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January 31, 2013

Take Out Topics for Articulation Carryover

One of the hardest things I face as a speech-language pathologist is coming up with effective ways to get my students to generalize their articulation skills to their spontaneous speech.  Anyone else find this difficult???  It seem that they master their sounds in structured treatment activities and even during games, but yet they struggle to make that final leap to using them all the time.  Frustrating!  Here's one thing I'm trying:

Take Out Topics for Articulation Carryover is designed to help students generalize newly mastered speech sounds to their spontaneous speech by using structured conversation topics.

Students bring home a takeout box filled with cards that help facilitate use of their target sound in conversation, along with a Helpful Hints page for parents that explains how to use them.  The cards look like this:

***As of July 2016, this product has been re-designed. Same content, new look! Read on...

Each card either asks a question or instructs the student to tell about certain objects.  Target words are highlighted in blue.  The student takes out one card at a time from the box and reads the card, being careful to use the target sound correctly.  The student then answers the question, again concentrating on saying the target words correctly.

The cards are meant to be a starting point for a conversation around a topic.  Encourage the student to add more to the conversation by asking questions about the topic or sharing the student's opinion about or experience with the topic.

The parent or SLP using this activity should try to have the student use the target words as many times as possible in their responses for each card.  Many of the cards instruct the reader to start or end with a particular phrase, but some do not.  For the ones that do not, try to suggest phrases or sentences to use to help facilitate more opportunities for target use. For example, the card in the photo above instructs the student to tell three things about a golfer and a skater.  You could instruct the student to use separate sentences for each detail and to begin each sentence with, "A golfer/ice skater..."

I send home 10 cards at a time rather than filling the box with 30 cards all at once.  I also practice some of the cards with the child during our treatment sessions so he or she will be familiar with the topic and (hopefully) be more successful when this topic is drawn from the box at home.

This set targets vocalic /r/ in the final position of words and is available at my TPT site.  It includes 30 conversation starter cards, instructions for use, labels for the box and a Helpful Hints page for parents or professionals.  Chinese takeout boxes are readily available at craft stores such as Michaels and usually cost around a buck apiece.  You could use any small box or envelope if you don't have a takeout box...it just won't be as fun.

Guess what?  You gave me feedback, and I listened!  Due to popular request, I made a set of cards for the /ch/ sound that are ready to go!  This set contains 40 cards:  20 initial /ch/, 10 medial and 10 final.  You can find it here.  I'm working on other card sets, too, so check back again soon.

What do you think of this idea?  I'm planning to make more for other sounds and word positions, but I'd like to know what you would use.  Please leave a comment and I'll see what I can come up with.

Have fun!


January 23, 2013

Scratch-Its for Rewards

"Miss Pam, is it a sticker day or a prize box day?"

This is the question I hear most often from my kiddos.  They just love to dig through the prize box to take home a treasure at the end of our session.  But here's the dilemma:  I do not offer prizes every session (but I DO offer stickers) and I have no real system for determining which days are prize box days, except that I try to offer it once per month.  It often depends on how many prizes are left in the prize box and if I've had time to shop.  But, the kids are relentless in their asking, so I came up with a solution to develop a system.

My solution:  Sticker or Prize Box Scratch-Its!  Let me tell you how they work.

First, I made several different reward cards and printed them on card stock.  I've got snowmen, monsters...


...fire station and camping.

Next, choose a card and write "sticker" or "prize" in each of the circles with a black pen.  Choose random locations for each, and make each card different in terms of placement of the "prize" words.

Fill in the circles using a white crayon.

I color over the words a couple of times, making sure there's a nice layer of crayon wax on top of the words.

Then, paint over the top of the crayon wax using acrylic paint.  I chose light blue, but you could use any color you'd like.  The paint tends to dry streaky, so I usually apply 2-3 coats, especially over the middle of the circle to be sure to cover the words.

Let the paint dry for at least an hour.  Then you're ready to go!  I let the kids chose their own reward card, write their name on it and keep it in their chart.

This solution is working really well for me.  I don't need to keep my prize box stocked enough for all the kids on my caseload to hit it in one week, and it's not my decision as to whether it's a prize day or sticker day.  No more needing to explain my rationale!  Whew!

Would you like to give this a try?  You can download my reward cards here.  If you do download them, let me know what you think.  Graphics for these cute little charts are from Scrappin Doodles and KPM Doodles.

Have fun!


January 14, 2013

Kicking and Screaming

That's me, right there in that old photograph, kicking and screaming because I wanted to go swimming. That's my dad, the man with the smile as he gently tries to put my shoes back on and take me where I don't want to go.

I'm kicking and screaming again, after all these years.

My dad passed away on January 3, 2013 after a 13 year battle with cancer that left his body with literally no immune system.  He gave it a valiant effort, but in the end, the fight was just too large and his body just too weak.

I boarded a plane on January 2 to fly across the country to be by his side in his last days.  I'd never been down that road before, that road that ends with losing a parent, and I found myself kicking and screaming as I was being dragged down it against my will.

The days that followed are nothing but a blur now.  I'm back at home after twelve days, feeling like I'm slogging through mud.  I'm trying to decide which road to go down now.  How does one go down any road when their world is no longer the same?  I'm kicking and screaming yet again, at the thought of carrying on with the tasks of every day life that seem insurmountable right now.  How will I do it?  Hopefully with grace and perseverance, as was modeled by my dad, one day at a time.

In the meantime, please know that one day soon I'll be back to posting on a regular basis.  For now, please keep me in your prayers.