5 Visual Supports Your Speech Students Need

5 Visual Supports Your Speech Students Need

Early on in my career as an SLP, I knew that many of my students benefited from visual supports to comprehend speech and language tasks. There were many sessions when I was scrambling to scribble out visuals to help my students understand a concept. You can relate, right!? In the early days, I didn’t always have the visuals, or the time to make the visuals I wanted. With more years of experience, and the help of the internet, I have developed or found visual supports that are staples for my speech sessions.

Benefits of Using Visual Supports 

Visual supports help our students process information presented orally. They can also help reduce the cognitive demands placed on the brain when trying to comprehend or expressively use a new language skill. Visual supports can also help our students be able to better communicate when they are upset or don’t have a strong expressive skills to let us know what they are feeling or thinking.

Visual Supports for Students to Help With Articulation Generalization & Self-Awareness

#1 Articulation Carryover Visual Supports for Students

Many of my students working on 1-2 sound errors struggle with monitoring their speech productions. I have started incorporating self-awareness tasks to help students be more accountable for their productions.

At the start of each session, we do a Yes/No visual check-in. I either produce the sound correctly or incorrectly  in isolation, syllables, or words. The student then judges my production. Then, the student produces 5-10 sounds/words and judges his/her production. We do this before jumping into drill practice.

As my students progress to the sentence and conversation levels (multiple sentences, reading, structured conversations, etc.), I incorporate self-reflection time into my sessions. We also fill out conversation scripts for specific times, places, or people that they may need to use their correct speech. Check out my info about artic carryover HERE. If you need more practical strategies for generalization, I have a blog post HERE you can read.

#2 Articulation Production Feedback Visual

It isn’t super helpful to tell articulation students whether or not their production was correct. I notice a lot of my students get discouraged if I say a lot of “try again” or “nope, wasn’t quite right.” When I give more specific feedback about their production, the student can see when they are on the right track, but may need to adjust their production slightly.

I really love Speechy Musings’ production feedback visual that you can download for FREE here. I have used it in therapy and also sent it home for parents to use with the student as well. I love using file folders to make home programs. You can check out how I make a home program using a file folder and this visual HERE.

#3 Visual Sentence Strips For Speech & Language

Having visual sentence strips or sentence frames for my students has helped so much when learning a new skill. You can read more about how to use sentence strips in therapy HERE.

My visual sentence starter strips have been handy for my mixed groups because I can easily find the sentence strip for different students. They include articulation strips, fluency, grammar, language, and social skill strips. No more writing on sticky notes!

#4 Visual Supports for Social Inferencing

When working on inferencing skills, I like to incorporate visuals. Many of my students with social pragmatic weaknesses or language disorders struggle with making inferences. Some of my students can make inferences, but then have NO idea how they got their answer. So, I like using sentence frames to break down the skill. We first work on what we “see” (concrete details), then talk about what we “know” (accessing scheme and background knowledge). Then, we each make a “smart guess” about what the person could be feeling/thinking or answer a higher order thinking question. 

Many teachers are wanting their students to use more academic language when explaining their answers, so I like having those visually displayed, so my students can start to practice using those vocabulary words in context. Need this free visual support? Head over to my TPT store.

#5 Visual Supports for Behavior

I have a lot of students working on following routines and expectations. Many of my students benefit from having a working for chart, first/then visual, and visual reminders for what their bodies need to be doing in a session. That’s why I decided to put all my frequently used visuals in one place.

I just printed it out, glued it to a file folder, and laminated the file folder. Then, I could re-use the visual supports using a dry erase marker. I love that I can use this for multiple students at one time. 

If you need this visual, hit the pink button below for this free download. Need more ideas for using file folders? Check out this blog post, HERE.

What Visual Supports Do You Love Using in Speech Therapy?

I would love to know what visual supports you have found helpful for your clients or students. Share the visual in the comments or tag me on social media at @thedabblingspeechie.

Using Chickens in Your Next Push-In Lesson

Using Chickens in Your Next Push-In Lesson

During the spring months, I love using specific themes to cover speech and language goals. Bugs, farm life, and spring vocabulary are part of my March and April themes. I also love incorporating chickens into my small group and push-in therapy because many kindergarten teachers are talking about newborn animals. Some teachers even raise eggs to hatch into baby chicks! If you are in search of chicken speech therapy activities for your K-2 students, you came to the right blog post.

Small and Whole Class Lesson Support

For my Special Day Classrooms, I do some form of whole class or co-teaching service delivery model. When I plan lessons for my whole class lessons, I definitely re-use those materials for my small group instruction as well. Today, I will be talking about how to implement the chicken speech therapy activities in a push-in format. But, if you don’t currently do a push-in model, you can still use these ideas in small groups. That’s the beauty of planning effective whole class lessons, because they work for small groups too (lesson planning made easy). If you are looking for information about how I set up my push-in lessons, check out this blog post HERE.

How to Structure Your Push-In Lesson

I usually plan a 15-20-minute lesson that I do with the whole class. During that time, I ask that the teacher and aides help support the behavior in the class. One day, I hope to train some of the staff to take data while I teach. #slpgoals

We start the lesson introducing the theme and reviewing behavioral expectations. Then, the teachers and myself run three different stations that last for 10 minutes each.

Behavior Management Tips for Work Stations

When I run push-in lessons, I try to follow the classroom rules and expectations. I also add in visual supports to help my students navigate what they should be doing during each station. I visually break it down into “What my body can do,” “What I do during the activity,” and “How to use my words.”

When it is time to transition to a new station, I set off a timer and use visuals to help remind students when they have to wait/go to the next station. You can read more about teaching behavior expectations HERE.

Chicken Books to Use with Your Speech Therapy Activities

After the stations, I read a book. During this time, I call on students with wh-question goals, emphasize key vocabulary, and try to get my students working on verb concepts to share about what they see in the pictures.

Here are some of my fave chicken books (Amazon affiliate links included for your convenience):

Big Chickens by Leslie Helakoski

Interrupting Chickens by David Ezra Stein

The Chicken Problem by Jennifer Oxley

Whole Class Lesson Ideas for Using Chickens

After I read the book, we do a Google Slide presentation about the theme.

Other activities you can do:

You can do an Anchor chart describing everything about chickens. You can include chickens “can” (i.e. Chickens can run.), “have” (i.e. Chickens have feathers.), chickens “are” (i.e. Chickens are animals.).

We play “Who has the egg?” I print out eggs or baskets and hide the eggs in the students’ hands while everyone has their eyes closed. Then, they open their eyes and students get to initiate a “who” question to a peer or staff member. We play this until all the eggs are found.

I will also put a chicken or an egg on a popsicle stick and work on the basic concept of the week. So, if I choose “above,” I will put the egg above students’ heads and items in the classroom. The students have to say “where” the egg is located.

Station #1 (10 minutes in length): Easter Egg Craft

Use an ice cube tray and put different colored paints in the tray. Attach pom pom balls to clothespins. Students can dip the pom pom balls in the paint to make different designs on the egg. You can work on initiating requests, waiting/sharing, asking friends to pass the paint, and talking about the colors. After the students create their craft, they can talk about what they did first, next, last.

Station #2 (10 minutes in length): Chicken Inferencing

Put the picture stimulus items in plastic eggs. I number the eggs with permanent marker, so I know what items are in which eggs. Use my inferencing cheat sheet to give students clues about “what” is in the egg. You can simultaneously work on taking turns, describing the noun by attributes and the concepts “open/close.”

Station #3 (10 minutes in length): Chicken Crossed the Road

Your students can work on making sentences with correct grammar using these mats. If you have students working on noun-functions or categories, the mats have food, school supplies, and transportation. Sentence frames are included to help your friends have greater success with more complex sentences.

Additional Chicken Speech Therapy Activities

I love using Dinky Doodads to work on skills. They are the perfect size for eggs. Check out how to use trinkets with plastic eggs HERE. You can also make a baby chick sensory bin to work on language skills. Check out the blog post for how to make it HERE (free printables included).

When I use a theme, I try to use the theme for at least two weeks. So, I will interchange some of the activities. At a station, I will bring in toys or games that can work on social skills and functional language.

With this cooperative game Count Your Chickens Game, you can target turn-taking, counting more/less/most, and describing the animals. I love Peaceable Kingdom games because there isn’t a winner or a loser. Perfect for our friends that like to win all of the time!

What Chicken Speech Therapy Activities Do You Plan?

I would love to know how you plan for therapy! If you have some fun chicken activities, share in the comments or tag me at @thedabblingspeechie.

What I love about planning my push-in lesson is that I can re-use the activities in my small group instruction. It feels so nice to have effective therapy plans that I can use across many groups.

Spring Sensory Bins For Speech Therapy

Spring Sensory Bins For Speech Therapy

Some struggles that I have had in the therapy room are how to keep my students engaged and ways to target multiple goals in a session.

For my younger crowd sensory bins have helped solve this problem. If you are a sensory bin making SLP, then this post is for you! Today, I am going to share Spring Sensory Bins for speech therapy that will pair well with this season.

Just FYI…this post is a little longer because I think having the pictures of what your next Spring sensory bin can look like gives ya that inspiration to make it! I have an Ultimate Sensory Bin Guide for my newsletter subscribers that has insect printables and Easter egg themed printables that you can grab by going to my Sensory Bin page (The guide includes a LOT more printables). Now, let’s get inspired and see what kind of sensory bins you can make for Spring!

 

Spring Sensory Bins For Speech Therapy

#1. Make a sensory bin inspired by the In The Tall Tall Grass book. Use your plastic insects to create a fun bug bin. Toobs on Amazon are great (Amazon affiliate link included). You can read more about this bin on my blog post HERE.

I like using green shredded paper, dyed green pasta, cut up Easter grass or green tissue paper as my grass. What do you like to use?

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You can also make an insect bin or a bin inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar book. You can read this blog post to see more ideas on how to use this book. Search through your play food to find the items that the caterpillar eats, throw it in a bin and you can work on story telling. 

Flower Sensory Bins For The Spring Season

 

For all those SLPs in the elementary setting trying to rock those mixed groups, this flower garden sensory bin companion will help you target goals for articulation and language.

Spring Sensory bin for speech therapyYou can also go to the Dollar Store and buy fake flowers and mini planting pots to create a flower planting sensory bin! SLPs can target sequencing for “How to plant a flower?”, and practice describing flowers and garden tools by attributes. This is a great pretend play activity to work on language and social pragmatics with your younger students.

Spring Sensory Bins for speech therapy

Can You Find it? Sensory Bin with Spring Vocabulary

Many of my students are working on describing nouns by attributes or learning to explain a noun’s function. I like to use themed vocabulary to work on those skills. You can add mini items that would go in a spring category or put in different spring vocabulary printable items. I love using green shredded present packaging paper for grass and use dried black beans as dirt. 

Then, I have students go on a “Can You Find It Hunt?” You can add in a magnifying glass to make it more engaging. Can you find something that you wear? Can you find something that you blow? Can you find something that you sit on? For some of my other students, we also work on the verbs “hide” and “found”. We can hide items in the grass and work on generating complete sentences with sentence frames. Want to learn more about sentence frames? Here is a blog post I wrote all about them. This sensory bin is part of my spring-themd push-in language lesson plan guides if you need activities for your small and whole class instruction.

Spring Sensory Bins To Teach Vocabulary & Grammar

I created a Spring Sensory Bin Companion that comes with printables to work on verbs, basic concepts, vocabulary and more! There are reinforcer sensory bin activities as well as an articulation themed bin. In my companion, I also include articulation and language cheat sheets to help you with implementing therapy without having to think of words in the spring season!

If you love doing seasonal therapy and using sensory bins, then you may want to invest in getting my seasonal sensory bin bundle HERE.

I love sharing other sensory bins from SLPs because it helps us with planning therapy. Better to have more inspiring therapy ideas to pull from, right!?

Need More Sensory Bin Inspiration?

For all of my SLPs out there that LOVE sensory bins, hop on over to my sensory bin pinterest board for more inspiration. On my Sensory Bin page, you can find lots of resources for making your next sensory bin, including my Sensory Bin Webinar that you can watch the replay on youtube.

Join My 5 Day Sensory Bin Email Series

If you are super busy and struggle with completing DIY therapy projects, then come join my 5 day Sensory bin email challenge! Each day, I give you a small “to do” to complete to get your next sensory bin up and running.

6 Ways To Use Playdough in Speech Therapy

6 Ways To Use Playdough in Speech Therapy

f you are a speech pathologist working with younger students, you probably have playdough in your room already! Playdough is a staple in my speech therapy room. My students love materials that they can touch and feel. I think this is why slime, kinetic sand, and playdough are fan favorites amongst kids.

Today, I wanted to share 6 ways you can use playdough in speech therapy. There are a lot of ways you can adapt playdough to make therapy engaging. Plus, you can use playdough to build many language skills.

Where To Get Playdough For Your Speech Room

The easiest way to snag some playdough is on Amazon. I have this 24-can set (Amazon affiliate link) and love that I can re-use the cans if I decide to make homemade playdough. You can also get playdough from Lakeshore Learning that comes in bulk tubs. And if you have all the ingredients at home, you can make a LOT of playdough for an affordable price. I love adding in peppermint, lemon, or orange essential oils to make the playdough smell fun. There are so many easy playdough recipes that you can find on Pinterest. Here is one that I use often.

#1: Use Playdough in Speech Therapy For Behavior Management

Use playdough with a student’s “working for” chart. Each time the student exhibits a positive behavior, you can squish a playdough ball on the student’s “working for” chart. This will show when the student will earn his/her next reinforcer activity or item. This “working for” chart is part of my AAC Starter Kit.

I also like using playdough to help kids know when an activity will be over. It helps keep students engaged and working on the activity. Cover each item on the mat with playdough. When all the items are covered, the activity is completed.

You can also use a playdough mat reinforcer sheet with your whole group. As a group, the students can earn game time or free choice activity time.

You can roll out 10 balls of dough and have the students squish the dough for each articulation production. I love using my Visual Stimulus items with my sentence strips for my articulation students.

#2: Use Playdough in Speech Therapy To Work On Sequencing & Answering Wh-Questions

You can make playdough with your students! Kristine Lamb from Live Love Speech has amazing visual recipes that you can use to support functional communication, vocabulary, and sequencing steps.

She has two free recipes for making playdough. I love the Green Apple Dough Visual Recipe for fall, the Koolaid Dough Visual Recipe for any season, and the Peppermint Dough Visual Recipe for winter. These are all FREE printables in her store.

#3: Use Playdough in Speech Therapy For Teaching CORE Vocabulary

Playdough is great for our students that need to build those different CORE vocabulary functions! You can work on so many different functions of communication.

If you need a CORE board with fringe vocabulary to work on playdough, this one is part of my AAC Starter Kit in my TPT store. It saves me so much time and I always have visuals for my students to communicate with me. Plus, I have noticed an increase in functional communication and functions beyond just “requesting” items using these boards with students. You can try the bubbles fringe and CORE board HERE.

CORE words to target with playdough:

  • Go/Stop for rolling, squishing, or pulling the playdough. You can also get some great initiation and joint attention if you wait for the student to ask for “Go/Stop.”
  • More/Want to request wanting more playdough. Don’t just hand over the whole can of playdough to the student. Give them a little playdough at a time. They can request “more” and “want” to get more playdough.
  • My Turn/Your Turn to work on sharing the playdough.
  • See/Look to talk about what the other person/student is creating. For example, you can model or have students use their words with their CORE board or device, “I see_____.” or “Look at my _____!”.

What other CORE vocabulary would you target? Share in the comments.

#4: Use Playdough in Speech Therapy To Teach Basic Concepts and Following Directions

You can work on teaching basic concepts using playdough. Make mini playdough balls and gather items around your room. Have students follow directions with the playdough balls and items. For example, “Put the playdough in the cup,” or, “Put the playdough behind the bucket.”

You can also use playdough mats or picture scenes to work on basic concepts such as above, below, between, in front, next to, etc.

#5: Use Playdough As A Visual Support

Make a snail or snake to help demonstrate slow speech for a student working on fluency strategies.

A bunny can be used to show how our speech can get bouncy.

For articulation, you can have students form the sound he/she is working on, to help them remember to use the correct sound. I loved this idea from Natalie Snyders for teaching the R.

Playdough can also help with phonological awareness activities for inserting or deleting sounds, counting syllables in words, or identifying beginning, middle, and ending sounds in words.

Roll out different colored playdough balls to help build longer sentences. You can use blue for nouns, green for verbs, red for adjectives, and orange for prepositional phrases. Get these FREE playdough mats by click the image below.

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#6: Use Playdough To Work on Pretend Play and Conversation

There are so many fun playdough sets that children can use to pretend. For example, I have the Playdoh Pie Set (Amazon affiliate) that you can use to work on conversation. Students can take each other’s orders, practice serving the pie to each other, and pretend to pay for the pie at a restaurant.

The Playdoh Frozen Treats and Playdoh Pasta Maker are fun, too! I remember as a kid, I had the Playdoh hair styling set. It was super fun.

Another fun pretend play activity is to make chocolate playdough that actually smells like real chocolate! Here is the recipe I used. You can have students create little chocolates to put in a candy box. They can decorate their chocolates with small beads or plastic trinkets. Or they can make hot chocolate for each other! Make sure you check to see if the recipe is editable, so that your kids don’t try and eat it.

How do You Use Playdough in Speech Therapy?

Playdough is a material that has helped me keep therapy engaging and functional. I have seen so many students make progress with all sorts of speech and language skills with incorporating playdough into my speech therapy sessions. So, I always want to know MORE ways I can use playdough. Please share your best therapy ideas or tips in the comments or email me at feliceclark@thedabblingspeechie.com. Of course, you can always share a pic on Instagram and tag me @thedabblingspeechie.

Real Talk SLP episode 8

Today on the Real Talk SLP podcast, I wanted to talk about the ups and downs of finding relevant, engaging and practical professional development for the busy SLP.

As SLPs we are pulled very thin between conducting therapy, assessing, and all that fun paperwork.

In particular, school-based SLPs have to be knowledgeable about so many different areas because we treat a lot of disorders, and ages.

I decided to bring on my SLP blogger besties to have some real talk about professional development. Each one shares about the current struggles with finding good PD as well as recommending some resources that have helped them to feel confident about their clinical decisions.

Professional Development Resources for Busy SLPs

The Informed SLP is a resource we all have memberships and use regularly.

We all agreed that attending the ASHA Convention has lots of great presentations and so many options to chose from; however, it is expensive and difficult to take that time off of work. ASHA’s evidence maps can be a helpful place to start when looking for information on a certain topic.

A great alternative is to use Speech Pathology.com or Speech Therapy PD.

Natalie recommended The Impact of Unilateral Hearing Loss and Single Sided Defness for the Pediatric Population from SpeechPathology.com

Marueen recommended Intervention for Selective Mutism: The Nuts and Bolts of Behavioral Treatment

Hallie recommended Evidence Based Practice Treatment Approaches for Improving Vocabulary in Children with Language Disorders

I recommended any courses or presentations by Char Boshart who has a lot of courses on Speech Therapy PD. If you are interested in Speech Therapy PD (Use code: SLPROCKSTAR” to get $10 off either subscription).

I also just presented with Rehab Seminars and they had a lot of practical presenters that were very helpful including Barry M. Prizant, PhD, CCC-SLP and William Van Cleave, MA, Educational Consultant

We are all fans of FREE PD, right!? The SLP Summit is a free online webinar training that goes on twice a year during winter and summer. There are a ton of different topics and you can learn while sitting by the pool or your couch. 

We also discuss how the four of us SLPs came up with the idea for the Speech Retreat. It is a one day Professional Development that is packed with practical therapy ideas you can use tomorrow. Plus, we wanted to celebrate SLPs, so we include swag bags and LOTS of raffle prizes. Check it out at Speech Retreat and sign up for the April 13th Speech Retreat in Raleigh, NC.

What is your favorite PD or conference you attended?

I would love to know what relevant PD you have attended to help spread the word to other SLPs. Share in the comments or email me at feliceclark@thedabblingspeechie.com