The Best Laid Plans of .... SLPs?


One of those days...

Yes, I meant to get out to the dollar store and buy cute little colored cars that fit perfectly on the game board. But, you know perfectly well that speech/language therapy is a make-it-work field and real life gets in the way of beautifully organized plans! For me, anyway. Maybe you are able to organize everything on Sunday night and have everything go as expected. If so, please, please let me in on the secret! There are lots of comments sections below- just fill one up! You’d make me sooooo happy! :)

Back on track (ha-ha!) my car idea didn’t exactly work when I grabbed the larger sized cars I had around. The students had to keep the front of the cars lined up with the space they were on, but the cars kept getting knocked into because they were too big. Then, there were arguments about where each student’s car actually belonged.


I did get my students to start some conversations with each other, but the best part really was when I had them brainstorm ways they could politely express their opinions about which spot was where the car actually belonged. We assigned an emotion to how each of the different choices would make the other person feel and practiced saying the best choice with an appropriate tone of voice and facial expression.


So, what do you think I should do next time I play this game? Use the tokens that come with the game or pull out the too big cars again? Maybe actually make that trip to the dollar store for tiny cars? If you tried this game with the right sized cars, let me know if it is actually worth running another errand!

Would you share a story about a time when your plan failed but the therapy worked? I can't be alone!

How to Organize and Save Time- 3 SLP Tips

Organized? Yes, please!


Why? It saves you time in the long run and reduces frustration, at least for me! Thanks to the Frenzied SLPS for another great topic and invite to link up! Here's 3 quick and easy tips!

Organization is crucial for me, since I absolutely hate wasting time trying to find things I need. Whether you are at home planning for the next day, with kids, dinner and laundry waiting for you, or at school with a ton of paperwork to do, who wants to spend time thinking of all those things feeling frustrated while trying to find what you need?

Add to that the fact that I have worked in many schools over many years, accumulating materials for students from 13 months to 19 years old, moving my stuff from school to home to school almost yearly…. Well, you can see that I have had a lot of reasons and a lot of practice getting organized!

First Tip

It is oh-so-easy to do and has saved me many times. When you print your first, beautiful clean copy of a worksheet, take a yellow highlighter and write your initials in the top right corner.  It won’t show up when you photocopy. Resist the temptation to ever use it- that mark lets you know that it is the original and, possibly, your last copy.

My second tip?

Page protectors! For many years, I stored all of my photocopies in file folders in filing cabinets.  Then, I started to change jobs and move everything home regularly. I found that I could store more in the same space if I got rid of all of the file folders and recycled the extra copies. Take a page protector and place all of your highlighted beautiful worksheets for the same skill in that page protector.

Then, take all of these page protectors, for example plurals, possessives, verb tenses, etc. and put them in a binder marked Syntax. Easy to do, right?  A thin binder will fit in a filing cabinet as easily as a file folder and when you have a syntax goal heavy caseload one year, all you have to do is pull out that binder and see what you want to photocopy.

Third tip? 

What about when you find out that you have only that last, beautiful yellow highlighted copy left and no time to get  to the photocopy machine?  Reusable pockets and dry erase markers to the rescue!  I use these often since it saves on photocopying and my students like being able to choose the color they want to use for the work. They manage to get a little free drawing time in, too, while I am helping the other student in the group or recording data.

Did you find any of these tips helpful?  
How about a FREE, editable system for labeling those binders? Get it at my store for free!

Speechless SLP Moments that Keep Us Going!

My friend  Kim, at Activity Tailor, has the most wonderful ideas! This week she is reflecting on moments that make an SLP speechless, and I thought I'd join in. 

It is easy for any of us to concentrate on all the difficulties we have in our jobs, and I am so grateful to Kim for her idea that got me thinking about the wonderful moments in my (long) career.

People in education and healthcare fields go into this work because they want to make a positive impact on people's lives. For all of the frustration that I feel, at times, when I can't help this student make progress a little faster, or I can't get that student to focus at all one day, or I just can't stand all the paperwork one more minute!!, I also have those moments over the years when I know that I have had an impact. These warm feelings are what keep me coping when I wish I had just stayed home that day!

My sweet memories include:
*the mom who was so grateful that my Elmo book helped her 12 year old to finally start using the toilet at night 
* the four year old who could  say her name understandably and whose grandparent could understand her for the first time ever
* the 18 month nonverbal toddlers who got in a pushing contest
 to be able to come to speech with me first
*the teacher who said that many SLPs had helped her kids, but I was the one who helped her learn how to make her students understand

We may not get bonuses, or conferences in interesting places, and we barely get lunch some days, but we have the knowledge that we helped someone's loved one. Maybe yours!

Staying warm with speechless moments~

Saying Thank You! Shoebox Therapy for Autism!


Can you envision your student opening a present at the holidays and saying, “But this isn’t what I wanted!” If so, this activity is for you!

Shoebox Play for Autism- A fun way to learn to say thank you from Looks Like Language!
Shoeboxes can be a fun, functional way to teach play and language skills. What better activity this time of year than to work on language for opening presents and saying “thank you?”  Children need to practice language in routines a lot before it becomes routine for them to use. They will love to keep practicing with this!

All you need is:

* An old shoebox
* Some small toys that will fit inside- start with only toys that your student will like. Later, add some disliked toys to practice saying ‘thank you’ when you really want something different! 
* 4 pictures of gifts to fit the size of the openings.
* Paper to decorate the shoebox, if you wish. I used this without ever decorating it and my students couldn’t care less. They had a great time anyway!






To make the play box:

1. Cut a file folder in strips that are as wide as the box is tall to use as a separator.
2. Cut one strip to the length of the box. Tape it on both sides inside the center of the box.
3. Fold the additional strips in half, place them inside the box and tape them together like crazy until you have dividers that will stay stiff and make the inside of the box in 4 sections.

I promise you, the kids won’t care what it looks like inside as long as you have something fun for them to play with! You just need four compartments with a divider that is sturdy.

Shoebox Play for Autism- A fun way to learn to say thank you from Looks Like Language!

To make the box top:

1. Draw 4 squares on the top of the box. Leave enough space in between that the top has some support while the little ones are opening and closing the presents. I  left about 1.5-2 inches between mine. 
2. Decide which way is the top, then cut out three sides of each square, being consistent. Razor cutters are great for this, but you can use scissors. Just punch a hole with one of the blades first to get you started.
3. Glue a different gift picture on each flap.
4. Glue on symbols for the language you will be modeling. Make the ‘thank you’ symbol removable if you have nonverbal children using picture exchange.

Have fun!

Students can request to open the color present, respond with ‘thank you’ after receiving the toy inside, and have fun playing! This was such a fun activity for my students, we played it almost every session all December long!

You can use this activity for the holidays and for your students’ birthdays, too! They just love the excitement of opening up the box and seeing what is inside.

I taught it as a language activity at the beginning of the month, then kept it available for requesting to play for the rest of December, changing the toys inside every week to keep it fresh. Then, pull it out for a quick review on someone's birthday!

If you have students in your group who already say thank you, just find small holiday figures or toys to work on labeling, requesting or play skills.

Do you want even more ways to reinforce this functional language? Check out this interactive book!

I say, "Thank you for stopping by!"

Older Kids and Presents- What to Do?


Kids who are in upper elementary school have definite ideas of what they want for the holidays, and  it can be tough to convince them they’d like anything that they haven’t thought of first. It is also hard to get them away from their devices!

While they often act like they they want nothing to do with you, tweens and early teens actually still need to have your support and the boundaries you provide during these up and down, on and off years.

I believe that the best thing you can do, as a parent, during these years is to stay engaged in some stress free activities that will keep the lines of communication open between you and your tween/teen. I am an SLP, so you will notice that the games I have chosen are mostly language based, but any game that your family can enjoy will be good! Conversations, and sometimes problems that are being encountered, can happen during games that all the questioning in the world won’t get your child to talk about! At that age, my son actually told me that I was asking too many private questions one day, when all I said was, “Hi! How was your day today?” We all survive!

I would suggest any of these games if you think your child might play them, with a warning- unless your child really likes playing games, don’t expect excitement when opening them! One alternative is to wrap it as a family present and see who wants to open it for everyone.
Card games, like Uno, and building games, like Jenga, are good for keeping everyone together, talking and just having fun! Another option is putting a jigsaw puzzle together.  If you get one with a picture of your child’s favorite thing, you can glue it and use it as a room decoration afterwards!
These games are fun group games that keep your child using their language skills, like describing and making associations between words. If your child is working on articulation skills, you can have them concentrate on saying their sound correctly during their turn in any word they say.
Scrabble and boggle are old classics that have your child expanding their vocabulary and spelling skills while playing. Quiddler is a newer fun game that works on these skills, too!
So, now, a question for you! As I was looking for pictures of games for this post, I came across these 2 games. I have never played them, but I thought they looked interesting. Do you know anything about them? Would you recommend them? I’m always on the look out for good language games for older kids! Thanks for your help!

Thanks to Ashley at Sweet Southern Speech for the invitation to link up on this timely topic! Stop by her blog to get the links for more great toy recommendations that will make your holiday preparations easier!

5 Facts About Me!

One of the wonderful aspects of being on TpT is the lovely people you get to meet. We are all over the world, working hard to help make children's lives a little better, one skill at a time. I want to thank Nikki, from Teaching Autism in the UK, for inviting me to share in this fun linky. I really enjoyed finding out more about her and thought that maybe you would like to get to know me a little more, too! 



I'm so much better at writing about therapy ideas than I am about myself! These facts seem pretty self-explanatory as well. But, feel free to ask me questions if any of this interests you! I'd love to chat!

Thanks to Krista Wallden at Creative Clips for the font and graphics.

Would you ever want to see photos of my quilts? What's your hobby?

Hide and Seek: GYMNASIUM

Prizes and a lot of fun! Hi, friends! I want to thank Kim from Activity Tailor for this fantastic idea for a blog hop! See if you can figure out where we are hiding, doing speech/language therapy and sharing some useful tips! 
 Thirteen bloggers are hiding--hiding on different blogs and hiding in the school. They're here to show you that you can (and probably do) do therapy everywhere and that each locale has it's own benefits. For all their tips, hop from blog to blog. While you're there, jot down the author's blog/school location listed at the bottom of each post to enter into Rafflecopter.  
Please welcome my guest blogger, Ashley, from Sweet Southern Speech!

Do any of you work with your speech kids in areas of the school NOT your speech room? Ever wonder how to integrate articulation and language goals in the gymnasium? Well, I’m going to focus this post on how to do just that!

Social language is key in gym class, right? It’s all about turn taking and sportsmanship here. Often gym classes work in units. It might be helpful to talk to the gym teachers and ask for their schedule. I do this then plan my therapy in advance to best prepare them for upcoming class. Role-playing a situation they may face in gym class is another great way to help kids. Give them some phrases like, “good shot,” “nice basket,” if they are playing basketball. Let’s say your student is not really athletically coordinated. Help them here by practicing a response if they perform poorly at a game in gym and someone makes fun of them.
Working on vocabulary? Make some flash cards with words to help them. Here are some I use: (gallop, pulse, energy, sets, endurance, frequency, repetitions, intensity, nutrition, respect, teamwork, responsibility, cooperation, overhand, underhand, balance, flexibility). I find kids need a visual representation of these words, so we will do an Internet search for images and I will have the students draw their own picture and make a vocabulary notebook.

Articulation goals are a good way to carry-over into “real world” practice utilizing the gym. Maybe go down to the gym if there isn’t a class going on and shoot hoops as rewards for using good speech sounds a certain number of times. Here are a few gym-related articulation goals I have used before: R (run, race, relay, rope, rebound, heart, curl, sport, cheer, practice) S (stand, sit-ups, stretch, base, basketball, race, skate, strength, strong, spirit.)

I hope this offers some ideas you can implement into your therapy sessions and sparks some ideas of integrating all areas of the school to challenge your students.

Ashley’s home base is Sweet Southern Speech, but today she’s in the:  GYMNASIUM! 

To enter the Hide and Seek Blog Hop raffle, collect the names of them here.

I want to thank Kim from Activity Tailor again for organizing this wonderful fun!  Have you found out where I am hiding yet?

Your next mystery stop is here:


Curious about the prizes?
Good Luck!
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