Has it really been two weeks?  That's what happens when I get out of my routine.

I made a mistake.  

Timothy discovered a Thomas app on the ipad.  He is obsessed with Thomas the train.  One of the games on the app is a matching game. He quickly figured out how to play the matching game.  He was able to navigate the game by touching the cards and would get excited when he found a match.  If he found Toby (for instance) and he had already seen Toby somewhere else, he would immediately touch the correct card and say "TWO TOBYS"!!  

Here's where the mistake comes in.  I thought he had learned how to play a matching game.  He had not.  He also didn't know what same, different, or match meant.  

Timothy pulled out the game Memory yesterday.  He wanted to play it.  I stopped what I was doing and sat down to play with him.  I figured it would be a breeze since he's so good at it on the iPad.  I was wrong.  He turned over two cards (Nemo and Thumper) and the following exchange occurred:
Me:  Are those the same?
Timothy: Yes!
Me:  That's Nemo and this is Thumper.  Are they the same or different?
Timothy:  Same!
Me:  No, Nemo and Thumper are different.
Timothy:  Different

There was no fight.  There was no tantrum (from him at least ... I was kicking myself for being so foolish).  We simply turned over the cards and I proceeded to play the game teaching him about same, different, and match. 

It just shows you that technology can only bring you so far.  One-on-one teaching with your child can't be replaced by a computer, tv, ipad, DS, etc.  Now, do I think Timothy would go to college not understanding same, different, and match?  No.  However, I'm glad to catch it early and to be the one to teach him.  

Click here for the pdf version of the Journal Entry.  If you are just joining us, then make sure to read Tuesday's blog about counting down using a paper chain and Wednesday's blog about how to create a journal using the paper chain.

Hope you enjoy counting down and creating a journal keepsake!

Now, that we have discussed creating a paper chain and ways you can make it a learning tool, let's take it one step further and make it a language-learning/writing activity!

Make a journal for the special days that you are counting down to on the rings (the rings that were a certain color).  Depending on your child's ability, you can do any or all of the following:


Have your child write about how he/she is feeling about the activity or special day.  If your child is not writing, have him/her circle a happy face that is showing the correct emotion or tell you about it and you write it down. 

Have your child write about what he/she thinks will happen that day.  Again, the journal "entry" can be a drawing, a drawing plus a few written words (either by you or your child), a sentence, or a paragraph.

I know that sometimes the events occur in the morning or the morning can be taken up with having to get ready.  Therefore, this activity may be best to do the day or night before.  

Have your child write about the event after it occurs.  Have him/her write about what happened, how he/she felt about it, how it was different than expected, who was there, etc.  You may want to use the story order prompt that I created.  (click here for the pdf file)

For those of you who have children who are working on pragmatics or who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, this can be a great activity!  It can help you understand how your child is feeling about something that's coming up, it helps give your child the language to talk about how he/she is feeling, and is another method in trying to get your child to process the change or event that will occur.  

Have fun with your journal entries.  You can re-read them in order to talk about all the fun things you have done.  It will also make a great keepsake!

I always feel like the fall flies by!  You start school and then you have: Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all to look forward to.  Winter and spring are another story.  Do you ever feel like it takes forever to get to Spring Break or Easter?  I do for sure!

Counting down to an exciting event is a very abstract concept.  For young children, most days are the same.  They don't know about the days of the week yet and so they wait for an adult to tell them what that day holds.  

To get a child EXCITED about something coming up, I suggest a paper chain.  You know... those old school things you used to make leading up to Christmas (Christmas day was always a gold link in our house).  At our house, we are counting down to when Daddy comes home.  We have our paper chain up on the wall.  Normal days are white.  Holidays or special days are a color (St. Patrick's Day is green, Easter is blue, Memorial Day is red).  Anytime someone is going to come visit, the day is yellow.  The reasoning behind all of the days someone is to come visit being yellow is so that Timothy starts to associate yellow days as an exciting day when someone special comes to the house.  This way the day that Kyle is coming home, Timothy will have some kind of understanding as to what will happen.  This is also a good way to really start talking about holidays and teaching about holidays.  Timothy now knows that green is a special color to St. Patrick's Day.  Each morning we talk about our next special day that we are looking forward to (St. Patrick's Day) and then I tell him about who St. Patrick was, different symbols that are associated with St. Patrick's Day, etc.

If you have a child who gets nervous and anxious about change, a paper chain may be a good way for him/her to see when the change will take place.  It also gives you an outlet to talk about it each day.  You can use that opportunity to give your child language he/she needs in order to talk about how he/she is feeling.

What could you count down to?  I love seeing our paper chain getting smaller and smaller!

This is a game that I posted about a year ago.  However, I wanted to re-highlight it for those of you who haven't seen it.  It's a great print and play folder game!  Plus, it has a football theme, which is perfect since the Super Bowl is Sunday!!  

This game is blank and so it's completely customizable to each client.  You can either laminate it so you can write on it with a dry erase marker and erase.  Or you can print a copy for each student and let him/her take it home after the end of the session.

Articulation:  Write in the articulation words that he/she needs to work on.

Language:  Write in language tasks that correspond with your students' goals

Pragmatics:  Write in different social situations that a student might need to practice role playing.

Fluency/Stuttering:  Have a student practice his/her techniques for getting out of a stuttered moment or write different topics that your student has to talk about it order to practice "smooth speech"

Click here to download the pdf version

Let's continue with idea of what to do if you have too many toys that are just lying around and don't have a home.  These toys CAN be useful!  Click here to see the previous blog post about activities for older kids.

First off, I suggest that you begin by going around your house and collecting up stray toys that seem to get lost in the shuffle and just don't have a spot to reside.  Put them all in a big box.  It doesn't matter what you collect since there are so many different things you can do with the toys.  You don't really have to have a "mental checklist" of "must haves" for your box. In my box I have:  3 cars, 2 trains, 2 small balls, 3 plastic animals, 2 puzzle pieces (the puzzle no longer has all the pieces and was going to be tossed), 1 whistle, and 1 noisemaker.  I could've collected more, but I have a young child and didn't want to overwhelm him.

  1. Name the items as you pull them out of the box.  Try to make your face look excited to see what is coming out next.  That will help get your child to engage in the activity.  Let him/her hold the objects.
  2. You can tell your child about the objects.  Describing things will give them a great model for language!
  3. Simply take an object out of the box and say "out" and hand him/her the object.  When they are all out, then put them all back in saying "in" with each one.  You can do this same thing with any preposition set (on/off using a table or the tray on their high chair, up/down and move the objects up and down in the air, etc)

Early Language:
  1. Have your child name the objects.
  2. Have your child to try to name one aspect of the objects - i.e. color.  This will start to get them to begin to learn how to describe.
  3. Teach them prepositions using the objects.
  4. Have your child receptively locate items (if naming them is too hard).  You can make it easier/harder depending on the number of options you let them choose from.

Listening Comprehension:  Depending on your child's level of sophistication with listening comprehension, you can:
  1. Have your child find a specific item when named (remember, don't let your child see your mouth moving because he/she should be learning to listen.  Position yourself directly behind your child and have your mouth close to his/her head).
  2. Describe an object using two or three descriptors and see if your child can find the object that you are requesting.
  3. Tell your child a sentence about the object and see if he/she can find the target object.

  1. You can have your child work on requesting in an appropriate manner.  Have your child look at you and then request in an appropriate manner (i.e. "May I have a toy" or "May I have the car" or "May I have the blue car").  You will know what the appropriate level is for your child's language capabilities.
  2. If you have two children playing, then teach them about sharing by having them share one of the toys from your bin.  You could also have them swap toys after they have had a few minutes to play with them.  A timer could really help with this activity so that they have equal time with the preferred object(s).

  1. Have your child practice his/her "smooth" speech by naming, describing, or requesting the items in the box.

  1. Try to find objects that have your child's target sound or past target sounds that have been mastered in order to change up your speech "homework" practice time!
Learning to re-tell a story is a skill that is hard to teach and even harder to master.  However, practice practice practice and more practice will help kids learn to re-tell a story.

I like to use a simple formula with my kids.  I start off instructing them to tell me the information in 1-2 sentences.  Then, as they are able to master that, then we are able to add more sentences with greater detail.  This form is one that I used with my speech therapy kids to help them remember what information they needed to tell and a way for them to write it out before telling it to the group.

You always want to know WHEN it occurred, WHAT HAPPENEDWHERE the event took place, and WHO was there.  Of course you could always insert more information, but these are the basics.  It becomes a great formula for simple sentences: 

  1. In July, I built a sand castle at the beach with my family.
  2. Yesterday, I shopped for clothes at Kohls with my mom.

Also, as the kids become more comfortable with the information, they can move the information to any order in the sentence (that is grammatically correct).  Simply cut out the parts on the WS and move them around to help keep a visual aid:
  1. My family went to the beach in July and we built sand castles.
  2. In July, I went to the beach with my family and we built a sand castle.
  3. Yesterday I bought school clothes at Kohls with my mom.

You get the idea... 

If your child is working on listening comprehension, then make sure to ask him/her questions about what other people did over the summer.

Oh... and if you need clarification that these activities actually happened over the summer, you may want to send a note home to the parents to write 3-5 major events that happened over the summer.  This way if a student can't think of anything he/she did over the summer, you are armed with a few ideas.

If your student is working on pragmatics, then this can be a great activity to have your student work on maintaining eye contact (with the whole group or pair that student up with one person so the audience is only one person), speaking loud enough for others to hear, remaining on topic, asking a question about someone else's story (and remaining on topic), etc.

Click here to download the pdf file.

Teach Speech has some exciting news!  We have recently become part of the Teachers Pay Teachers world.  This website is designed for teachers to be able to upload things they have created for FREE and for SALE!  Then, teachers (or homeschooling parents or parents who love to do activities with their kids, etc) can log on and look for pre-made activities and pay the TEACHERS who have created them rather than the CORPORATIONS who put them out!  How neat is that?  We will continue to be creating materials for FREE, but we have also been working on several BIG projects that we will now have a forum to sell on.  We are not quite ready to debut our thematic units (based on favorite children's books), but will start putting up some of our smaller projects - check it out as we hope to have new and exciting things up each day!

Click here to find the link directly to our store!
A colleague recently told me about this website and I just got up this morning to take a look at it.  Wow!  Was I impressed!  

Help Kidz Learn is an interactive site with games, stories, activities, and a parent section.  What I really liked was that most of the games and stories are switch activated!  For those of you who don't know what "switch activated" means, very briefly it is a way for non-verbal, limited verbal output, and limited mobility children have in order to access toys.  You would use a large switch (looks like a big button that you can press) and set it up with the computer (or toy or whatever is switch activated) and the switch, when hit, will make the game/toy do something!  

Once you sign up with the website (free for membership), then you have access to the games, songs, stories, and activities.  They have a great little counting song with awesome counting activities on there, some social stories (without words) for older kids, etc.  Some of the social stories may be good for older kids who are on the autism spectrum and benefit from social stories.

One of my favorite "games" is "pick and play".  You select an instrument (there are three to choose from) and then you get to hear what it sounds like!  This is a great activity for kids who are learning to listen.  It's also a great activity for kids who are working on listening comprehension if you sit with the child and tell them which one to select.  It can also be great for kids who are learning the vocabulary of instruments.

Another great aspect of this website??  It's FREE!  They have ipad apps to download.  The apps cost money, but could be a great investment if the site works for you.  
This week is the week leading up to Easter.  Therefore, I have some great Easter activities/ideas for you and your kids.  Hopefully they are some new things that you have not thought of before.  As always, each activity can be linked to SPEECH AND LANGUAGE in some way!

I've blogged before about cooking.  Cooking is an excellent way to get your kids involved in language and to really EXPERIENCE what the words mean.  They are not only seeing the items you are naming (ingredients and kitchen tools), but holding them, hearing them, smelling them, tasting them, and seeing what they can do!  You can easily stimulate all of their senses - simply with cooking (something we do every day).

Here is a cute and simple Bunny cake for Easter.  Cakes can be as easy as a box cake or as difficult as a cake from scratch.  The important thing is to talk about what you are doing or ask your child what needs to happen next (read the recipe, get out the ingredients, mix them, pour the batter into the pan, bake the cake, etc).  Kids who are pre-talkers are learning even if they are not talking.  Therefore, pulling out the eggs and letting them feel them (cold, round, hard) and look at them (white) and watch you crack them open is so important.  They are learning as you talk.
To make the bunny cake, bake the cake into two round pans.  I didn't have two the same size pans and that's ok.  One of the round cakes will be the bunny's face.  The other will become the bunny's ears and bow tie.  The picture to the left shows you how to cut it.  If your child is old enough to use a knife, then supervise the cutting but you can let him/her experience cutting cake.  You can ask them how it is different than cutting than cutting something hard, like an apple.  Comparing and contrasting different things are a great way to get your kids talking about language.

Assemble the cake as shown on the left.  I cut a little bit off of the ear to make it lie flush with the face.  You will also want to brush off as many crumbs from the "exposed" cake as possible (the insides of the cake) to help make it easier when frosting the cake.

Now frost the cake and really let your imagination go wild!  I didn't have much in my kitchen for eyes and whiskers.  However, you could ask your child at the store what he/she thinks you should use.  Twizzlers for the whiskers, m&ms for the eyes, etc.  If your child is at the early language stage, then have them look at a picture of a bunny and name the different parts (ears, eyes, whiskers, nose, mouth) and then help him/her create those parts.  You can even have them find their eyes, ears, nose and mouth.  We chose a purple bow so that we could talk about the fact that white frosting with red food coloring makes pink frosting.  Then, we had to figure out which color (blue), when added to the pink frosting, would make purple frosting!  You could have yellow or blue ears and make a green bow.  You could also make an orange bow with the pink frosting.  Heck... mix all the colors together and see what color comes out (should be a dark brown).

Any of these ideas can be adapted for a child working on listening comprehension.  Have your child follow the directions (one step, multi-step, etc) or have your child find the item you are requesting.  

You can also take pictures of the process in order to make a book and talk about it later (or have your child re-tell the story to someone else).

You could also work on emotions by asking how the bunny might be feeling.  Make the face match the emotion you decide to portray.

Find all the words that contain your child's articulation sound(s) and have him/her practice those words by themselves or in sentences!

Most importantly, make sure that you are constantly talking with your child to get him/her to experience the language of cooking while having fun.