SUMMER SERVICES

New England Speech Therapy is now booking summer sessions! If your child receives speech and language therapy at school, but does not get services over the summer, we’re here to help! New England Speech Therapy is happy to carry over goals from an IEP if you have an updated IEP or evaluation report. If not, no worries! We can perform a screen or evaluation and determine an individualized and appropriate plan of care for your child. Contact us today!

Halloween Activities

Halloween is such a fun time when working with children! It offers a lot of fun halloween activities to target speech and language skills during therapy sessions. Below are some of my favorites!

 

Articulation Jack-O-Lanterns

These are one of the simplest crafts to do! Simply cut out a pumpkin in orange paper. Then find some worksheets with pictures to target the speech or language goal. I had the kids cut them out and then glue them in the shape of a face. I did this with children working on articulation goals as well as with children working on language goals such as pronouns or verbs.

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Halloween Activities Targeting Listening Comprehension

I found some worksheets that worked on following directions. One such worksheet was  a blank pumpkin and it had various directions to say out loud that eventually led to a Jack-O-Lantern face being drawn on the pumpkin. I also purchased this seasons themed wh-question packet and during October/November I used it for listening comprehension and working on answering questions.

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Additional Halloween  Activities Targeting Articulation

In addition to the jack-o-lanterns, I also found some worksheets with halloween themes where I was able to write in various articulation words based on each child’s goal. The children were then able to color them while we practiced the target words.

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We also did a ghost activity where we added various articulation picture depending on what sounds each child was working on. The faces this kids drew were so cute!

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Finally, an oldie but a goodie! I love the various “chipper chat” type boards from Tech N’ Talk SLPs on Teachers Pay Teachers. The Halloween themed ones offer various candy corn for the children to cover with magnetic chips as they practice their target sounds. I then give them their “magic wand” and the love picking up all the chips!

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DIY Weighted lap pad!

This is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to create a cute weighted lap pad for your child! Even better–there’s no sewing involved! Anyone can do this! The entire project took me less than 10 minutes!

MATERIALS: 
  • no stuffing dog toy that allows you to add a water bottle (example here)
  • duck tape
  • 1-2 gallon ziplock bags
  • 1-5lbs of rice

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ASSEMBLY: 
  1. First gather your materials. I found my dog toy at Home Goods for $5.99. They had a few different animals but I ultimately settled on this cute yellow duck. You want to make sure you’ll be able to fit 2-4 lbs of rice in it, and that it has a velcro closure. I bought my 5 pound bag of rice at my local grocery store for $1.29. Then you’ll just need some duck tape and 1-2 gallon ziplock bags.

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2. Next, pour the rice into the ziplock bag. Remember: the weight of the lap pad should be equivalent to 5% of the child’s body weight. I had to use two ziplock bags so that they were skinny enough to fit in the dog toy opening. You may want to try putting them in the toy to make sure you like the way it feels.                                                                             File_003

3. Then, once you have determined the proper amount of rice in the bags, add a strip of duck tape to the top to prevent the bags from bursting open. I made sure they were sealed tight!

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4. Finally, place the bag(s) in the toy and seal the toy up! You now have your completed weighted lap pad!

Weighted lap pads are great to help children remain in their seats and stay focused. I use them for children with sensory processing difficulties who benefit from the proprioceptive feedback of the weighted lap pad. They are also great for children with ADD/ADHD who have trouble focusing on table top activities or who have difficulties sitting for longer periods of time. Keep in mind the recommendation for a weight is typically 5% of the child’s body weight!

Free Webinar Alert!

 

 

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I know the summers are busy but I always try to make time for some continuing education. I found this company, Presence Learning, who offer free webinars at various times throughout the year. For the past few years, they have offered a summer program with multiple free webinars. This summer they are offering  the “Decathlon Challenge” and have over 10 hours of presentations. I just completed the webinar titled “Autistic Brain” by Temple Grandin. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Temple, I strongly encourage you to look up her life story online. She herself has autism and has provided a lot of great insight and education to parents and professionals who are working with individuals on the autism spectrum. To listen to her talk, please register through the Presence Learning website. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

Presence Learning Free Webinars

Summer has arrived!

As Spring ends, and Summer approaches, there is always a crazy energy in the air. School’s ending so kids and teachers alike have endless to-do lists in short periods of time. Everyone is excited for a well-deserved summer break, while trying to finish up last minute commitments! This summer I’m looking forward to taking some time to reflect, to read, and to continue to make a difference in this beloved profession. While I limit the hours I work over the summer, I still like to keep a little busy. Here are some activities I’ve been using this summer!

Hand Crabs

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We made these cute little crabs as part of our beach/ocean themed vocabulary unit. They are so simple! Just trace your little friend’s hand on a folded piece of red construction paper. Glue them together, add eyes on the “thumbs” and you have a crab! I encouraged my little friends to draw shells and seaweed, water, and sand on their paper. I also added various articulation words for those who are working on specific sounds.

Magic Sand

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You may have seen this on my instagram. I like to break out the magic sand and add sea-animals to it. It is a great sensory activity that everyone enjoys. It is a nice way to work on vocabulary, following directions, and increasing expressive language. I ordered my magic sand on amazon.com but you can also find it in various stores!

Summer People

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I found these cute little summer people on Teachers Pay Teachers. I laminated them and we use this activity to work on various pronouns, sentence structure, and vocabulary. I let the children decide which person gets which picture and they enjoy putting on and pulling off the pictures.

4th of July

We did some fun 4th of July themed activities before the holiday. I found this cute game board here that I used for a variety of speech and language goals including articulation, pronouns, verbs, sentence comprehension, etc.

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I also found this cute articulation worksheet that was patriotic and fun for some of my older friends.

 

Stay tuned for another Summer themed post later this summer for some more fun activities! In the meantime, I highly suggest you check out these awesome handouts from Jenna Rayburn over at Speech Room News. I’ve handed these out to all of my parents to give them some great ideas on how to work on speech and language during their fun summer activities!

Find the handouts here!

Happy Summer everyone!!

Spring comes and goes!

We’ve been pretty lucky here in the northeast with not a not too crazy Spring so far! I always love seeing those first flowers bloom and the colors slowly emerge from the trees and plants outside. Theres something about spring that puts such good energy in the air!

Throughout the spring I continue to do many crafts with my little friends to keep them busy while introducing some spring-themed vocabulary! Check out my ideas below!

Articulation Frogs

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Aren’t these frogs so cute? I got this cute little creativity from Carrie over at Carrie’s Speech Corner. You can find her post all about it here. I printed a bunch of the frog clip art and then cut out a bunch of lily pads out of green construction paper. Before each session, I pre-cut the frogs, the red construction paper “tongue,” and the target pictures so there was no cutting for my little ones.

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I’ve used this craft for a few years now. I typically like to break it out when we’re having a few rainy days in a row so that we can talk about the weather while we create this cute little project! I used this craft for a variety of language goals. I primarily used it for articulation, but I also used it for language goals such as vocabulary, following directions, and increasing expressive language. You can find an umbrella template here. I just roughly cut out the raindrops out of various shades of blue construction paper.

Mother’s Day Flower Pots

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I had these cute flower pot cut outs and wasn’t sure what to do with them. I decided it would be a cute and easy craft to make for mother’s day. My little friends used various colored hexagon cut outs as the “flowers” and I had them draw the stems. I used this for all of my friends! It was a great way to work on colors, requesting, and following directions. To target more specific goals such as pronouns, verbs, or articulation, we added smaller target pictures to the individual “flowers.”

Other activities keeping us busy this Spring: 

What fun things are you up to with you little friends this Spring?

Marching through March!

Spring is so close you can almost taste it! Winter gave it her best shot and made sure we didn’t forget her by giving us a few snowstorms but I think Spring is finally coming! March can feel like one of the longest months sometimes. This year we had quite a few different things going on which made preparing therapy materials a bit easier!

Dr. Seuss Birthday Celebration

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’ birthday! I always love Dr. Seuss books and the kids enjoy reading them! In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, we read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish and made this cute craft using each child’s hands!

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March Madness

While not all kids are into basketball, they all seem to enjoy shooting a basketball into an over the door basketball hoop while practicing their speech and language goals! For language goals, I typically use the basketball hoop as a reward–complete a worksheet, shoot 5 baskets; or say 5 sentences shoot 5 baskets; etc. For articulation goals, I typically have the child say a few target words then shoot the basketball.

I have an older version of this basketball hoop.

We also completed some basketball themed articulation crafts during this month. I found this super cute craftivity but can’t seem to find the link where I got it from. I will provide it once I find it! We also did a lot of drill practice with this 100 basketball drill sheet.

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St. Patrick’s Day 

We made some lucky shamrock rainbows for St. Patrick’s day. We glued all sorts of pictures on them to work on our speech and language goals! I also incorporated some St. Patrick’s day themed following directions activities!

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Easter

The Easter holiday always reminds me how fun and engaging egg hunts are for the kids. I use egg hunts for a variety of speech and language goals. It is a great activity to work on following directions (i.e. “put the yellow egg on the chair”) and prepositions. I also put different picture cards in the egg to work on pronouns, verbs, and articulation words.

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We also completed a variety of Easter themed worksheets that I found from various Teachers Pay Teachers sellers. It’s great to see the kids so excited about the holiday!

Stay tuned for another post about some Spring themed therapy ideas!

 

Homemade Play-Dough

I can’t believe we went from almost 60 degree weather to two snow storms over the course of 4 days! I guess we couldn’t quite escape Winter this year! I love snow days because they force me to do things on my to-do list that I have been putting off. One such thing recently has been to make some new play dough! I love making play dough because it is SO easy and inexpensive! It is also a GREAT activity to do with your children and you can really elicit some nice language!

RECIPE: 

  
1 C Flour
1 C Water
1/4 C Salt
1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Cream of Tarter
Food Coloring

Pour in all ingredients into a saucepan
Stir with wooden spoon until everything is mixed well.
Once the mixture is (mostly) clump free. Heat over MEDIUM heat.
Stir. Don’t stop stirring. After a few minutes it will start to clump up
Stir, Stir Stir.Just keep stirring until the Play Dough is formed. It will  form one big clump.
Remove from heat, and knead by hand. (Play Dough will be nice and warm!)

*original recipe found here

LANGUAGE IDEAS: 

Making Play Dough with your kids is super easy and a nice way to target some language goals. Below are just a few words I thought of while making up some play-dough. It’s also a great way to work on following directions and building that vocabulary!

  • Prepositions (i.e. “IN the bowl”, “dump it OUT,” “ON TOP of the paper”)
  • Adjectives (squishy, hot, warm, cold, slimy, empty, full, dirty)
  • Verbs (pour, squish, measure, mix, stir, wash, squeeze, press, push, roll)
  • Pronouns (I, MY turn/YOUR turn, give it to ME, YOU do it)

 

A New Year!

I always enjoy welcoming a new year! While it doesn’t necessarily change much in the day-to-day aspect of our lives, it gives me a sense of renewal and always reminds me to take a step back and to reflect on how far I’ve come both personally and professionally while setting and revising new goals for the future! This January I introduced some cute crafts that targeted speech and language skills. While we live in the Boston area, it really hasn’t felt like the typical Boston Winter this year (which I think we are owed after last year!). So I tried to incorporate some snow themed activities to help keep in mind we should be seeing some more snow!

Snow Globes: 

Keeping the cold/snow theme in mind, the children made snow globes with the “snowflakes” containing their target words. This is a very simple craft. All you need is a light blue circle and a trapezoid base! I printed articulation words off of speakingofspeech.com and from a few other websites! The children glued the target words on and they were able to add a snowman or snowflakes if they wanted with a white crayon. Then they took it home and were told to practice the words for carry-over.

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Snowball Splat: 

I purchased this great activity set on Teachers Pay Teachers from Peachie Speechie. I used the various worksheets throughout the month! I like them because they can be used in a variety of ways! One such way is with dobbers! The children love to use the paint dobbers to mark the target words as they say them. I also will slip the sheets into page protectors and let kids “smash” play-doh balls on the target words. These sheets create great multi-sensory activities!

Note: Dobbers can be found here.

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Snowmen: 

We read many snow-themed books this month. Some of my favorite winter books are the Interactive Winter Books from Speech Room News. They really engage the child and allow the child to interact throughout the book. After we read some of our winter books, we completed a snowman craft.  I used this craft as a way to target increasing utterance length, following directions, color identification/labeling, size concepts, and requesting. I prepared the materials ahead of time and made sure I had an example to show what was expected. I really enjoyed seeing the different ways children created their snowmen!

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For some of my other children who either didn’t quite have the fine-motor skills yet for the small pieces, or who had sensory aversions to the glue, I modified the activity by using a coloring sheet. The children could still request different colors, follow directions, request/comment, etc. Everyone enjoyed making a snowman!

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This January has been a great start to the new year! February therapy activities will be focused around Hot Chocolate and Valentines Day!!  Be sure to keep an eye out for the February blog post!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Phew, we survived the holidays! I wanted to share what was going on in speech and language therapy during the holidays. The holidays are such a fun time of year especially when you work with little ones. The magical twinkle in their eye and their uncontrollable excitement is contagious! The holidays also provide some opportunities for highly motivating activities!

Holiday Wreaths 

Holiday Activities - Wreaths      Holiday Activities - Wreaths

We made these holiday wreaths as a way to practice our speech sounds and some language goals. My little friends enjoyed practicing their target words while coloring the “berries” and then we practiced them in short sentences such as “I’m gluing _____.”

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

We did a project around Christmas Cookies. We read a book about making cookies. It was interactive book where the child got to velcro pictures on the page to sequence the steps in making cookies. Then for some of my younger friends, we colored pictures of Christmas cookies. Once they were done the children had an opportunity to play a christmas cookie app on the iPad. This task had so many opportunities for using language and the children really enjoyed it!

Holiday Question Game and Verbs

Holiday Game

For some of those children working on wh-questions, we played a Christmas themed Wh question game. The holidays offer some great new questions to answer. I also introduced some holiday-themed verbs.

Some ideas to work on speech and language goals at home:

  • Have your child find items in the toy magazines/christmas ads that start with their target sound for articulation
  • Have your child create a Christmas list! If they are too little to write encourage them to point to pictures, cut out pictures if they can, and produce words or phrases to talk about what they want. For the older children have them write words, sentences, or full letters to Santa!
  • Let your child help with the baking and cooking. These are great tasks to target following directions, sequencing, etc.