Dress Your Dolls for Speech Therapy

Galt Fairy Princess DollsComing from a house of boys, I’m always fascinated entering the land of pink. A six-year-old girl that I work with is one of three girls so the playroom is full of glitter, tiaras and all things baby doll. This week I got out my Fairy Dressing Up Set by Galt, and we started by choosing outfits for sleeping, swimming, party time and play. Working on/sh/ we took turns saying, “She should get the green party dress” and so on. The pretend play, lead by my little friend,  moved to nighttime as we took off to get her doll’s bunk bed, and acted out the “little sister” getting scared and joining her older sister in her bunk! I wonder where she got that idea??? Then it was time to get up in the morning and get dressed for our party, being transported by that cool Fisher Price Happy Family sports car. Kids love it because you can hide many accessories in the working trunk like a take along dog, blanket or beach bag.

All in all it was a successful day in the life of the fairies and just one more day of articulation therapy.

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Grab the Mail for Speech Therapy

mail for speech therapyMy mail delivery is getting smaller and smaller these days, comprised mostly of brochures and advertisements but even those can have a second use as materials for speech therapy.

I am working with a student on conversational skills– commenting more and asking fewer perseverative questions. So when this colorful brochure arrived, advertising a community offering and picturing boating, horseback riding, eating, biking, swimming and more, I decided to use it to spark some conversation and even brainstorming in categories like what we would like the chefs to make for us (steak, pasta…) or when did we go horseback riding (Hole in the Wall Camp) and so on. Because my student is in middle school but is more limited cognitively, it is hard to get appropriate materials some times so the mail delivered just what I needed and he enjoyed it!

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Halloween Word-Finding and Articulation Speech Therapy Activities

halloween lotto game

Kids added “spider,” “ghost” and “vampire”

Everybody loves halloween so a pumpkin, ghost or candy activity sure perks up a speech therapy session. ASHAsphere just posted an article , “BOO, Halloween Treats” listing lots of activities shared by SLP’s, where I found these cute Halloween pictures for vocabulary, language, word-finding and articulation activities (at Speaking of Speech).

halloween lotto homemade

Handmade “cauldron” and “witch”

I made 2 copies of the pictures for a memory match game and made some blank cards for kids to add their halloween words that I had missed. I find that the kids I work with individually are always interested in the other kids I work with that are their age. Often they will enjoy the pictures I collect with other children for Speech Bin, especially if they are both working on the same sounds. It happened again with the memory game. I went to 3 houses to work with kids in succession and they each added their own illustrated halloween words–ghost, spider, cauldron, vampire and skeleton! They loved the drawings from other kids.

Word-finding: First I brainstormed with my student to come up with as many words we could that had to do with halloween. When he named one that matched my pictures, I gave it to him. If he named one that I didn’t have a picture of, he drew it. For some reason, I particularly like the spider!! Then we started our memory game. As he turned over 2 cards, he named them and had to give me a descriptive sentence using one of the words. One little friend said, “The skeleton is sitting on my front porch. He is very careful.” I said that is such an interesting word, what do you mean by that? to which he replied after pausing to retrieve the correct word, “He is delicate!” It was a great opportunity to increase his awareness of having some difficulty retrieving words. We both smiled at the recognition that he had a little trouble finding his word but paused and then got it.

As my students made up their sentences, we worked on recognizing a vague sentence versus a descriptive one. I used one hand to repeat their phrase, “scary stuff” and the other hand to say their revision which was “scary spooky ghosts.” Which one is better language? They practiced identifying the difference in my sentences as well as theirs.

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Word-finding For Kids, A New Speech Therapy Blog

paper artRemember when I told you that my friend and fellow SLP, Jan Schwanke, was going to start a blog on Word-Finding for kids? Well it’s up and I am so excited that she is going to share her expertise in an area that is much needed! Her first two posts deal with “Getting started in Word-finding therapy” and “Awareness of vague words.” Already she has challenged me to go back a bit with some of my students to further work on awareness.

Jan has presented at ISHA, has worked with Diane German, collaborating on research and is an adjunct instructor in Special Education (language development classes, of course!) at National-Louis University in Wheeling, Illinois.

Her desire is to use her blog to inform therapists and parents and serve as a meeting place where we can all share therapy ideas that work with kids with word-finding difficulties.

This week I consulted with a first grade teacher and her aide regarding a child I work with who has word-retrieval issues. In explaining how it impacts the child’s language, I read a re-tell of a story book that I had transcribed as the student told me the story. “He went to the first one”/ first classroom, “and couldn’t do it”/ Do what? The teacher nodded and saw what I was trying to demonstrate and said, “It’s so subtle!” She’s right but she got it.

I am reminded how important it is to confer with the teachers so they can make accommodations in the classroom and help their student do his best.

Check it out: www.wordfindingforkids.com

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R Sound Therapy Fun with “Roar of a Snore”

imgres-2Often I happen upon a fun activity while working with a book or game for some other purpose. I was reading  Roar of a Snore by Martha Arnold with a boy to work on comprehension and answering questions related to a story. Part way through, I realized it was a fun book to work on the R sound as strings of RRRRRRR were throughout the story representing some loud and annoying snoring! Ironically we are also working on initial R so this was a perfect way to encourage his sound.

Everyone is asleep in the Huffle household except Jack, who is awake from some very loud and persistent snoring. He wakes one suspected culprit at a time as they join the hunt for the source of the nocturnal noise. He rouses Old Hound Blue, Mama Gwyn, Sweet Baby Sue, Papa Ben, twins Josie Jo and Jennie Lynn, the sheep, goat, cows and hen. Kids love to guess who is the source of the trouble. It ends with everyone cuddling up with the one who starts it all.


Posted in 6-8 year-olds, 8 years and up | Leave a comment

Take the “Disney Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon” to Articulation Therapy

imgres-1Wonder Forge makes such creative and engaging games for preschoolers, loaded with language learning! Their latest PAL Award winner, “Disney Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon” is loads of fun for little girls and encourages some language learning as players have to identify what room (or category) their objects belong to.

Set up is fun as the board unfolds to hold 8 divided stand-up 3-D rooms. Spin the spinner to find out if you collect some object cards and/or move a number of spaces through the doors to individual rooms: Nail or Hair Styling, Sudsy Spa, or Ribbon, Collar or Tiara Fitting. Try to match the posh pet products with those pictured on your cards and win the card to add up at the end of the game. The towel, perfume atomizer, body brush and soap reside in the Sudsy Spa. Ribbons, collars and combs are more obvious as to what room they belong in while the candelabra, apples, tea and candy are in the Royal Lounge. It takes some discussion to figure out where to look for some of the items.

I used this game for lively reinforcement for articulation therapy, taking turns after saying several responses using the target sound. It easily moves to pretend play as girls get lost in the fun of the room they landed in. Often I heard, “Where am I again?” as their palace pet went on an extra trip between turns!

It would also be a valuable game for working on description since the items are illustrated beautifully and one could use the item cards to guess what is being described.

Posted in 3-6 year-olds, Articulation, Language, Preschool, Strategies to Encourange Language Development | Leave a comment

Paint a Tea Set To Start Pretend Play

Galt Paint a Tea SetParents are always asking me for the “best” toys for a certain age that encourage great play and learning. I recently heard a term I liked, “playful learning” which is learning through the fun in my opinion!

Today my little friend and I got out Galt Toy’s “Paint a Tea Set,” opened the paints and got to work. She loved the bright colors and easy to open containers as she painted polka dots, stripes and solid plates. In order to have some pieces that were dry for immediate play, we took a break from painting and started our tea party. She looked at me and said, “I have a doll” and disappeared to gather up her princess doll and place her in front of a cup and plate. “Here’s some tea,” she said as she poured from the tea pot. “Who wants some sugar in their tea?” I was offered some hilarious pretend food, and believe me, it wasn’t cookies and cakes.

As a parent or caregiver, it is important to set out a great toy or activity embedded with play potential and sit back and let your child lead the play. You are the Producer, not the Director of play. Kids learn more when they are driving the play, not the toy and not the adult. We can step in occasionally and ask a question or offer a suggestion to raise the level of play or take it to a new related theme but that should be minimal. Besides, what could be more fun than a DIY tea set that becomes an essential tool for pretend play and story telling?

“Paint A Tea Set” is a 2014 PAL Award winner by Galt Toys


Posted in 6-8 year-olds, Strategies to Encourange Language Development | Leave a comment

Speech Therapy Extra Credit

R drawingHow many times do you arrive at the home of one of your little clients and they have done EXTRA work on their goals during the week without you asking? Not that often, right? Well today I had such a nice surprise when I got to my little friend’s house and she had made a picture for me and said, “Where are the R’s?” Whew! Even that sentence had three R’s to practice. She pointed out the red rainbow and door–we have been working on final /or/ words. We had been drawing /r/ words in many medias so she just extended the activity that she found fun and presented me with her piece of art. What a great start to our session.

Posted in 6-8 year-olds, Articulation, Strategies to Encourange Language Development | Leave a comment

Using Highlights Magazine for Articulation Therapy

HIghlight magazineSometimes when you have a child who is a little resistive to therapy, it’s best to come along side him, see what he’s playing with and incorporate it in your lesson.

I arrived at my little friend’s house after breakfast and he was fast at work in finding the hidden pictures in Highlight Magazine. It brought back memories of one of my favorite things about going to the dentist when I was young (is there such a thing??). Anyway, I loved finding hidden pictures and have been known to play that game with the neighbor kids who discovered it online.

My friend asked me to work on the page next to him so I started finding my pictures while giving him models to repeat with his sound. Luckily he was working on /sh/ so I could interject, “Show me the _____”. He seemed very happy to repeat my models related to the pictures we were coloring. We both had a great time and the session flew by!

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Storytelling Game for Word-Finding Language Lessons

Peaceable kingdom Say the WordI hope you all saw Jan Schwanke’s comment on my recent blog about great games for Word-finding sessions:

“The blog (she is working on a blog devoted to practical word-finding tips) isn’t operational yet, but I can’t wait to share some word finding ideas with your loyal audience, Sherry! For preschoolers, I love Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town. PlayOnWords led me to this excellent game a couple of years ago. It can be adapted for a number of speech or language goals, but my favorite is for word finding. When the kids spin a “goldbug,” I have them name the article for which they are searching (kites, balloons, buckets), then count aloud “1 kite, 2 kites, 3 kites,” etc. For early elementary, I like to use Linguisystems’ Rocky’s Mountain or Plunk’s Pond. I modify the rules to optimize vocab output. I have even used the game boards with riddles eliciting their classroom vocabulary. Thank you for bringing attention to the need for more practical ideas to promote word finding skills.”

Here’s another game I have found to be fun and beneficial for building vocabulary, Peaceable Kingdom’s Say the Word, that came out this year. In this Repeat-After-Me Silly Story Memory Game, players cooperate to tell a group story, using  word cards they are dealt. The designated Story Master chooses a character card (we chose “My Fairy Godmother,” “Quintuplets,” and “The Zombie”), deals 3 word cards to each player (ranges from wiggle, donkey, or bumpy to bunny slippers, tarantula or afro) and gives each player a Clue Token. Players take turns repeating the story thus far and adding one of their word cards next to the previous ones to extend the story with a related sentence.  The ideas is to add on to the story, repeating the previous parts and see if you can reach 10-12 cards. I modify the game for younger kids ( the game is designed for 10 and up) with shorter memories but kids need to associate ideas to add on to the story in some logical (yet often zany) way! It’s fun to look at different possibilities as players share optional word card that they are holding.





Posted in 10 and up, 6-8 year-olds, 8 years and up, Word Finding | 2 Comments