Monthly Archives

December 2015

What’s Really Going on in the Speech Room?

By | SLP Insights

We’ve all heard it before…

“All that speech therapist does is play all day.”
“Their job is not stressful at all.”
“She only sees X number of students.”
“She’s just sitting in there on her computer.”
“I could do that job.  It looks so easy.”

Do any of these sound familiar to you?  I know I’ve heard  them before…if not as an SLP, I surely did hear similar things when I was a teacher.  I don’t have actual statistics to support this, but I think speech-language pathologists are probably some of the most misunderstood professionals in the world…at least in the school setting.  So many people have no idea what we really do, which is why I decided to write this post.  I want to share a little bit of what’s really going on in the speech room, because you can’t always tell just by peeking in.  I am sharing 5 common statements that I have heard about my job and a brief explanation of what is really going on in each situation.  I hope it brings more understanding to our position in the schools. Enjoy!

1. “They are just in there playing.” Yes.  Yes, it does look like we are just “playing” with some of our students…especially the little ones.  But we are actually providing many, many opportunities to use language and practice speech goals.  When I’m working with a 3 or 4 year old, I don’t sit and drill.  I bring out bubbles, balls, play dough, and other toys of high interest to the student.  I use these toys to provide opportunities for my students to use language to request, comment, describe, and protest.  If we are working on specific sounds, I build in opportunities to use the target sounds into each activity.  It may look like we are just playing, but I carefully planned the “play” session to target the child’s speech goals.  I even incorporate speech goals into the games I use with my older students.  My students may think we are just playing, but it’s much more than that.

2. “She’s not busy, she’s just on her computer.” This is a tough one for some to understand, especially some teachers.  I’ve been a teacher, so I can relate.  Yes, I have time in my day where I am working on my computer.  But it’s not just checking emails and piddling around.  I have TONS of paperwork and deadlines to meet.  Speech therapy is more than therapy sessions.  We have to keep detailed documentation, write progress reports, and there’s always the endless pile of evaluation reports and IEPs to write.  We have a TON of paperwork.  I’m sure any SLP would give up their paperwork in a second and just do therapy, but the paperwork is a necessary part of the job.  So, yes, I may have paperwork time built into my schedule, but it’s because I have deadlines to meet and legal mandates to uphold.  Trust me, I’d much rather be working with students.  🙂

3. “She’s not working. She’s not even in her room.”  I’ve heard it mentioned before that if the SLP is not in her room, she’s not actually working.  This is especially hard for us traveling SLPs who may only be at a school 1 or 2 days a week.  Believe me when I say that we don’t have to be in our rooms to be working.  Many SLPs do “push-in” therapy where the therapy is done in the student’s classroom, rather than in the therapy room.  That’s one reason we may be out of the office.  We might also be in a meeting, or discussing a student’s progress with a teacher, or at one of our other campuses…or we may even be somewhere in the building trying to find the students we are scheduled to see who are not where their schedule says they should be…sigh.  It’s not always evident to others, but we are very busy…both in and out of the speech room!

4. “All they do in speech is work on sounds.” We do work on sound production, but we also address language, pragmatics, and much more.  In the school setting, most of my caseload has articulation or language goals.  My students vary from those who only have a few sound errors, to students who do not speak at all.  I have some who are learning to use communication devices.  I also have students who speak very well, but need extra help with the social aspect of language use.  I have students with a variety of disabilities and academic needs.  In other districts and settings, SLPs also perform therapy for dysphagia (swallowing), voice disorders, and cognitive functioning after strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and more.  The field is great and the needs are many.  What one person sees an SLP doing with one patient/student is not at all the only thing they do.  We address many different areas depending on the needs our students have. 

5. “That student doesn’t need speech.  They sound fine” or “I’m not going to refer that student.  They won’t qualify anyway.”  These are not exactly related to what I’m doing in my speech room, but I’ve heard both of these statements at different times over the past few years and wanted to address them.  The problem with these statements is the assumptions being made.  In many cases, teachers and/or parents assume they know whether or not a student will qualify for speech therapy services.  Frankly, in many cases, even the SLP doesn’t know if a student will qualify or not until the evaluation has been completed.  So much goes into determining whether or not a student will qualify.  Assumptions are best left off the table and teachers/parents should talk with their school’s SLP if they have any questions about a particular student.

Have you heard any of these statements made in your school?  Maybe you’re a teacher or parent whose had these thoughts about your SLP once or twice before. One of my goals as an SLP is to help people understand what I do and why I do it.  This field is so exciting and rewarding.  I get to help students experience the joy that is communication.  It’s something many of us take for granted.  It’s not an easy job, and it’s not all fun and games, but I do it because I love it.

I hope other SLPs who read this will be able to relate a little bit, and I hope non-SLPs will gain a deeper understanding of what we actually do. Feel free to share your comments/thoughts below.

Go Sequencing App Review and GIVEAWAY!!!

By | SLP Apps

I just LOVE Smarty Ears Apps.  I have several of them and use them ALL.OF.THE.TIME.  One of my favorites is Go Sequencing.  I use this app daily and just absolutely love it.  I love it so much that I decided to write a review so everyone can see how great it is.  I also have 2 FREE copies to give away at the end of this post.  Yay for fun giveaways!

Go Sequencing is a great app for working on sequencing and retelling stories.  I use it with students who have sequencing goals, but I also use it with students who have goals for generating complete sentences, recalling information from stories, and retelling.  I love the visuals and ease of use, and my students love the graphics and being able to see their own progress.

When you first enter the app, you are prompted to enter or select players.  You can use this app with one or multiple players.  When using it in a group, each student works on their own level. The app automatically starts each player at level one, but you are able to modify this before beginning play. Just click the “Modify” button and select which level you would like your student to be on.  Each level targets different skills, from answering “What happened first/last?” to sequencing 6 steps with text+audio (no pictures). You can even build your own custom sequences!

Each turn begins by presenting the sequence to the student.  The cards are shown one at a time as the story is told along with each card.

Then the child has their opportunity to respond.  Responses vary depending on what level the child is on.  On Level 1, children will answer questions about what happened first/last in the sequence (pictures are provided).  In higher levels, the child will put the pictures in the correct order.  Some levels provide pictures for sequencing and some only provide text depending on the level of difficulty.  The app automatically keeps track of the child’s progress, which you can review in the reporting center (see below).

As the child progresses through each level, rewards are earned.  There are rewards for earning stars and completing different levels.  You can track the child’s rewards in the Reward Center.

At the end of each level,  a screen will pop up showing how the child performed on that level.  You can have the child remain on the current level for additional practice, or proceed on to the next level.

In the reporting center, you are able to view each child’s progress, print completion certificates, and access the reward center.  Information from the reporting center can also be shared by email or uploaded to the Therapy Report Center App (free download).

What I love about Go Sequencing is how easy it is to set up and get started.  I also love that it tracks progress automatically so I don’t have to keep data on a separate sheet of paper.  Results are automatically added to the report center after each level is completed.

My students ask to “play” this app all the time (they just think they’re playing, but they’re actually working on goals).  They love it so much!

I highly recommend this app!  It’s definitely one of my favorite purchases!  You can get more info on Go Sequencing on the Smarty Ears website and you can purchase it in the app store.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!  I am giving away 2 FREE copies of Go Sequencing.  This is a $22 app, and you have the chance to win it for FREE!

There are two ways to win: One winner will be selected from those who enter in the Rafflecopter below.  The other winner will be selected from those who enter on Instagram.

To enter on Instagram (one entry per person):
1. Follow me (@TalkinWithTwang)
2. Like my post
3. Tag a friend in the comments

To enter here use the Rafflecopter below.  Winners will be selected on Sunday.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Ways to Bring Holiday Fun Into the Speech Room

By | Speech Therapy Ideas


I just love this time of year.  Holiday decorations are up, people are (generally) cheerful, kids (and teachers) are getting excited about the upcoming winter break, and we get to have fun with holiday activities.  I’m always looking for ways to bring the fun into my speech room.  This year, I decided to share some of my favorite activities for bringing the holiday fun into the speech room […]

1. Speech Room Elf on a Shelf – We have an elf at our house (Jingles) and I have several friends who are SLPs and/or teachers who have brought the fun of the elf into their classrooms.  I have not been able to “adopt” a speech room elf yet myself, but I think some of my students would absolutely LOVE to have one in the room.  Just think of all the great language you could work on each day while they look for the elf.  I’m thinking pronouns, prepositions, etc. A Google search for speech or classroom elf will yield TONS of great ideas for using an elf in your speech room.  Click HERE to see an older post from Jenna at Speech Room News about how she used her elf in speech. 

2. Use winter/holiday themed apps – I love the Articulate It app from Smarty Ears and it has themes you can change throughout the year.  The theme I am using now is the Christmas theme.  My students love that I can change the theme and get more into the holiday spirit. I also love Toca Hair Salon Christmas (free).  We use it to elicit language and also for reinforcement.  So fun!

3. Hide the present – this is another fun way to get students into the holiday spirit.  Place your activity for the day (artic cards, game, worksheets, etc.) into a wrapped box (with a lid for easy opening) and hide it before each session.  Have the students look for the present at the start of each session.  This will give them some excitement and curiosity as they open the gift to see what activity they will doing that day.

4. Craftivities!  I love doing craftivities in speech.  It breaks up the typical routine and gives students a finished product that they can show off to their class, teachers, and family…and gives them something to use for practice at home!  There are so many Christmas/winter/holiday themed craftivities out there.  An easy one to do is just a large piece of green construction paper cut into a triangle (tree) with circles of different color construction paper for ornaments.  I print out small pictures that go with my students goals (target phonemes, verbs, pronouns, vocab, etc.) and they just glue them onto the ornaments and then onto the tree. Another great craftivity can be found over at Allison’s Speech Peeps (pic below is from her blog).

http://speechpeeps.com/2012/12/christmas-speech-craftivity-freebie.html

5. Christmas/Holiday books – There are so many great holiday books for children and so many book companions on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I love to bring at least one holiday book into speech and base the lesson around the story.  One of my favorite Christmas stories is Oh, What a Christmas! I’ve been working on a book companion for this story, but it won’t be ready this Christmas…be sure to check back!

Happy Holidays!