Social Skills Projects You Can Do at Home

Don’t get me wrong, I love nearly everything within my field that comes my way, but my true sweet spot is early language skills and social skills for children of any age. When it comes to working on social skills, I do a lot of super targeted lessons and explicit learning, but I also include long(er)-term or group projects whenever I can. Not only does this give us lots of real world practice in negotiating social skills in real-time, but they also address executive function skills—an area that many children, especially those struggling with social skills need help with. Social

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Teaching Secret Keeping

This is the time of year I’m likely to suggest families work on secret-keeping. Does this sound a little inappropriate? Then think of it as keeping “surprises.” The idea behind secrets is pretty sophisticated and kids who struggle with perspective taking are going to have a particularly hard time (and need some specific instruction) in learning this skill. But it’s important! We keep secrets all the time. Sometimes it’s for really fun stuff like birthday presents, an unexpected note and surprise parties. Sometimes it’s for a harmless joke like putting a plastic spider in the fruit bowl. Sometimes it’s to

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Are You Interrogating or Modeling?

It’s a stereotype of movies and books, the mom who won’t stop hounding their kids with questions. And it’s clear to anyone watching that the incessant interrogation is pushing the kids away whether they’re 10, 20 or 30 years old. And yet… We do the same thing. Not to our kids, although maybe that too, but to the little ones in our therapy sessions. Where? Who? What? Why? When? We inundate them with questions because we have goals and we need data. Say… Show me… Do… We have an endless stream of directives because, again, we have goals and we

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Preschool Attention Spans: What to Expect and How to Accommodate

We’re all familiar with the pediatric therapist and their bag, but have you ever stopped to notice that the bag, or rather bag size, gives you a fair idea of what age they serve? It’s an inverse relationship. Big bag, little people. Little bag, big people. Part of this is because toys are bulky and if we have any hope of reaching and engaging our young learners we need to meet them with appropriate play. But it’s also because of those developing attention spans. How long can they attend? A rough estimate is that a child will have an attention

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Why I Stopped Using Apps in Speech Therapy

I’m so sick of boxes and that ridiculous packing tape that wants so badly to stick on itself. Have you ever experienced carrying box after box after box in NC heat? It’s brutal. I did it moving offices this spring, twice in August moving kids to college and then this past weekend when I moved offices again. It really makes you assess all your stuff. But here’s the thing. Several years ago I really embraced the app thing. Dedicated speech and language apps were coming on the market, iPads were hot and the kids were so into them. It was

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Picture Book Giveaway!

This summer I started a YouTube channel so I could share some of my favorite read-aloud books to use in speech therapy (or for fun at home). In my videos, I tell you a bit about why I like the book and then make suggestions for some follow-up activities. If you look in each video description, you will also see a link to the page of free lesson plan downloads. I hope you’ll take a minute to check out some of these! I post a new video each week, so be sure to subscribe! Looking to win a copy of

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The Importance of Unstructured Time and When to Intervene

It makes sense that shows like Stranger Things are set in the 80s when childhood was less structured, making it more prone to adventure, abduction and alien beings. Nowadays, kids would be hard-pressed to find that kind of unscheduled time for exploration. They’re enrolled in structured enrichment activities outside of school and the classroom schedule has had to drop recess and (free) playtime to create more “academic” blocks. But it’s to the detriment of learning. Unstructured play gives little ones a chance to explore and create and these opportunities are much more likely to result in deeper learning and understanding—not

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How to Build a Play-Based Lesson Plan

Let’s build a play-based lesson plan! I can’t tell you how many SLPs people, tell me that little ones make them nervous. The two to four year old group is too unpredictable and they have those teeny, tiny attention spans. Some of our older students can be a bit like this too. Behind developmentally and skittish around activities that look like the classroom ones they struggle with, these students need an approach more similar to our toddler/preschool students. We need to play! But play with a purpose. Play-based doesn’t mean taking any toy off the shelf and letting the child

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Teaching Growth Mindset plus a Giveaway!

I make it a point to teach Growth Mindset with my kiddos working on social skills and tie it in with all of my students regardless of what we’re working on (because, seriously, don’t those artic kids need some Growth Mindset if there’s any hope of tackling their goals?). But it’s been hitting me on a personal level recently. It was time to jump start my exercise routine so I recently joined a Pound class a couple of days a week and tried out a couple of boxing workouts too. Pound is fun. If you haven’t seen this before, it’s

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