10 ideas for using a pet hospital toy set in speech therapy

10 ideas for using a pet hospital toy set in speech therapy

Playing with toy sets is one of the best ways for kids to interact with their environments and learn about the things around them without getting into things they shouldn’t. Even more so, kids love animals, which is why pet hospital toy sets can be such a great tool to incorporate into your speech therapy sessions! While acquiring a pet hospital toy set is an upfront cost, there are so many different speech and language skills that you can target while “playing” with your speech students!

 

Where Can I Buy a Pet Hospital for My Speech Room?

There are a few different pet hospital toy sets available online. All of the ones I’m suggesting below can be found on Amazon, but you might be able to find them at stores like Target, too. The links below are Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.

  1. Critter Clinic Toy Vet Set
  2. Pet Vet Toy by B. Toys by Battat
  3. Learning Resources Pretend & Play Animal Hospital (This set is good for traveling SLPs that need lightweight materials to transport.)

Toy-Themed Therapy Resources

Need a cheat sheet guide to help you with targeting wh- questions, Tier II vocabulary, articulation, basic concepts, adjectives, and helpful therapy ideas for toys you use during play-based therapy? Grab this Toy Companion Cheat Sheet Guide for Prek-2nd grade and have stimulus targets mapped out for fourteen different toys. 

Using a Pet Hospital Toy Set in Speech Therapy with Younger-Aged Children

A pet hospital set can be used to target so many speech and language skills! Listed below are some of my favorite ways to engage children in these skills:

  1. Work on sequencing steps for cleaning a cut, wrapping a broken bone, grooming the pet, or doing a check-up.
  2. Work on CORE vocabulary with AAC to work on open, close, go, stop, need, want, my turn, and your turn.
  3. Work on following directions with basic concepts and prepositions.
  4. Put mini trinkets in the doors of the vet hospital that have students sounds, vocabulary, etc. The animals can open the doors to find what is in their space. Students can work on building grammar sentences, working on sounds, describing vocabulary, and answering wh- questions.
  5. Put items behind the doors to work on inferencing.
  6. Compare/contrast the different doctor tools and/or animals.
  7. Your animal is sick! Think of all the things and items they enjoy that you can do with them when the animal is healthy again.
  8. Work on story retell and have the child tell a story to their sick animal.
  9. Your new puppy or kitten just got his/her shots and is ready to come home. Make a list of all the things you need to buy for home. Talk about the noun’s functions.
  10. Make an animal obstacle course for the animal to enjoy after they are feeling better. Work on following directions, sequencing, and verb actions. 

How Do You Use a Pet Hospital Toy Set in Speech Therapy?

Do you have a fun way to engage your students with a pet hospital toy set in speech therapy? Share in the comments, tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie, or email me at feliceclark@thedabblingspeechie.com.

Using Popsicle Sticks in Speech Therapy

Using Popsicle Sticks in Speech Therapy

Some of my best therapy materials come from affordable things I can find at a dollar store. Have you used popsicle sticks in your speech therapy sessions? They can be a great material that can cover a lot of goals.

And, let’s face it: So many of us don’t even get a budget for speech therapy materials. Plus, we’ve all got bills, so buying a ton of extra fancy materials for therapy isn’t always an option. Today, I want to share all the ways you can use popsicle sticks in your next speech therapy session.

Popsicle Stick Games for Mixed Groups

Zap It is a great game for mixed groups! You can target any goal, and the kids love the game. This game also gets my artic students to practice more trials. Whatever number is written on their popsicle stick, they have to say their word that many times! Check out the game HERE (it has a rule cheat sheet guide).

Play pick up sticks using a set of popsicle sticks. Just write your students’ targets on both sides of the sticks. I try to make sure to pick articulation targets that can also be used for vocabulary instruction. For example, if a child is working on /l/, I would pick lemonade, lion, and lock because we can work on category groups, noun functions, locations, and parts. Or, other students can create grammatically correct sentences using the words.

Popsicle Stick Pacing Boards for Speech Therapy

You can create pacing boards using popsicle sticks. I like using the jumbo-sized popsicle sticks (Amazon affiliate link) for making these. Students can create dots, stars, or other designs with markers. You can also allow students to pick out their favorite stickers to put on the popsicle stick.

Then, you can use them for lots of different goals! Check out my ideas:

-Use as a pacing board for fluency-enhancing techniques

-Identifying how many sounds are in a word

-Creating longer sentences

-Pacing how many times a student has said a sound or a word

Popsicle Stick Puppets for Speech Therapy

One of the easiest crafts to make with your students is making popsicle stick puppets. You can print a sheet of characters, have the students color them, and then attach them to a popsicle stick. The students can work on story retell, pronouns, basic concepts, or following directions with their puppets.

Using Popsicle Sticks with Literacy

When planning mixed group therapy, I tend to use books to plan lessons. I can plan more efficiently while still targeting everyone’s goals. While reading the story, you can give students “jobs” when listening to the story. I cut 3” by 5” index cards in half, write what the students are working on, and tape them to  popsicle sticks.

I tell the students to hold up their sticks whenever they hear their sound or hear a word they don’t understand. Students can remember what they are working on by looking at their “job” on the stick. So, when I call on a student to make a sentence about the story picture, they know what I want them to do.

 

You can also put story grammar element visual cues on popsicle sticks. Hand a few of the story element sticks to each student in the group. While you are reading the book, you can stop and go through the elements of the story. To keep everyone engaged, they have specific elements to recall.

Grab these free story visual cues by clicking the pink button below.

Make Visual Cues with Popsicle Sticks

You can make visual cues for any skill with popsicle sticks! This is an easy way to visually remind your students about what they are working on in speech therapy. Some of my students have moved beyond drill and are working on self-monitoring. I love using visual cues for articulation carryover and for social pragmatics. During conversational tasks, you can visually remind your students about their social behavior. This can help them to remember the social rules or to look around for the non-verbal body language.

 

Grab these free speech sound cues HERE

How Do You Use Popsicle Sticks in Therapy Sessions?

Aren’t these functional ideas great for therapy sessions? My favorite place to stock up on popsicle sticks is at the Dollar Tree. Therapy doesn’t have to always be with fancy toys and programs to be effective. How do you use popsicle sticks in your therapy room? Share in the comments.

What is the Traditional Therapy Approach?

What is the Traditional Therapy Approach?

Treating articulation disorders in the school setting is very common for the speech-language pathologist. Based on your state’s educational eligibility code, you may see students with articulation disorders on an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) or through a speech improvement Response to Intervention (RTI) site-based program. 

We know that with students with articulation disorders, the end goal is to establish the target sound and to help the student be able to correctly produce that sound in conversation with a variety of speaking partners across many different settings. 

When working in the school setting, I find that it can be difficult to move through those stages because lesson planning time is limited. Today, I want to refresh us all on the traditional articulation therapy approach to help us plan therapy more efficiently for our articulation students. 

Explanation of the Traditional Articulation Therapy Approach

The traditional articulation approach was developed by Van Riper in 1978. With this approach, the SLP works on one sound at a time and progresses to working on the sound in isolation, syllables, words, phrases, sentences, reading, and conversation. This approach uses a hierarchy approach (vertical) where the sound is worked on one position at a time.

The approach focuses on the phonetic placement of the sound in error and teaching the motor skills to correctly produce that sound. This method of intervention uses a hierarchy to help children establish the correct sound and learn the motor movements to use that sound into conversational contexts.

When to Use the Traditional Therapy Approach

This approach is most recommended for younger children who are exhibiting a few sound errors. Furthermore, children who are exhibiting sound errors that are relatively developmental in nature are good candidates for using this approach. 

Five Steps in Van Riper’s Traditional Therapy Method

Discrimination Training – Can they hear correct vs. incorrect productions of the sound?

Stimulability – Is the student able to correctly produce the sound when given prompts for the correct placement and manner for the sound production?

Sound Stabilization – The child expands the contexts in which he or she can correctly say the sound.

Generalization – when the child is able to correctly produce the sound, regardless of the environment or the person to whom he or she is speaking.

Maintenance – monitoring the child’s speech over time to ensure that he or she is continuing to correctly produce the correct sounds in all contexts of conversation.

The Hierarchy Stages of the Traditional Therapy Approach

When planning therapy, SLPs will want to work on one sound at a time. It is important that you go through all the stages in order. Typically, the stages follow working on the single sound in isolation, syllables, words (initial, final, medial), phrases, sentences, reading paragraphs, and conversation. 

Want a little cheat sheet of the stages? Click here to download a copy!

How Do I Know What Stage to Start with Using the Traditional Therapy Approach?

The best way an SLP can determine where to begin in therapy using the traditional therapy approach is to collect good baseline data. When we know what the child can do with his/her articulation sound, it is easier to plan therapy at the correct stage. Busy Bee Speech has a great baseline data resource to use at the beginning of the year or when you first get a student. 

Articulation Materials to Help Plan Therapy Using the Traditional Therapy Approach

Implementing the traditional therapy approach is a lot easier when you have activities that align. Make therapy planning more efficient by using these tools for articulation!

Isolation Articulation Activities 

Helping your students elicit the sounds in isolation can sometimes be tricky. This book, Eliciting Sounds: Techniques and Strategies for Clinicians 2nd Edition,has a lot of helpful information for how to cue and elicit sounds from your students.

Once you get the child to elicit the sound, you want them to get those high repetitions of saying the sound. My Race to 100 game is great for working at the isolation, syllable, or word level. Grab it HERE (free printable). 

Syllables Articulation Activities

Practicing the target sound in syllables is an important stage for your students. Your students can get in a lot of meaningful drill with syllables. When you allow your students to practice without a word context, they can better focus on the motor patterns for the sound productions. Use this FREE Syllable Practice Sheet with post its, speech sound cue cards, or put in a page protector and use with a dry erase marker!

Word Articulation Activities

Once your students are at stage 3 and are ready to practice more complex words, my Interactive Articulation Flipbooks are perfect for words, carrier phrases, and sentences. Check out how  you can use them in sessions HERE. For more therapy ideas to get those high trials at the word level, check out this post.

Sentence Articulation Activities

 

Sentence Articulation Challenge Sheets are great for stage 5 when your student is ready to work on their sound with two sound targets in a sentence. There is also carryover practice with homework sheets!

If you need easy-to-prep activities, then you can use my No Prep Articulation Sentence Practice sheets as homework or for quick drill. 

Paragraphs And Conversation

For your students working on reading at the paragraph level, as well as structured conversational tasks, my Articulation Carryover Sets have lots of activities that you can use. The reading passages control the phonetic environment so your students can focus on their target sound. Plus, collecting data is super easy for you! Need more ideas for generalization? Check HERE for the blog post.

What Resources Do You Use in Articulation Therapy?

 

I would love to know what you use to help your students make progress in articulation therapy. Do you have a book, a therapy material, a game, or a manipulative that really helps motivate your students to practice? Share in the comments.

 

Setting Up Articulation Speech Folders For Students

Setting Up Articulation Speech Folders For Students

Recently, I polled the SLPs that follow me on Instagram to see how many of us make individual student folders for our caseloads. It was a pretty even 50/50 split of speech pathologists that do make individual folders and those that don’t.

I personally do not make individual speech folders for each child on my caseload. I use a giant therapy binder that has tabs for each child on my caseload. If I cover two schools, then I store a therapy binder at each school. 

Setting Up Articulation Speech Folders

For each student, I store their therapy logs, a communication log, their IEP-at-a-glance, and specialized data sheets as needed. Typically, I just flip back and forth between students to keep everything documented. 

However, I always have certain students that I service in a quick artic model, or I want to have some specialized visuals organized for my artic students to use when running mixed groups. In these circumstances, I will make an articulation speech folder for the individual student or the particular sound/phonological process. Today, I am going to share how you can set up your own articulation speech folders to help you streamline your therapy planning process.

Why I Make Articulation Speech Folders

Let’s face it. We have limited time for planning therapy. And sometimes we are doing our quick artic in the hallways or targeting articulation goals with mixed groups. It is hard for me to keep visuals, homework sheets, flash cards, etc. organized for my articulation students. Having all of the tools I may need in one speech folder helps me to be prepared for therapy. Planning therapy is less stressful because I can grab the folder knowing that everything I need is ready to use.

Or, if I have 3-4 students working on a certain phonological process, I can make one folder for that process and have all the speech materials I need to remediate that process. The only other thing I may need to grab is a toy, a game, or a manipulative to use with all the tools in the speech folder. 

 

Materials to Make Articulation Speech Folders

To make your speech folder, you do need some organizational materials to make it work. I am going to show you what I do, but feel free to adapt for your caseload. Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience.

What other office supplies have you found helpful to include in your student’s speech folders? Share in the comments!

What to Include in Your Articulation Speech Folder

When setting up your articulation speech folder, you want to have an idea of where the child is performing with learning his/her sound. If the child is at the syllable level, then you can include materials and visuals for that level, as well as add in materials for the word and phrase level.

Grab these FREE Articulation Syllable Practice Sheets in my TPT store. 

This allows you to have extra materials ready in the event that the student progresses quicker than you expected. You will be ready to adapt the therapy session easily without racking your brain on what to do next.

Here are some helpful things to include in your speech folder:

-Therapy logs (I use the logs from The Speech Bubble SLP or SLP Toolkit)

-Specialized Articulation or Phonology Data Sheets to track progress. Here is my FREE Articulation Data Sheet template. If you need more specialized sheets, you can grab them HERE

– Visual Supports to help with articulation production or to increase self-awareness. You can add speech sound cue cards from Bjorem Speech in the envelope file pouch. 

-Data graphs or self-awareness visuals can be helpful to incorporate into a session. Grab some FREE articulation carryover visuals by clicking the button below.

– Word lists or materials to use for quick drill practice, like these free flash card lists for older developing sounds or my Articulation Flipbooks. Sometimes I will print up pages from my Any Craft Companion Pack and store in the speech folder. 

Homework forms that help track if the student is practicing at home. I use these ones from Kiwi Speech (FREE printable). For your students that you are creating home programs, you can have homework sheets in this folder ahead of time, so you can easily plan and track homework assignments. This is a free homework sheet once students get to the carryover level in my STORE

These FREE Articulation Homework Word List Strips by Simply Speech can be in your students folder. You can customize the word lists based on your students performance during the session and send home.

Other Helpful Forms to Include in Your Speech Folders

If you like to have an individual folder for each student, here are some forms that will help you keep things organized for each student:

FREE SLP Attendance Form by Natalie Synders

Communication Log (FREE) in Sublime Speech’s Starter Kit to document interactions with the child’s parent or teacher

Please share any other forms, visuals, or tools you would add to your articulation speech folders in the comments! You can also tag me on instagram @thedabblingspeechie with your articulation speech folder setup.

Blog Posts To Help You Plan Articulation Therapy

As busy SLPs, it is easy to struggle with ideas on how to increase repetitions or keep your students motivated with articulation practice. Here are some blog posts with ideas to make your articulation therapy productive and fun:

Articulation Stations – Therapy Ideas to Keep Students Motivated

Articulation Stations – Therapy Ideas to Keep Students Motivated

Raise your hand if you have students working on articulation in your therapy room! I think most SLPs can agree that we have a lot of those students either in a speech improvement program or on an IEP. It can be so tricky to help our articulation students make generalization progress when they are in a mixed group. One way to tackle those mixed groups is by planning an activity around all the goals. Or, you can set up station time for students. You can give your articulation students an independent activity to complete for 10-15 minutes while you provide direct instruction to the other kids in the group. And then, the kids switch.
If you are lucky to have a pure artic/phonology group, you can plan 5-10 minute station activities that your students can rotate through during the session. One of the stations can be working directly with you! This is when you can take data, check self-awareness, and get those high productions in the session.

Handy Tools and Items for Your Articulation Stations

Ultra Fine Dry Erase Markers – These are my MOST favorite and used dry erase markers (Amazon affiliate link) for any activity that has a page protector or that is a laminated resource.  Timer – Your smartphone will do just fine, but if you want something more visual, then I recommend a Time Timer or Time Tracker (Amazon affiliate links).   Clickers – For some activity stations, having a digital clicker (Amazon affiliate link) can keep kids motivated and get the higher productions that you want! 
Foam Die – This is great for kids rolling the die (Amazon affiliate link) to see how many productions they have to produce.  Magnetic Chips and Wand – These are  great tools to help kids stay motivated to keep practicing, because they can put a chip on the picture they practiced. This lets the student know how many more are left. And, my students love picking up the chips with the magnetic wand. Mini erasers, Dinky Doodad Trinkets, dot markers, or small edibles, like Skittles, are other materials to help keep kids motivated to practice.

Teaching Behavioral Expectations and Routines

In order to be successful with stations, you have to put a heavy focus on teaching the behavioral expectations and routines. Those first couple of weeks, implementing stations will be about setting the routines. If you need more information about how to set up and teach behavioral routines, then check out this blog post HERE. That said, you may know which groups might not be ready to follow a station model due to behaviors and attention spans. 

Implementing Articulation Stations in Your Therapy Room

The key to a successful articulation station is teaching the behavioral expectations and having an engaging activity. You can have the independent stations have the activities that might not get high repetitions but engage the students in thinking. Then, when the students switch to your station, you can ramp up the drill-and-kill.

Here are some therapy ideas that will help you plan effective articulation station activities:

Pipe Cleaner Articulation Station – Grab some pipe cleaners and plastic beads to have students practice their articulation words at the word, phrase, or sentence level. If you need some premade task cards for R, grab this set in my store. I also have K, G, F, V task cards.
“I Spy” Articulation Sensory Bin – You can make an “I Spy” sensory bin that can be used for articulation (it can also be used for language). Give your students an articulation mat for their sound and have them search for mini trinkets that have their speech sound. Want these mats? They are free on this blog post. Plus, all the details for how to make this interactive sensory bin are on that post. 
Articulation Letter Dough Stamps – I found these Letter Dough Stamps (link?) at Lakeshore and had to have them. You can work on spelling while your students are practicing their articulation words with play dough or kinetic sand. Check out this blog post to read more about how to make this DIY therapy activity.

Articulation Centers That Will Increase Speech Productions

Articulation Challenge – Grab your timer, a clicker, and a word list to make this articulation station. Your student sets the timer for one minute and then uses the clicker to keep track of how many productions he/she can do in that time. Then, they can set the timer again and try to beat their score. If you have two students at the station, then one student can judge productions using the Self-Rating Scale from Speechy Musings (link?) or the rating scales from my Articulation Carryover Activities Set that you can download by clicking the pink button below. 

Need some word lists? Here is a FREE download for /s, z, sh, ch, th/. I also have /r/ flashcards, as well as phonology flashcards in my TpT store. 

Abacus Articulation Station – You can buy an Abacus (Amazon affiliate link) or make your own abacus HERE to help kids stay focused on producing their sounds. Give them a word list or picture cards and have them slide a bead across for every syllable, word, or sentence production.

 

Articulation Flashcard Books – have your students make their own flashcard books with this FREE template. Grab your artic decks, or give them index cards to draw or write their speech words. As they practice the cards, they can sort which ones they said correctly and which ones they need to practice again. This helps build self-awareness for correct versus incorrect sound productions. 

Race to 100 Station – Print up a word list or use picture words while your students play Race to 100. Whatever the die lands on, that is how many words your student has to practice. Grab this free printable and see more pics in action HERE. Mommy Speech Therapy has FREE colored picture word lists for this station. 

Articulation Flip Books – Use my articulation flip books as a station. They are designed for different levels, and students can hit a lot of productions. My students love using a dry erase marker. The flip books are predictable, so the kids stay focused and on- task. Grab these flip books HERE

Sentence Level Articulation Stations for Therapy

 Students at the sentence level can still do an articulation challenge with repetitive sentences. If you need articulation resources for the sentence level, here are some that I created:

Sentence Articulation Challenge Sheets (No Prep). Click to grab these!

No Prep Articulation Sentence Practice.  Click to grab these!

 

Use Articulation Apps as An Articulation Station

iPad Articulation Station – If you own an iPad, or if your district gives you one, then using some interactive articulation apps as a station is a great option.

Here are some that I really like:

Articulation Station or Little Stories by Little Bee Speech

Any of the Articulation Apps by Erik Raj

Articulation Scenes by Smarty Ears

What Articulation Activities Can You Turn into a Station?

 

What activities do you already have prepped that you can turn into an articulation station? I would love to know any quick artic activities you use with your students. I am always looking for ways to motivate my students to practice. Share in the comments below.