Calling all Treasure Hunters: Articulation and Language Scavenger Hunt Activity

Being in a profession where personal connection is such a vital part of our sessions, teletherapy has demanded a different shift in trying to successfully relate and engage our kids through a screen. However, being behind a screen does not have to be the end all when it comes to providing both effective and fun speech services!

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Carryover For Speech Sounds

Every morning I begin with a neatly ordered to-do lists of goals for the day. But when the students arrived in my therapy room, those expectations for the day must apply to meaningful interactions with my students. Helping a child to generalize their speech production feels the same. We start with goals and hierarchies. Then we have to show the child that the structured practice they’ve received is integral to their phone call to a friend, the letter sounds they learn, the part they play in the school musical. How do we help children apply goals into their everyday life? 

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The Benefits of SLP and Psychologist Collaboration in the School Setting

I absolutely enjoy with working with my School Psychologist (SP). I say “my” in the most endearing way because I have taken ownership of the collaborative partnership we share. The symbiosis is mutually beneficial for both of us. Kind of like Thelma and Louise. I remember years ago when the psychos (as we affectionately call them) and SLPs in my district didn’t do a lot of collaboration with each other. There was so much we didn’t understand about their discipline, and there was much that they didn’t understand about ours. We tended to only come together and share information when it was time to report testing results in meetings. But, those days of separation are long gone. Hooray!

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Teacher Awareness of the Link Between Problem Classroom and Language Impairment

“He doesn’t follow directions”, “She prefers to play by herself ”, or “He constantly hits other children.” Have you ever heard these comments from teachers? I have. Per the teachers’ comments, these students show obvious behavior concerns. It has been my experience that if I was to ask the teachers to describe the students’ communication skills, they might say “They’re good.” But, during targeted questioning to gather additional information about the students’ communication skills, teachers’ responses often reveal issues that point to possible language problems. Unfortunately, they do not link the behaviors to an underlying language impairment. This is an indication that training to identify language problems in students, particularly those with behavior problems, continues to be an area of need for some teachers. According to Cross (2004), language impairments in students with behavior problems often go undetected. When language problems are not properly identified, appropriate referrals for evaluations and necessary supports cannot be implemented.

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Preschool Push-In Speech/Language Services

In light of new research and emphasis on Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), a lot of SPED departments are wanting to move towards a push-in model of services for speech and language, particularly for preschool students. This is how I provide push-in services to my Preschool students in Special Day Classes and how it can be adapted to fit general ed preschools as well.

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Home Exercise Program For Families On The Go

Home exercise programs (HEPs) are customized plans that are designed to specifically target identified areas of weakness. They are typically an extension of therapy tasks that are explained and are structured in such a way that they can be practiced outside of the therapy environment. Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathologists know the golden rule that the more time an individual devotes to a specific skill, the greater their strength and/or ability will be to perform this task across a variety of settings- this is the ultimate goal for therapy. A common misconception is that HEP often take up a significant amount of time and/or that many parents/caregivers are constantly on the go with a pile of academic homework to complete in the evenings – who actually has time for additional work outside of everything else they have to do?

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Speech Pathology Awareness Week 2019

August 25th-31st is Speech Pathology Week. The purpose of the week is to promote the profession of speech language pathology as well as bring awareness to the work being done by SLPs in Australia in the area of communication and swallowing disorders. This year’s theme is “Communicating with Confidence”. Although this event is hosted by Speech Pathology Australia, SLPs across the globe can use this week as an opportunity to increase awareness in their workplace and communities about the span of our scope of practice.

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Tonsils--what every SLP should know

Tonsils are often overlooked, often undiagnosed, often troublesome part of the human body.  A visual look at a patient’s tonsils should be included in all oral mechanism evaluations done by speech therapists because enlarged tonsils can cause a variety of speech-related issues such as unintelligible speech, uncontrollable drooling, restless sleeping, or untimely eating. Tonsils are located above the “throat” where the trachea leads to your lungs and your esophagus to your stomach.  The tonsils hang out way in the back of the mouth, one positioned on each side of the uvula, which hangs in the “middle” and back part of your mouth. Tonsils are supposed to be minimally visible when a mouth is opened widely and the tongue is down (think--say “ahhhh”), but they do swell with infection and contact to germs because it’s their job to stop the germs from getting further into the body.  

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Summer Activities for Speech and Language Development

Many of our speech and language students are as ready to shift into summer gear as we are. They’ve worked hard during the school year: Abided by a structured routine, woken up early, rushed out the door, and actively engaged in mental activities for seven hours out of the day. It’s time for them to relax and reap the benefits of the hot summer sun, later alarm clocks, and spontaneous play. Unfortunately, the end of the school year also means the end of specialized services for many of our students that have speech and language delays. Continuity and follow-through are important, especially with the facilitation of these skills. Below are some ideas and activities to send with your students on the last day of school:

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Executive Functioning and Speech-Language Therapy

Executive functioning is set of cognitive-based skills that help an individual plan, direct, and execute actions in their daily lives. Executive functioning skills require the ability to utilize working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, planning, and interference control. While the exact parameters of executive functioning are still undergoing research and characterization, the core areas listed above can be agreed upon by many researchers (Diamond, 2012). In regard to our daily activities, executive functioning skills assist with the ability to manage time, sustain attention to a task, switch focus, organize, recall details, plan responses/actions in social situations, and multitask throughout the day.

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