Natural Progression of Reducing Visual Cues

When learning a skill, some children need as many visual cues as you can give them. Below, I will demonstrate how I reduce visual  cues for a student (non-reader) who is working on producing complete sentences answering the question "What can you do in the Spring?". The clues are pictorial; however, the same sequence would be applicable when using signs.
I am using Spring Interactive Books ($4.00 for a bundle of 3) from Speech Universe. I've also used the same progression with Emergent Readers.

1. Max  Cues
As you can see, I put together a sentence using Smarty Symbols (sometimes I'll use Lessonpix) so that the student will know how to answer the question "What can you do in the Spring?" with a complete sentence. To begin with, I put the verb in the sentence; after a week or two, the student will choose the correct verb.

2. Reducing Cues
I take away the latter part of the sentence, and place "I can" above the book. I put the verb on the book, next to the object.

3. Reducing Cues Even Further
The "I can" is taken away, leaving only the verb and the object.

4. No Visual Cues
And, there you have the student answering the question in a complete sentence without any visual cues!

Quick Tip Tuesday #11

 Kim is hosting "Quick Tip Tuesday". (Disclaimer: I'm not sure if Kim is actually still hosting since she's been super busy, but I'm forging on ahead!) Posts that are short, sweet, and to the point...what could be better?
Do you have trouble with people barging in to your room at the most inopportune times? I had a parent just pop in while I was working with a student who was not her child. This was my solution:
(Thank you, Lovin' Lit for the free frames!) 
I have one on each of my doors. I put the clothespin on the appropriate card. The nurse at one of my schools thought I folded them up so that the appropriate card is showing, which is a great idea.
Below is a picture of both of my doors:

For the most part, I think this has helped. I still have a couple of people who come in, but at least I can guilt them by redirecting them to the sign!
Please visit Kim and see who else is linking up with good ideas!

Speech Trading Post AND a Give-away!

Sounds Like Fun hosted this fun trading post. In their words: First of all, let us explain how the Trading Post worked and then we'll tell you about the great products we were lucky enough to receive from our trading partner.  Here's how the Trading Post was supposed to work.  Several SLPs signed up to trade an item from their TpT Stores.  SLPs were randomly paired with a another partner.  Each SLP got to pick an item of their choice from their partner's TpT store. The two SLPs traded items, used them in therapy, and then shared their thoughts on the products they received.

I was paired with Jennifer at NW Speech Therapy Blog. From her store, I chose 4 Step Sequencing Strips
‪#‎AprilSLPMustHave‬  4 Step Sequencing Strips
The product is in black and white, so it saves on colored ink. There are 2 pages of 4-step sequences. The sequences are easy enough for my 2nd graders to read. All of the sequences are very applicable to the students' lives.
 Jennifer suggested that the strips be put on different color popsicle sticks so they can be sorted easier. I haven't done that yet, but it's on my list to do!
Not only did I use these for sequencing, but also for working on past tense. Also included is a data tracker sheet, and 3 pages of dot to dot sheets. I didn't use those in therapy because we were playing a game, but they will definitely come in handy!
If you didn't grab this during the April Must Have Sale, you can buy it for $3.50 in Jennifer's TpT Store. Or, you can enter below for a chance to win a free copy for yourself and a friend!
The rafflecopter will end at 12:00 midnight on 05/01/2015. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen through 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Week In Review: 04/23/2015

Old School Speech
I started this linky so that SLPs could go to 1 place to get ideas for therapy. Write a post about either what you did this week, or what you have planned for next week. All I ask is that you share a link back to my blog in your post.
(This post includes direct links to the products. Free products are indicated.) 

Theme of the week: BUGS!

5 Minute Day:
 My kids absolutely loved this game:
This is the first time I've had a chance to try out this game, and it was a hit. In fact, yesterday, my phone said, "Ca-ching" (indicating a TpT sale), and I explained what it was to 2 of my girls. They asked me how much I sold this game for, and, when I told them, they said, "Only $1? It's worth so much more!" So...there you have it! You can find it here.

As a supplement to Speech Universe's Spring Interactive Books, I made visuals of the carrier phrase with Smarty Symbols. This helps my student make complete sentences.
My walk-in student daubed the tulip from DLTK. To be perfectly honest, I completely forgot to have something planned for her, and I didn't think she would be able to do our "game of the week". This was perfect for her, and she was totally content to do the tulip page.

School –Aged Language:

Once again, I made some "Grammar Dice" from Lessonpix. This time, "The gardener" was the subject. I wrote down the sentence exactly as my student said it, then we went through & he decided if the sentence sounded right. If not, we talked about how to fix it. Then, he took it home for homework.
Another student is using the same grammar dice to answer "wh" questions.
State testing is next week, so I continued getting my 3rd-5th graders ready for testing.

Game Day:
Keeping with the "Bug" theme, I pulled out Ants in the Pants. I have the students say their target 3 times, then they get 2 or 3 tries for their turn. When it's almost time to go, if no one has won, I let them have a "free for all". The first one to get all of their ants in (without taking turns) wins. 

What did you do this week, or what do you have planned for next week?

Getting to Know Your Favorite Online SLPs

When I saw that the fabulous Natalie Snyders was hosting this linky party, I had to jump on board!  Natalie is such an inspiration, and a huge supporter for those of us just getting started in the TpT world!
Who Am I?
I have been an SLP for almost 31 years; 2 of those years were in a SNF, the rest have been in the schools.
On the personal side: I am a mom of 3 boys (now men); I'm learning to enjoy being an (almost) empty-nester. My husband & I try to camp at least once a month with our little trailer. 
I have actually been a blogger since 2010 with my personal blog. I started this blog in August of 2013. I just opened up my TpT shop in March, so I'm a definite newbie!

What do I Offer?
I have made/am making products to use in my own therapy room, and decided to put them up and see if they will be helpful for someone else. I rarely buy anything over $5, so I am going to try to keep the prices under that amount. So far, I have a couple of book companions, as well as some "odds and ends". I love using "team games" in my room, so I have some of those, too.  The kids really enjoy working as a team to see if they can win.
You can find my store by clicking here.

My Dream Job
At the risk of sounding really hokey, I have to say that I have my dream job right now. And, it only took me 20 years to find it! Seriously, though...I am in a dream job. While I have a caseload of 60, I see a little more than half of those students. The rest of the students are TennCare (Medicaid) students who are seen by a contract company. No Medicaid billing for me! The company evals and treats; we do the school paperwork and meetings. And, the paperwork consists of copying what they've written and transferring it to our IEP.
I have a variety of students on my caseload: 4 years old to 5th graders; artic, language, fluency, voice, autism, Intellectually Disabled, Developmentally Delayed. The perfect caseload!

3 of my Favorite Things
My family, my flute, and my little girls.

Who else should you know?
This was a tough one! So many many good products out there! Sparklle SLP is just amazing. With a TpT quote, "Never let anyone dull your sparkle!", how can you go wrong?
Click on the picture to view one of many quality freebies available: 
Superhero Barrier Activity & Craftivity
Get to know some of your favorite (or soon to be favorite!) online SLPs by checking out Natalie's post here!

Monday Re-Post: Letting Go

This post was originally published on 20 January 2014.
Sometimes, letting go of students is so hard.  There are the joyous dismissals when students master their sounds, or have increased their language skills to an appropriate level.  Then there are the dismissals that are hard to take:  the students who don't make significant progress to deem continued therapy beneficial.  Especially when you've had these students for a long time.  You've seen these students struggle through the years, and you've worried about them.  You've grown attached...not only to the students, but to their families as well.  You've fought for the students to receive additional services.  You love those kids.
When do you know when it's time to let them go?  For articulation students, I give them 2 years.  If they have made no (and I mean NO) progress within those 2 years, it's time.  If they have any inkling of any progress at all, I won't even consider making that recommendation to the IEP team.  I also take motivation into consideration, and bringing their homework back signed is a huge indicator to me.  I keep a record of when they bring it back with a parent's signature, and will use that percentage to back up motivation (or the lack of).  

Language students are so much harder for me to let go, but testing doesn't lie.  If a student has made no significant progress over 3 years and is receiving additional services (such as inclusion or resource), then it's time.  It's time to weigh the benefits of continued language therapy for 1 hour/week vs. the student staying in the classroom; especially if the student is in 4th or 5th grade, when academics are so demanding.  Can his needs be met through special ed services?    Will the inclusion services along with the resource services be enough?  If the student is requesting that he be allowed to stay in the class instead of coming to speech/language, should that tell the SLP something?  It could be that deep down the student realizes that he's missing things in the classroom.  Would it be beneficial for the SLP to go into the classroom instead of pulling the student?  These are all questions whose answers should be taken into consideration when presenting a recommendation to the IEP team.
While letting go can be a happy time, it can also be a time of grief.  It is important to remember that you, as an SLP, are a member of the team, and it is a team decision.  Bring the facts to the table, and begin the discussion.  And try not to shed tears.

Week in Review 04/17/15

Old School Speech
I started this linky so that SLPs could go to 1 place to get ideas for therapy. Write a post about either what you did this week, or what you have planned for next week. All I ask is that you share a link back to my blog in your post.
(This post includes direct links to the products. Free products are indicated.) 
Theme of the week:

5 Minute Day:
The students had 5 minutes to see if they could finish the game:
Old Lady...Frog Game Board

For my groups of 4, the extra center was the rain daub picture from A Dab of  Speech and Language for the Year (Speech is Sweet).
Preschool Language:
We did a lot of sequencing this week. My students fed the old lady as I read the story.
I used Sparklle SLP's There was an Old Lady Who  Swallowed a Frog Language Book Companion for following directions and sequencing.
We also made minibooks using Figuratively Speeching SLP's There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed-2 Emergent Readers/Minibooks. I cut out pictures from Lessonpix to go with the minibooks:

We had a rainy week, so this sheet from Queen's Speech's Structured Sentence Building was perfect.

School –Aged Language:
My lower elementary kids followed directions and answered "wh" questions using Sparklle SLP's There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog Language Book Companion.

My 3rd-5th graders are working hard to get ready for the state testing. I'm reviewing a social story about taking his time while testing, then he's reading a passage and answering questions. Following that,  we review the answers and he finds supporting evidence in the passage for the answers. 
 Another student used the grammar dice that I made using Lessonpix. He rolled the dice, then verbally produced a sentence. I wrote down what he said, then I read it for him. He decided if the sentence was grammatically correct, and if not, he fixed it.

Game Day:
I wish you could have seen my kids eyes when they saw this:
I took out the jewel and replaced it with stickers. For the first group, I only had 1 sticker (for the person who found the last ball), but one of my Kinders suggested that I put enough in for everybody in the group. 

I whipped up a couple of homework sheets using Lessonpix and Word for homework for this week:

That's what the activities in my speech room looked like. What did you do, or what do you have planned to do for next week?

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Frog!

Last week I thought I was joining Speech is Sweet, but she didn't do her linky. Oh, well! Hopefully I'll be able to join in this week; if not, I'm linking up on my own!
I was really excited to use this book in therapy:
I bought it during one of the Book Fairs at school. As with all of the Old Lady books, there's plenty of sequencing and inferencing. Articulation is another target that is always great for these books. Categorization? Also covered, as well as associating the object swallowed with why she swallowed it. AND describing. I'm sure I've forgotten a few things, too! 
Come back on Friday for my Week in Review to see all of the things we did in my speech room that are centered around the book.

Social Stories

Social Stories aren't for every child on your caseload. I've seen Social Stories work, and I've seen them be not so successful. It's my belief that any time you can give a child a visual, the better it will help get the point across to him.

What a Social Story is:

~ Short. If it is too long, the point you're trying to get across will be lost. The most effective Social Stories I've seen/made are the ones that are no longer than 1 page long and no more than 6 sentences.
~ Positive. Our students hear don't and no enough, so it's better to keep the story as positive as you can.
~ Visual-based. I think that may be a new word I just made up, but I'm going with it! Basically, you have a sentence with pictures portraying the key words above those key words. Even with readers, the pictures provide images that hopefully will stay with the child.

What a Social Story isn't:

~Wordy. Social Stories are mainly used for children with language impairments. It would make sense that the less words there are, the better.
~Negative. This, to me, is probably the most trouble I have when writing a Social Story. It seems I always want to put it the words not and/or never. It takes some thinking to rephrase the sentence so that it reflects what I want the child to do.
~Procedures. Social Stories aren't a list of procedures and pictures portraying each step. A child may need a Social Story if they are having trouble following the procedure.

How to Write a Social Story:

1. Identify the problem behavior.
2. State what behavior you want to see. (For example: staying in his seat)
3. Think about what the child does, or what may be keeping the child from accomplishing the wanted behavior.
4. Write how you want the child to accomplish the behavior.
5. End the story reiterating the wanted behavior.

Of course, the easiest way to write a Social Story is to find one that has already been written. There are times when I find one that is close, but needs to be modified. There are other times when it's faster to just write one that is pertinent to a student's situation.
Here is an example of a Social Story from Linguisystems:

Here is a Social Story I wrote for some students who tend to rush through their tests:
Unfortunately, I can't share the page since I don't have the full rights to Smarty Symbols, but you can get the idea from the picture.

What is your preferred system for writing Social Stories?

Week in Review 04/10/15

Old School Speech
I started this linky so that SLPs could go to 1 place to get ideas for therapy. Write a post about either what you did this week, or what you have planned for next week. All I ask is that you share a link back to my blog in your post.
(This post includes direct links to the products. Free products are indicated.) 

Theme of the week: The Icky Sticky Frog (Dawn Bentley) This is my first companion packet, so I'm learning as I go!

5 Minute Day:

For my students who are seen in a group, the Roll & Cover from my packet was used. It kept them busy for the 5 minutes they were at this center.
My students who are seen individually used the same game, but we played Bump It using the same board.
Preschool Language:
There was a lot of sequencing going on with this book! My students put the bugs on/near the frog's tongue in the order of the story. 
They also put pictures together, and we made a small book.
I figured it's time to get started with Spring Vocabulary, so we went through one of the Spring Interactive Books (Speech Universe).

School –Aged Language:
 Since state tests are looming, the students continued working on reading a passage and answering questions by looking back at the passage. They're getting better at it; hopefully they'll remember the strategies they're using when it comes time for the real thing!

Game Day:
This game turned out to be a huge hit! After saying their target, the students picked a card. If they got a fly, it went on their frog. If a butterfly was chosen, they had to give 1 of their flies to someone else, but if they got a fish, they had to put all of their flies back in the box.

I actually just worked on this last night. (So much for going to bed early!) I thought it turned out pretty well! I'll be updating my companion packet tonight to include the pattern and directions.

What did you do this week, or what are you planning for next week?

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