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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Tossing Games: A List of Seasonal Ideas

One of the easiest activities to have going in your room year-round is tossing games. Open-ended reinforcement for any skill, I use tossing games on days when we have just a couple of minutes at the end or if I don’t have something particular planned (which especially happens when I’m working someone else in on a cancellation) or if what I did plan isn’t really working out and now I need to pivot to something that makes us feel more successful or if we have an open day where I don’t want to start a totally new goal right before

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6 Ideas for Engaging Older Speech Students

Blogs and Pinterest are loaded with adorable ideas for sensory bins and games targeting our preschool and elementary aged kiddos, but what about those older speech students? While some might argue that at that point they need to really buckle down and master those concepts or sounds independently, I’m not sure that the ideas are mutually exclusive. I’m an adult and one with a pretty traditional learning style, but I’ll definitely stick with lessons longer—and try harder—if I’m enjoying myself along the way.  The nice thing is adding some excitement to older speech student sessions is really low prep. Stage

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5 Quick Ways to Use Miniatures in Speech Today!

Despite the fact that I can’t stand Polly Pocket, I am downright obsessed with miniatures.  I have a collection I’ve been building for years that’s probably worth a $100,000…to me. Not that I’d pay that, I’m just saying, it’s valuable. I wrote about this years ago, and at the time I was storing my items in catering containers.  It’s still an inexpensive and organized way to go (although I had to switch from 8 oz. to 16 oz. containers at some point to accommodate the quantities of some groups), but this year I splurged and bought small storage containers with

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The Point of Room Décor

This summer I read The Wild Card (Hope and Wade King) and while it’s targeted towards the general classroom teacher, there were plenty of gems for us too.  I’d knew I needed to deal with my therapy room this year. My teenaged son had come by at one point (probably for money) and commented on how dirty it was. Mortifying since he’s hardly a shining example of cleanliness and he was referring to the general dinginess rather than the clutter. I’d also had a mouse problem back in the spring which freaked me out to the point of knocking on

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Caseload Evolution

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t make it as a classroom teacher.  All of those kids in that same room for the whole day seems excruciatingly long.  It’s like those years I stayed home with my little ones and was soooo grateful I could, but operated in a fog of exhaustion and lack of self identity. (Behavior management with a group that size isn’t my strong suit either.) But there is something I envy about our general ed friends–they usually get what they signed up for. I know there are years where the Kindergarten teacher is moved to 1st and I

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Teaching Executive Function Skills in Speech

Executive Function Skills in Speech Executive functioning sounds like the ability to put on business attire, adopt a serious expression and bustle about productively. What it really means is the ability to plan, organize and complete tasks.  The three ability areas generally grouped together—working memory, flexible thinking and self-control/regulation—are what are responsible for staying organized, paying attention, regulating emotions and self-monitoring (Understood.org). Addressing executive functioning skills in the speech room happens when we work on social thinking skills, processing speed and the ability to explain their ideas and thoughts. Sequencing Skills It seems like all of my little people with

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