Using Bite-R in Speech Therapy

Friday, October 1, 2021

 

Happy Friday! I am really excited share a therapy tool that I have been using with my students (and my own son!) called Bite-R with you all. Before I start telling you all about my Bite-R experience, I want to introduce you to Susan Haseley. She is a speech-language pathologist and the creator of Bite-R. Susan had two students that were unable to achieve the R sound and ended up being her inspiration to invent this device in 2013. I met Susan at ASHA a few years ago. I was intrigued by her demonstration and the research she presented on her invention. At the time, I didn't have many articulation students on my caseload so I did not end up purchasing a kit. But fast forward to this year where I have a ton of kids with only R on my caseload... I reached back out to Susan about giving Bite-R a try, and here we are today!


What is Bite-R?

The Bite-R is a tactile therapy device that helps bring awareness to the movement, tension, and stability needed to produce the /r/ sound correctly. The device is made with an elastic tension band that helps create sensory motor memory. /R/ has always been one of the hardest sounds to teach because it is produced in the back of the mouth making it more difficult to show our students correct placement. The Bite-R gives the student the tactile cues of correct placement along with our verbal cues for correct production. I am definitely more of a visual learner, so if you are like me and want to see how this works, you can check out  Susan's video demonstrations, here. 


What's Included?

I personally own the Start Up Kit. The Kit includes 2 Bite-Rs with Cases, 1 Practice Deck, 1 Manual, 1 Instruction Booklet, Charting Form and Sentence Analysis forms. The Practice Deck provides a list of 30 functional words that contain R in a variety of positions and contexts (vowels, blends, consonantal) and the common misarticulations for each word with instructions for remediation. The Manual includes a chapter specifically on vowels and a chapter that goes in depth with those children who don't make successful productions right away. All kits come with a certificate for free live online training with Susan, which I highly recommend. 


So, how did it work?
I really was pleased with Bite-R and how well the tactile cues from this device works. It's important to make sure the client is comfortable with the device being placed in their mouth. Letting him/her hold Bite-R and really check it out to learn how it works first was helpful. Students don't practice their words with the device in. They use it for a way to feel correct placement for a few seconds, then take it out to practice target words now that they knowl how /r/ should feel. Since this is something I am placing in a child's mouth, I made sure to share this program and the evidence based research with my students' parents before we started.  

My personal opinion is that this product would be ideal for private practice therapists working with students one on one. Not that school based therapists wouldn't benefit from this, but you really want to give the student maximum attention for placement using the device. I love the practice deck with cards showing mouth placement for students to imitate. The words are very functional and ideal for making a copy of to send home for practice. I would highly recommend this product to other therapists working with children with speech sound disorders, especially those that only have R left to correct and are really struggling for correct placement. 



This post was sponsored by Bite-R. I was given the start up kit in exchange for a blog review. All opinions expressed in this blog post are mine. 



My Favorite Fall Jokes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021




Happy first day of fall, y'all!! Are you ready to be the most fun SLP ever? Here are some kid-friendly (and super corny!) fall themed jokes that your students will love.  Jokes are a great way to get your kids laughing while also getting their brains working. 


Q: How do you fix a broken pumpkin?

A: With a pumpkin patch!


Q: How do trees get on the internet?

A: They log in!


Q: What is a scarecrow's favorite fruit?

A: STRAW-berries!


Q: Why do trees hate tests so much?

A: Because they always get 'stumped!'


Q: Which season is the cutest?

A: Awwwwwtumn!


Q: What do you get if you drop a pumpkin?

A: Squash!


Q: Why did the scarecrow win the Nobel Prize?

A: Because he was out-standing in his field!


Q: What has ears but doesn't listen?

A: A cornfield!


Q: What do you get when you cross a turtle and a giraffe?

A: A turtle-neck!


Q: How do leaves get from place to place?

A; In autumn-mobiles!


Q: What happen when winter arrives?

A: Autumn leaves!


Keeping my Student Information Organized

Friday, September 17, 2021

Hey there, friends! I hope the start of the school year has been smooth and productive. Even though I am not school based, the school year always brings me schedule changes and motivation for some organizing.  I recently received a message from a reader asking for information on how I store my student information. It had been a few years since my last post on this topic, so I thought I would do a little update. (To see the original post, click here: A Peek Inside my Therapy Binder)


This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. This means if you purchase something using my link, I may make a small commission (which is always incredibly appreciated!)


My job has changed quite a bit over the years. When I first left the schools and started private practice, I was constantly driving around to see my students. I kept a binder with each student's class schedule, a copy of their plan of care/goals, data sheets, and a therapy lesson plan form. These items are all separated by pocket dividers for each student. 
At the front of the binder I keep a copy of my schedule and the school(s) schedule so I am aware of days off and special school events. 
In my old post I shared that I also kept I large envelope in the binder to stash my expense receipts since I am an independent contractor. I personally don't use that method anymore, but it was a great organization tool at the time. 

After COVID hit, I was not driving around as much anymore. The schools and daycares weren't letting outside therapists in so all my students were either over teletherapy or they came to see me in the clinic. Since I was stationary, I decided my student information method could also be stationary. I invested in a pretty rose gold hanging file system with folders. In these folders I also keep a copy of the student's plan of care/goals, testing protocols, data sheets, and lesson plan template. When the student comes to speech, I pull their folder out so I am reminded of their goals and what we did in speech last time. 


I use a therapy lesson plan template that I created to remind myself of what we worked on during the last session. Don't you hate when the child comes in and you can't remember what you worked on last? "Did we practice CH words? No, SH.... what book did we read? I think I sent homework last week...." I very well may be getting old and my memory after kids definitely has never been the same because I have a hard time remembering these things. This simple template has proved to be a lifesaver. 
Simple. Easy. Just the way I like it!


You can download a copy of this Therapy Lesson Plan form in my VIP Library. Click on the link in the purple menu bar at the top of this page. If you're an email subscriber you know the password! If you're not, sign up to get it. 


My Latest Amazon Haul!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Last week I did some shopping! Not necessarily back to school shopping, but I will use that excuse with my husband to justify deliveries. I just happened to be browsing Amazon (shocker, right?) and noticed that Learning Resources had a lot of their products on sale. I am a huge fan of Learning Resources educational toys. I have found so many fun ways to use these items in speech so I thought I'd share what I got! 

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. This means that if you purchase something using my link, I may make a small commission (which is always extremely appreciated!)


First up, 
Rainbow Ice Cream Cones! My students love all things food related, so I knew this ice cream set would be a hit. It's designed to teach colors and work on fine motor skills. But there are so many things you can do with this set. Pretend/dramatic play, following directions (taking ice cream shop orders), requesting, counting, using "more," spatial concepts (on top!)

The next item is a Math Cube set. No, I don't teach math and you wouldn't want me tutoring you child in math, but these cubes can be used so many different ways. Imagination/creative play elicits so much expressive language. Let your students play and stack and see what they come up with. I have also had a to of luck using these with smash mats. We stack the cubes on top of the pictures for each production and get a ton of articulation practice that way (tallest tower wins!) These are very easy to wipe down and keep clean as well. 


How adorable are these Shape Sorting Cupcakes?! I do have a lot of little ones on my caseload so working on colors and shapes is a bonus with their language skills. This past week we pretended we worked at a bakery and took cupcake orders. We also had to make sure we put the cupcakes in the oven to bake (be careful, it's hot!) and delivered the cupcakes to the customers (boy and girl Little People figures). I also plan on pairing these with the story, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff

I have had my eye on the Farmer's Market Color Sorting set for a long time now.  This set is very engaging for teaching colors and sorting. But the pieces that come with the set are great for creative play. Combine with a cash register (I personally own this one) and you are all set to play supermarket with your students. 

Last, but not least! This one is not from Learning Resources, but I just had to have it. The Big Pop Game Board has been so much fun. It was hard to bring it to work because Kameron was loved using it at home. For him, I was able to sneak in some addition practice with it by him adding up the dice to see how many bubbles he got to pop on his turn. In speech, this has been a hit with my articulation students. They practice a target before the roll the dice and take a turn. The game didn't come with instructions and is incredibly open ended. You and your students can make up your own rules on how to play the game! 


 

Back-2-School Jokes

Friday, August 13, 2021

 


It's that time of year again. School has started here in FL. Although I work year round, I do enjoy getting back into a routine again. My kids just started their 1st grade and 4th grade year. So many of my school based SLPs friends are getting back to work and starting to plan for their sessions. 


And what better way to start the school year than to kick your sessions off with a good laugh? I complied a list of 12 of my favorite Back-2-School jokes. 


Q: Why did the M&M go to school?

A: Because he really wanted to be a Smartie!


Q: Why was the teacher wearing sunglasses to school?

A: Her students were so bright!


Q: What is the king of all school supplies?

A: The ruler!


Q: What kind of school do giants go to?

A: High School!


Q: Why did the music teacher need a ladder?

A: To reach high notes. 


Q: What did the buffalo say at drop off?

A: Bison (bye son)


Q: Why did the student eat his homework?

A: Because his teacher said it was a piece of cake!


Q: Why do math books always look so sad?

A: Because they are full of problems!


Q: What dinosaur has the best vocabulary?

A: A Thesaurus!


Q: Why isn't there a clock in the library?

A: Because it "tocks" too much!


Q: Why can't pirates learn the alphabet?

A: They keep getting lost at C!


Q: What did one pencil say to the other on the first day of school?

A: Looking sharp!



Ideas for Improving Working Memory

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

    

    Do you ever feel like you get a huge wave of kids with similar disabilities at the same time? Right now I have quite a few kids with working memory difficulties. In a research study published in 2016, they found that children with developmental language impairments are often reported to show difficulties with working memory. This has also been evident with auditory processing disorders. This may be the possible cause of the inability to segregate and group incoming information. If you are unfamiliar with the term 'working memory' think of 'short-term memory.' Both of these terms refer to information you temporarily hold in your memory, so that they are available when you need them. I have seen it frequently referred to as your brain's post-it note! However, working memory specifically is important for putting information that we are learning together with our current knowledge base. It helps with manipulation and transformation of visual and verbal information, such as remembering instructions and problem solving . Working memory continues to develop until the person is around 15 years old. But as we all are individuals and unique, some can hold more information than others. 


Having trouble with working memory can have negative affects on our children. Children with working memory difficulties may have difficulty with concentration, following multistep directions, completing tasks, difficulty self correcting. They are easily distracted, show slow progress even when working hard, miss important details, and have trouble waiting their turn. 


But here is the good news! There are lots of exercises and activities you can do to help your child or students with strengthening and improving their working memory skills. Since I have quite a few kids on my caseload that need this, I complied a list of some of my favorite suggestions that I found and that were recommended by super helpful co-workers. 


1. Road Trip Game: this is fun for groups. Do you remember playing "I'm going on a road trip and I am going to bring...." game we played as kids? Each person in the group verbally adds an item to bring on the road trip (or to a party, the beach, a picnic, etc) but also has to remember what the others before them wanted to bring... in order!  The next person in line repeats what the others before him/her said they would bring and add on his own. For example, Child 1: "I'm going on a road trip and I am going to bring apples." Child 2: "I'm going on a road trip and I am going to bring apples and cookies."


2. Missing Items! Bring out a tray of items. Give the child a few minutes to look at the items and try to memorize what was on the tray. Have the child close his/her eyes or turn away from the tray. Remove an item (or a few) from the try and see if the child can figure out what is missing by visiting their memory of what they previously saw. You can also simply cover the tray with a towel and see if the child can recall all the items that were on the tray. 


3. Memory (often called Concentration) This simple card game is great for working memory skills. Pick out pairs of cards, mix them up, and place them face down on a table. Have the students take turns flipping over two cards at a time to see if they have a match. Keep the cards in the same place so you can work on remembering where they were. Pro tip: Kill two birds with one stone by using matching articulation cards if your student is also working on that skill!


4. Card Games! If your child likes to play cards, there are tons of great working memory games you can try, like Go Fish or Old Maid. My family is a huge UNO fan. Not only do we have to remember the rules and which cards we are holding while playing, but they also what cards our opponent is holding, too. Cards are also easy to keep in your bag and play with your children while you have some down time. Play card games while at a restaurant waiting on your food or while waiting on big brother to finish soccer practice! 


5. Simon! Simon is a fun electronic strategy game. To beat Simon, you have to recall a pattern of colors and repeat it back in the correct order by pressing the colored buttons. The longer you play, the more complicated the patterns become! Bop It! Would also be a great option for listening to verbal directions and executing them quickly. I like to have these games readily available for car trips!


6. Student Teacher! When your child/student is learning a new skill, have them teach it back to you. Have them explain the process, it will help them process the information as they say it out loud. 


7. Operation: Recall. Operation Recall is a TpT activity I created years ago for one student specifically struggling with this skill. 


A few other suggestions for kids that need extra help with working memory.... 

  • Make it Multisensory! Multisensory strategies engages more than one sense at a time. It can help kids keep information in mind long enough to use it. Let your students see, touch, and move while learning a new skill. Use graphic organizers and allow students to take notes. 
  • Chunk information into smaller bites. 
  • Make sure your child is free of distractions and able to listen to your directions. Have them repeat it back to you. 
  • Find ways to connect information. This can help your child with long-term memory as well as working memory.


Research article mentioned above: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0265659016655378

4th of July Jokes to use in Speech!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021



Summer is here and it's just about time to break out all the red, white, and blue! Nothing is better than laughing with your students. Good, deep belly laughs. About a year ago I started telling jokes at the beginning of my sessions. It's just a fun way to set the tone for the day. I have searched the web for the best, kid approved, 4th of July jokes. So here are some of the best patriotic jokes your students will love!

 


What did the flag do when it lost its voice?
It just waved!

What snack goes great with peanut butter?
Fire crackers!

What is a firecrackers favorite treat?
A POP-sicle!

What is the most patriotic drink?
Liber-tea!

What did the little first cracker say to the big firecracker?
Hi, pop!

What dance was popular in 1776?
The Indepen-DANCE!

How do ducks celebrate independence day?
With fire quackers!

What do dad's like to eat on 4th of July?
POP-sicles!

What do you call a snowman on the 4th of July?
A puddle!

What do you call an American drawing?
A Yankee Doodle!

What happens when dinosaurs light fireworks?
You get DINO-mite!

How much does freedom weight?
A Washing-TON!




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