Saturday, September 15, 2018

How to talk to students about natural disasters

We don't get many hurricanes in North Georgia but Florence battering the Carolinas (a storm that could just as easily come through Georgia) this week brought back memories of Hurricane Irma. On September 13, 2017 Irma barreled up through Atlanta.

Talking about natural disasters can be frightening for students especially if they have intellectual disabilities. I made this lesson last year and we revisited it this past Friday.

My lesson gave students an opportunity to talk about the storm in an environment that was not threatening. We talked about how staying inside kept us safe and all the things we did to prepare. This alleviated a lot of anxiety from my kids about storms as we answered questions related to the event.

We ended the lesson by making our own "hurricanes."

Friday, September 14, 2018

Happy Georgia School Based SLP Week!

The governor of Georgia declared September 10-14 Georgia School Based SLP week. The speech therapy department in my county put on a second annual bulletin board contest.

This was our entry

All week the administration and the staff at my school showered us with love. Thanks everyone! Hope all my fellow school SLPs in the state had a great week.

LEAPING into the school year

At my school we have a mentoring program called LEAP which stands for Lead, Encourage, Achieve, and Perform. The problem takes place during homeroom on Fridays and is designed to pair students with school staff members. 

Last year my fellow speech therapist and I started including our students with intellectual disabilities into our group. It turned out to be a wonderful way for them to interact with their non disabled peers and kids in both groups made some new friends.

Staff gets the lesson plan early in the week and my fellow SLP and I take turns adapting the lessons so that all of our students can participate.

For the past two Fridays students have been getting to know each other. I made these symbols in Boardmaker so that my students could tell a little but about themselves and what they like to do.

Yesterday we worked on turn-taking and asking and answering questions using sentence strips made with Saltillo Chat Editor.

It was a great way to practice these skills in the natural environment 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Collaboration with other Service Providers

Most people look forward to Friday but Wednesday is actually my favorite day of the week. On Wednesday I collaborate. I push into music therapy and or adaptive art for students in my intellectual disabilities classes. Pushing into these classes where I am not leading the lesson gives me a wonderful opportunity to model and support functional communication. 

We love playing Bingo in music therapy. Bingo gives me the opportunity to target many objectives at once such as asking and answering questions and  identifying objects, actions, locations. 

Music and Art are great times to practice social skills. In music we talk a lot about appreciate greetings in middle school.

Art and music provide opportunities to talk about likes and dislikes and develop our describing skills and vocabulary skills.

Collaboration is a lot of fun!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Speech Therapy Book Kits for Early Elementary School

I'm a huge fan of literacy based speech therapy. My county requires me to align my students speech therapy goals to the standards. Children's literature is an easy way to do that.

I usually start with books advertised in monthly Scholastic Book Club fliers. There are many dollar deals each month for all grade levels. All you need to do to join the book club is work in education and create an account which is free.

To make the book kit I usually start with an overlay using a Boardmaker template. My overlay contains characters and key objects in the story. I then go looking for other materials many of which are free online such as character cut outs and sequencing cards. 

The graphic organizer comes from a Scholastic book called "Reading Response Road Maps." The book which contains graphic organizers for 50 children's books for grades K-2 is currently on sale in e-book form at the Scholastic Teacher store website. Many of the books are commonly found in a school or local Library.

Book kits are an easy way to target multiple goals in therapy and when put in a plastic pouch or folder it is a convenient way to store all the materials for a given book in one place.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Disguise a turkey

Adapting a goofy Thanksgiving lesson for my mentoring group. The group pairs girls with intellectual disabilities and girls without disabilities. What disguise would your turkey use to  avoid Thanksgiving dinner?

Turkey Templates from Scholastic and Lakeshore Learning paired with goofy animal face stickers from Melissa & Doug

Monday, September 11, 2017


Many of my students have trouble knowing what different types of questions are asking. For instance, they will want to answer a who question with a place or a what question with a person. I like to use symbols from Boardmaker to give them visuals and help them understand what each question is asking.