Monday, August 31, 2015

Questions Hunt {App Review}

Appy Monday! Today I have a new app to share with you from Virtual Speech Center! I am pretty excited about this one because I don't know one SLP that has a caseload void of a goal regarding asking or answering questions. This seems to be something we all work on. Speaking personally, I know I can always use a fun new way to target this goal. 
Disclaimer: VSC did provide me with a copy of this app, however, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.
When you first open the app, you are brought to the screen shown above. Here is where you can adjust the settings, get information on the app, access student reports, or simply start the app. To begin, click on start.You are then brought to a page where you can add/choose the students you will be working with. I really love apps that allow for multiple users at a time, and this app is one of them. After you choose your student(s), you are then prompted to choose what type of questions (yes/no, what, where, who, when, why, how) as well as well as the scene the questions will be presented at (beach, park, store, airport, school, camping) My students really enjoy choosing their own scenes!
The student who's turn it is will have his/her name presented at the top of the screen. In the picture above, the airport scene was chosen. The student is to click on the question marks. Each question mark will prompt the student with a question. Another thing I really like about this app is the option to change the questions from receptive to expressive by clicking on the green box at the top of the screen.
Example of a WHY question in the fishing scene. 
Example of a YES/NO question in the beach scene. 
Example of a WHEN question in the school scene. 
When you are finished, you can access the students' individual reports. There is an option to email the report. I like this option for quick and valuable communication with both parents and teachers.
My students and I have both really enjoyed this app. I love that there is a wide range of questions available- with both a receptive and expressive option. I have used this app for both practice on answering questions as well as an assessment tool to see progress with answering different types of questions. The graphics are colorful and inviting and price is very fair. If you are looking for a new fun way to target answering questions, I would absolutely recommend this app!
You can learn more about this app and download a copy in the iTunes store, here!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hanging out with the News Crew!

If you follow me on Instagram (@simply_speech) you probably have seen several pictures of me getting crafty with some friends at my favorite place, Aerie Lane. Last week, I headed over to Aerie Lane to help film a segment called, Gayle's Guide to Pinterest. Gayle Guyardo is a local news broadcaster here in Florida. For a few months now she has been featuring fun Pinterest crafts, recipes, and ideas once a week. I was more than excited to participate in this feature and make a burlap wreath for one of her segments. While there, I was asked if I wanted to film a few segments myself. Well, sure I would! I love Pinterest!! Actually my nerves were freaking out, but I agreed anyway. So on Tuesday, she came over and we filmed 2 segments. One of them was on DIY Baby Wipes and aired on Wednesday and the second was on Crock Pot Cheeseburgers and will air in 2 weeks. 
If you have a little one, you have probably heard about the concern a lot of parents have right now with Huggies wipes. Some parents have found what they think is fiberglass in their wipes. Huggies insists that it is not fiberglass but the way their fibers form when making the wipes. Either way, sharp particles in a wipe is not ok. When I had Kenzie a few years ago, I came across a pin for DIY baby wipes. When I checked it out, I realized I had all of the ingredients in my house already, so I gave it a try!

To make the wipes, here is what you need:

  • 1 roll of paper towels (use the good ones, the cheap wipes will disintegrate)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon baby wash
  • 1/2 tablespoon baby oil
  • knife (big one, like scary big!)
  • container
  • measuring cup
  • cutting board
Making your own wipes will save you a ton of money and give you the peace of mind knowing exactly what is in the wipes you use on your little one. Plus, they smell amazing.
You can check out the Channel 8 News Segment below!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating {A Book Review}

If I were in charge of deciding what classes graduate students had to take, I would make a few changes. Feeding therapy is a part of our job description- as well as possibly the most dangerous if not done correctly. The need for feeding therapists seems to be growing, however, there are hardly any classes available for students on this topic. Over the past year I have worked with more children with feeding aversions than ever before. Even in my "mommy circles" I hear parents all the time talk about how picky their children are about food, how dinner time is a constant struggle, and the stress that it brings on their families. I was thrilled when I met fellow SLP, Jenny McGlothlin in a Facebook group and heard about her book, Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating. Written by a medical doctor and an SLP, this is a step-by-step guide for overcoming selective eating, food aversion, and feeding disorders. 
I was provided a copy of this book for the review; however, all opinions expressed are my own. 

This book is an incredible tool for both parents and therapists. As I was reading it, I pictured many of my clients as well as my own daughter as specific scenarios were described. Jenny and Katja do a great job using parent friendly language as they describe the 5 steps to helping your child- from decreasing anxiety at meal times to how to serve meals to your child. 

One of my most favorite parts of the book is that they provide suggestions for exercises you as a parent or therapist should do to put your self in the child's shoes. You don't always realize how stressful having someone feed you can be until you try it. 

I could relate to so many scenarios described in the book and absolutely loved the suggestions that came along with them. One that I literally said "Yes!" out loud  to was: the more you say, the more your child will argue. Amen! I have seen so many parents, and I am definitely guilty of this as well, try to convince their child to eat by persuading, bargaining, and telling them how yummy the food is. Sometimes if you just put the food on the plate and don't say anything about it, your child may try it on their own. Bringing too much attention to a food can backfire. 

I would highly recommend this book to parents of children that are extremely picky eaters. It provides so much information, in a step-by-step format for parents without being overwhelming. Kudos to Katja Rowell and Jenny McGlothlin on creating a wonderful tool! 
You can purchase a copy of the book from Amazon!
Check out their website at: 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back-2-Speech Parent Letters!

Hey there! Guess what? Today is Simply Speech's 4th Bloggy Birthday. I can't believe I have been blogging, networking, making friends, and sharing ideas for 4 years now. As a thank you for all of the support I am hosting a giveaway on Instagram today and tomorrow. Nothing fancy, just a few of my favorite things that will help you get ready to go back to school: pens, binder clips, chalkboard speech bubble labels, eos lip balm, hand sanitizer, binder rings (for all those flash cards!), and a zip drive FULL of TpT products from some of my favorite SLP TpTers!
To enter, follow me on Instagram @Simply_Speech

Speaking of getting back to school… are you yet? I left the school system 3 year ago and I continue to miss the first few days of school every year. It was always fun setting up my room, seeing co-workers again, and call me a nerd all you want, I actually enjoy staff meetings. A few years ago I posed about a back to school parent letter I liked to send home to my students' families. I have gotten so many re-pins on Pinterest and emails requesting an updated version of the letter. I was thrilled to know that you all were interested in it, so I created 4 new letter templates and they are editable! You can download this freebie from my Teachers Pay Teachers store, here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Taking It Home- Using Visuals Outside of the Speech Room!

Good morning! Coffee is brewing and I am writing this blog post at 5am. Life with a newborn back in the house is amazing. Amazingly exhausting but amazing none the less. Since my husband works evenings and gets home at midnight, we split up the night time feeding shifts. That means my day starts at 4am. I thought being such an early bird would be terribly hard, but I actually enjoy it. The house is quiet and when everyone is back to sleep, I get to spend some alone time creating TpT materials, reviewing products, and writing blog posts. The rest of the day is spent snuggling my little ones, potty training, going to swim lessons, dance classes, and attempting to keep the house somewhat clean :)
Before the littlest one arrived, I began using visuals with my daughter. Kenzie turned three in April, but it felt like she turned 16. My sweet baby girl was transformed into what I like to call, a "threenager!" I love that she is strong willed and wants to be incredibly independent, but the protests, attitude, and tantrums were really starting to wear on my 8 month pregnant body. As a therapist, I emphasize to parents and teachers all the time how helpful using visuals can be to reduce anxiety and other issues that can cause behavior problems. Visuals can also provide some great motivation for kids. Well friends, it was time that I took my own advice. I sat down at the computer and created a weekly chart that addressed a daily schedule of activities I was having difficulty getting her to do. This chart allowed her to put a sticker next to a box after each task was completed. I chose this type of chart because currently stickers are highly motivating for her. 
It was no surprise that this sticker chart worked like a charm. My husband was impressed and embraced this chart quickly! After seeing how successful this was, I quickly went to Pinterest to find a motivating potty chart (of course we decide to potty train with a newborn in the house!) I found this free Frozen Potty Chart printable here. "Time to go, Let it go…!"
Something else that has proven over and over again to be helpful with getting things done without tantrums is using a visual timer. I am guilty of giving Kenzie more screen time then I would like to lately so I can feed or bathe the baby, but I always set a timer. When the timer goes off, the iPad gets shut off. I am a big fan of the Time Timer because it is easy for little ones to see how much time is left. When the "red is all gone!" time is up. The visual makes the concept easy for her to understand. 
Are you using visuals in your home? I would love to hear what works for you and your family!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fun in the Sun! Summer Time Therapy Activities {Linky}

It's hard to believe that it's already July! Summer is flying by, but time flies when you're having fun, right? Summer time is always a fun time for therapy for me. It just feels different. The kids are out of school and in the mood for some fun. It motivates me to think outside of the box and get creative with some new summer themed activities. Some of my favorites are DIY activities (look for a future post about those!) but many are board games and hands on fun. I wanted to share a post with some of my favorite summer time therapy games! I want to know what your favorites are as well. 
So, to link up, write an original blog post that includes the linky graphic below. Make sure the graphic links back to this blog post so others can find it and link up, too. In your post, list your favorite summer therapy materials. Make sure you link up at the bottom of this post and share!
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience.

What's a better way to beat the summer hear than with some ice cream? I love this lego ice cream set- and so does my daughter! Let's be honest, who doesn't love legos and who doesn't love ice cream? This is a fun way to target following directions, role playing, descriptive words, and just overall expressive language through play!

BBQ's are a summer staple. If your students love Jumping Jack or Pop the Pig, they will also be fans of this game. I like to use this game during articulation therapy sessions. Have your student(s) practice target words before a turn in the game.

Let's go fishing!  This game is a hit with my younger crowd, especially those working on following directions, turn taking, colors, and counting!

I cannot get my daughter away from our water table. She has a blast splashing in some sensory fun. Throw in some plastic sea creatures for vocabulary enrichment and watch the expressive language unfold!

PlayDoh is also a hit with my students. In the summer, I love using cookie cutters or food molds to create a picnic. Grab a basket, a blanket, some plates, and some cans of playdoh and head outside for your therapy session!

Another popular summer theme is camping. These Spot It games are so much fun, especially one with a fun theme. These games are perfect for targeting vocabulary, visual skills, attention to task/focus, and turn taking.

Keep the camping theme going with a camping play set. Role play going on a camping trip. What things do you need to go camping? What is a lantern used for? Lots of fun while targeting answering questions, vocabulary, and more! Want to really win therapist of the year award? Pitch a tent in your therapy room (or go outside for therapy that day.) Kids LOVE getting inside a tent and working!

Ocean animal puppets are tons of fun. There is something about puppets that elicit so much expressive language. I am also alway amazed at what little ones are willing to do if a puppet asks them to do it. Seriously, my daughter will clean her dinner plate or brush her teeth with no protesting if a puppet tells her to! There are so many ocean themed books out there that using puppets to interact with a story adds some extra fun.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Life... As of Late!

You may have noticed that it's been pretty quiet around the blog lately. However, it's been anything but quiet around our house- except for during nap time- and good lord do I love nap time! If you follow me on Instagram (@simply_speech) you may have noticed a cute little guy hogging up your feed. On June 11th at 8am we welcomed the newest member to our family, Kameron! If you haven't noticed, we have a K theme in our family!
My heart is just so filled with joy to have a family of four. Kenzie is an amazing big sister. She loves taking care of him and holding his hand when he cries. My husband and I are exhausted to say the least, but we wouldn't change a thing. I can't wait to teach him new things, show him the world, and read him 1,000 books!

Life as a stay at home mom is good these days. Our days are filled with early morning wake up calls, swim lessons, play dates, doctor appointments, dance classes, and lots of coffee. Occasionally I may even get a shower or if I am real lucky, a nap! I'm enjoying my time off but my SLP brain has yet to shut off. 4am feedings is when most of my ideas seem to come to me so expect some new things up in the store soon. 
While many of you are getting ready to enjoy your time at the Vegas TpT conference or ASHA Schools, I'll be here living through you all on social media… so make sure you post lots of good stuff! 
I hope you all are enjoying your summer! I'll be back soon :)