Max’s Chocolate Chicken Activities

I’ve always had a sweet spot for Max, that little bunny that so closely mirrors the behavior of many of my students. In Max’s Chocolate Chicken he’s at it again. Ruby is bound and determined to follow the egg hunt rules to win the chocolate chicken. Max, on the other hand, is easily distracted by ants, mud, acorns, a spoon….in fact, at the end of the egg hunt he has nothing but ant and acorn mud pancakes to show for his work. Does that matter? No! When you aren’t penned in by the rules, you can grab the prize and

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Working on Categories in Speech

Is categorization a skill we really need to work on? YES. In fact, it’s probably the most critical attribute skill we need. The ability to categorize objects allows us to “file” information in our brains according to “like” characteristics. This ability to organize not only makes accessing the information more efficient, it allows us to predict or make inferences about similar, unfamiliar items. For instance, we might know quite a bit about dogs or farm or zoo animals, but what about a quokka? Even if we’ve never heard of this before, a quick glance and we’d place it in the

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Storybook Manipulatives Hack

I love using storybook manipulatives to help bring a story to life, but buying them already made can be really pricey and creating your own can take for.ev.er. Here’s a quick and easy hack that solves the problem. I bought doubles of classic fairytale board books at my local Dollar Store (yes, you need doubles, but they’re a DOLLAR). Next, take a deep breath because we are going to deface books. Using regular scissors, cut out the primary picture on each page (you need double copies of the book so you can get both the image on the front and

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Basketball Themed Speech for March Madness

I cannot express the passion for basketball that a lot of my students, make that North Carolinians, have. March with its nearly constant game action thanks to March Madness often has me adopting an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” attitude. Here are a few of the activities that will be going on in my room. Trashcan basketball is a no brainer and can be used as open-ended reinforcement for any skill. Whether you simply toss crumpled paper into the trash, buy a hoop to mount on the trashcan or go all out on mini basketballs and a hoop

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Working on Pronouns in Speech

I love a little mailbox.  I have a couple for the holidays and a bunch more for Valentine’s Day. Recently, I picked up a little mail set from the Target Dollar Spot and I’m thinking I need want a more generic mailbox for that. Lately, I’ve been working on pronouns. Over and over on pronouns. Personal pronouns and all the possessive pronouns too. You can pop into the Dollar Tree and pick up boxes of little Valentines with all of the popular characters on them. I grabbed Disney princess, Paw Patrol and Justice League. Put a label on three mini mailboxes

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Setting Boundaries with Parents

Does Balance Seem Elusive? While it’s tempting to throw yourself into involved productivity regimes and distract yourself creating pretty schedules with “family” and “work out” allocated primary spots, the issue isn’t time management.  It’s boundaries. In my experience, boundary setting is particularly tough for those in caregiving professions and particularly for women. And while boundary setting is tough, it’s a learned skill. One that gets easier over time and pays huge dividends in your mental health. A few general tips: Be straightforward in your delivery. Maintain eye contact and project a calm demeanor. Breathe! Expect you may need to repeat

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Games to Develop Theory of Mind

Have you ever picked up a student and had them launch into the middle of a story, usually a movie or show they’ve watched, but you can’t follow it because you have no frame of reference? Theory of mind is the understanding of another person’s perspective, emotions, knowledge or beliefs and that they may not match your own.  This includes the ability to recognize that our experience gives us unique information and we need to accommodate this difference in our communication. Sometimes this means filling in information a listener doesn’t have, for instance, filling in a friend who was out

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Re-purposing and Recycling Holiday Debris

As we move into the last week before winter break, I wanted to offer a few reminders about items you might want to save to use in therapy during the months ahead or to hold on to for next December. Wrapping tubes: Those thick cardboard tubes that wrapping paper comes on make for exciting tube tunnels for Hot Wheels cars year round! The wider ones are also good storage for posters or other large paper items. Bubble wrap: Here’s a quick way to transform a sheet of Super Duper artic words into something a lot more motivating—simply place it on

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Using Wind-up Toys in Speech (Beyond “More”)

Wind-up toys and speech therapy go together like peanut butter and jelly (or chocolate and wine, depending on your leanings).  But often therapists who see students older than toddlers/preschoolers tend to pass these mechanical gems by because they assume that they’re best suited for “more” and other basic communication requests. Not even close! Wind-up toys are one of my go-to activities for all ages because they offer a brief, real-life animation.  Here’s how I use them: Vocabulary: You can find seasonal wind-up toys especially for Halloween, Christmas/winter and spring that allow for a memorable, interactive experience. Match the wind-up toy

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Sweet Gingerbread Activities for Speech and Language

Gingerbread themed activities in the speech room allow you to incorporate a seasonal theme in December that isn’t holiday specific. In my room, I’ve planned these fun treats: Candy construction: I found this set from Learning Resources which is basically an adorable candy version of Tinker Toys. I’ve transferred all of the pieces to a large Ziploc bag and hidden the box and directions for later storage because I plan to use this with my friends working on social skills. I already know they can follow a construction plan (can they ever!) and I’d like them to work on planning

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