5 Tips for Sensory Issues and Summer Fireworks

Going to a fireworks display in the summer can be a great family outing! 

That is unless a member of the family has sensory processing issues and sensitivity to noises. While commonly found in children with autism spectrum disorders, other kids may have this problem, too. 


If your child covers their ears when a fire alarm goes off, or a loud vehicle drives by, going to see fireworks may not be the happy event you were hoping for.


July free download from Looks Like Language
There's a new social rules story, quick to print, staple and read, that I've made to help you out. Just click here.

No guarantee that this will make your fireworks event problem free, but knowing what to expect, having a coping method ready, and having the language to discuss any issues that arise are strategies that help over time.


If you are intrigued by the craft and games that are not part of this free download, be sure to sign up for my special 2019 free growing games bundle offer here!





July free download from Looks Like Language
Having back up plans as parents can be helpful, too. Some ideas that could be helpful include:

* watching your child with sensory issues for the beginning signs of sensory overload. Intervening early is often more successful than waiting for full-blown overload.


* having a signal your child can give you to tell you that they have had enough.

* getting seating that is toward the back of the crowd. This may not only somewhat decrease the noise level from the fireworks, but can also reduce the overcrowdedness that can also be a problem for some children.

* having a larger blanket than you need so that your child has a place to sit with boundaries that keep crowds further away.

* coming with 2 cars so one parent can leave earlier if needed, or having a plan for one parent to remove the sensory child before overload occurs to the car. Have calming toys, blankets, headphones, or whatever works for your child to use during the wait.

If your child regularly has problems with sensory processing issues, get an appointment for an evaluation with an occupational therapist who is knowledgeable about the problem. That is where most of my knowledge comes from!

I also found this book to be extremely helpful when I read it many years ago. It is written in a way that is helpful to parents and educators.

I hope that some of these ideas help to make your 4th of July fun and calm!

3 Free, Fun Printable Games!



Is school out for yet? Even if you are one of the lucky ones who are on vacation,  you'll still want to download the June freebie. Better yet, sign up for the rest of 2019 before time runs out!

If you are already a member, be sure to check your email for the link to this month's sweet set with an aquarium theme, plus a "What Do Dads Do?" board game with action pictures that can be used all year long!

The free download for everyone is a fun aquarium game for matching the fronts and backs of fish to fill up your aquarium. Use it with any goals all long year long!

Enjoy!

3 Fun Activities for Mixed Group Therapy

You are working with a group of kids with articulation goals, but they all have different sounds at different levels form words to carryover.

You are working with a language group, but you have to do a makeup session for a student with articulation goals, too, during that time slot.

You have 3 kids in the same class whose needs and goals are very different, but they have to be grouped together as they have limited times they can come to speech. But how do you address their needs?

Do these scenarios sound at all familiar?  The benefit of open-ended games is that you can accommodate kids needs using them. They aren't your only option, but when you are doing a makeup session or figuring out how to combine multiple goals in one activity, they can be a lifesaver!

Join the free 2019 Growing Games Bundle now! Only at Looks Like Language!
This month, my complete set for people who have joined the FREE Growing Games Bundle mailing list (sign up on the pop-up) includes an open-ended therapy game that doubles as a Mother's Day card!

The free mini-set includes 3 different activities for the month of May from that bundle. You can download it here, but why haven't you signed up for the complete free set yet? If you'd like to get the monthly freebies, just click here.

Take a peek at the activities to meet varied group needs in my store, also! After many years of winging it, I have the time now to put together materials that were made for skill building and addressing multiple needs.

Put my years of experience to use and make your life easier! Enjoy!

Spring Open Ended Game Board Freebie!

Spring is a wonderful time of year! After a bleak winter, the world comes alive again and it seems that our lives do, also. After hunkering down in winter, there are always so many things to do outside in spring, even if you aren't a gardener.

Open ended, free printable board games from Looks Like Language!
Some colorful, open-ended, printable spring game boards can make your speech therapy sessions a bit brighter. 

You can also send them home as homework. Just print the lower ink version, write your target words on the page and make as many photocopies as you need. Kids would much rather see a game than a list of words and this also makes it easier for the parents to include siblings.

Parents, you can use these, too! 

* Play a game to practice your child's spelling words or multiplication tables.

* Reinforce your rules at home by asking questions such as: 
What do we do if there is a fire?  
Name 1 way to be polite at the table. 
What do we say when we get a gift we don't like?
What will happen if we don't take a bath? brush our teeth?

* Use the games as a countdown to a treat for following the rules, doing chores, completing homework, etc. Every day that your child does what is expected, draw a star or let them write their names on the game section. When they get to the finish line, they have earned the reward you wrote on the finish line.

Be creative! Please comment if you have found a fun way to use these!
Download the freebie here.

Are you curious about what you would get if you sign up for my newsletter? This picture shows the filled in sets.

Join the Free Growing Games Bundle at Looks Like Language!
And if you love these freebies, be sure to pin this picture to let your friends know about it!

Enjoy!


Print and Go Games for St. Patrick's Day!

Once I was working with a young boy (let's call him "M") who communicated using PECS, and after much practice, I was so happy that he was making some progress with his symbol discrimination skills. FINALLY!

The next session with him, I had a student observer and sat at the table in a different position relative to him. With me in a different seat, we were back to ground zero. It was like he had never done the activity before in his life! 

That was a learning moment for me. Once an ASD student learns a skill in one context, keep applying that skill in as many different ways as possible and review, review, review!

Easy ways to keep reviewing skills are to use different types of activities and take advantage of holiday themes to review a variety of targets learned during the year. Why teach just the vocabulary for that day, which is used once a year, when you can have fun with the theme and review more functional language?

Get free print and go activities each month from Looks Like Language!
For this reason, I have an open-ended FREE St. Patrick's Day game set for you!
You can download it here.

And if you'd like to have access to the longer, free monthly sets for 2019, just sign up for my email list on the pop-up!












If you work with students using AAC, you will want to check out my friend Susan's new book: Making the Connection: A Practical Guide to Parents and Practitioners for Teaching the Nonverbal Child to Communicate with AAC.

One of the many useful tips I learned when reading this book was that research shows that successful AAC users depend upon having frequently used words remain in the same position so they can access them more quickly to get their message across.



It made me reflect back on when I was working with students like "M", who displayed problems with spatial perceptual skills, and wonder what could have happened if I had worked on expanding communication without moving symbols around.

I'll never know, but you could be more effective with your AAC students after reading the book! I certainly wish I had an easy to read book with so much information available to me then! Just click here if you'd like to check it out. And it is free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Disclaimer: Susan is my friend, but I get no compensation for writing this and certainly wouldn't mention the book to you if I didn't know it could be very helpful!

Enjoy!

Teaching Kindness in February- A Free Print & Go Game Download

It is unbelievably important for educators to teach kindness skills and respect for different viewpoints and ways of life! I have some help for you with my free download.

To my way of thinking, having people be kind and respectful to each other makes the world a better place.

Join the Looks Like Language Newsletter!
Since the world seems to be both growing smaller, in terms of having access to information about anywhere in the world, yet growing more divided, let's do what we can to help promote peaceful interactions and acceptance of differences in hopes that our young people may make our world better.

A free print and go kindness board game from Looks Like Language!
Download the free kindness game board here.

If you'd like more options for mixed groups, have you signed up for my growing bundle of open-ended print and go games? Free for 2019 only, so don't wait! Click here or sign up on the pop-up!

Model kindness and help our kids be kind!

9 Reasons to Consider Working in a School Setting

Where to work? You are a lucky SLP if you have your choice of settings, but how to decide? I can weigh in on what I’ve learned from working in a school setting, although that was not my first choice.

I had always thought that I would work in a hospital setting since in the 80’s school SLPs were looked on as people who corrected lisps and /r/. After my clinical placement at Johns Hopkins Kennedy Krieger Institute, it was my dream to work there. But jobs weren’t available there and a school system wanted to hire me. Nothing like student loans and a need to eat to get you taking any job offered!

So, I started in the schools. Time for a disclaimer: An offer to write a blog post came to me from Therapy Travelers to receive money for writing about why to work in the school system. I usually don’t accept these offers, but the thought kept going through my mind- why did I stay in school systems all those years?

So, here are my reasons. 

Why work in a school setting? 9 reasons to consider it!

Why work in a school setting?


1. After working in 13 different schools, I can tell you that each school has their own culture.  If one building is not a good fit for you, that doesn’t mean that you won’t love working in a different one!

2. You get to work with a wide variety of problem areas and severity levels in a school system. It’s not just /l/, /s/and/r/ anymore!

3. It is a great way to solidify your skills at treating various speech/language disorders in children as a new clinician and possibly using pre-existing IEP paperwork.

4. You can learn a lot over the years by observing special educators and having a chance to talk over problem behaviors with the other members of your student’s related service team even if you are the only SLP in the school.

5. While people mistakenly think that working in a school is a 9 to 3 job, you often have the flexibility of putting in the extra hours for planning and paperwork from home, which is great if you have a family.

6. If you have children, it is very helpful to often have overlapping school day hours and vacations to help reduce the need for childcare.

7. Having a steady income and benefits from a school system is a plus, although changes in student population can affect your job even after working in a school for many years.

8. Working in a school broadens your horizons and increases your flexibility. You can make many decisions about your treatment plans, but a variety of factors are out of your control, so you learn to cope. You get exposed to a wider variety of cultures and socioeconomic levels than you would if you only work with private clients whose parents can afford therapy. It helps you learn what a diversified country we live in!


9. While working in 3 different school systems over the years was often hectic, it was never boring!


And if you try it and don’t like it, you can always change your mind later and step out into the world of private therapy, keeping your income steady as you build a client base. For me, working in school systems provided a much more interesting career than I ever imagined as a newly graduated therapist. 

What is your reason for working in the school setting?
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