Two Facts and a Fib Blog Hop!

 

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I’m keeping this blog post brief because I am at the airport awaiting  my flight to France.   I will be serving as the private SLP to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s youngest children for the next few months at their home in Chateau Miraval in Southern France!  April Fool’s!!!!!!!   (Talk about the ultimate dream job! )  I love that we have this fun day in our calendar for saying something truly outrageous and getting a reaction from others!   My speechie friends Erik Raj and Jennifer Gibbs-Moses (SLPrunner) had a few fun April Fool’s Day ideas that you can try with your students. Check out their very entertaining blog posts!

jolie pitt pict

 

A few of us SLPs joined up and decided to celebrate April Fool’s all week long with our “Two Facts and a Fib” blog hop!  The  rules are simple:  Read all three of my statements below and decide which two are the “facts” and which one is the “fib.”  Record your “fib” responses as you hop from one blog to the next (you can also download and print out this black and white answer sheet created by Speech2U here!!    The person with the most correct responses will have the opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card!  In the event of a tie, random.org will be used for the tie breaker.  Want to take the on line quiz?   You can find it over at Speech Universe, the last stop of the hop!

facts fib blog hop 2

So here are my three statements:

a)  I gave birth to an 11 lb. baby.

b) I made the Division I lacrosse team when I was in college even though I had never played the sport before.

c)  I quit smoking “cold turkey” 10 years ago.

Can you guess which answer is my fib?     When you are finished, head over to the next blog on the hop, Consonantly Speaking, to see what facts and fib she is sharing!  Good luck!

 

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To start at the beginning go to Speech2U (Special thanks to Kelly at Speech2U who had the fun and creative idea for this blog hop!)   Hope you have fun guessing our fibs!

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The Frenzied SLPs March Edition: #Lucky2BEanSLP and a Magically Delicious Treat!

This month The Frenzied SLPs are also Lucky SLPs!  March seemed like the perfect opportunity to share some reasons why we feel lucky to do what we do for a living!

When I’m asked by family members or friends how my day was, I often find myself saying things like, “We played games,” “We made crafts,” sometimes “We made something yummy to eat!” and “I got a high-five,  a smile  or a hug from a child.”  It sounds so much more fun and interesting than, “I attended a very intense IEP meeting,”   “I finally finished evaluating a new student,”  “I started working on a mountain of paperwork.”  And while all of the latter responses are definitely essential parts of my job, I feel so lucky to be able to balance it out with the creative and light hearted aspects!  It’s what helps motivate me to get up and out the door in the morning!  So yes, I feel lucky to be an SLP for some of the above mentioned reasons, and so many more.  In fact, I was inspired to create a wall art poster that reflects a few more reasons why I feel lucky to do what I do everyday.   You can grab it for FREE in my TpT store. Here’s a sneak peak….

"Lucky to be an SLP" Poster and student activity {FREE}

Proudly display this “Lucky to be an SLP!” wall art poster on the door of your therapy room, on a March-themed bulletin board or on your desk.

I’ve also created four-leaf clover “Lucky to be an SLP” badges. Laminate for durability and attach to your clothing with a pin or double sided tape. Proudly wear your badge on St. Patty’s day or any day you want to display your pride in your profession!

And I included something for your students as well.  Hand out the “Lucky to be Me!” badges for your students to wear when you wear yours! Then, use the character building chart included and have your students reflect on positive messages about themselves. Students can write or draw examples in each of the circles. Share and discuss responses within your group. This is a particularly fun and engaging activity for students working on social skills related to perspective taking, emotions and self-esteem!

And of course I needed to include a food-tivity in this post!

Magically Delicious Magic Squares:

(This portion was originally posted in March 2013. )

Please check for food allergies before conducting any food related projects with your students!

This month  I will be using Lucky Charms cereal to create Magic Squares!!   In fact, I loved this fun food-tivity so much, it inspired me to name one of my vocabulary products after it.  You can find it here!

Lucky Charms cereal has been around a long time (51 years to be exact)! The cereal has evolved over the years and the contents have changed with the times. The first boxes of Lucky Charms cereal contained marshmallows in the shapes of pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. Today you will find that several of the original marshmallow shapes no longer exist and have been replaced with new marshmallow charms such as hats, rainbows, balloons, pots of gold and horseshoes. The marshmallows are meant to represent Lucky’s (the leprechaun character on the cover of the box) magical charms, each of which having their own special meaning or “powers.”

Hearts – power to bring things to life

Shooting Stars – power to fly

Horseshoes – power to speed things up

Clovers – luck, but you will never know what kind of luck you’ll get

Blue Moons – power of invisibility

Rainbows – instantaneous travel from place to place

Balloons – power to make things float

Hourglass – power to control time

Here’s how I’m using the marshmallow charms in my therapy sessions with my older students:

After telling the students what the various shapes represent, they will get to pick a shape from a bowl and tell me how they would use that power. For example, if they pick a heart, (the power to bring things to life), I will ask them what they would bring to life if they had the power. This is a great way to work on higher level thinking tasks, problem solving, WH questions and story building!

 

Magic Squares

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You will need:  5 cups Lucky Charms cereal, 3 1/2 cups marshmallows, 3 tablespoons butter

***Have a hotplate????  This activity is easy enough to make in the classroom/therapy room.  Please check for food allergies before completing a food-related activity at school!!!

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This activity is a great way to work on sequencing, measuring and reinforcing action words like POUR, MIX, MEASURE, STIR, MELT, PRESS, CUT.

 

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Add marshmallows and butter to a large pan.  Melt over low heat—stirring constantly until smooth and fully melted.

Observe the appearance of the marshmallows and butter BEFORE they melt……

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………compare it to the mixture AFTER it has melted and discuss what happened and how it’s appearance has changed.

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Pour marshmallow mixture over the cereal.

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Mix well until all of the marshmallow mixture is evenly coating the cereal.

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Press mixture into a well-greased 8X8 inch pan.  Butter your fingertips to help keep the cereal from sticking to your hands.

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Let pan set until cool—place in refrigerator for a few minutes to help it set.

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Cut into squares and enjoy your creation!!  I think I will go home and tell my family how lucky I was to make these Magic Squares in my therapy sessions this month!

…and I couldn’t resist taking a walk down memory lane–here’s a  Lucky Charms commercial circa 1980!!  

 

Want to share the reasons why YOU are #lucky2BEanSLP?

 Use the image below and post why YOU feel #lucky2BEanSLP on facebook, twitter or instagram!  Fellow “Frenzied SLP” Mia from Putting Words in Your Mouth has a simple step by step tutorial for adding your own text to the image so go check it out!

 

Product Swap & GIVEAWAY {Treatment of Social Pragmatic Deficits by Smart Speech Therapy, LLC}

Last February, I had the pleasure of participating in a “product swap” with  fellow SLP and blogger, Tatyana Elleseff .  I’m back again to review another of her fantastic products.

Tatyana is a bilingual SLP with a full time hospital affiliation as well as private practice in Central, NJ. She specializes in working with multicultural, internationally and domestically adopted as well as at-risk children with complex communication disorders. She presents workshops for a number of medical, academic, and non-profit organizations and writes articles for various specialized publications.

In case you’re not sure how this product swap works, we will review each other’s product on our respective blogs and then hold a giveaway for that product. Tatyana is reviewing a product from my TpT store:  The Healthy Heart and Language Mart.  I created it for American Heart Month in February, however it is perfect for any time of year since it sends such an important message regarding good health, fitness and nutrition to young people.   Be sure to check out the review on her blog!!  

February Language Building: The Healthy Heart & Language Mart

I reviewed Treatment of Social Pragmatic Deficits in School Aged Children .  It is available for $13.99 in her product shop  http://www.smartspeechtherapy.com/shop/.  This 61 slide presentation is filled with intervention strategies to use with school-aged students on your caseload suspected of having social pragmatic language deficits.  As an SLP who works primarily with middle and high school students, I address social pragmatic goals with several of the tweens and teens I work with.   Having this treatment packet on hand is a helpful reminder of which strategies might assist me in successfully meeting my students needs as I work toward helping them improve this vital communication skill. As a result of this review, I have gained some valuable background information, a few new strategies, and suggestions for materials that will help my students improve their social pragmatic skills.

treatment social pragmatic

 

This packet clearly outlines its purpose and goals which include:

1-Describing components of successful social skills treatments.

2-Listing common challenging behaviors and behavior strategies.

3-—Summarizing social pragmatic treatment approaches.

4-—Identifying materials that can be used to address treatment goals.

Tatyana brings to light the fact that social pragmatic deficits are often under diagnosed and under treated in the school setting and the reasons why this occurs.   It takes a team approach to identify and assist children who fall into this category.  Team members are identified and their roles are outlined.

The packet highlights and breaks down social pragmatic skills by levels: initial, intermediate, and advanced skills are included.   Do you work with students individually or in a group session when implementing social skills treatment? The differences between individual and group therapy approaches are pointed out.  I have several students that I work with individually on social skills.  There is definitely a difference in the way that I conduct my individual sessions versus group social skills in therapy. I appreciate that this product points out the differences in dynamics between the two therapy approaches.

What makes a  social skills therapy session successful and effective? Intervention approaches are clearly laid out to help set the groundwork and guide your sessions.  The packet then highlights the behavioral issues that are often an obstacle when addressing social pragmatic therapy.  It identifies types of behaviors and possible approaches to addressing some of these behaviors.

Social stories and scripts are one of the most effective ways of providing students with the necessary guidance for improving social skills.  The packet discusses social stories products and approaches that may benefit your students.   Additionally, within the realm of social pragmatic therapy, there are several targeted skills that SLPs address.  These areas are identified and include problem solving, pragmatics, (conversation skills,) and social emotional competence (perspective taking, big vs. little problems, flexible thinking), advanced listening comprehension (inferencing, predicting, drawing conclusions), narrative productions (sentence formulation, story grammar).

My favorite aspect of this packet is the comprehensive collection of social pragmatic resources that can be used with your students.  (The products are broken down by age/grade level which will be very  helpful when deciding which materials will best suit my middle/high school caseload.)  Programs from various vendors (Linguisystems/Super Duper), program developers (Michelle Garcia-Winner/Social Thinking) and apps/software are provided to help assist the new or seasoned SLP in making their therapy sessions a success.

Another very crucial aspect addressed in this packet is the importance of parental carryover.  Ways to address this all-important piece of the puzzle is included.

This product concludes with an appendix, consisting of seven pages, which provides a “snapshot” of all the areas discussed.  I plan on utilizing this helpful go-to resource by laminating, hole punching and securing it with a binder clip.  I will keep this information readily available as a tool for facilitating discussion when collaborating with teachers and meeting with parents.

If you are in need of some additional social pragmatic resources to supplement this product, Tatyana offers a wide range of packets for pre school and school age children.

 

You can find her Social Pragmatic Checklist for School Aged Children in her store:

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A Social Pragmatic Assessment for School Aged Children product:

assessing social skills school children

A Social Pragmatic Checklist Sample for FREE:

SPD school checklsit sample

A FREE Social Pragmatic Checklist Sample for Preschool Children:

SPD preschool checklsit sample

A Social Pragmatic Deficits Complete Packet for preschool children:

preschool pragmatic checklist

 

It was a pleasure to review this product.  It provides a variety of strategies and materials for addressing social pragmatic skills across several age groups.   The information is clearly and thoroughly organized and explained.  It is also a great refresher for the therapist or educator who needs a go-to reference when planning therapy strategies and activities for students with social skills deficits on their caseload.

tatyana post pictre

You can visit Tatyana’s blog: www.smartspeechtherapy.com/blog/ and “like” her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SmartSpeechTherapyLlc

Now for the giveaway! You can enter from Monday, March 2 through Wednesday, March 4 for a chance to win one copy of Treatment of Social Pragmatic Deficits in School Aged Children.  Be sure to head over to Tatyana’s blog where she is giving away a copy of my Healthy Heart and Language Mart packet!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teachers are Heroes TpT SALE!! What’s in Your Cart? {Linky Party}

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TpT is holding a site wide sale on Wednesday, February 25th!  I love the theme of this sale: “Teachers Are Heroes.”  What a wonderful message and a lovely way to recognize and celebrate educators!  You can enter promo code : HEROES at check out for an additional 10% off, however my store will also be marked down an additional 20%.   Speech Room News has a linky party going on!  Check out all the products SLP’s are adding to their carts, as well as some suggestions from our own stores.

First, here are my suggestions for some SPRING-themed products.  That’s right, I’m thinking warm thoughts and hoping spring gets here soon!  I have a variety of  spring-themed products in my store and decided to bundle them ALL!  So if you want to get the most bang for your buck , consider purchasing one of these spring bundles during the sale:

Spring Language Bundle for Older Students

My Spring Language Bundle for Older Students covers all your spring-themed language needs! Your older students deserve some fun and challenging new materials and so do you!

Here is what you will find in this bundle:

Earn Some Green: Help your students identify and define figurative language concepts with this fun St. Patty’s themed packet. Packet includes “leprechaun loot” which students earn when they have responded to one of the figurative language cards (idioms, similes or metaphors.)

Language Advisor: This very unique product will have you traveling through the Emerald Isle as you learn about several cities in Ireland. Build vocabulary, listening and comprehension skills with this packet.

Scrambled Eggs:It includes categorization, figurative and humorous language activities. Challenge your students word retrieval and higher level thinking skills with this activity.

Magic Squares Spring Vocabulary:
Looking for a fun way to practice vocabulary that will also work the mathematical side of your brain? Give MAGIC SQUARES a try!!
SIX Magic Squares with NINE vocabulary words per game for: St. Patrick’s Day vocabulary, weather words, basketball terms (March Madness College b-ball!!), color related words, “Spring changes” terms and flower related terms.

Spring Language Bundle {Elementary level}

My Spring Language bundle {elementary age} was created with your younger students in mind.

Here is what you will find in this bundle:

O.M.G. (Oh My Greenness!) : This fun language game contains a collection of “green things” that can be used in several ways: for Receptive, expressive language building, barrier games, categorizing/classifying. A versatile way to use a collection of visuals!

Swing Into Spring Rhyme Time!: Brian the Lion and Pam the Lamb welcome in March with an activity that will help improve rhyming skills, phonological awareness and listening skills. Many of the words are “March” and “Spring” themed.

Rhyme Define Recycle–a book companion for Michael Recycle:This activity was inspired by the book Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel. This is a book companion activity for use with this story!

 

And here is what I’m adding to my cart from some other fabulous TpT stores:

I’m always looking for ways to keep my middle/high school kids engaged and motivated.  These riddles for teens from Teachers Resource Force will be great to use as warm-ups or end of session fillers.  They will challenge my students to work on those all important inferential, critical thinking and reasoning skills

99 Bell Ringers / Lesson Starters - Riddles for Teens!

 

If there’s a food-theme involved, you know I’m interested!  Speech2U has a product that addressees several language goals  (sequencing, verb tense, comprehension) with a pizza theme.  Pizza-rific looks terrific and it’s definitely going into my shopping cart!

Pizza-riffic: Functional language, Sequencing, Verb tense,

If you have students that need to improve their perspective taking on big vs. little problems as well as how to solve conflicts, Miss V’s Speech World created something that fits the bill.  This problem solving pack will be a nice addition to my other social thinking materials.  I have several students who will benefit from this product.

Problem-Solving Pack - Unit on little-medium-big problems

I am always looking for more materials to address tier 2 vocabulary with my older students.  I recently stumbled upon a new TpT store: BB’s SLP. She has Tier 2 Vocabulary Activity Kits for several grade levels.  I think the 7th grade vocabulary will serve my middle and high school students vocabulary needs, however I may be purchasing some of her other grade level vocabulary kits as well.

7th Grade Tier 2 Vocabulary Activity Kit

There are so many great products waiting to be purchased.  Don’t forget to visit the linky party and see some of the other great suggestions.   Remember teachers (and SLP’s!!),  we are heroes to so many children.  Keep inspiring, motivating and making a difference!

Chicken Soup for the SLP Soul Blog Hop

 

  chicken soup graphics

I am so happy to be sharing my story with you on the “Chicken Soup for the SLP Soul” blog hop.  Be sure to keep track of each “secret number” at the end of the blog posts.  Add them all up and submit your response when you reach the last blog for your chance to win some amazing TpT gift certificates!

My Wednesday Morning Wake-Up Call

Over the years,  I have had the opportunity to work in several settings—public schools, private schools, preschool clinics and private practices. However one of my most memorable experiences has been my time working with a Community Resource Team several years ago.  As part of the team, therapists and teachers provide home-based services to children who are unable to receive instruction in a classroom setting. Primarily, this is due to physical limitations which would make it too difficult to transport them to and from school. These children often require medical equipment and medical personnel to attend to their needs regularly.

My supervisor handed me the paperwork for a new student (I will call him “M” for privacy purposes).   I opened the file to review his IEP, medical history and other pertinent information regarding his disability. After having a good cry (the diagnosis and prognosis were overwhelming and I had never heard of this disorder before),  I realized that this would be an opportunity to grow and learn as an SLP and meet the challenge of working with a child with Type I SMA (Spinal Muscle Atrophy).

The rest of this story is a lesson in humility. For three years, every Wednesday morning was my “wake up call.”  No matter what my circumstances were that day, M was facing far greater challenges than me. And he did so with a positive attitude, great sense of humor and brave outlook. By the way, M was only 5 years old when I met him.

M’s parents were warm, genuine and highly intelligent people–and amazingly supportive and involved parents. Their baby appeared perfectly “normal” at birth. His parents had no idea that their son had this devastating genetic disorder—and that they were BOTH carriers. He was diagnosed after his parents began to observe signs of weakness in his ability to support himself and achieve developmental milestones. His parents and the doctors assumed he was just slow to develop, but then at seven months they were asked to check with a neurologist just to be safe. He was diagnosed when he was only eight months old. Blood work confirmed the diagnosis—– Type I SMA—the most severe type. Doctors told his parents not to expect him to see his second birthday.

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My initial meeting with M was not what I had expected. Although I had thoroughly read all the background history, the visual in my head did not match the one I met in person.  M had beautiful, inquisitive brown eyes and an amazing smile (despite the fact that weak facial muscles prevented full oral-motor strength.) And although his speech was often difficult to understand due to muscle weakness and poor breath support, the longer I worked with him, the easier it became to communicate. I grew to understand what his verbal approximations meant, I learned to read his facial expressions and I became generally more intuitive about understanding his responses the longer I worked with him.

M was usually positioned on the floor on a thick mat during my morning visits.  He had no mobility in his legs and minimal range of motion with his arms and hands.  He had a special chair that he sat in occasionally, however he always found it uncomfortable.  On the floor, it was easier for him to breath with ease and created less pressure on his intercostal muscles.  He always had a pile of his special toys next to him that he would hold in his hand or place on his chest. These were usually small figurines of characters from “Finding Nemo”, his favorite movie ever! His mom told me that Nemo represented M’s life to some extent. Nemo was a fish with a disproportionately small right fin who wanted to go out and explore the world regardless of his disability.  M explored the world through his lap top which he used quite proficiently.  He had a mouse with a rotating ball that made it easy for him to navigate through websites, play computer games, and search for information. And like Nemo, M seemed to “just keep swimming”—-medical setbacks were only temporary obstacles for this very brave boy!

nemo

M was rarely unhappy when I came to visit.  His social skills were impressive for a young child.  I always received a greeting upon entering the room.  He always asked me how I was doing.  And whether or not he thought I was truly funny, he (almost) always laughed at my silly jokes.    I sat on a yoga mat on the floor next to him during our lessons. Our therapy sessions addressed story comprehension, vocabulary development, direction following, and sentence building. I usually focused my lessons around themes, primarily the seasons and holidays as well as his interests (anything that involved his favorite TV shows and movie characters were always a big hit!)  He enjoyed listening to stories and holding the character stick puppets that we made.  Despite his physical limitations, he made steady growth and progress in his language goals.

M loved to learn. He loved to ask questions. He loved to ask how my son was doing and looked forward to visits from him—they were only one year apart and had become friends over the three years I worked with him. His entire “team” was always invited to birthday parties, holiday parties, graduation parties. We were all (the OT,PT, nurse, teacher and myself) treated like part of the family.

M’s parents found out they were expecting a second child around the time M was turning six years old. They hadn’t planned the pregnancy, but were willing to accept whatever
the future held. M’s baby brother turned out to be perfect in every way. He was a special gift. M was excited about being a big brother!

Over the years, M took several trips to Children’s Hospital to treat complications that arose. And although he had already outlived the statistical odds, his parents knew that
their son was regressing. There are currently five clinical drug trials being conducted on all populations affected by SMA. Clinical testing of novel therapeutics (non-FDA approved drugs) will commence for SMA in the next 2 years.

M passed away at the age of seven.  He went into cardiac arrest caused by respiratory complications, as predicted in the diagnosis of children with Type I SMA.  I visited M and his family in the hospital during his final hours. I told his parents that he had taught me far more than I could have ever taught him. He was an inspiration and I was honored to have known him. I continue to stay in touch with his family and I enjoy watching their second son grow and thrive—as his big brother lives on in him.

M taught me some important lessons….to be grateful and thankful for what I do have, to keep life in perspective by enjoying the good moments and to bravely face challenges and conflicts. He is still my Wednesday morning wake-up call!!

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Thanks for taking a moment to let me share my heartfelt story with you!  You can read more Chicken Soup stories by visiting all the fantastic SLP’s blogs in the hop.  Special thanks to The Dabbling Speechie for organizing this wonderful blog hop!  Don’t forget to enter your answer in the Rafflecopter giveaway when you reach the last blog on the stop!  My secret number is below:

Cooking up good speech

 

Click here to go to SLPrunner, the next blog on the hop.

next blog

Click here if you would like to go back to ”Speech Time Fun,” the first blog on the hop.

first blog


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