Bjorem Speech Sound Cues

Monday, February 5, 2018
Let's chat visual cues today. Visual and verbal cues can be amazingly powerful tools to help your child reach their speech and language goals. But finding something that is engaging and that works isn't aways easy.
 I can't tell you the number of times I have hand drawn awkward pictures to help my students understand a sound. Or acted out a new vocabulary word (let me tell you, there were no Emmy awards given!) When I was working in the schools, I followed the kindergarten teachers' lead and incorporated gestures into letter names and speech sounds to give learning a multi-sensory approach. I love tying visuals and movement into my lessons because it works!
I recently learned about Bjorem Speech Sound Cue cards and have been using them in all of my articulation sessions! These cards are colorful and fun! Plus they are pocket size so they fit perfectly in my therapy bag. My students love using these and think they are fun. 
Each sound has a nickname ( the drum sound, popcorn sound, vacuum sound, mad cat sound- as shown in the video above) which gives each sound meaning. This is an important skill for children as they are learning letter sounds and how to read. 
 In addition to articulation therapy, these cards are fantastic to use when working with children with Apraxia/motor planning, phonological awareness, and literacy skills. Teachers, therapists, and parents could all use these with their children!
Bjorem Speech Sound Cue cards are recommended for children 18 months and up. This fabulous box of cards includes 22 consonants and 12 vowel cards. A picture is on the front of the card and a sound nickname and description is on the back. These cards are made from a very durable material. I carry these in my bag all over town with me and use them with children all day long.... and they are in great condition. You can purchase your own set, here! You will not be disappointed!
This post was sponsored by Bjorem Speech

Using The Mitten in Therapy!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
I live in Florida, but lately it has felt like it should be snowing here! My native blood is not used to temps in the 40's! (I know, I am a total baby to all you Northerners!) But most of the time we are still wearing shorts and enjoying the beach in January, so snow is often a foreign concept to my students. I try to incorporate as many books and activities I can that will help them understand what winter is like in other parts of the world. 
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. This means if you purchase something using my link, I may receive a small commission. 
For years I have been using The Mitten by Jan Brett. I love this story because it gives great opportunities for story sequencing and vocabulary.  In the past I have always used print out characters from my story companion unit, but a few months ago I came across an adorable felt set! I found it on Facebook from a mom and daughter team called Pharmgal Crafts. 
It's easy to use one story or a theme and stretch it out over a few weeks!  This doesn't mean you have to read the book every time, although the kids do love hearing familiar stories. I have been able to use this mitten and character set to story sequence, practice following spatial directions (in, under, etc), and throw them into my "snowy" sensory bin! They kids love these and make story re-telling so much more fun. I also have a free Mitten smash mat that I like to use for sentence expansion, descriptive words, and vocabulary review.
I often use story books with my articulation students as well and my language kids. Books give you so many opportunities to practice good articulation. Sometimes we go on a 'word hunt' as we look and listen for words in the story with our target sounds. Other times I will read the story aloud and purposely mispronounce target sounds for my students to catch. Having your older students read aloud to you is a great way to practice carrying over their productions into reading. And since I am a sucker for a fun theme, I created Mitten ART-ticulation worksheets to go with this story! 
This is such a fun story to use in therapy. If you don't own the book, you can snag it on Amazon for under $4, here! What are some of your favorite winter themed books?

2017 SLP Holiday Gift List!

Friday, December 15, 2017
I can't believe the holidays are here! This is my favorite time of the year. But it can also be stressful. So much to do, so much to buy. Secret Santa gift exchanges, co worker treats, gifts for your own child's teachers and therapists. We always want to pick out the perfect gift, but it's often hard. So, I threw together a list of some of my favorite things to help you out! 
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links (which means if you purchase something using my link, I may make a small commission)

One of my absolutely favorite things are comfy, soft graphic tees. I wear them just about everyday to work with jeans or scrub pants. My favorite tee shop is The Blue Envelope. I love this company because it's owned and ran by a fellow mom.  I have never been disappointed my purchases (I own at least 6 of her shirts!) and she ships orders out fast!! 

An Erin Condren Planner!! I am one of Erin Condren's biggest fans. I have been using her planners for years. They are colorful, durable, and can be customized. All SLPs need a good panner to keep track of their therapy sessions, meetings, due dates.... and life outside of work. This is a perfect gift for the new year! Use this link to get $10 off your first order!

A large, durable therapy bag. I have always been a big fan of 31 totes. My last therapy bag from 31 lasted me 5 years. But I recently ordered one from L.L.Bean and am in love! To call this thing sturdy would be an understatement. I ordered the large Boat and Tote and can fit everything I need it in. I am a traveling therapist... so that's a lot! 

Games! If the SLP you're shopping for works with children, he or she will be thrilled to receive the gift of games! Some of my current therapy favorites are: Yeti in my Spaghetti, Pop Up Pirate, The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, and Pancake Pile-Up! And you can never go wrong with PlayDoh!

Speech Therapy Christmas Ornaments! The Peachie Speechie is known for her witty SLP apparel, and now she carries Christmas ornaments as well! You can check out all her goodies, here!

Office Supplies! I kid you not. I would be the happiest girl opening a box full of flair pens, Astrobrights paper, binder rings, rolls of velcro dots, and laminating sheets. All things I use on a daily basis!

Books! Books for therapy are great, but I am thinking more along the lines of book for the SLP. We are busy people by nature. We take on the weight of the world and have a hard time saying, "no!" I have found Emily Ley's books Grace Not Perfection and
  A Simplified Life to be just what I need. It's a fantastic reminder to slow down and simplify. And I always feel like she is talking right to me when I am reading! 

And if all else fails... there are always gift cards. You really can't go wrong with a gift card to his/her favorite Coffee shops, Amazon, Target, or iTunes!

But overall, it's the thought that counts! Have a wonderful holiday season!! If you have any more suggestions, please share them in the comments below.

Putting the ART in Articulation!

Thursday, November 30, 2017
My students absolutely LOVE completing crafts during speech sessions. They love it because they get to take something home they are proud of. I enjoy it because they are focused and working hard during the entire session. 
I also love a good no-prep,print and go craft. So, a few months ago I created some cactus color-by-word articulation worksheets, appropriately named ART-ticulation! My students enjoyed them so much that I started creating them for the upcoming holidays! These have been great to send home as homework as well as use during therapy sessions. 
I personally one work one on one with my students, but since all the pictures turn out the same, these work really well for mixed articulation groups as well!
At the moment I have ART-ticulation worksheets for the following themes:
Snow Globes
...but I just download another giant bundle of clipart for these, so many more are on the way!
You can check all of them out in my TpT store, here!

Peekaboo Beans Children's Clothing Review

Thursday, November 16, 2017
I absolutely love shopping for kids' clothes! You can usually find me stocking up at Old Navy or Target on Cat & Jack swag, but recently I learned about another clothing line, Peekaboo Beans from a fellow SLP, KellyZarfia. I had never heard about this brand before, but was excited to learn more. 
Kelly explained to me that Peekaboo Beans creates ethically manufactured, sensory friendly, long lasting, grow with me styles, that are made with children's development in mind. The clothing was designed with play in mind. Their clothes are designed to promote play and imagination, to help kids feel empowered and to promote independence.  I loved this idea. Adorable clothes made to be play clothes? And sensory friendly? I was sold. My kids are active and not so gentle on their clothes. My little guy always asks to have tags cut out of his shirts so I was interested in seeing how sensory friendly these clothes would be for him. 
 Not only do they create clothes with play and development in mind, but they also host pop-up play dates to get kids back outside and playing. They also donate to '' which is an organization that builds playgrounds in war-torn countries. I love organizations that love to give back. 
And, word on the street is that these clothes have great re-sale value. If I am not handing Kenzie or Kameron's clothes down to a friend's child, I usually take them to consignment shops or sell on Poshmark. Typically the re-sale value is low on clothing from popular retail stores, but Peekaboo Beans can be re-sold at around 40% the original price, if not more. 
We received 2 outfits from Peekaboo Beans. Both of my kids loved them and can't wait for it to cool down enough here in FL so they can wear them again. The material is so soft, yet durable. Nothing thin about the fabric. 
Kenzie received the Owl Eyes on You tee and a pair of leggings. The first thing I noticed was the thumb holes in the top! The jeggings were very soft and had a smooth waistband (something I am always looking for when buying her pants, itchy tags are not fun!)
Kameron scored a Cabin Kid Hooded Tee and a pair of jogger pants. The first thing I noticed about the pants was extra material at the knee, clever! So many of Kenzie and Kameron's pants are worn at the knee.  The tee was heavy enough to wear during our Florida winters! And it has pockets! 

You can check out Kelly's website, here, to learn more. All of the items are adorable. And most importantly,  there are no small parts like buttons or snaps and the zippers are are fused together to prevent breakage.  Tops with zippers include chin guards to create a barrier between your Bean’s chin and the zipper.  And there are no drawstrings on hoodies which can get caught during play. Ahhhhmazing! One less thing to worry about while your kids are out being active!
You can contact Kelly with any questions at: 

This post was sponsored by Kelly Zarifa

Getting Started with Sensory Bins!

Monday, October 16, 2017
I don't know what took me so long to start using sensory bins in my therapy sessions! I absolutely love using them and my students are responding so well to them. The purpose of a sensory bin is to tie a multi-sensory approach into learning. We learn better when we can touch, smell, and see something. Sensory bins let the child explore and discover through play. They are great for both groups and individual learning and they bring out so much language! 

For years I have adored sensory bins from a far. Always Pinning other's awesome ideas, liking Facebook posts, and taking screenshots of every fantastic sensory bin I saw. But I was afraid to pull the trigger. Since I am a private therapist traveling into homes, schools, and daycares, I didn't want to have to lug a giant bin with me everywhere I went.  Then I decided to start small. I found a small, shoe box size container and thought it would be pretty perfect for a small sensory bin that I could easily bring with me. That was all I needed to get started. The rest is sensory bin history!
If you want to get started using sensory bins but are a little hesitant like I was, here is my advice. Start small. Choose two or three fillers to alternate out. I really enjoy using cut up smoothie straws, kinetic sand, and small erasers. Popcorn kernels and black beans are fun ideas, too. But those have all ended up all over my car (face palm) The first 3 mentioned are much easier for cleanup!
Now let's talk about objects to put in the bins. I have used anything from vocabulary cards, story sequencing pictures, articulation cards to wooden animals and puzzle pieces. I really love adding objects that go with a theme. For example, during pirate week I used kinetic sand and added plastic gold coins and jewels that I found on amazon! SO much language about pirates and treasure happened that week!
Finding storage may be the biggest challenge for using sensory bins. My car is my office so I needed something practical that didn't take up a ton of space. I keep all of my fillers (sand, straws, colored pasta, beans, etc) in large zip lock freezer bags. All of those bags go into a tub. For the fillers, I use a photo and craft box I found at Michaels. Here is a link to the exact one I bought.  It is perfect and easily keeps my objects organized by theme. 
Sensory bins are so much fun and create so much hands on learning and language opportunities! Make sure you're following my Instagram (@simply_speech) to see more ideas! 
Have a great week!

A Peek Inside my Therapy Binder!

Monday, September 11, 2017
Staying organized seems to be a constant battle, but a total necessity to keep my sanity. As a traveling therapist, I have become pretty good at collecting piles of "stuff." Therapy notes, receipts, data sheets... oh my! Keeping client information and therapy plans in order is a must. I wanted to share with you how I organize my therapy binder and what works for me.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience. This means if you purchase something from my link, I may make a small commission.
 First things first. Let's be real,  a pretty binder cover is a must. It's something you look at daily, multiple times a day at that. So why not make it something you enjoy looking at? I frequently make new binder covers, but the ones I am currently rocking are tropical. I am totally into pineapples and flamingos right now. You can download the binder covers I am currently using, here! They are editable!
When you open the binder, the first thing you see are 2 clear pocket folders. I use one to stash receipts. The other one I use to keep copies of important documents that are often requested by the schools I go into to see students. I usually keep a copy of my professional liability insurance, my state SLP license, and driver's license.You never know when you may need that and it's nice to have copies on hand.  I do not remember where I got my exact folders from (most likely Target) but here are similar ones on Amazon. 
Next I keep a copy of Speech Musings' data cheat sheet, The Speech Bubble's Quick Reference Chart, and the Speech Sound Development chart from Mommy Speech Therapy in page protectors. All have come in handy more times than I can count. I love having the speech sound development chart handy for teachers and parents that are concerned about their child's articulation. It's a very easy way to explain what sounds are still developing and what they should have mastered. 
Also in page protectors is a copy of my schedule and a Plan of Care list of due dates. Insurance companies requires a new evaluation and report every 6 months, so I like to keep a list handy of expiration dates so I don't miss one!
All of my quick reference and go-to forms are in the front of the binder. In the back is where I keep all my student information. I use pocket dividers to keep all their information in. I'm obsessed with these pocket dividers. (Maybe it's a pocket thing, I love dresses wit pockets, too!) You can snag some similar ones, here. In each student's section, I keep a copy of their goals, their Soap Notes, and my therapy plans. 

That's it! This is what works for me. I would LOVE to hear what works for you because I feel like this an every evolving project.
Happy organizing!

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