Did I fall off the face of the Earth?  No.  Do I feel like it?  Yes!  

This week is our Spring Break and I'm definitely taking a break.  Last week a co-worker took time off and I picked up a lot of her patients and so I was working full time (something I have not done in a year).  It was just hard to find time to sit down and blog.  However, I have to tell you about an amazing deal that is going on until the end of the week. 

Slater Software was started by a speech language pathologist and her husband.  She needed a computer program that would show pictures and text.  Her husband (I forget what kind of computer guru he was) wrote the program for her.  Picture It was born.  This program is AMAZING!  I use it to make articulation boards with words that I want.  I use it to make stories for kids to read before they can read consistently (for language or articulation).  It can be used with pre-readers and struggling readers alike.  The possibilities are endless.  Slater Software is an AWESOME company with so many awesome computer programs and pre-made curriculum.  Right now Picture It is on sale for 50% off!!!  This is a program that parents and SLPs can use.  It's easy to use and the pictures are awesome.

Check out their website for more information.
I've blogged before about "choose games".  Today's "choose game" is an even simpler version, but is fun none-the-less.  Simply print off pictures of a shamrock (or any other St. Patrick's Day themed image:  pot of gold, leprechaun, rainbow, Ireland, etc).  Place a stick on some of the shamrocks and turn them all over.  Have the child do some work (with whatever goal you are targeting) and then let him/her choose a shamrock.  You choose a shamrock on your turn too.  Whoever has the most shamrocks with stickers on them, wins!  Isn't that easy?  I didn't have any stickers (I was at work when I made the game) and so I drew a star on each one. 

If your child needs a little more movement than simply putting the shamrocks on the table, then you could also tape the shamrocks (sticker side down) on the wall.  Have your child throw a bean bag at the wall.  Whichever shamrock he/she hits (or is close to hitting), let him/her pick that shamrock.  That can make the same game seem very different to a child.

If you have access to ellison cuts (dye-cuts) at a school, then cutting out shamrocks using the dye-cut would be a lot faster!  I laminated mine to help with durability.
I meant to post this on Thursday, but had many meetings.  I then had every intention of posting this on Friday, but taxes and a sonogram (we're having a GIRL for baby #2) and Timothy's 4th ear infection got in the way (I think PE tubes are in our future).  Then, I was determined to post on Saturday, but... well... you get the picture.  Here I am... early Monday morning and I'm FINALLY posting it!

Here is a very simple St. Patrick's Day book.  All I did was print it off, cut it in half, and then cut off the bottom edge.  If your child is working on cutting, then allowing him/her to try to cut the shamrock out of each page would give him/her a lot of practice!  I then used a 3-hole punch to make the two holes and tied ribbon, that I had at the house, for the binding.  One helpful tip:  You can burn the edges of most ribbons to prevent fraying.  

You can read this book to your child, have him/her read it to you, discuss all of the information that is contained within the book, and even let your child color pictures on the opposing sides to help reinforce his/her learning!  If your child is working on a particular sound, highlight (in green) all of the words that contain his/her sound for practice!!!

PDF version of the book

While we lived in Savannah, we were able to enjoy the second largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the nation!  If you ever have the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it!  The entire city shuts down and celebrates!  Everyone has the day off (even the schools) so that everyone can attend the festivities.  Since that time, St. Patrick's Day has held a special place in my heart.  Therefore, I'm going to devote this time (from today until St. Patrick's Day - March 17) to activities surrounding the holiday!

Today is a really cute poem with free printables to let the kids get involved!  Simply print them on cardstock and put them on a popsicle stick!!

Really cute poem with free printables
Does your child need to work on an adjective + noun combination?  Here is a great activity to try with him/her!  You will want to print out the PDF version as it is a much better format.  Sometimes the .docx doesn't really translate to a .jpg!  

You will want to cut out the adjectives (big, small, black, brown) and the nouns (cat, dog, shoe).  Turn them over and form two distinct piles.  Let your child pick an adjective and a noun.  Then have your child pick the correct picture!  You can make this activity easier by cutting out the pictures and only giving two options.  You could also make it harder by either leaving all of the pictures intact (more to choose from) or pick TWO adjectives and one noun.  If you use this variation, then you may need to hand-pick the adjectives.

Also note that there is not a brown cat.  I could not find a picture of a brown cat on the internet!!!

When your kids are young, it's easy to stay involved in everything they are doing because you are usually bringing them and picking them up.  Therefore you can ask the daycare worker/babysitter how things are going, the speech therapist what they are working on, the play group supervisor about his/her behavior, etc.  However, sometimes it's hard to stay involved the more independent they become.  However, here are some great ways to stay involved in every stage of your child's development if they see a speech-language pathologist.

Early Intervention (0-3 years):  Typically early intervention therapy is conducted in the home.  This is the perfect way to stay involved because you are there!  However, don't stand back and think that only the therapist can do the work.  Make sure to observe the therapist.  Specifically watch how she interacts with your child, what he/she is saying, and what toys he/she uses.  You can (and should) replicate those same activities throughout the week.  If you observe the therapist and think that he/she is simply "playing", then ask the therapist what goals he/she is working on and specifically how to approach that work at home.  Chances are there is a method to his/her madness!  If your therapist brings in toys and you don't have the same ones at home, then ask your therapist what might be a good toy you have at home to replicate the same activity.  Then ask your therapist to show you using your toy.  Trust me, speech therapists like it when parents offer to work on the same things throughout the week!

Therapy Clinic:  If your child attends a therapy clinic and there is an observation room, please take the opportunity!  It is a great way to observe your child's therapy without being a distraction to the child.  However, you will see exactly how your clinician is working with your child and what to do at home.  If your child attends a clinic that does not have an observation window, then ask the therapist if you can observe in the room when she is beginning a new goal.  This way you will know how to work with your child.  If the therapist thinks you might be a distraction, then you can ask if you can come observe one activity where she can be teaching you what to do.  If you don't feel comfortable asking if you can observe, then simply ask the therapist if he/she can end 5-10 minutes early that day so that he/she can give you some pointers of how to work at home and you have time to ask questions.  Please don't try to cram it all in (especially if you have lots of questions) after an entire therapy session is done because he/she has a full schedule and will start to run late.  You can also ask for homework or photocopies of worksheets to work at home!

Walk-in Therapy in the schools:  If your child is over age 3 and qualifies for speech therapy, but not for early pre-school, then you may be the rare case of a child who "walks in" for speech therapy.  Your situation is much like the therapy clinic.  Read above for more information.

School-based SLP:  Interactions with your speech therapist really start to dwindle as your child reaches school-age and he/she is seeing his/her speech therapist during the school day.  However, take heart!  There are great ways to stay connected.  You can send in a note explaining that you like to know what your child is working on in speech therapy so that you can work on it at home.  Again, most SLPs will be OVERJOYED to hear that!  You could always call your speech therapist and leave him/her a message.  You could also try to get his/her email (for me, when I was working in the schools, that was a quicker form of communication) to ask questions.  If you really enjoy face-to-face contact then utilize the parent-teacher conference days that your school sets aside and set up a conference with your SLP!  I have worked in 4 public schools (remember, I'm an Army wife and I move around a lot) and I have NEVER had a parent-teacher conference with a parent.  However, I would have LOVED to have held one or ten or fifty!  I loved to try to keep my parents connected.  I typically saw the parents once a year at the IEP meetings and that's simply not enough.

If I missed a category, then PLEASE let me know and I'll add to my blog!