Saturday, April 5, 2014

Teaching Saint Patrick's Day to Pre-K

Saint Patrick's Day has a very interesting history that most people don't realize-a holiday that goes beyond pots of gold at the end of rainbows.  I think it is important that children are exposed to true history, no matter how old!

I couldn't find a simple printable book (or anything, really) that explained St. Patrick's Day in 4-year-old I decided to create my own!

After reading it as a group the kids made their own leprechaun! 

What you'll need:
  • Glue
  • Paper Bag
  • 2 Googley eyes
  • Hat, beard, eyebrows, shamrock cut outs from construction paper
I like creating a sample of the craft ahead of time so that the kids have a model to copy for their own creations.

The leprechauns turned out great!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Teaching Waiting-Stop and Count to Two

This is a great handout on how to teach children waiting strategies and patience.

In the classroom:
Read the handout to the children.  Ask them if they've ever had to wait for something they have wanted.  Go beyond the puzzle example and come up with a list of other activities that they can do while waiting for a turn.
Then send one home with their parents so that they can implement the strategies at home.

(Note that I have no ownership over this handout)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

SLP Graduation Cap

I just graduated this past December from Texas Christian University with a BS in SLP and a minor in psychology!  I wanted to create a unique and fun cap that represented my time at TCU.

Utilizing my dad's graphic design skills we came up with the following:

The background of the cap reads "speech language pathologist" in IPA.  The circle in the middle is the ASHA logo.  It's black, purple, and white-for school spirit of course!  And I went to work with my glue gun adding some bling!

I loved how it turned out and the best part was seeing it on the big screen during commencement!

 Next stop . . . grad school

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Welcome To Holland-a beautiful poem describing what it's like having a child with special needs

Welcome to Holland
By Emily Perl Kingsley (1987)

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." 

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Parking Lot Sight Word Game

I use this game to target sight words...but it could be used to target several other speech-language topics.

What are sight words anyway? Sight words are commonly used words that young kids are encouraged to memorize.  Memorization of these simple words will help with reading down the road.
What you'll need:
  • Toy Car
  • Parking lot board (feel free to drag the photo of my board into a word document or create your own!)

In Therapy:
Tell your client a sight word and have him "park" his toy car into the correct parking space.
Example below:

Say the word "and"

Have your client park his car into the "and" space

This activity is super easy to create and kids love it!  A great way to get them to start memorizing their sight words.

Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes

We targeted past tense regular verbs with these fun thanksgiving turkey cupcakes!

What you'll need:

  • Cupcake mix (and other ingredients per instructions on packet)
  • Frosting (I used chocolate)
  • M&Ms (for the eyes)
  • Candy corn (for the feathers and beak)
  • Cupcake liners
  • Cupcake holder/paper plate
  • Knife to spread the frosting

You'll need to bake the actual cupcakes in advance (unless you have access to an oven and lots of time with your client in therapy)

Note: Due to time constraints in therapy, I actually baked, frosted, and decorated most of the cupcakes in advance.  My client frosted and decorated only 2 cupcakes in therapy, allowing  time for maximum verb production.

In Therapy: 
I guided my client in decorating his cupcakes.  I would give him an action to perform, containing a verb, for example "frost the cupcake".  After he performed the task I would ask him "what did you do?" to elicit a past tense verb response ("I frosted the cupcake").

Below are the steps that we took to decorate our cupcakes, including the different verbs that I elicited:
  • We washed our hands before starting   
  • He scooped the frosting onto his knife
  • He frosted the cupcake
  • He then opened the bag of M&Ms
  • And poured the M&Ms onto a paper plate
  • He dropped the M&Ms onto the cupcake for the turkey's eyes
  • Then he counted 5 candy corn from the bag
  • He placed the candy corn on the turkey for the feathers and the beak
  • He tasted a cupcake!
You get the idea...there are countless opportunities to target past tense verbs here!

This was a great hands on activity that helped my client really grasp the idea of past tense verbs and allowed him to put them into practice in a practical way.

He brought the cupcakes to snack-time after our session and shared them with his classmates.  They were a hit!

Piggy Bank Verb Game

I used this game to target past tense regular verbs...but it could be easily modified to target sight words, specific sounds in words, or other verbs.

What You'll Need:
  • Paper dollar bills with verbs written on the back
  • 3 paper pigs (labeled "t", "d", and "id" for the three regular past tense verb endings)
  • Tape or sticky tack

Create fake money out of green paper.  Write target words on the back of each dollar.  I was targeting regular past tense verbs so I wrote words such as "look", "walk", "call", and "start".

Create piggy banks out of pink paper. Since my past tense verbs fell into 3 categories, verbs ending in the "t", "d", and "id" sounds, I made 3 piggy banks.

Before therapy, "hide" your dollar bills around the room as shown below.

Attach your piggy banks to the wall or a white board.  Label them if necessary.

How to Play: 
Let your client search the room for a dollar bill.  Once they find one have them produce the verb on the back ("walk"-> "walked") and place the money in the appropriate piggy bank.

For a fun twist, write "bankrupt" on the back of a few of the dollar bills.  If your client selects a "bankrupt" dollar they must empty one of their piggy banks.

This activity is super easy to set up and clients love the idea of collecting something of value and storing it in their piggy banks.  I have found little games like these to be great motivators for kids, instead of having to use actual prizes or food.