Tortilla Pizza—{with “speech snacks” for /t/ and /p/}


The versatile tortilla! I love using them in so many of my recipes. They are a great substitute for bread. I use many different types of tortillas—whole wheat, low carb, whole grain–and today brown rice tortillas— to make a quick, delicious, easy Tortilla Pizza.   Kids love helping with this one and, depending on their age, will be able to fully assemble one by themselves. This makes a great quick lunch or dinner. Feel free to add other toppings (shredded chicken, broccoli, red peppers, different cheeses). Just don’t over load the tortilla or it can get too heavy and not hold up well. Enjoy this incredibly simple and delicious quick pizza!!

Ingredients: rice tortillas (or another type of tortilla of your choice)
extra virgin olive oil
pesto (homemade or store-bought)
ricotta cheese **(omit cheese if following an ADHD or ASD diet)
fresh, chopped tomatoes
fresh herbs


Brown rice tortillas are gluten/wheat free and contain 0 grams saturated fat

Spread a little extra virgin olive oil on your baking sheet and your tortilla. This will prevent sticking and provide extra crispness.







The kiddos can spread the olive oil on the pan….







……and spoon and spread  the pesto on the tortilla—-a simple, kid-centered task!

Spread a thin layer of pesto onto your tortilla. Pesto contains basil, garlic and pine nuts and adds a great garlic flavor without having to add minced garlic separately. And the garlic flavor is more easily distributed with the pesto. You can use homemade pesto or store-bought. Look for the refrigerated store-bought instead of the jarred if possible—it tastes much fresher!

Adults should chop any veggies (tomatoes, broccoli, peppers) and kids can layer them onto the tortilla—–talk about VEGGIES—-name as many green, red and yellow ones as you can!  This will build their vocabulary and categorization skills!


Spoon dollops of creamy ricotta cheese evenly over the tortilla






I added some fresh basil (from the garden). I like to add fresh herbs to my meals whenever possible






Can your kids name other herbs????  See how many you can name—pull out your dried herbs from the spice rack—compare what they look, smell and taste like!   Growing an herb garden—identify the names of the fresh herbs, compare the different shapes and colors of the leaves!


Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown







Hot out of the oven and ready to be sliced with a pizza cutter and served! Enjoy!





  • To make this sound…Put your tongue behind your front teeth on the bumpy part of your mouth. Push out a little puff of air and pull down your tongue. While this sound is generally mastered by age 4 years, children who have difficulty with tongue strength and weak oral motor skills may be challenged.
  • I also tell students to show me a big smile with their teeth. Then I ask them to press their tongue against their teeth and push out the air. See the Turkey Tortilla Wrap for more /t/ speech snacks!
  • We practice counting things in “two’s” —like the body parts on a stuffed animal. I will say “How many?” as we point to two eyes, two ears, etc….
  • For the Tortilla recipe, practice repeating the sound or syllables (ta, te, ti, to, tu) as you spread on the olive oil and pesto.
  • Count the tomato pieces as you place them on the tortilla–”one tomato, two tomatoes….”
  • Describe the tortilla to work on VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT and SENTENCE STRUCTURE and the target sound at the same time: “The tortilla is round.” “The tortilla is made of rice.” “Tortillas taste good.” “Put the tomatoes on the tortilla.”
  • Talk about other objects shaped like a CIRCLE to build vocabulary through CATEGORIZATION.
  • After you cut the tortilla into wedges talk about the words PART and WHOLE.
  • Cut out the pictures of this recipe and sequence the steps together, then mix them up and see if your children can put them back in the correct order.


  • The /p/ is one of the first sounds produced by most children, generally between 2-3 years of age, however if lip strength is weak, he/she may have difficulty pressing the lips together and popping out the air from behind the lips.
  • Other exercises I use to help strengthen the lips: Using a tongue blade (also called a tongue depressor or wooden stick), I have the student squeeze his lips together while holding the stick horizontally between the lips—no teeth allowed!! For added resistance, I place the tip of the tongue blade between the lips and have the child squeeze the lips together and try to keep the stick from falling out of the mouth.
  • We also have fun with a PEPPERONI PIZZA GAME: Draw a pizza on a piece of paper. Draw circles to represent slices of pepperoni. For every good /p/ production, the child gets to color in a piece of pepperoni.
  • Practice words from the recipe: PESTO, PIZZA, SCOOP, SPREAD,SPOON, CRISP. Practice these words in phrases and sentences once they have been mastered at the word level.


Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss

The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Lowrey

If you Give a Pig A Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff




Keen About Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) {with SpeechSnacks for /k/}

quinoa pilaf 2

****ASD (Autism-Spectrum Disorder)/ADHD Friendly RECIPE*****

I discovered Quinoa (keen-wah) a few years ago while shopping in the “bulk grain” section of my supermarket. It looked a
lot like couscous and pastina (both of which I am a fan of). So I measured out a few scoops of this interesting grain and brought it home to give it a try.
After doing some research, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had stumbled upon a grain that was extremely nutrient-dense and high in protein.
Now I frequently substitute it for rice and pasta, especially when I want to add a little extra protein to my family’s meal.


*Quinoa is an ancient grain native to South America. Quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors.

*Quinoa contains more high quality protein than any other grain.

* Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.

*Quinoa contains NO gluten (and it’s perfect for people who follow a wheat-free diet)

*Quinoa is light and easy to digest. It is less filling than other grains and pasta.

*Quinoa is quick and easy to prepare. It can be served as a side dish, in soups, salads, as a pilaf and even for breakfast as a cereal!


Quinoa Pilaf







1. Measure out 1 cup of dry quinoa to a saucepan







2.Measure 2 cups of chicken broth–you can also use water, but I prefer the broth for more flavor







3.Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil







4.Reduce to a simmer, cover pan and cook until all the liquid is absorbed–10-15 minutes







5. Chop 1/2 onion and add to a saute pan



6.Saute until onions are translucent and golden brown











7. Add peas (frozen peas are fine, they will thaw as you stir them in with the onions)

8. To make this dish more pilaf-like, add a handful of chopped walnuts. Add some freshly shaved pectorino-romano cheese to add extra flavor. **(omit cheese if
following an ADHD or ASD diet)







9.Combine the quinoa, peas and onions, chopped nuts and salt/pepper to taste






10. Enjoy a delicious, high protein side dish. Goes great with chicken, beef or  fish as well as by itself. Try the leftovers cold for lunch as a salad



“SpeechSnacks” for /k/


To make this sound, you need to open your mouth, lift the back of your tongue and push it against the back of your throat. Let your
tongue down with a puff of air.

I have students practice doing something that comes naturally–coughing. We practice keeping our mouth wide open and letting out a cough with our hand
in front of our mouth to “cover our cough” and also to feel the air on our hand.


This sound is typically produced by age 3.5 years according to most developmental charts. In my experience, the most typical problem with producing this sound is an issue called “fronting”. When a child “fronts” this sound, they produce a /t/ instead of a /k/ as they use the front portion of their mouth (using the front part of the tongue instead of the back of the tongue). Words come out sounding like “tolor” for “color” and “mate” instead of “make”. Correcting this common substitution can be a challenge. In the therapy setting I will usually work on correct tongue placement by using a tongue depressor (the kids love the yummy grape flavored ones) to properly position the tongue. This is often very
helpful but should only be attempted by a certified speech therapist. Parents can make progress at home through auditory bombardment (hearing the correct production of the sound over and over), modeling the sound with visual cues and giving reminders. You can help strengthen good tongue retraction, necessary for proper /k/ and /g/ production, by having your kids drink liquids through a straw.


Use the Quinoa Pilaf recipe to help reinforce the /k/ with your kiddies at home:

  • Practice saying the word QUINOA–(KEEN-WAH) together. Tap out the syllables and say it slowly.
  • try the phrases: “pour the quinoa”, “cook the quinoa

For language development:

  • talk about and describe how the dry quinoa feels, describe
    the grains (tiny, hard, smooth).  Practice saying quinoa is….. ”  and use descriptive words for how it tastes, feels, smells—you will be addressing BOTH articulation and simple sentence building by doing this. 
  • compare the cooked quinoa vs the dry quinoa and how different they look and feel
  • talk about the Quick Quinoa Facts at the beginning of this post to educate them on nutrition
  • print and cut out the pictures above and practice sequencing the steps of the recipe–then mix up the pix and have your children try putting
    them back in order (there are several pictures so this may be a little challenging for some of them).


STORY TIME for /k/

Here are a few good stories to read with your little ones to
help develop the /k/ sound:

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (one of my favorite silly

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola

Who Stole the Cookies? by Judith Moffat

Where do Kisses Come From? by Maria Fleming

Fantastic Fig Bars–{with Speech Snacks for /f/}

This recipe was inspired by the great figs that grew on my tree this summer—and my ancestors who grew them previous to me. They are quick,easy and a great substitute for other snacks and desserts that are high in refined sugar and artificial ingredients. If you like fig newton’s, you’re going to love homemade fig bars too!!  Enjoy them and let me know what you think!

Did you know…..

January 16th is National Fig Newton Day.
Fig Newtons were created in 1891 by the Kennedy Biscuit Works in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts.
According to Nabisco:  “Fig Newtons were named after either Sir Isaac Newton or the town of Newton, Massachusetts.”
Fig Newtons were one of the first commercially baked products in America.
Fig Newtons are the 3rd most popular cookie in the U.S., over 1 billion are consumed each year.


fig bars

Crust– 1/2 cup butter, softened 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used raw turbinado sugar)

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

figs and sugar

1/4 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water

1 bag (9 oz) dried mission figs, chopped (1 cup)

chopped figs


1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup rolled oat

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 9 inch pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl beat butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add 1 cup flour and beat on low-speed until a soft dough forms. Press into bottom of pan and bake for 10-15 minutes.

cooking figs

Meanwhile, in a 2 qt sauce pan cook filling ingredients over med-high heat for 5-10 min. Stir frequently until figs are tender and liquid is absorbed. spread
over crust.

In a small bowl mix flour, brown sugar, and butter using a fork. Stir in oats and walnuts. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake 15-20 min or until topping is light golden brown. Cool about 1 hour and cut into bars. ( I like to put it in the fridge to cool completely–it will make it easier to cut into bars)

Makes 16 bars

fig bars


Here’s Your “Speech Snacks”:


The /f/ sound is a very visual sound, which makes it easy for you to model for your kids, and even easier for you to see if they are producing it correctly!
Cue your child to “Place your top teeth on your bottom lip and blow out air.” This sound is typically produced between ages 3 1/2 -4 years.

Place your hand in front of your child’s face to feel the airflow. Have them do the same by placing their own hand in front of their mouth/face. Also–practice the proper placement in front of a mirror with your child for visual reinforcement.

Another way to cue proper placement involves placing a dab of peanut or almond butter, cake frosting, marshmallow fluff (or some other favorite that will adhere) to the spot between the lower lip and chin. Ask your child to try and reach for it with his upper teeth and scrape it off (or essentially pull it into the mouth with the upper teeth) . This exercise will help reinforce the correct position that you are attempting to stabilize.


While making the Fig Bars, practice counting figs…one fig, two figs, three figs, four figs, five figs.

Model short phrases and sentences using /f/: “soft figs”, “sweet figs”, “mission figs”, “fig bars”"fresh figs”. “Figs are soft.” “Figs are full of fiber.” “Figs are sweet.” “A fig is a fruit.”

Read the “FIG FACTS in part one of this blog (see Food For Thought page “A Fruitful Experience”or click here) to address comprehension and their ability to provide detail and descriptions of the information you have read to them (auditory recall).

Ask “WH” questions. Where do figs grow? What do figs look like? How do figs taste? How do figs feel? What shape are figs?

Cut a fig open and describe what you see.

Compare/contrast a fresh fig vs a dry fig.

Story Time: (stories to read along with your children that contain the /f/ sound)

Practice the sound at the syllable level by reading Jack and the Beanstalk and having your child practice saying “fe-fi-fo-fum.” The Three Little Pigs is also great for practicing final /f/ position words “huff” and “puff”.

Storytime for /f/:
Jack and the Beanstalk by Steven Kellogg
The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback




Reflections (from an SLP) on the Anniversary of September 11th

(this post was originally published on September 10, 2011–the 10th anniversary of 9/11)

Today’s post will not address any particular speech sound, language app , or a way to incorporate food into your therapy sessions. Instead I am posting some thoughts on the events surrounding the anniversary of the most tragic day in the history of our country.


Every summer for the past few years, my friend and I take our kids to Manhattan to see something new. (This year we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Madame Tussuad’s Wax Museum). It has become a wonderful tradition—one that I look forward to every year. This August, instead of taking the train, we decided to drive to Staten Island and take the Staten Island Ferry into the city. We thought it would be a fun, new perspective for the kids to view the trip into New York.

Personally, I have never taken the ferry so it was enjoyable for me as well. We had a great panoramic view of the skyline and passed by the Statue of Liberty. However, the 20 minute ferry ride, with the city staring us in the face, was also a glaring reminder of the missing Towers. And with this year being the 10th anniversary of the event, the memories of all that surrounded that day came to the forefront of my thoughts.

We can all remember where we were on that day and what we were doing. Ten years ago,  I was working in a middle school, meeting with a few teachers that morning. I was handing out portable FM Systems to teachers whose students had IEP’s indicating the need and briefing them on how to use the devices. Several moments later, the first plane hit the first tower. News spread quickly and as I walked down the hall, I caught fragments of whispered conversations about what was happening. I remember walking into the guidance office and joining other teachers who were listening to the local radio station in disbelief as the broadcaster described what was unfolding. Then the phone calls started coming in from worried parents who wanted to pick up their children. The school tried to reassure them that they were safe, however many parents came anyway. I wasn’t a parent yet, but if I were, I may have done the same thing.


Ten years have passed so quickly it seems. I still can’t believe it has been that long!  Those of us with younger children are challenged to find the right way to explain to them what happened to our country that day. And we realize they are growing up in a world much different than the one we did.

I found the following links that offer some good advise for parents on how to talk to their children about 9/11:

The following link is a downloadable curriculum for K-12 teachers on lessons and topics related to 9/11 and global safety and security:

We still do–and always will–live in the greatest country on Earth—and I look forward to making many more visits to one of the greatest cities in the world!

God Bless the victims and brave heroes of 9/11 and

God Bless the United States of America!!


My first BLOG POST! A New Challenge and a New School Year: Turkey Tortilla Wraps {Today’s Speech Snacks are /t/ and /r/}


A Brand New Challenge!

I love a challenge!   Challenges help us strive to be better, reach higher, do more with the gifts we have already been given.  I have accepted many challenges over the years–athletic, academic, professional and personal.  Challenges (especially the long-term ones) can often result in great reward.  Probably the greatest challenge I ever accepted was becoming a mother—one that I look forward to each and every day!  My job as a speech pathologist is definitely a challenge–one that helps me continue to develop and grow.  I love what I do and hope to continue to better myself professionally with each new student I meet.

So here is my latest challenge—I decided to try my hand at blogging!  Although I feel confident in my creativity and ability to convey a message in writing, my familiarity with technology is limited.  To start a blog, a little skill in this area would be helpful!  I have already been challenged by widgets, codes, plug-ins and tags—words that weren’t in my lexicon a week ago!  So here I go.  Hopefully I will find the patience  and time to figure it all out.  I have a plan and a purpose, so at least that’s a good start!  Here’s to my brand new challenge….and my first ever blog post!

A New School Year is Here—Time to Make the Lunches!

I asked my son today if he was excited to start the new school year.  His response was a half-hearted, “I guess.”  I reassured him that third grade is going to be an exciting, new adventure, and that he is going to have a great year!  I think the pep talk was more for me than for him.  It seems just as hard for many of us parents to get back in that old school routine as is it is for our children. One part of that routine, for many of us, is the ritual of making the school lunches.  It was so nice to forget about packing that daily sandwich, drink and snack during the summer months.  (Some parents opt out of the brown bag lunch and choose to let their kids buy the school lunch.  While some of the choices provided are decent, I find myself cringing at the sight of the off-grey colored chicken nuggets and mushy, overcooked broccoli pieces that are sometimes served.)

Today I want to share a different alternative to the run-of- the-mill pbj or ham and cheese.  Continue reading “My first BLOG POST! A New Challenge and a New School Year: Turkey Tortilla Wraps {Today’s Speech Snacks are /t/ and /r/}” »

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