Claw Machine Articulation and Phonemic Awareness Skills

The teachers I work with really get the relationship between articulation and phonemic awareness skills and that our students who struggle with articulation are at much greater risk for reading and spelling difficulties. So I don’t just hear, “he can’t say /f/,” I get, “he’s having a lot of f/th confusion.” I work a lot with minimal pairs to get my kiddos thinking about how a change in articulation can change the word altogether and to, hopefully, get them producing something different (even if it isn’t quite perfect yet) for each of the pair. And as we continue to perfect

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Sticking with Stickers

I know a lot of therapists have moved away from stickers and I totally get it. It’s aggravating when they take forever to pick one out. It’s an added expense. It’s another thing to remember if you’re already hauling stuff all over the school. But I still like ‘em. I don’t do it every single time (meaning I usually do if we meet in my room, but almost never if we meet elsewhere), so if we need to skip I don’t run into tantrums. It’s a really easy way to show my little ones I’m listening to what they say

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Paper Chains for Articulation

Back in December, I made paper chains with my kiddos working on articulation. I brought the strips in and, in typical harried December fashion, wrote words or sentences on them as we went. A little tough under pressure when you’re working on a specific vocalic /r/, but it got the job done. But they loved it so much, I decided to get more organized and start doing it more often. Because heart chains are SO CUTE and rivaled only by snakes and Hungry Caterpillars. Making a heart loop is just as easy as a circle. Simply fold the strip in

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The Case for Obscure Vocabulary

I work with lots of students on their articulation. Some have language needs as well, but many don’t (although, by in large, all my artic students need some explicit phonemic awareness support). Often our articulation materials contain pretty basic vocabulary–cow, key, cup–for initial /k/ targets, maybe rabbit, rocket and rat for prevocalic /r/. While it certainly makes sense for students to gain mastery over high frequency words, I’m beginning to feel there’s a strong case for obscure vocabulary as well. There is research to suggest that articulation programs that focus on nonsense words to start can be more efficient because

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Whipping Up a Couple Batches

  A more balanced diet I love that new year feeling and I’m soooooo happy to work in a school setting and get that new year promise twice a year! But the January 1st marker is when I tend to think about how I’m handling things as a whole and for the past few years, I keep revisiting the idea of “balance.”  In 2016, I vowed to give up multi-taking (I’ve made inroads with this) and last year I talked about scheduling in more downtime (note the full month I took off from blogging during the holidays as well as

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You Say…at the Holidays FREEBIE!

One of the most unnerving parent things I’ve done is teach a child to drive. You are suddenly aware of all the hazards you could hit (cones, curbs, pedestrians) as well as all of those that could hit you (crazy minivan mom, other new drivers near the high school).  I found myself talking in a constant stream of consciousness, “I’m watching that car at the next intersection and checking that they don’t pull out suddenly. I’m thinking we should get over a lane so we can take the next left at the light. I can see that the vehicles ahead

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Sleep, Read, Search

Remember “Eat, Pray, Love?” I read it when it came out in 2006, and I was deep in the thick of child rearing a 5 and 7 year old. My husband travelled for business.  A lot. And I found the book both intoxicating and aggravating. As far as I was concerned, it was a piece of fiction. Who really has a year to indulge a worldwide voyage of self-discovery? This summer we had a family crisis that knocked my socks off.  Then our daughter left for her first year of college in August. Then our son, a junior in high

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Skipping ASHA

My ASHA pocket planner came last month and it sat on the kitchen island for almost a week, unopened, before I moved it to a less conspicuous spot. It was too taunting. I didn’t go to ASHA this year. The first time I haven’t gone since 2010 and it was for a combination of reasons.  Los Angeles is about as far from me as you can get which means needing a full day on either end for travel and, more importantly, it fell on my son’s birthday and I wasn’t going to miss that. It’s okay not to go. When

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Thanksgiving Activities in Speech

It’s a short, hectic month for me. We miss a few days for conferences. I’m usually at ASHA for a few more (but not this year–more on that sadness later), and then, bam! Thanksgiving is here. It’s not a month for a lot of prep. If this sums you up too, take a look at some of the quick, seasonal activities you can do below and then grab a couple freebies! Pronouns: Let’s have a feast! Place a clearly male and female character at the table and give them a green or red plate (or cut them a red or

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Lunch Dates in Speech

Despite having parents that are nervous about their child pulled for speech during the school day (“I don’t want them to be singled out.”), I more often run into kiddos who don’t want to stop. At the beginning of the year, they’ll catch me in the hall to say, “sign me up again this year.” Flattering to be sure, but I see students on a private basis so I need to get them (in and) out in a timely manner. Often I handle this by decreasing the frequency or length of sessions, but I also dangle the option for “lunch

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