If you work as a school based SLP, getting speech therapy referrals for the R sound is pretty common. The /r/ distortions are pretty noticeable by teachers, parents and staff. Have you ever gotten that referral from a preschooler or kindergarten teacher and think, “I should probably get that teacher a developmental norms chart ASAP.”
A couple of years ago, our SLP Professional Learning Community discussed how to handle speech therapy referrals for /r/. Guess what happened…..there were a lot of varying answers and viewpoints. It stirred up a hot debate (all friendly discussion). And we left the PLC without a clear direction with how to handle /r/ speech therapy referrals.
What I learned after the Professional Learning Community Discussion
The perspectives of the /r/ referral varied from SLP to SLP. Some felt that you should take them younger (6-7 years of age) if they are stimuable. Other SLPs felt that the student wouldn’t meet eligibility for an articulation disorder based on educational code, but the student would receive support via Response To Intervention (RTI) with speech improvement. There were some SLPs that didn’t feel comfortable with providing RTI because of potential legal ramifications for seeing gen ed students without an IEP.
I decided to send out a survey on Speech Therapy Referrals
The discussion with other SLPs in the room was helpful in learning about different perspectives regarding an /r/ referral. However, I didn’t leave the discussion with a clearer understanding of what our district was supporting SLPs to do. Everyone had valid points and reasons for how they handled /r/ referrals, but we lacked a cohesive game plan for /r/.
My biggest question to the SLPs in the group was “when do you consider an /r/ error outside normal development?” I also wanted to know when SLPs took students with /r/ distortions on their IEP caseload or if they treated it through RTI.
Again, answers varied from SLPs. This prompted me to wonder what other SLPs thought across the United States. I figured I could get a bigger perspective by surveying a larger group.
Here is the situation I shared with SLPs
You have a 7 year old in second grade with a distorted /r/ in all positions. The teacher shares that at times it is difficult to understand the student. The parent also has concerns about his articulation. The parent signed a screening form for you to do a quick observation of his speech. You noticed that the /r/ is pretty distorted and he is not stimuable for /r/ when given prompts.
These were the results from the survey on how SLPs would handle /r/ referral:
Speech Therapy Referrals – Considerations about /r/
Many SLP’s commented that they would do an RTI model for this student; however, their district does not allow them to see students without an IEP.
Some SLP’s shared that they would not get an assessment plan signed until after age 8 because their district eligibility guidelines would not allow them to take a student for /r/ at age 7. Interestingly, some SLP’s shared that their district would not deem a single sound error of /r/ to meet eligibility for speech services. (There is an argument that /r/ is not a single sound error among some SLPs).
Many SLP’s also shared that because the teacher and SLP are observing reduced intelligibility, this may warrant a full assessment of articulation.
What I learned from being in the school setting & doing this survey
In certain districts where I have worked, I would not be able to get a signed assessment plan until the student turned 8. I was also told that I could not serve students in an RTI model because this would impact legalities with my job.
When looking at an /r/ referral, I have to determine if the articulation disorder is adversely impacting the student’s academic progress. This is where we ask ourselves if the student’s /r/ distortion is adversely impacting the student’s ability to meet the speaking and listening standards. We would also want to determine if the student’s intelligibility is below 80% intelligible. If it isn’t affecting academics or intelligibility, it is highly likely that the student will not meet eligibility for an IEP under an articulation disorder. That being said, if you feel that the /r/ distortion is adversely impacting those two areas, it is very important to make distinct mention of that in your report findings.
A few SLP’s shared that the classroom teacher must do 6-8 weeks of general education intervention before moving towards an assessment.
Many SLP’s shared that when the student’s /r/ is addressed earlier than 7.5-8 years in a “speech improvement model”, the /r/ improves. Furthermore, many have found when they monitor the student’s growth just by checking in with the gen ed teacher, that most develop the /r/ in third grade without intervention.
We must also consider our professional judgment with dealing with these referrals. We use the developmental norms as a guideline and really need to look at educational impact when looking at a student with articulation errors.
How I handled /r/ referrals in my previous job
Based on some reading that I did on ASHA’s website, federal law may impact an SLP’s ability to take students with /r/ on an IEP. Serving students in an RTI model may also lead use to legal implications. ASHA recommends SLPs not label intervention as RTI, but rather call it a “speech club.” I call my intervention “speech improvement class.”
Here is a link to RTI information on ASHA. This could be a great discussion piece to have with your districts and speech departments. I also found the Speech Sound Disorders page on the ASHA website helpful.
At the time of this survey, my speech department was having a lot of discussions about implementing a “speech improvement program” or seeing students on an IEP for /r/. There was not a final discussion. So, I did see a couple of students in speech improvement class that have noticeable /r/ distortions. The students were in second grade and between 7 or 7 1/2 years of age. Parent permission was obtained and the speech improvement class was for 6-8 weeks.
What are your thoughts about the /r/ referral or single sound error referrals?
How does your SLP department and district handle speech therapy referrals for /r/? What are your thoughts on taking an /r/ student in the school setting? I would love to hear your expertise. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share in the comments below.
Do you have students that are at the generalization level with their articulation? I have some articulation carryover therapy resources that will help you plan therapy that also go well with mixed groups!
Need some free visuals to support self awareness and functional practice of your student’s articulation sounds? This blog post has FREE printables and ideas for how to organize your articulation therapy.
Are you stuck with where how to get your student to generalize their speech sound? The student has it at the word and sentence level, but when they walk out of your room, they go straight back to their old speech sounds. I am right there currently with several students on my caseload. So, I have been trying to find more articulation carryover activities to help with generalization.
If you need articulation therapy ideas that will help you high repetitions, you can check out my articulation therapy ideas HERE.
Easy Articulation Carryover Activity Ideas Using Youtube
Youtube is your friend! Simon’s cat videos are perfect for practicing your student’s speech sounds while retelling the video, and answering wh-questions about the videos. Check out my blog post for how I use these free videos in therapy HERE.
Find How-To videos on youtube with your student’s target sound. The SLP can have their student watch the video and then explain “how to do” the process. So, if you have a student working on /r/, they can watch a youtube video about how to make popcorn. If you have a youtube channel, you can find videos and make playlists for the videos that you use by sound. I made QR codes and have the kids pick which video they want to watch. These are in my articulation carryover activities sets.
Articulation Carryover Activities At The Multiple Sentence Level
Some of my students are 80-90% accurate with single sentences, but they aren’t ready to be reading or doing conversational tasks just yet. So, I have activities that I use to work on my student’s articulation sounds at the multiple sentence level.
Find words that are related that have your student’s target sound to compare/contrast by similarities and differences.
Another activity is to have your student’s answer would you rather or what would you do questions.
An Idea To Work On Articulation Carryover At The Conversational Level
If you have students ready to work on their sounds at the conversational level, you can set a challenge before the session begins. Make a set number of errors that your student can not go over. Then, during the speech session, you can monitor your student’s production with whatever conversational task you plan. If the student has speech errors over the challenge number, then they didn’t meet the challenge.
I have set up that a speech challenge met can be turned in for a game day, bring a friend to speech, a bag of chips or whatever else the student and myself can come up with to earn.
If you need more conversation ideas for how students can practice their speech outside of the speech room, check out this blog post and how I use these activities.
Apps To Use For Articulation Carryover Activities
Have you heard of the voxer app? It is an app that acts like a walkie talkie. I was introduced to voxer by one of my previous principals that used voxer to communicate with her staff. The charter school that I worked at was very tech savvy, so the kids were all about using tech tools. With parent permission, I was able to use the voxer app to work on self monitoring with articulation generalization. We would ask the principal questions on voxer or tell the principal about the week. Then, I would have my students play back their recording to listen to their speech sounds.
If you own an ipad, the news-o-matic app is a great resource for working on articulation at the reading level. Kid friendly news articles are available every day. There are sometimes videos attached to the app, questions and key vocabulary that is defined. You can read more about this app on my blog post HERE.
Little Stories Pro by Little Bee Speech is an app that has 82 short stories that are loaded with targeted speech sounds. This app can be very helpful for meaningful articulation practice when reading as well as when answering comprehension questions and story retell. I like this app because when I don’t have time to search for books that have my student’s sound in the story, I can easily bring up this app.
Resources For Finding Reading Passages To Work On Articulation
Read Works is a free website that you can find leveled reading passages that are aligned with common core standards.
Newsela is a website that has differentiated, high interest texts that are organized by content area, so you can find all sorts of reading passages in different subject matters.
In my TPT store, I have Articulation Carryover Activity resources that include fiction & non-fiction reading passages for /r/, /s/, and /z/. These texts include visual cues and the occurrence of the sound in the passages have been counted, so documenting the student’s accuracy is a lot quicker.
Reader’s theater is a great way to work on self monitoring and students working on articulation practice with a structured speaking activity. If you are buddy buddy with some of the kinder/1st grade teachers, you may even be able to book a time when your students could go into the classroom and perform the reader’s theater for the class.
Scholastic Books a series that I really like to use for my mixed groups. The True or False series (amazon affiliate link included) have short non-fiction paragraphs that pose a question and students have to decide if it the information is true or false. Then, they turn the page to see if their answer is correct. These are great for reading to practice your articulation sound.
Scholastic Who Would Win Books are another series that align with common core curriculum and can help you target your student’s speech sounds in structured conversation. The SLP can have the students read a paragraph, summarize the facts from the book, or answer comprehension questions.
Using Visuals To Help With Self Monitoring With Articulation Carryover Activities
Visual reminders can help reduce the SLP using verbal cues/prompts. I have some visual speech sound reminders that I put on popsicle sticks, which you can grab the free printables HERE. Whatever the activity, the SLP can utilize these visual reminders during the articulation practice.
Articulation Carryover Weekly Homework Sheets
Trying to find ways to encourage students to practice their speech at home? I created an articulation carryover weekly worksheet that can be used to monitor their speech for the week. You can grab this download for FREE on my TPT store.
Kiwi Speech also has a weekly home practice tracker that is free in her store. I have used with students that I want them to see that practicing just 5 minutes a day can help them make progress. This tracker is really helpful for showing kids how to break down minutes they practice each week.
What resources or strategies do you use to help your students generalize their speech sounds into conversation? I would love to add some more tips to my SLP toolbox.
Need CEU Hours and Want to Learn More About Articulation Carryover
Finding resources that can be used to target a lot of speech goals is super helpful for the busy SLP. Using Simon’s Cat videos in speech therapy can help with planning a mixed group lesson.
What Are Simon’s Cat Videos?
Simon’s Cat are a series of comic strip animated short videos that you can find on YouTube. The videos are primarily without words, and are in black and white. You can watch these videos on your iphone, ipad, laptop or computer to target so many different skills! If you are worried about ads and unwanted images popping up during your lesson, I recommend watching Simon’s Cat videos with safetube. Safetube is free and allows parents and educators to watch videos without the ads. If you don’t have internet at your school site, there is now a Simon’s Cat comic book!! You can get it on amazon HERE. This is an amazon affiliate link.
Why I Love Simon’s Cat Videos For Speech Therapy
These videos are free. Less money to spend on Therapy materials.
There are a ton of videos. Seasonal themed and generic, so I can use them in speech therapy all year long.
Simon’s Cat videos can be adapted across a variety of ages. I have used them with 1st-8th grade. I am pretty sure they would be accepted among the high school ages too.
I like watching them. If I enjoy the resource, therapy always seems to be more exciting because I am excited to talk about the videos.
Simon’s Cat Videos can be used with mixed groups. Sometimes planning for each student in my mixed groups can be hard because I have to find separate activities and then manage the group to stay on task. By having one resource to cover everyone’s goals, on task behavior is higher.
The setting in the video is usually a Simon’s house and the characters are a man and a cat. I know that many of the videos my students have been exposed to the vocabulary, so I don’t have to spend a ton of time around scheme and background knowledge. Some of my students haven’t been certain places, so picking therapy materials that take that into consideration is helpful.
These videos are short! They are only 2-3 minutes in length, so you can get through them in a 30 minute session.
How To Simon’s Cat Videos In Speech Therapy
There are a lot of ways to use Simon’s Cat videos in speech therapy. I will either use the videos the entire session or we will do some work on individual goals for 15 minutes and then do a video as a group lesson for the next 10-15 minutes.
Articulation Speech Therapy Ideas
During the video, you can have the students write down or tell you words they saw or heard with their speech sound. After the video, they can say each word five times or use in a sentence. You can also write a cheat sheet of target words from the video.
The SLP can have the student answer comprehension questions from the video with their target speech sounds.
Summarize the video using the target words from the video with their best speech sounds.
Language Speech Therapy Ideas
Work on narrative comprehension and oral narration using these videos. Jot down some comprehension questions from the video prior to the students arriving to use to discuss the video. Have students work on story telling by adding on details to what would happen next if the video didn’t end. If you need some graphic organizers to help with this, grab this free set from KiwiSpeech HERE or Speech Time Fun’s summarizing graphic organizer HERE.
Teach and show vocabulary with these videos. The SLP can pick target vocabulary words to teach from the video. During the speech therapy session, target antonyms, synonyms, word associations, attributes and adjectives to describe items in the video.
Discuss the main idea of the video and work on making a new video title for the video.
Teach specific grammar concepts such as third person singular, pronouns, plurals, verb tense, and noun-verb agreement.
Social Skills Speech Therapy Ideas
What are they thinking about? Work on teaching that our eyes give people clues about what they are thinking about. Have your students identify what the character’s are thinking based on where their eyes are looking.
identifying emotions and non-verbal body language. Have your students explain how the characters are feeling and what clues they noticed such as eyes widening, smiling face, or body hunched over.
Perspective taking- work on students explaining what people could be feeling or thinking in the video.
Social inferences & predictions is a way for use to figure out what someone may do next, so we can figure out what to say or do in a social situation.
Conversation – have your students watch the video and then have them discuss what they liked/didn’t like about the video.
Thinking/Talking bubble – because these videos are wordless they are perfect for working on what people are thinking and what could be in their talking bubble. Make your own speech and thinking bubble on a dry erase board, or grab a dry erase think bubble from the dollar store or on amazon HERE. (amazon affiliate link provided).
Humor – these videos are very funny and are perfect to discuss why they are funny!
How would you use Simon’s Cat videos in speech therapy? I would love to hear your therapy ideas.
The Go Fish in speech therapy is staple game for the busy SLP. Kids love the game and you can adapt it to meet so many goals. Today, I want to share some new ways to play Go Fish in speech therapy.
True Confessions From This SLP
Want to know something? I can only play Go Fish so many sessions before I might go out of my mind! The kids absolutely love the game, but the redundancy of having to play it group after group after group drains my energy and enthusiasm. So, I try to play Go Fish during those busy times of the year when therapy planning time is cut in half. I also try to stagger when I play Go Fish, so that isn’t my lesson plan for an ENTIRE day.
New Ways To Play Go Fish In Speech Therapy
My first way you can spice things up with your Go Fish playing is to create “character” names for each student. For my social skills groups we just did it to get them laughing and initiating with peers during the game.
I was Taylor Swift because in a different life I was a pop princess. My kids were dying of laughter every time someone called them by their new “character” name. It increased engagement for my kiddos that don’t always want to initiate with peers. The next day, my SDC teacher told me that the kids could not stop talking about Go Fish. During our end of the year party, one of my students that needs prompts to initiate communication, came right up to me and said, “I want to play Go Fish today.” I would love to know how this twist goes in your therapy room! Tag me on Instagram @thedabblingspeechie and share your story!
Adapt the name cards to have your student’s target sound in the name!
For your articulation students, you can pick names that have their sound like Mr. Magee for /g/, Mrs. Flamingo for /l-blends/ and Mrs. Ridiculous for /r/. The crazier the better!
For your social skill students that need to work on using the appropriate voice volume in social situations, you can have them work on asking for cards with different voice volumes. You can also adapt this to work on changing your tone of voice to match certain emotions. I used my voice volume visuals from my Behavior Visuals For Students With Autism to help my students identify and model different voice volumes during Go Fish.
Bring in funny props for Go Fish In Speech Therapy
Who doesn’t love having goofy props around? #idontlookcrazyatall
Allow each student to wear the fun prop when it is their turn to ask a peer for a card. This is just to keep the session motivating and fun! I think this could also help some students understand their role during the game. The person wearing the big sunglasses is asking, while the other students wearing crowns are waiting their turn.
How To Make Go Fish Visual For Students
I have a few students that really struggle with understanding the rules of how to play Go Fish. There are too many steps to keep it all straight. My students on the Autism spectrum struggle with the quick transition between turns. This is why I made an easy visual guide for Go Fish. You can click the button below and download the free visual!
Sometimes SLP’s have use what they have in their speech rooms for therapy materials. SLP’s either have NO budget (appalling), or limited time to lesson plan because of their workload. I remember a college professor telling me that an SLP should be able to do therapy with just paper and a pencil. SLP’s are the queens and kings of finding amazing ways to use unconventional items. Today I want to talk about how to use paperclips in speech therapy!
My current speech budget situation
Currently I get $200 for supplies in my current school district. I know it isn’t much, but I will take whatever I can get! It took me three whole months to decide what I wanted to purchase. I was coveting that $200 with my life. Thank goodness my district uses amazon prime because I was able to find some affordable deals and get a good stash of materials. Luckily all the districts that I have worked for have been amazing at paying for trainings and/or materials when I really needed them to help my caseload. #sothankful
What to do when you aren’t given ANY money for supplies?
When we don’t have the funds for lots of materials, you have to get creative with finding resources to teach your students. Back when I first started my career there was no pinterest, TPT, or social media to help inspire me with therapy planning. Blogs were just starting to become something that people liked to do, and it wasn’t easy to find materials. Thankfully today we have so many easy ways to get ideas when we have LITTLE TO NO money.
Ways to Find FREE Ideas
Sign up for a pinterest account to search easy DIY therapy ideas. Follow lots of speech blogs at one time using bloglovin’ to get easy therapy ideas. Hallie Sherman from Speech Time Fun did a great blog post about using paperclips in speech therapy that you can check out HERE. Instagram is one of the best places to find fun therapy ideas from other SLP’s. You can search popular hashtags like #slpeeps #schoolslp or #slpbloggers. My handle is @thedabblingspeechie and my hashtag is #dabblingslp if you want to stay up to date with all the latest in my speech world.
Some easy tricks for acquiring therapy materials
Veteran SLP’s have given me advice that if you are allotted $100-200 per year, then use that money to stock up on cardstock, binders, pencils, laminating sheets, etc. Then, use your own personal money for items like games, books, and toys so you will have those therapy materials wherever you are placed. If you are looking for some resources that can help get you through, then read my blog post on How I would spend $100 on TPT. There is a free caseload therapy planner in that post. My caseload therapy planners helps SLP’s see what types of goals they are treating so the SLP can make sure to find specific materials for those goals. Need DIY therapy ideas? Follow my DIY Speech Therapy board on pinterest for new inspiration!
Let’s talk paperclips in speech therapy
Sometimes we have to use common items around our speech rooms because we ran out of lesson planning time. Or remember that beautifully thought out lesson you had ready for your therapy group and your little speechies would have nothing to do with it!? Those are the times that I have had to improvise and find WHATEVER I could to make the rest of the session engaging. Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most effective for ours students. Here are some ways that I have been using paperclips in speech therapy.
Monitoring Expected Vs. Unexpected Behaviors
Do you have students that need visual reminders to monitor their expected behaviors while you are teaching a lesson? Just write on a half sheet of paper or index card and slip paperclips on the expected or unexpected behavior visual. At the end of the session you can use that as data to determine how expected the student was during the session.
Using paperclips to hold during a conversation lesson
Have a social skills group working on conversational tasks? Write down visuals you want to use on index cards. Slip them on paperclips and you have easy to hold visuals! The students can hold up a “question” visual if they want to ask a question. When a student has to identify expected vs. unexpected in a social situation, the student can hold up the correct visual after the SLP reads the social situation.
Turn any deck of cards into magnetic fun
Busy Bee Speech gave me the idea to use my magnetic wand with paperclips. I placed paperclips on my Super Duper Card Decks and grabbed my magnetic wand. Students were able to pick stimulus cards using the magnetic wand. It adds a little fun to the activity! I printed up little gingerbread men and foxes to slide under the paperclips. If a student got a gingerbread man then they got to keep him. If they found a fox, then the fox ate their gingerbread man and they had to lose a gingerbread man.
With a thick popsicle stick (currently at your local dollar store), a magnetic strip (got this magnetic strip on amazon, Affiliate link included) and a set of paperclips, an SLP now has an engaging therapy tool! This DIY magnetic strip can be used as a behavior working for chart. It can also be used for counting speech productions.
After each 5-10 repetitions of a sound, the student gets to put a paperclip on the strip. Students can also work on their fluency enhancing strategies. Each paperclip could be a pacing visual while practicing sentences. The paperclips can also be used as a reminder to use easy onset. This can also be used for teaching the concepts “on” and “off”. So many things!
SLP’s can work on finding matches with word associations, categories, or multiple meanings. You can make paperclips with yarn or string. Just tie the strip at both ends to two paperclips. Place stimulus cards in a sensory bin or on the table. Have your students hunt for the matches. Once they find a match, they can slip them on the paperclips. Hands on activity for the win! I used my Mitten Match Up Sensory Bin activities with these paperclips.
How do you use paperclips in speech therapy? I would love to add some ideas to my stash!
Trying to get those 100+ trials during articulation therapy can be hard! Student motivation and mixed therapy groups can make it tough to get high repetitions. For myself, I need new ideas to keep it fresh and fun for ME! Telling a student to “say it again” in several articulation sessions can feel redundant. So, I have lots of articulation ideas that will get high repetitions to keep things productive for all parties involved.
Here are some fun ideas to get those 100+ repetitions in articulation therapy!
Articulation Ideas That Will Get High Repetitions
This DIY ZAP IT game is perfect for getting high repetitions. My students stay motivated the entire session. Write different numbers on popsicle sticks (make sure you put some high numbers like 10 and 15). Then, write zap a friend, zap 1, zap 2, etc. Stick the popsicle sticks in a bucket and have students pick a stick. If they pick a 15, they get 15 points and they have to say their speech sound 15 times. The person with the most points wins the game! HERE is a rule guide that you can print and reference during therapy.
Keep hands busy during articulation practice using a DIY abacus!
Adapting Games To Get High Repetitions In Articulation Therapy
Find games like Uno to use during articulation therapy. Play the game as the rules intended, but whatever card the student lays down, that is how many times they have to practice their speech sound. If the student gets a draw 4, make them practice 20 productions! Get creative with your “speech rules” for practicing during this game.
You can use a Toss Across Game (amazon affiliate link included) to get high articulation repetitions. Use post it notes and write numbers on the X’s and O’s. When the student throws the bean bag and hits an X or O, they have to say their articulation sound that many times.
Race To 100 game is a great way to get 100 productions and keep the session energy up! Put my Race to 100 game card in a plastic protective sheet or laminate. Grab a die (make your own with a wooden block, so you can add high numbers like 8, 10, 12, 15) and start rolling!
The Articulation Challenge is something I do with my speech students that like a little competition. I use my digital counters, my timer on my phone and my articulation flashcards for this activity. I tell my students that I am going to set the time and we are going to see how many productions we can get in 3 minutes. Then, I have them just start drilling. When the timer beeps, we check our score! Usually my students will see that they got well over 100 productions and will want to try again to see if they can beat their score. It is perfect for my 4th and 5th grade boys that like competition! My SH, CH, DJ, TH flashcards are FREE in my store.
These are my articulation ideas for getting high repetitions in therapy while keeping the FUN going. Next time, I am going to show you ideas for getting more repetitions at the sentence and conversational levels. Hope this was helpful!!