My Little Farm!

Monday, May 20, 2019
E-I-E-I-O! It's that time of year for a farm theme! One of my favorite themes to use in therapy is a farm theme. The books and the activities are so much fun. This year I added a new toy to my bag of farm themed tricks and I am so excited to share it with you!

My Little Farm is a felt farm house that my students have been having so much fun with. If you remember a blog post from a few years ago, I went on and on about how I loved using My Little House in therapy. (You can check that post out here.) My Little Farm is created by the same SLP and it is just as adorable. 
 You can use it as a flat lay activity or velcro it together as a 3 dimensional farm house! The farm is reversible. One side looks like a red barn and the other is an interactive farm scene. Part of the farm scene is purposely left open ended while the other allows for matching activities. There are over 30 people, animals, and farm equipment felt pieces to play with. This has been such a fun way to elicit expressive language with open, imaginative play. But the pieces are also fun to use for category sorting, vocabulary,  object function, and pronoun activities.
 Recently I have been using the farm to target answering WH-questions, specifically where and who. Last week we even created a whole story with characters, a setting, and a sequence of events with this farm. My older students got to work on their writing and retelling skills while creating their own story. Any time you can switch up activities to work on the same skills, it is a huge win in my eyes!
 As a traveling SLP, I love that this can be folded flat and easily carried in and out of therapy settings. It also takes up minimal room in my trunk which is important these days! My Little Farm comes in a box with a handle that makes it very convenient to carry in and out of homes and schools. This would be a perfect addition to a therapist's therapy tool collection, a classroom or birthday gift.  It would also be a great purchase by a parent so they could have some fun with language at home!  To learn more about My Little Farm or to purchase your own, click here to visit the SmartFelt Toys website.  Use code: SIMPLYSPEECH at checkout for free shipping!
Thank you My Little Farm for sponsoring this post!


How I Use FORBRAIN in Speech Therapy!

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Auditory feedback is something I have always used in my speech sessions. I often record a student during their session so they can go back and listen to their own productions (some of my favorite apps have a recording feature!) But one of my favorite tools to use was always a whisper phone. You know, those pvc phones or Toobaloos that students can use to hear their own speech. The idea behind these tools is that a child's speech will be enhanced when they can hear their own speech. Once a child can discriminate if their own productions are correct, their speech can greatly improve. 
Recently I learned about a product called Forbrain. Forbrain is an auditory feedback headset that uses bone conduction to transmit the user's own voice with greater clarity than air conduction (like when using a whisper phone). The instant feedback encourages the student to make changes in their speech sound productions (voicing, placement, manner, etc.) When the student can clearly hear their own productions, they are more likely to discriminate right vs wrong productions in their own speech. 
The suggested use of this product is 15 minutes a day for 6-10 weeks. Of course, I don't see my students every day, so I am not able to follow this protocol exactly. But I do use it for the bulk of our therapy sessions, 2-3 times a week for each student. In my therapy sessions, I usually do an auditory bombardment activity for the first few minutes before we dive into the student’s productions. I have them put the headset on as they practice their target speech skills. We have constant dialogue throughout the session as the child and I both discuss what they’re hearing and how they feel their speech sounds are being produced.  I have been loving the results I am getting in my own therapy sessions. The kids are really responding to it and becoming more aware of their own speech. 
My students love using this! They don’t want to take it off when the session ends because they really do look super cool wearing the headset. Even my own children have been enjoying Forbrain. Kenzie loves putting it on and singing or reading. She says she feels like a rock star! 
There has been a lot of research done on Forbrain with more than just speech students- stroke patients, stuttering, auditory processing, memory, reading, and comprehension. You can check out all the studies, here. 
If you are interested in purchasing your own Forbrain headset, use this link to get 10% off your order!


This post was sponsored by FORBRAIN. While they did provide me with a headset in exchange for a review, all opinions expressed in this blog post are my own. 






Shop by BECK

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Happy Wednesday! How was your weekend? Ours was busy! Kenzie had her birthday and first dance competition. Followed by a weekend surprise to LegoLand! I wanted to share an adorable online shop with you all called By BECK. By BECK is run by 3 adorable sisters and moms, one is a fellow SLP! Their clothes are affordable and super cute. They have perfect work outfits and casual weekend wear. (Spoiler alert: there's a coupon code at the bottom of this post!)
My style is super casual, so I was immediately drawn to the tees! This 'Easy Like Sunday Morning' tee was just released yesterday! It's very soft and the color is gorgeous. You can grab it, here!
I love this 'Weekend Good Vibes' tee. It's a thick enough material for a white tee that you don't need to wear anything under it. 
Ok so this is for all my fellow moms loving the one piece bathing suits! I ordered this Sadie suit and I am obsessed! It's made with a very good, thick bathing suit material, so it's very slimming. I am very picky about the tops on bathing suits, I don't have much up there, but after kids, I am so conscious of bending over. This top is perfect. It's very fitting and has adjustable straps. I felt very confident in it- even chasing the kids around! The back has the most adorable detail! You can check it out here.
I am always happy to support fellow moms in their business adventures(especially if one is an SLP!), so make sure you check them out. From April 29-May 4, if you use the code: SIMPLYSPEECH you get 10% off your order (and always free shipping!)





How I Organize My Therapy Materials By Theme!

Saturday, February 16, 2019
 It's no secret that I love using themes in therapy. They keep me organized, they give me motivation, and my students seem to be more engaged. Over the years I have collected a TON of therapy materials that go along with my themes but organizing them has always been a chore.

I have tried so many ways to organize my materials that I could write an entire blog post just on that. I've used everything from large ziplock baggies to an entire filing cabinet but nothing has really seemed to stick. The baggies were good for books, but not so much for games and activities. So the search continued.
One day while browsing the isles of Target (I know, shocker!) I came across these clear storage boxes and knew they would be perfect to store all my themed materials. The boxes were large enough to hold books, games, and activities but not too large to throw into the back of my car. 

These bins have been a saving grace for me. As I switch to a new theme, I switch the bin out in my car. As a traveling SLP, I don't have access to all of my materials all the time. So having this bin in my car makes it so much easier to have what I need accessible. It also helps keep me focused on what materials to use. Since I am using a theme, I am not constantly racking my brain for what activity to do each week or with each student. For most of my students, the story and activity will be the same, I will just adjust it based on their age level and goals. 
All of the boxes are labeled by theme for easy grab and go. I used to store them in my garage but recently moved them to our therapy clinic so I can share the love with my co-workers. 

The labels are FREE in my TpT store here!


Creating Memories with CanvasPeople!

Friday, January 4, 2019
The holiday season is always our time for new family photos. Seeing how much the kids grow each year is so amazing to me. I am always so excited when we get our photos back, but then struggle with that to do with them after. They're usually posted on Facebook, I might frame one or two, but I wanted something extra for some of these extra special shots. 
 When Kenzie was a baby, I had CanvasPeople make canvas print of her first visit to a pumpkin patch. 6 years later, that print is still displayed and looking like the day I received it. These canvases are so great because they are durable and I don't need to worry about finding a frame to display these photos. (They also come with rubber bumpers on the back so they don't scratch the wall!)
 So I went back to CanvasPeople this year to order a few more prints of some of my favorite shots. Picking favorites was the hardest part. If you're local to the Tampa Bay area, check out Erika Johnson Photography. She is one of my closest friends and such a fantastic photographer. She's so creative and has such a great eye for those memorable, candid moments.
 Since the kids recently moved into a room together, I let them each pick out their favorite shot from the huge batch of photos we received. They each picked out pictures that describe their personalities perfectly. We were in the process of getting them bunkbeds and trying to renovate/personalize their space when these canvases arrived. I have Kenzie's displayed over her dresser and Kameron's over his. I chose black and white prints, because I have such a weakness for black and white photos. It's such a timeless look.
The other canvas I chose as one of Kevin and me for our room. Before this arrived, I had pictures displayed that were about eight year old. It was time for a change and something new. This canvas was perfect and there was a perfect spot just the right size for this print!
 I can't say enough great things about CanvasPeople. Their customer service is amazing, their shipping is fast, and ordering online is so easy. They also use environmentally friendly ink and pinewood from renewable forests. I will absolutely continue to use them in the future for more prints and for gifts!
Want a FREE canvas to give them a shot for yourself? Use the code: SPEECH for a FREE 11x14 photo canvas from CanvasPeople, just pay shipping! Once you receive yours, tag me in the photos. I would love to see how you personalize your space!
This post was sponsored by CanvasPeople




Using a Dinosaur Theme in Therapy!

Friday, August 17, 2018
I absolutely love using themes in therapy. I run my therapy sessions by themes.  They help keep me organized and focused on therapy activities. I also feel like themes give my students extra exposure to similar vocabulary. As a traveling SLP, themes help me limit the amount of materials I carry around. I use the same theme and books with all of my kids, I just adults the related activities I use based on their goals. I just wrapped up my dinosaur theme and I think this may have been my favorite theme so far! Here is what I did!
(This post contains Amazon Affiliate links which means if you purchase something using my link I may make a small commission)
All of my therapy sessions are built around books. I use a book in 99% of my therapy sessions. There are so many goals you can reach just but using a book. (You can check out a post I did on that here.) I typically read a new book every week with my students. Some books can be stretched out for 2 weeks. These are the books we have been using:

 Another thing I love to include while using themes is a sensory bin. With this sensory bin I used black beans and plastic dinosaurs. Thankfully I found a lots of dinosaurs in my kids' playroom, but Amazon has a ton available! This is a fun way to let the kids pretend play- which is a great language opportunity. We also discussed the differences in the dinosaurs, worked on prepositions, and sorted them by color and size.
A few years ago I happened to find a dinosaur popper at Walgreens. My kids love shooting the ball at target words (articulation, vocabulary, sight words, etc). I get a ton of practice out of them when the popper comes out! 
We also lined the cards up to make a path, for the dinosaur. Then we had the dinosaurs go on a "Dino Walk." The kids practiced their words as the plastic dinosaur walked down the path! 
If you know me, you know I love using PlayDoh in therapy! Especially with articulation. These Dinosaur Dash articulation mats from Texas Speech Mom were a total hit! We even used the dinosaurs to smash the ball of PlayDoh as they practiced their words!
 I keep all of my themes organized in a clear storage box. This keeps everything organized by theme and all of my related materials together. When it's time for a new theme, I simply take out a new box and put it in my trunk!  I use a 20qt clear bin that I found at Target. It is big enough to hold all of my themed materials but doesn't take up too much room in my car.


Beat the Heat: Freeze their Toys!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
I live in Florida. It is hot. It is humid. And for some reason, my kids still want to go outside. I try to convince them of the joys of air conditioning, but those little rascals still want to be outside. So, I tried to come up with some ideas to help us beat the heat and stay cool while having fun outdoors. 
I am pretty excited to share with you one of these ideas. Ready for it?  I froze my kids toys. Yep. I had them help me collect small toys then I put them in ice trays with water and froze them. Sounds pretty evil when I say it out loud, but they absolutely loved it. Here is how it worked....
 The first thing I did was have the kids go on a "treasure hunt" to find me tiny toys from their playroom. Little mini cars, action figures, and legos worked best. I put them all into an ice tray, filled it with water, and put it all in the freezer for a few hours.
 A few hours later, I told the kids to grab some tools and meet me on the driveway. There, I made up a quick story about how Queen Elsa had frozen their toys and they were on a mission from Buzz & Woody to unfreeze them.  They bought right into it and went to work! 

  This activity kept them busy for quite a while. And my favorite part was all the amazing language opportunities it created. Using descriptive words like "cold," "hard" and "slippery." Requesting new tools. Problem solving. Realizing how body heat and the sun helped melt the ice faster than a hammer! Also, learning the value of teamwork! Mom win!!

A friend of mine saw my Instagram story about this and decided to freeze her son's toys too. But she put all the toys in a large ziplock bag and froze them. So her kids had to unfreeze a huge block of ice instead of small cubes. I may try her idea next time!
I'd love to hear your summer activities. Please share them in the comments :)

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