possibilities for therapy with this 98 cent carrot jump rope... endless. ENDLESS. I had to have it. Also, my husband had dropped me and baby boy off so he could tackle Lowe's on his own, and there I was, just me and an almost 8 month old, who looked very intrigued by the colorful carrot handles... so yes, I put it in my cart. I put it in my cart, then I went home and created this freebie, just for you. Okay, well, for me too. But please download it and leave some love. And remember, the carrot jump rope is not included.

Get it by clicking here.
I hope this post provided you with a few fresh ideas for spring. As always- thanks for stopping by!
Check out more fresh ideas here!

Friday, March 24, 2017

AAC Speech Therapy Activities

AAC Speech Therapy Activities that your speech therapy students will love!



With any type of therapy, sometimes you just find activities that really work. I was thinking the other day about some of my favorite moments so far in my career as a Speech- Language Pathologist. Specifically, I recalled my favorite therapy sessions involving AAC speech therapy activities.

Sometimes, you plan and plan and plan… and the thing that works best is throwing aside all of those pre-cut crafts (which took hours, by the way) and carefully chosen toys (because you knew exactly what vocabulary targets you were going to use with each one) and going with the flow!

I think we are experts in being flexible. That is why, yes, I have spent time in the past dancing like a maniac and then freezing in place so my student could give me “on”, “off”, “go” and “stop” directives while we listened to Let It Go.

I have attempted to squeeze myself through a children’s crawl tunnel in order to demonstrate the concept of “inside” and “turn” taking. I have spun in circles because my student requested using the word “turn”. I have hopped on one foot, created Play-Doh masterpieces, and watched as my perfectly arranged stack of blocks was pushed to the floor. It was all done in the name of language development.

I knew I couldn’t be the only SLP out there dancing terribly and singing horribly in order to promote communication. So, I asked around to hear what some other SLPs had to say about their favorite activities:

I like to use adapted books to help teach AAC. I have an adapted version of Brown Bear, Bear and my favorite AAC moment was when my student read the entire book - start to finish - with his device all on his own. Kristin, Talkin' with Twang

One of my favorites is to use the song, "Ducks like rain". I have some communication sheets made up and I have a little macs that says quack that the children get. When they use the little mac or point on the communication board, to say "quack," they get spritzed with water (mimics rain). It's great for commenting and requesting and protesting (if they don't want to get sprayed!). Collette, Alberta Speechie

I love taking my patient around the clinic and having her introduce herself to other therapists and ask questions with her AAC device. She loves getting out of the therapy room and we get to work on functional communication at the same time! Alaina E., SLP, Texas

Here is one of my favorite AAC memories: I worked with a little boy who had a complex set of diagnoses including ASD, CP, and a paralyzed vocal fold. He had a g-tube, trach, and LOTS of challenging behaviors. No speech and the only vocalizations were reflexive sounds. His family was at the end of their rope because he would tantrum whenever he didn't get what he wanted, so they basically rearranged their lives to keep him happy. Within 18 months, he was using a high tech AAC device fairly well. Anyway, they were driving to school one day and he used his device to say, "Look up. Colors. 1 2 3 4. Colors." Can you guess what this smart cookie was trying to tell his mom? -Carole Zangari

I just did an eval this week for a boy whose mom was told her son really didn't need to do anything more than request - and he couldn't even do that because they hadn't given him anything by way of AAC to use. So I'm told he likes bubbles (BTW he is 14) and I start blowing bubbles and begin with a single word model (more). I work up to want + more. After a bit his mom and I are talking )I was answering a question she had) and I stopped blowing while I was talking. He reached over to the Nova Chat and pushed I + want + more + that. -Susan Berkowitz, SLP -
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I like to read books with my AAC kids! It's great for kids at all different levels. For students just learning core words, I have them request "more" or "turn" to turn the page, and I use the pictures to facilitate commenting at the single word level. For students at a higher level, we target phrases or sentences rather than single word comments. -Emily S., SLP, Ohio


I hope you enjoyed those fantastic memories. Thank you to every SLP for sharing. Please, please, please if you are reading this post- share your favorite activities in the comments below.


Related AAC Blog Posts you don’t want to miss:

How Do You Plan to Model AAC? by Susan Berkowitz

AGB Speech Therapy, Teaching Shapes at Snack Time

Linda (Looks Like Language): It's Not Your Run of the Mill File Folder Activity

Finally, I wrote this blog post for ASHA. It provides tips for teachers on how to incorporate AAC throughout the school day. Check it out here. Thanks so much for reading about my favorite AAC speech therapy activities!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Intro to AAC: Expressive Reporting Product Review

I had the opportunity to try out one of SpeechPage's newest products, Intro to AAC: Expressive Reporting.


This is a colorful product that comes pre-laminated and pre-cut, which is a huge timesaver.


This product has a unique feature: moveable parts! "Doors" can swing open via the velcro attachments.


I felt like this product enabled me to target a variety of language goals, beyond simple requesting. We targeted stating the location of objects using simple prepositions such as "in". (If your student demonstrates confusion with the idea of "in", you might want to start with placing the pictures inside a small container or sensory bin first).


We used this packet to work on asking (and answering) simple "where" questions.

We also worked on using directives in therapy. For example, the student directed me to "Put it (object) in".



Extension Ideas:

Here are a list of other ways you might be able to use this packet in therapy:

The child can request assistance using the word "help" in order to open or close movable doors. You can also model the word "help" if the child you're working with needs prompting with sorting tasks.

The child can request recurrence by asking for "more" of any item in a certain category.

The child can comment on the disappearance of the item when the 'door' is closed ("It's gone!").

You and the child can discuss if you "like" certain foods or not using the picture cards provided.

You can target adjectives with the cards. Discuss the taste or smell of food items. Talk about how the clothes are "dirty" before you place them in the washing machine, and then talk about how "clean" they are after you close the door and pretend to wash them. Discuss the different colors of all the items.

Work on simple verbs. Talk about how food can "turn" in the microwave or "go" in the washing machine.

Work on simple grammatical concepts or a variety of sentence structures. Work on regular plural -s (one cup, two cups), relative pronouns ("this" or "that"), irregular past tense verbs ("Yum! I ATE the burger!") and conjunctions ("I see crackers AND bread"). Simple sentence forms you could work on include noun + is + adjective (The pizza is hot!") or noun + is + preposition ("The pizza is IN the microwave").

In conclusion, I felt that this product was an efficient way to target multiple goals in my therapy session. Because it is laminated, it is durable and also easy to clean. The cards are colorful and would also be great additions to sensory bins.

Disclaimer: I received this product in exchange for a blog review. All opinions expressed within this article are true, honest, and my own. In addition, I have utilized the following AAC apps in my pictures: LAMP and Tobii Dynavox Compass. These are apps that I have on my personal iPad, and were used simply for demonstration purposes, not with the intent of promoting one AAC app/ device over another.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine's Day Speech Therapy

Alright, it's February, so you can BET we're all about Valentine's Day in my speech and language room.
I see nothing wrong with celebrating this chocolate-filled holiday a little early, so let me offer you a glimpse of what we've been up to in my speech room this past week.

I stopped at my local library and found this gem of a book, "Valentine's Day Is..." by Gail Gibbons. I'm a huge fan of utilizing the library and books in therapy.
Buy this book, borrow it, do whatever you need to do.
"Valentine's Day Is..." is seriously cool. It's perfect for my students who have goals to answer comprehension questions about informational text. It doesn't just talk about passing out candy and all that. It goes into the history behind the customs and beliefs. I'm a bit of a history nerd, so I was excited to learn about the connection between ancient Roman traditions and how we celebrate Valentine's Day today. I had a list of comprehension questions ready, and I checked in to make sure my students were understanding the text as I read aloud. We also discussed any tricky vocabulary. At the end, we made heart decorations. My students had to tell me one cool fact they learned from the book. I've had a few teachers stop by my room and tell me how much they enjoyed the responses my students came up with after I displayed the hearts in the hall.

Next, I have some students working on describing skills. Specifically, we were focusing on naming items in categories.

I'm a huge fan of the Expanding Expression Toolkit by Sara L. Smith. Multi-sensory learning? Yes, please. I have a few girls on my caseload who ask me over and over again, "Can we sing that song?" They love the EET song, and if dropping a beat in speech therapy is going to help them remember language elements, I am all for it. I combined the EET with my open-ended Super Duper game boards. Let me just tell you that the promise of even 3 m&ms can be very motivating. As a matter of fact, I found myself hoping that we'd land on the "eat a chocolate" piece. One for you, two for me...(I'm not affiliated with either of these companies, FYI, and am not being compensated for blogging about the use of their products.)

I mentioned before that I like to incorporate the use of multi-sensory tools in my speech and language therapy sessions.

Enter my Valentine's Day sensory bin.



My kids really enjoyed scooping out the spatial concepts cards. My Oh, la, la! Locations cards were perfect for celebrating this lovey-dovey holiday.

For my students working on higher level language, I pulled out my newest Valentine's Day Language packet. Many of these students are also working on spatial concepts. This one is perfect for your upper elementary/ middle school speech therapy students.


Dry erase markers + no prep for the win.

We also enjoyed reading about Cupid and Psyche, and then answering comprehension questions following the story.



What are you up to this month in therapy? I'd love to hear in the comments!