3 Year Blogging Birthday GIVEAWAY!

3rd blogging birthday cover picIt’s been 3 years since I started my blog and I am still loving every minute of it!! I know I am a better SLP because of my followers who continue to encourage me through your comments and faithfully reading about my speech shenanigans.  My favorite part of this whole journey is being able to relate to so many SLP’s out in the field from ALL over the country!

I wanted to do a little giveaway, so get ready for your chance to win BIG. (amazon affiliate links included)

interactive articulation bundleOne lucky winner will win my interactive articulation flip book BUNDLE!

sneaky squirrelAnother lucky SLP will win their own copy of the Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game and my I’m A Nut Language game that is a companion to use with the game.

You may also win this BRAND new laminator!!

I want to help all of you with getting in some good drill and kill with your articulation students.  I just ordered these and they are going to be great for getting my kids to say their sound with amounts of trials!!  I wanted to hook up another SLP with a set.

There will be 4 winners!!  This is my “thank you” for all your support and encouragement.  Keep rockin’ it out there are your sites!

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Expected and Unexpected Behaviors: A Quick Tip On How to Work On Self Monitoring Skills

I use the vocabulary terms expected and unexpected behaviors from Social Thinking to identify behaviors students are exhibited in different social situations. Expected and unexpected behaviors allows me to acknowledge and praise my students when they are being “expected” for the situation as well as directly let them know when they are being unexpected without lecturing them for 2 minutes about why something is not okay to do.

expected vs. unexpected behaviorsLast year at the middle school, I primarily used expected vs. unexpected terms with my social emotional students as well as my students with social skill deficits.  They learned the terms very quickly; however, when I would verbally point out their behavior (both good and not so good), I got two responses.  I either received defensive comments and student denial about the action/words/tone of the behavior or continued behavior in which I was verbally monitoring their behavior throughout the entire session.

As I would further explain how my students behavior was making me feel, I was met with resistance, rude overtures and sometimes escalated behaviors.  Most people don’t like to be told they are being unexpected! The struggle with our students with social skill deficits is that they do not naturally pick up on social cues to adjust their behavior independently.  SOMEONE has to call them out, so they can learn to survive in the world. Most jobs rely heavily on being able to successfully interactive with other people and if you fail at that, it doesn’t matter if you are an amazing at your job because people remember how they feel rather than the actual job that was performed.

expected vs. unexpected behaviorsI decided that I would implement a visual monitoring system, so that I could take informal data about the percentage of time the student was exhibiting expected behavior, provide a visual cue (so, I could reduce verbal cues aka lectures), and use as an incentive to point out successes with expected behaviors.  Download my easy template HERE or just click on the photo above.  I just glued to construction paper and laminated, so I could use a dry erase marker with it.

During the session, I let the student know that I will be visually tracking their behavior. If they have more unexpected behaviors than expected, they do not earn their incentive (for my higher students, I did 5 stars = hot cheetos, jolly rancher, ipad time, game, etc).  As I see behaviors, I mark expected or unexpected.  If they are being unexpected, I mark unexpected and ignore undesirably comments/behaviors.  I quickly try to mark expected to show the student that I am notice both good and bad behaviors.

With one student in particular, every time I tried to explain that his comments were sounding very rude, I would get a big argument about how he was not doing A,B, or C.  I got the okay from parents to address his behaviors with the terms kind words/tone vs. rude words/tone.  This student would either use rude words or he would say something in a very rude tone for very minimal things such as “I don’t want to play a game” or “I will not seat over there.” I did the exact same system and did not verbally engage the student when I marked rude comments.  He quickly figured out that he had to adjust his behavior to kind because he really didn’t like seeing marks on the rude side. This worked for most of my students, but some students may escalate in behavior if they see the “negative” side, so that is something to consider when using this.

How do you work on self monitoring skills? I would love to add more tools in my toolbox!

The dabbling speechie



Race to 100- Articulation Drill Games


What articulation drill games do you use in therapy? I am always trying to find articulation drill games to keep my kids motivated to practice their articulation sounds over and over again!  Heck, I need motivation to stay encouraged. Do you know how many times a day I use the phrase “say your ____ sound 10 more times”? After the third articulation group, I need a piece of chocolate!  I totally feel like this speech pathologist when it comes to running articulation groups! The kids get tired of using picture cards fast, so it’s great when I come up with something fun!!

untitled I thought of a fun game to “trick” my students into producing their sound 100 times…muhaaahhhhhh!

articulation drill games

My game is called RACE TO 100.  I took a wooden block and taped different numbers to each side of the block.  When the students roll the die, they get to color or check off that number of spaces as well as practice their speech sound that many number of times.  Whoever gets to 100 first is the winner! Click on the photo above to grab my game template or you can grab it HERE!

How do you keep articulation therapy fun and motivating?

The dabbling speechie (3024)


Articulation And Language Screener Flip books!

speech and language screenersTo screen or not to screen…that is often the question that SLP’s face in the school setting.  Articulation and language screener tools can be very helpful in managing your caseload! I know some SLP’s have to screen all kindergarten students, so these tools can really help you get that done in a timely manner.

12027617_486114451570224_7172577827782317930_nToday, I wanted to link up with Twin Speech Language, & Literacy about how I use my newest resource….my articulation and language flip book screeners!

Many moons ago, I screened all 5 of my kindergarten classrooms, which took a WHOLE day!  I spent all that time screening 100 kindergarteners to determine that I had 2-3 possible students to assess. The majority of the students I screened were bilingual with kindergarten being their first exposure to English. After that experience, I decided to utilize my time a little differently with screenings. Currently, I like to spend my time educating staff on the qualifications for special education and the developmental milestones for sounds and language skills based on age/grade. In California, there are many different cultures and languages spoken, so I share a lot of information about English as Second Language development.

By spending that time communicating with staff about speech and language development, it helped reduce the number of referrals I get. I also like to utilize the Student Study Team (SST) process to help gather more information about a student and make sure the student is receiving general education interventions before moving towards a speech and language referral. My current district does allow me to informally screen, so I made an articulation and language screener flip book to use this year!

Typically, I use it with students where the SST team, parent and/or teacher have noticed some red flags with communication or language.  Often times, I will have the teacher fill out a referral form before determining if a screening is necessary. I use referral forms from Sublime Speech (FREE) and they are very thorough!

If the teacher indicates multiple sound errors or many different areas of weakness in language, then I usually will ask the teacher to speak with the parent about me informally screening them.  I have parents fill out a consent form and then I screen the child.  My interactive articulation and language screener flip books are not normed and are designed to be a tool to gather informal assessment data. If there are language concerns, I typically follow the SST intervention guidelines and give recommendations for general education interventions before moving forward with further assessment.  In California, based on educational law, schools have to show interventions implemented in the least restrictive environment before moving forward with looking at special education services.

Each screener comes with parent consent forms, and 2 recording forms that go with the flip books (photocopy front and back).  There is an area to mark recommendations after you finish the screener.

articulation screenerMy articulation screener helps me to determine if the sound errors are developmental and to see if there are multiple errors or just 1-2 errors.  This helps me to determine if the student’s speech development can be met in the classroom, in an RTI 6 week intervention or if further assessment is warranted.  I also used this tool with a couple of new TK and kindergarten students to get a quick baseline on where they were with meeting their goals for the year.

language screener 2

I really love my language screener because the information from the screener can help the SST team and teacher determine which language areas need to be addressed in the classroom. We can see how the child progresses as the teacher implements strategies throughout the day. If you laminate the pages, you can have the students use dry erase markers with some of the items, such as “circle the plate with more cookies”. The screener took me about 10 minutes to administer and it saves me time by having some solid information to share with parents and teachers without having to conduct a full assessment that can take me upwards of 4 plus hours to complete.  How do you handle screenings in your school district? (1251)


The SLP’s of Graduate School- Which Personality Are YOU?

slps of graduate schoolWhether you are in graduate school currently or you graduated 20 years ago, we all remember the peers we attended school with!  In some ways being apart of the SLP graduate program was much like a sorority/fraternity experience.  You had the same set of students along side you for 2-4 years!  I don’t know about you all, but when you spend time with people for long chuncks of time you begin to see parts of their personality exposed….think of this post as like the yearbook awards for SLP’s….in each set of graduate students, there certain people that embody special traits that make them unforgettable.  For those out in the field, let’s take a walk down memory lane….for those that are still IN graduate school, this just may be a validation that what you have been thinking about select peers in your class do exist!

The moocher– You are the student that manages to NEVER take notes or read the chapters for homework, but always manages to get A’s on the test because you finagled a way to get the notes from others.  You never reciprocate and almost bank on the fact that SOMEONE will hook you up with what you need to study for on the test. Guess what!? People notice your behavior and we always want to help, but please…make sure you pay it forward.  No one’s gonna write your IEP’s for you, so you better start taking responsibility!

The Front Seat Lurker– This is the student who is ALWAYS in the front seat for EVERY. SINGLE. CLASS. Do you think you will take better notes if you are in the front row? My advice, try sitting in the 2nd or 3rd row every other class.  It’s healthy to blend in every once in a while.

The Know-It-All– We get it!  You were out in the field working as an aide at a school and now know all those fancy terms that we will soon learn and master!  You just have 6 months on us!  This could also be the student that was the smartest kid in his/her class (probably in GATE, gifted and talented education), who later went on to attend 8 years of college at a prestigious college. After becoming having a very promising career as lawyer, they decide to go BACK to school to find a new work path. So, here they are, spending another 4 years in school to pursue a degree in speech pathology all the while torturing us in class by randomly sharing out facts and tidbits from the chapter that they read the night before.

Miss 20 questions- (this is never a guy… even if there is a guy in your program, he is completely preoccupied with trying to multitask…that is actively listening to the lecture WHILE taking notes)…GIRL, we all have things we are confused about and eager to ponder, but we just want to get finished with class on time.  There are PLENTY of questions to ask your admin once you are out in the schools because you will NEVER get the same answer twice. You know that curriculum Social Thinking?  Well, when you ask MORE than 5 questions during a class lecture, 80% or more of your peers are thinking “annoying” thoughts about you. Just sayin’…….

The Triple Threat– You all know her well.  No, she isn’t the front seat lurker, know it all and miss 20 questions wrapped into one!  That is a WHOLE different kind of triple threat. She is the amazing therapist that all the professors use as examples in their lectures, has straight A’s and writes flawless reports.  She has all her homework done a week ahead of time and all the professors love her!  You can’t even hate her because she is the most genuine person that truly has a heart for serving people.

The Mother Hen-This is the student who decided to go back to school after being a homemaker for her children or was working in a different field.  These are the students that know all the developmental milestones and can relate to clients because they learned how to interact with kids after raising their own.  You always wondered how they have time to study because they had a family and/or job when you barely had time to turn in your latest assignment.

The Procrastinator– You are the one that is frantically typing out your S.O.A.P. notes 15 minutes before your client arrives. You cram for every test with all nighters, finish reports hours before they are due and get whatever is left in the “clinic” therapy materials room because all the “triple threats” reserved all the good toys a week a head of time.

Material Girl– This is the chick that has a closet FULL of games and fun materials that she just “collected” along the way during undergraduate classes, so she was prepared.  She’s the one that asked her family for a cricut, binder maker, laminator and God knows what else for Christmas and birthdays, so she has enough supplies when is “out in the field”. Did you know that schools have supplies on site like dicuts, laminators, paper cutters, photo copiers and MUCH more.  Currently, she is your friend with a TPT store and/or the one with the MOST TPT products ever!

The Brown Noser– if you want to make the professor brownies on her birthday and visit all the professors during their office hours to try to find out what will be on the tests, and make them like you more, be my guest! I ain’t got time for dat!

The Token Male– We are all questioning if he got in the program because of skills and grades or because he is the ONLY male in the program and the college needs to show that there is diversity in the work place. We either think he is a slacker or want to be in his clique because he brings a sense of calm when surrounded by so much estrogen……..Hmmmmm?

The Back Seat DriverThe backseat drivers are the SLP’s who choose not to engage in all the drama and sit in the back of class. They have a tendency to think outside of the box and achieve in ways not measured in class. These are the students that have tremendous talent, but may get overlooked in the program. Don’t worry you kick butt out in the field!

The worry wart– I know lots of SLP’s that get anxious and worry…I think it is a natural thing because we want to do a good job in grad school!  The worry wart is the student who is stressing about EVERYTHING.  She spends the week fretting about if she got a 92% verses a 95% on latest exam.  While festering about her grades, she is computing all the points she has to get to get an A rather than an A- because an A- would ruin her GPA.

The Data Queen– This student probably was an ABA consultant before she decided to become an SLP or have serious type-A tendencies.  She/He has data forms and charts for just about everything.  This student can tell you how long the child’s attention span is, how well the child did when given a verbal and visual prompt and if they faded or added more prompts.  They have 9 different objectives per therapy session and data for all of them.  Have you ever heard of something called clinical judgement?  Try keeping that practice up when you have caseload of 60.  I wish you great success!

All in all, here’s the deal….I was having a little fun “labeling” you all, but let me tell you this!  Without all those unique personalities, I would never have discovered WHO I was as a clinician.  Miss 20 questions made me more comfortable with asking questions when I didn’t know the answer, the moocher reminded me that it is okay to ask for help, the front seat lurker always kept me on my toes, the triple threat inspired me to be a better clinician, the brown noser taught me to advocate for myself, and the token male helped me remember to just BE me. The mother hen taught me to look at the whole person when working with clients and the data queen instilled the importance of good data to help measure progress. The know-it-all taught me all the important facts and best practices for our field. If you embraced their smarts, they can be the best friends!

If you are still in graduate school, let me encourage you by sharing this…..once you graduate, the stress of being THE BEST SLP in your class dissipates. All your peers are on the same playing field.  You are colleagues! You will begin to realize how you miss them and wish for some of those times back. So, instead of being jealous, annoyed, weirded out or whatever, embrace the future clinicians in your group!  Some of my best friends came from my graduate program and they are people I don’t know if I would have had as close friends otherwise.

Which personality are you?  Better yet, can you guess which personality I was in graduate school?

The dabbling speechie (10333)

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