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!

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 -
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!

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.
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