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,