Monday, 28 December 2015

Did I Buy the Right Toys?

 Did I Buy the Right Toys?
Since it's right after Christmas, and we've all spent a small fortune on buying toys for our children, I'm wondering if we've bought the right kind of toys? 

Most families are buying video games, computers & talking electronic "things" to entertain our children. But I ask, is that the way to go? I read this article and found it interesting: Parents Are Buying their Kids All the Wrong Toys.

From what I've read and know from the speech world is that the best toys are ones that entice curiosity, promote joint attention, social skills and increase vocabulary. I am going to give you some ideas on what kind of targets I've used with these toys but remember you are playing with your kids not providing speech therapy (unless you are :).  

A few tips when playing with your kids:
1. Get on the floor- play with your kids down at their level. Sit down, lay on the floor, whatever, just get down to their level so they can see your face and especially your mouth.

2. Don't Ask too Many Questions. Parents often ask too many yes or no questions where there is a right and wrong answer. Open ended questions are better because they encourage conversation. Questions like: "where are the people going", "what are they going to do next" are best. 
A good rule of thumb is to ask 1 question and then make 10 statements- this ensures  you aren't going into "testing mode" with your child.

3. Response time. If you do ask questions give the kids time to respond. Don't answer for them unless you have waited and don't get a response. Wait 5-10 seconds and only fill in the information if your child is "stuck."

4. Model- model correct grammar and correct articulation of all sounds. If you child uses irregular past tense incorrectly you don't have to point it out just repeat the phrase correctly. Child,"I goed there." Parent "ohh you went there." For sounds, this is a great time for your child to see and hear great speech models.

Here is what I bought my kids:

1. Playmobil School Bus- This is great for using prepositions, and verbs (in, open, walking, driving, going, etc)! It lights up and my son, Buggy, absolutely adores it! He is just a year and is able to put the people in the bus and can make the lights turn on! 

2. Cars and Boat for bath time- The boat with cars in the bath tub is another great language opportunity. You have their undivided attention and they are usually happy in the water. I use this toy to talk about prepositions and descriptive words (in, open, wet) and colors.  You can also use following directions, depending on the age of your child. 

3.American Doll- This is a great one for older children. You can use the doll to ask a lot of open ended questions and target social skills. She is going to school- what do we do at school? How should we behave in the class? What would we do if....? Or just play!

4. People- my kids have Loving Family People and the house and they love them. Santa got the house a few years ago and I think it is the most used toy in our house. It is so great to target anything. You can play with the people and work on verbs, prepositions, possessives, and so much more! Love the house and people.
Warmest wishes for the Holiday Season,

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Function First Pediatrics

Function First Pediatrics
I found this company that provides OT, speech and physio for children to help reach goals that are functional. It also involves the parent to help build capacity!
Another great Albertan Service, I love it!

I love the idea of the company providing service to fill in the gap for families. 


Saturday, 19 December 2015

Retro Toy

Remember these??
I do! I'm showing my age a bit... I think one of my cousins had one and we pretended to take pictures with it. Back then, having your own camera was a BIG deal! ha ha

Recently, a neighbour gave me some of her kids toys that she had lying around her house. Her kids are grown so some of the toys were old and really cool. They reminded me of my childhood...Remember the view finder???
In the box was this old fisher price camera that has about 20 pictures. The pictures are all related to the zoo. There are mostly animals but a few other pictures that are related to zoo vocabulary.
I don't know about you, but the first thing I dis was  go into speech mode and thought how can I use this in speech...???
I came up with a thousand ideas... Ok not quite but a few!

1. Talk about the attributes of each animal. 

2. Compare and contrast 2 animals. You and your student can look through the camera & then each of you can choose an animal. Then name animals and talk about how they are the same and how they are different.

3. Phonemic awareness- talk about the beginning, ending & middle sound of each animal. (Use the smaller animal names depending on child's skill level- like ape instead of gorilla).
Have the kids come up with another animal (or word) that starts with the same sound as the animal. 

4. Articulation- work on their sound at the phrase level. Choose a word with their sound and turn it into a carrier phrase. For example- sue has a gorilla, sue has a zebra,sue has a peacock..,etc.

5. Grammar- use verb tenses with each picture. For example: yesterday the ape sat. Plurals: I see 2 tigers.

I love it & the best part was this retro toy was free!!! Keep an eye out for free and cheap products from friends and garage sales.

Thanks, Olive!
Do you have any retro finds that are good for speech?

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Santa, Santa!

Santa, Santa...

Santa, Santa What Do You See 
Hey Fellow Speechies

A few winters ago I made a Santa, Santa book. I recently re-vamped the entire book and have it free!
In the book are writing templates, beginning sounds, sequencing and many more activities!

Take a look and download it quick!
It is in my store!

Happy Holidays

Friday, 11 December 2015

Screening Process

Hey Everyone!!
Many schools screen their students in kindergarten. I have been working with a principal and talking about how we can make the screening process more successful. We want to screen everything from speech, language, & hearing to vision. There is even talk about screening OT and behaviour. Now I don't know enough about these areas to even know if that's possible so....
I'm asking a questions about how your school/district carries out screenings?

I want your feedback and ideas on how we can make it more comprehensive so we don't miss any child and also so we aren't assessing kids who have skills that are age appropriate.

I would love it if you commented below or to remain anonymous  you can email me at

My Questions:

What does your school do? How does it work?

What do you like about how your school handles the screening process?

What do you dislike?
A cool Christmas door at one of the schools I provide service to! :)

Do you have any great ideas that you would like to implement for the screening process?


Sunday, 6 December 2015

Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension

One of the biggest questions I get from my upper elementary school teachers how can I help with reading comprehension. I made this handout for teachers to give to students to guide them before, during and after reading. 
It includes work on schema, characters, setting, problems, resolution, main idea and more!
I have also included some cute bookmarks- there are also color friendly black and white copies too!
It will only be free for a few hours so grab it while its hot!!!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Gift of Gab Favorites!!!

Gift of Gab Favorites!!

Recently some SLP's collaborated and Activity Tailor and Speech Room News put out an eBook for Christmas. I went through it and I wanted to post some of my favorite freebies from that book!

Thank you Activity Tailor!

GOG 2016 cover 

1. I love this handout!! I have used it at some of my schools and plan to put it in all the staff rooms! Many of the teachers are unaware of speech, language, the difference between them and all of the "speechy" terms. It is such an colorful, reader friendly way to explain speech terminology! Thank you Beautiful Life Speech! 
Difference between Speech and Language

 2.Marisha McGrorty made these cute stickers! They are so cute and I plan on getting a few more, so great for the little guys! Who doesn't love sticker! Great idea! :)
 Interactive Articulation Stickers

3. Last but certainly not least, Alberta Speech made this cute sport sort!I may be partial to her work since she is a fellow Albertan, but this activity is a great freebie! It is a very clear and cute activity and it has luging on it!!Love it!

 Sport Sort Summer v. Winter Categorization Activity 

What were your favorites from the Gift of Gab! Thank you to all the SLP's who contributed!

Merry Christmas, 

Monday, 30 November 2015

/k/ in the classroom

Many times I have had teachers ask me how to target a sound that many students in their class are not saying correctly and it got me thinking....
 K in the Classroom

A little bit of background- I live in northern Alberta and here services are provided through the health region or they contract private speech services. The health region provides services to schools (free the cost is covered by the Alberta Government) but there are so many schools and students that need services that some schools only receive a few months of service per year. This means that SLP time is at a premium and we need to start targeting some goals in the classroom. I know teachers are already busy and overworked so I wanted to make something easy for them to use, and print so it would be more likely that they would use it and their students would benefit from it. I wanted the pack to be clear and laid out step by step but also to have educational benefit. 

I came up with this idea that can be given to teachers and worked on in the classroom. Each activity is designed to need little prep and be carried out in just a few minutes.
I am planning on making a few more that target common errors like /s/, /sh/, ...? 

Do you have any ideas of a sound that you would like me to target? Comment below!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Cyber Monday Sale 2015: What’s In Your Cart? Linky

What's in your cart linky party

1080 × 1080 

Cyber Monday Sale 2015: What’s In Your Cart? Linky

It's Sale Time again and I am Linking up with The Speech Room News!

Here are  few items from my store!
 Pronouns- Receptive and Expressive Activities

 Vocabulary- Associations, What Doesn't Belong, and Categorization

Elf  Speech & Language Activities

Here is what is in my cart!!!

1.Cycles for Speech Therapy FCD
Gold Country SLP has this cycles approach for highly unintelligible children! I need it and can't wait to see how the kids progress!

2.Interactive Articulation FLIP BOOKS For /prevocalic r, ar,
I need this for one of my online therapy students! /r/ here we come!

3.Speech-Language Therapy Explanation Handouts for Parents &
If there ever was a way to save time and reduce frustration, I think this is it!! Thank you! Can't wait to copy this again and again!!!

Dollar Store Idea!!

Dollar Store!

Are all of you out there trying to provide engaging, quality therapy on a budget? Me too!!

My first stop is the $$ store (my second is Walmart!). Recently I found a cute way to get my early language learners to talk using foam stickers.
These little guys are small so they love to have the control over the stickers and the freedom to make arts and crafts the way they choose so you can even use this activity as reinforcement. 

I found these farm themed stickers and use them to have the kids make a picture. While they are decorating, I talk about the animals, their attributes, and so on...
To get them talking I do a lot of leaving of the ends of there is no pressure on the little guys!
They are happy, I am happy and get them talking! It's a win win!!


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Phonemic awareness- Lakeshore Learning

Fill in the Blank Phonemic Awareness Product 

Recently I purchased this product from LL. I love working on phono! 

A few years ago I was part of a program where an SLP was doing research on kindergartners. She was researching  to see if kindergarten ages children, who had severe speech and language skills, were able to make speech progress by following a phonemic awareness program. 

I provided the treatment for the program & I worked with 5, 5 year old children for 20 hours, in 30 minute sessions. At the end of the program, not only were the children able to read, but they had also made progress in their speech skills. This was amazing progress considering they had previously been PUF kids (in Canada these children have (both) severe speech & language skills and qualify for funding for an aide).

The program targeted segmenting, blending, deleting and manipulating phonemes. I like this LL product because it has a lot of ideas and activities that were useful with that program. They help build a good foundation of strong reading  skills.

This product contains many activities that would have been useful when I was providing that program! It contains an activity on rhyming, beginning sounds and ending sounds. It also comes in a handy tin case and uses magnets! The tin case is sturdy, which I love!!

What products do you use to help your reading/phono kids?


Saturday, 21 November 2015

Speech Sound Desk Reminder

Hey Everyone!

Happy Saturday! I have been super busy lately...I am working with 5 schools and also have on-line clients so I haven't been able to post as much as I normally do...
I love the internet! There are so many useful resources and ideas out there, what did we do before??!!
Oh my gosh, good thing I wasn't in the speech world back then....

I have a few kids who need a reminder to keep producing their sound in the classroom. You know those kids! The one who is at 100% in conversation and then as soon as he steps out of the speech room BAM it's, gone!! UGH, frustrating. I made these templates for those kids: first they can decorate them and then place them on their desk or if they are more comfortable they can take them home and put them on the fridge. You can also turn this into a quick activity as you introduce the sound they are working on.

It is free now and forever so take a look, follow my shop and leave me some feedback. What do you use to promote carryover for your students? 
Comment below!


Monday, 16 November 2015

Pronoun Clip Cards

I made these cute clip cards for speech therapy but you can also use them as a center activity or writing task cards in the classroom. 
I found these cute little mustaches at the Dollar Store! They are so cute and I know the kids will love them! If a few get broke or lost- no biggie because there were 5 in pack!
I hope you like them!~
Only $1 in my store~


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Favorite Speech Videos- part 4

The Dreaded /r/ 

I have a client who can make the /r/ sound but its is a little hollow- you know that kid. On a 1-10 scale its about a 4- just about there but not quite, so I went searching on the internet. I found a lot of little r tricks to help out my guy!!
I found this video and it is a 3 part series and it really helped strengthen my guys /r/ sound.
Take a look and tell me what you think...?

Thank you Alida Engel

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Interactive Book

My First Interactive Book

A few weekends ago, you can tell by the pumpkin, I got all of all my craft supplies and made my first interactive book. It's a community helpers book by Alison floors. She did a guest blog post on her favorite therapy materials a while back! 

I have been hearing all the hype about these interactive books and wanted to try one for myself. I looked around and found one that I really liked. Allison's Community Helpers Interactive book  has really cute graphics and has a lot of activities in it. It has a small fold-able reader & also has a following directions segment to use with the interactive book.

 **the interactive book, the PDF includes:
- 16 “who” cards
- 9 “what” cards
- 9 “when” cards
- 9 “why” cards
- “Where” mini-book with fill-in blanks
- Matching community helpers to their work location worksheet
- 18 “Who am I?” inference cards
- 1 reinforcer activity to use with flash cards
- 1-step, 2-step, and 3-step directions for student to follow using the interactive book
- Work on categorization skills by sorting people/vehicles/items into correct scenes

 Interactive Book: Community Helpers
 I am really looking forward to using this with some of my kids!!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Winter Pack

 Winter Speech Pack

Check out my new Winter Pack! 
Included are activities for pronouns, beginning, ending and middle sounds, categorization and following directions! It is free but not for long!

 Winter Speech PackWinter Speech PackWinter Speech Pack
 Remember to follow my shop because almost all of my products are free for the first day!


I am so excited!! I made my own app!!

And it's free!!

 iPhone Screenshot 2

  Who knew, technologically inept me??? Well it was pretty easy... but anyway! There are some really cool freebies on it and ways to contact me for private speech therapy and a great deal too! Check it out here on Google Play and iTunes!
iPhone Screenshot 1 




I can't wait to figure out how to add more things to it! 


Monday, 9 November 2015

My Favorite Therapy Materials - Guest Blog Post

Alison Fors is an SLPA & I really liked the products from her store so I contacted her and asked her to do a guest blog post for me. She said... yes!! Thank you!!

Allison Fors - I have been working as a speech-language pathology assistant since 2011. I have primarily worked in pediatrics with diagnoses of autism, Down syndrome, and developmental delays. In addition, I have worked with grades K-12 in schools.

Thank you Allison!!! Check out her shop and she has posted a flash freebie!

{FLASH FREEBIE} Fall Object Function

My Favorite Therapy Materials
I love exchanging favorite therapy tools with fellow speech therapistsHere are some of my favorites that are inexpensive, reach a broad age spectrum, and can be adapted for many kids and goals
 iPhone Screenshot 1

This app is amazing – it’s extremely functional and interactive.You are able to explore and manipulate everything in this detailed doll houseJump on the trampoline, grow carrots, put a different CD in the music player, blow bubbles, or feed the fish! The options and language opportunities are endless. 
I’ve targeted just about every goal with this app: vocabulary, actions, following directions, verb tenses, plurals, pronouns, prepositions, sentence structure, sequencing, and discussing/acting out social routines and scenarios. It also works as a fantastic reward, in which you can easily continue reinforcing concepts!
I have yet to meet a child who does not like this game. I’ve used it with kids anywhere from 2-10 years old. There are also My Play Home Stores and My Play Home School apps. All connect to each other and the people and items are accessible within each separate appIt’s really fun to walk out of the house and down the street to the school or stores. Go buy new clothes, walk home and put them in the closets!
The apps costs $3.99 but there is a free version (My Play Home Lite) if you wish to download it first to check it out. The Lite version is also a great option for parents to download and use at home for carryover. 

Sensory Bins
 Image result for sensory bins

Sensory bins are a tactile experience in a container usually filled with beans, rice, noodles, beads, corn or sand. They are extremely easy to make. I like to use Sterilite plastic bins with lids, but you can use any container and any size. Then add any filler and any objects – toys, spoons, strainers, plastic eggs, rakes. You can make them themed for the time of year or for a particular unit. There are tons of sensory bin ideas online if you need inspiration.
I love sensory bins because they are different from anything else I use in therapy and easily make a boring activity fun with minimal preparation. I have used sensory bins for tiny ones targeting joint attention – playing with me, making eye contact, imitating actions (scooping, shaking, etc), or practicing simple verbs (in, out, open, close). I use them for older kids as well by hiding items to find – for example, articulation cards, toy people to practice pronouns, or wind-up toysIf you haven’t yet, try out a sensory bin in therapy!

 Image result for puppets
Puppets may seem like a tool for young children only but I’ve been surprised at how well they have worked with school-aged children by helping build rapport or addressing difficult things you may not want to bring direct attention toKeep in mind you can use not just puppets, but any stuffed or favorite toys (e.g. angry birds, Mario/Luigi, Minecraft, princess dolls, car). Here are some examples of how I use puppets:
Selective mutism/shy children:  Puppets have helped me connect with children who are reluctant to talk and play. Talking to a child via a puppet, or giving them a puppet to communicate (pointing, nodding, talking) with can be less intimidating for them. I have even had children bring their favorite stuffed toy to our session and will talk to the toy instead of directly to the child (e.g. “Minnie Mouse, where is the lion?”).
Stuttering: I use puppets to give examples of “smooth” and “bumpy” speech, and then I have the child identify the type of speech themselves and teach the puppet strategies for fluent speechAnother strategy is allowing them to talk vicariously through a puppet, which may take pressure off of them and help reduce disfluent speech. 
Social skills: Using puppets to act out social situations can be a good way to teach pragmatics without negatively singling out the child’s social skills. Demonstrate good and poor social behaviors and interactions, and have them use a puppet as well to role play and practice social routines! 

Pop-Up Pirate! Game 

This is a very simple, exciting game by Tomy that I use as a motivator and pair with a typically boring activity, like drill work. For example, answer a question and then take a turn. In this game there is pirate inside a barrel. You take turns putting colorful swords in the slots of the barrel. According to the game rules, if the pirate pops up on your turn then you’re out. Often times I just mark the end of the game when the pirate pops up – they always find it hilarious!  

Thanks again, Allison!! :)

Allison & Mindy!