Monday, August 15, 2011
This Friday, I attended a conference in Orlando, FL for Reading with TLC. It is a program for reading that is a multisensory approach. It has ideas from Orton-Gillingham as well as LiPS. What is mainly different about it (that I LOVE) is the adorable letters! They use letters that have a mnemonic/story attached to each to help children remember the sounds connected. The stories really are cute, and easy to remember, and the kids that I have used it with have absolutely loved it.

Here is a quick snapshot I took with my phone of some of the letters:

They have a lot of information on their website. The program is relatively inexpensive to get the materials (how refreshing). The multisensory approach is a proven technique that works. Love that they took a proven method and added a twist to help it appeal to different children.

Check out their program. (By the way... training was only $25!! Watch for their condensed course -- totally worth it)

Visual Supports - Guess Who?

Another visual support I want to briefly mention is a "Guess Who?" support. Basically it is a one page print-out that guides children through questions to ask when playing the original version of Guess Who? I made this particular version with Boardmaker. I grouped items by the question starters (red), nouns/objects (bottom left), descriptive words (green), colors (yellow), and boy/girl. I put boy/girl seperate because that is such an important question! :)

Here is a picture as well as a video:

Visual Supports - Sentence Strips

Today I want to talk about a visual support -- sentence strips. Sentence strips are a great visual aid for working on asking/answering questions appropriately. What defines appropriately?
  • - Asking questions in the correct grammatical order -- "Can I have more please?" instead of "I can have more please?"
  • - Using questions to request for action and/or information -- if your child needs something, do they ask you with a question or simply tell you? (Think: "Juice please" versus "Can I have juice please?")
  • - Asking questions in conversation -- if your child has trouble thinking of things to talk to others about, conversational skills can be targeted by giving your child some visual supports on topics/questions they can discuss with others
  • - Answering questions in conversation -- if you ask a question, does your child respond appropriately?
* Keep in mind that certain types of questions (ex: Why) are not a skill that we expect very young children to be able to answer/ask appropriately... your SLP (or you, as an SLP!) will have to determine if this is an area that needs to be a focus in therapy.

Here are some pictures as well as a video showing sentence strips...

Monday, August 1, 2011
Okay, I'm going update crazy lately, but I did want to share this video. I have an office of my own at a pediatric private practice, and I am a decorator. Not professional of course -- it is more like I just feel comforted by organized clutter/decorations around me. I didn't want to decorate my office with anything that would be too distracting visually for my kids, and I wanted it to be something easy to do and cute looking.

Blik! (

Blik has vinyl wall decals that are awesome. There are lots of different designs available, but I chose this blowfish design (click here) and this removable/reusable alphabet design for a border (click here). I absolutely love them, and I filmed the process of me putting up the blowfish for those interested. On the pricey side, but it just brings a lot of warmth and happiness to the room.

Check out the video:
Product Review!

Here is a product review of the Gazillion Bubbles Bubble Cyclone!

To sum up the video, the bubble blower only gets an "okay" in my book. Not good for therapy. Too loud, too much trouble continuing and starting to make bubbles. It was cheap (~$6), but you get what you pay for in this case. Skip the loud one (although I believe I may have said it was okay in the video ;) ):

One of the unfortunate things I've learned from being a pediatric speech language pathologist....

... this is not a back friendly job.

Yes, like your spine/back. I guess I never thought about that as a "casualty" of the job, but it is really hard on your back to work with kids all day. Whether you choose to sit in a tiny chair (ouch my bottom), or to take a chair with a lever and lower it their level, you always somehow seem to have to scrunch up somehow and kinking your back 9 times out of 10. Which brings me to a tip for parents and new SLPs/graduate students --

don't be afraid to get on their level!

Yes. You are going to climb on the floor.
Yes. You will squish your legs under that child-sized table.
Yes. You will maneuver yourself like you are pop-locking to get some quality eye contact.

But boy, oh boy does it make a difference! Getting "down on their level" means that you are sure that you are eye to eye (preferably) or at least close so you can be sure they are paying attention, understanding what you are saying, and sharing attention on the same objects. If you can't get good eye contact with your child, or if you can't at least see the child's face, you have no clear indication of confusion, or small signs that the child is becoming overwhelmed. Sometimes just seeing a little uncertainty on a child's face will give you a clue to take it back a step and prevent a major meltdown due to frustration.

So my fellow Speechies -- Get down like James Brown!

And... if anyone has any suggestions for ways to sit more comfortably, do let me know ;)