Why Thematic Therapy Works- 3 Reasons for SLPs

October is just around the corner! Do you like doing thematic therapy with your younger students?  Halloween is a theme that definitely gets them motivated!

Why does it work to have a holiday theme all month long?


1- It gives enough practice time for students get to understand and use the vocabulary for the holiday before it arrives. Plus, it is fun!

2- Skills can be built and practiced over multiple months if you choose your materials correctly. When the students see the new theme, they feel like they are doing something different, but you know that you are consolidating their skills!

3- Kids like things that are familiar, especially if they have autism or are dealing with anxiety problems. By using a holiday theme to work on their areas of need, we are helping them understand what will happen and what will be expected of them. Helping out with functional skills is always important!

3 Reasons Themes Work for SLPs!
I’m not a fan of just teaching holiday vocabulary. Single words just don't give as much communication power as combinations do. But if you use the theme to build their skills, you can accomplish two goals at once!

To help you out, you can download the second part of my Friday Freebie here. 

The monsters are on a mission- giving you an opportunity to work on skills with a holiday theme- for free!

I had fun sending out organizational binder freebies this month. Congratulations to this week’s winners, Susan and Carol!


Giveaway! Last Week to Enter

Giveaway fun at Looks Like Language! Last week!
It has been so fun deciding what to include in my binders each week as a little surprise, I may do this again sometime! Read on to find out another reason why.

Congratulations to this week's winners, Jenna and Elizabeth!

I don't have a long post this week because I am visiting friends around Lake Champlain, but I thought I'd share a photo with you so you could enjoy a little of the beauty vicariously.

I also thought you might have a laugh at my math skills as I was figuring out this contest. 5 Fridays in September @ 2 winners each week = 10 winners, right?

Slight problem, though. The first Friday I only announced the contest! So, the moral of this story is to trust my therapy advice but not my math! Two more binders to give away, and I may do this again, but hopefully with better counting skills!

Have a peaceful week!

A peaceful break at Lake Champlain! Looks Like Language

5 Reasons to Keep Open Ended Games Around

Whether you are planning to use them or not, open ended games are great to keep around. WHY?

1. When you have some extra time after your planned activity, you can quickly review.

2. When you are doing a make up session and the goals of the group don’t jive, this will help you out.

3. When your planned activity bombs (yes, that can happen to anyone!) you have an emergency back up plan ready made.

4. If you hang them on a bulletin board, they make cute double duty decorations. Students who request a specific game will likely be more invested in that session, and you can make it work for most goals.

5. It is fun!


What is your reason? Download the first of this two part series here.

Organization Help for Back to School!

Getting started can be stressful, what with scheduling, new students, new IEP goals and just generally too much to do. Being organized does help reduce stress. I can help you with that!

Giveaway! September 2017 at Looks Like Language
Every Friday in September, I will randomly choose 2 winners to receive a binder with 25 page protectors, multiple data sheets to try out, and a surprise! All you have to do to get a chance is sign up on the bar at the top of the page.

Congratulations to Freya and Shane, this week's winners!

Want some tips for various ways to collect data? Check out this post. It has links to lots of free data sheets, as well.  Read some tips for assessing baseline skills to determine therapy goals here.

Need an easy way to neatly label your binders? Grab this freebie!

Start collecting data with students who have autism with some help from the Getting Started with Autism Guide.

How about some conversation help? Many find taking data for these goals tricky, but you can Get Started with Conversation Skills.

LOOK FOR THIS!
Don't forget to sign up for a chance at winning a binder with data sheets, page protectors, and a surprise!

When Grief Strikes- 9 Tips for Helping Children

What Can We Do When Grief Strikes?


My heart goes out to all of those affected by the storms we have been experiencing, as well as the frightening terrorist attacks that are happening all over.  The world just doesn’t seem as safe anymore.

Tips for helping children when grief strikes from Looks Like Language
If we feel this as adults, how does it affect children? I have not been in either of these situations, fortunately, but I have experienced a great loss and am drawing on what I learned then to give these tips.

My Story


When my son was just about to enter kindergarten, my daughter was diagnosed with a fatal, degenerative genetic disease. At the same time that I was coping with my grief and watching my one year old start to deteriorate, I also had to learn what I needed to do to keep my bright, inquisitive 5 year old feeling safe and growing up as normally as possible.


It was before the internet, so I started with trips to the library to get books, reading about grief counseling for myself and with children, as well as reaching out to therapists. It was a very long, difficult 3 years watching my daughter lose all of her skills and pass on, while still working and attempting to keep a normal home life for my son.

What did I learn that can be helpful to you?


1. Be sure to keep your young child’s comfort toy, blanket or security item with you. This is a good parenting tip even when your life is calm!

2. Young children get their sense of security from the adults around them. The better you are at accepting the changes and keeping as much of their routines intact, the more likely children will continue to feel secure.

3.  Children do not grieve the way adults do. They can be playing, seemingly happily, and then run to you for comfort or to ask a question. Remember their attention spans are short, so answer questions briefly and factually.

When they have received the information they were looking for, or the hug they needed, they will run back to whatever they were doing as if it had never happened. If you see your child’s eyes glaze over or they start to fidget, they are saying 'too much.' Give the important information first!

4. If you are having problems coping, your child will, too. This is totally understandable when dealing with major issues. Just be sure to reach out and get help for yourself when you need it.

What about if you are working in the schools with children affected by drastic  events?


1. You are part of their safety net, so try to keep your school routines as close to usual as possible. When you can, laugh over the minor things you are having to do to cope with changed circumstances. Laughter is needed!

2. Listen and respond calmly and factually when students ask a question or bring up a difficult topic. If they go back to work right after, then you have met their need at the moment.

3. It is okay to respond that you don’t know, but you will try to find out for them.

4. It is okay to just acknowledge how difficult this is, and how they must be feeling. Pay attention to the child's body language, facial expression and tone of voice. Then, specifically label the emotion that they are feeling, so they have the language for it.

5. If some of your students are more withdrawn, more emotional, or just somehow not right compared to the general population, be sure to reach out to get them help. The whole family may need support to help them through this tough time.

While I wish we weren’t experiencing difficult situations, I hope these tips will help you cope! And I am so very grateful to say that my son did grow up to be a wonderful adult! I am thankful every day for my healthy children.

The Give Away Continues! Love FREE?

I'm thrilled to announce this week's winners! Amanda and Becky, congratulations!

And congratulations to me, too! I feel like a winner when I get to talk to one of my blog readers. Getting to know you better helps me help you!

Give away time at Looks Like Language!
So, I told you that I have a pile of stuff I've brought home and decided to do a give away. The photo only shows a piece of it (unfortunately!) Interested in a chance to win one of my binders, with page protectors, data sheets and a surprise?

Just sign up at the top of my blog for a chance to win! Need more details? Check out this post.

Good luck!
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