Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Blog - Check it Out! 

 I have a new blog and a new name!   

If you follow Beautiful Speech via email, thank you so much!  Now that I have a new blog, you will need to head over to Talkin' with Twang and sign up to follow by email so you don't miss out on any future posts. 

I do have a new blog giveaway planned, so be sure to follow me over there so you will be the first to find out about it.  

If you follow me on other social media sites, you don't need to do anything.  I was able to keep all of my original followers.

Thank you so much and I'll see you over at Talkin' with Twang!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back to School (Internet) Scavenger Hunt

It's back to school time!!! This is always such an exciting time of the year.  I love school shopping, decorating my speech room and the overall joy and excitement that comes with a fresh start to a new school year.  I also LOVE scavenger hunts.  What better way to celebrate back to school than with a scavenger hunt?

This scavenger hunt is not your typical hunt.  Instead of gathering items or pictures, you will be looking for "secret" words.  The google doc (listed below) has all of the instructions and hyperlinks to a variety of different SLP sites.  Some will be blogs, some will be Facebook pages, and some might be Instagram pages.  Your job is to visit each link and find all of the secret words (one for each link).  Once you have gathered all of the words, you will use them to enter the rafflecopter below for the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY!!!  This is a great prize y'all.  Our grand prize winner will receive: $25 Amazon gift card, $25 Teacher Pay Teachers gift card, $25 iTunes gift card, a free app from Smarty Ears, a free app from Language Learning Apps, LLC, and several free products from some of our awesome SLP bloggers.  What a great prize!

As you are collecting your secret words, we hope you will enjoy learning more about your favorite SLP bloggers, meet some new bloggers, and you may grab some goodies along the way.  There are so many SLP bloggers who have great information to share.  We hope you enjoy getting to know us.  If you read something interesting, be sure to leave a comment for that blogger.  We love getting comments from our readers!  :-)

Ready to start?  Click HERE for the instructions and links. (All links should be live by 10:00pm central time on Saturday, August 8.)

Once you have found all of your words, enter the rafflecopter below.  Enter by midnight on August 14 (Central Time). Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Funny Directions {App Review & Giveaway}

I hope everyone is  enjoying their last few weeks of summer.  My summer break is officially over.  I went back to work on August 3.  I won't actually see students until the end of the month when school starts, but we are all back at the office.  I have been busy prepping for back to school and shopping the big Teachers Pay Teachers sale.  Now I am going to take a few minutes to share an app review with you and give you a chance to win a FREE copy (see below to enter).  The app is Funny Directions and it's brought to you by Speecharoo Apps.

You will love this app if you have any kiddos who are working on goals for following 1, 2, or 3 step directions.  It offers a simple way to practice listening and following directions, while playing and having fun on the iPad.  And we all know kids love to be on iPads.

When you first open the app, you are greeted by the cute little Speecharoo kangaroo.  You can then proceed to the home screen where you will select your practice level.

There are 4 practice rooms to choose from.  Each room has options to practice following 1, 2, or 3 step directions.  Simply click on the corresponding balloon to enter the desired room.

Once you are in the room, you will see a variety of items spread about.  Each set of directions will be presented one at a time, up to 10 trials.  The directions are presented in both verbal and written forms, but you can turn each on/off to meet the needs of your students.

After the child  has successfully followed the direction presented, the item will activate and do something (make a noise, or move).  If the wrong item is selected, the directions will repeat until the correct item is touched.  After 10 trials in one room, our cute kangaroo friend will appear with a screen that says "Great job!"  He will hop around releasing balloons from his pouch, which the child can pop as they float up the screen.  This screen appears after 10 trials, no matter what the score was.

After a few balloons are released, an arrow will appear at the bottom of the screen.  Touching this arrow will move you into the next room with the same level of directions as you were on previously.  After all 4 rooms have been completed for each level of difficulty, the app will automatically move you up to the next level of directions.

I was very pleased with this app.  It is simple to use, easy to understand, and has fun animations to reward the children for correct answers.  I like that the directions are simple and clear and that there are opportunities to practice at 3 different difficulty levels.

I can see that some of my students may need to be taught certain vocabulary words prior to using this app (such as "globe"), but most of the items are very common and easy to identify.

This great app can be found in the App Store for only $2.99.  However, I have a FREE copy to give away!  Enter below for your chance to win.  Enter by Friday, August 7 at midnight (really Aug. 8, right?).  I will post the winner on Saturday morning.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 31, 2015

Back to School Sale What's in Your Cart? {Linky}

It's that time again...back to school!  I start back on August 3, but won't actually have students until the end of August.  That should give me plenty of time to prep my speech room, organize, and plan for the start of the year.  To help get us all started on our back to school planning, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site wide sale.  These sales are great because many TPT sellers put their stores on sale at the same time, allowing buyers to save up to 28% on almost everything (discounts vary from store to store).  For this sale, I have linked up with Jenna over at Speech Room News for a What's in Your Cart linky party.

For this sale, my entire store will be 20% off and you can save an additional 10% off by using the code BTS15 at checkout.  That will give you a total of 28% off!  This is a great time to pick up some of the helpful resources I have in my store.  Here are a few that you will want to check out:

This articulation screener has everything you need to quick screen students at the beginning of the year.  There are picture prompts for all phonemes in word initial, medial, and final position (blends, and clusters, too), data sheets, a phoneme development chart to use as reference, and instructions for use as a teacher screener.  See more about this product in my blog post. Grab it during the sale by clicking here.

This interactive book features pages with manipulative pieces for students to tell about themselves.  This is a great getting to know you activity in which students can practice giving information about themselves.  Visuals are provided for every sentence on every page, making this a great tool to use with young students, students with autism, limited verbal ability, or just about anyone.  Grab it on sale by clicking here

This pronoun-verb flipbook provides great practice for students who have goals for pronouns (he, she, they), verbs (is, are), and/or -ing verbs.  Students can flip the pages to create sentences to match each picture.  See more of this product in the blog post I wrote about it and grab it on sale by clicking here

I will also be doing some shopping during the big BTS sale.  Here are a few of the products I have had my eye on and will be buying during the sale:

Multiple Meaning Words for Middle School Bundle by Natalie Snyders.  You can purchase each set separately, but I've had my eye on the bundle.

Little Fish Cut & Paste Articulation by Mia McDaniels

Fall Interactive Books by My Speech Universe

I have my wishlist all ready to go for the big sale.  Comment below and share the great resources you plan on picking up during the sale.

Don't forget to head back over to Speech Room News to see what others have in their carts.  It's a great way to browse through different stores.  Happy shopping!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Best Thing I Learned This Summer {Linky}

I can hardly believe summer break is almost over.  I have been so busy, and it has gone by too quick. For this post,I am linking up with The Frenzied SLPs to share the best thing I have learned this summer. Click the image below to see what others are sharing.

This summer was my last semester of grad school (woo hoo!), and I had three classes to complete before officially graduating.  One of the classes I took was Pediatric Dysphagia, and let me tell you, I learned a lot!

We had completed adult dysphagia during a previous sesmester, so I figured pediatric dysphagia would be the same thing.  I was so wrong!  Evaluating and treating pediatric dysphagia is very different from evaluating and treating adult dysphagia.

Our class covered feeding and swallowing disorders in children.  We discussed different types of feeding disorders, different types of syndromes and birth complications that can result in difficulty with feeding/swallowing, and different treatment options.  One interesting thing I learned was that very few school based SLPs feel competent to treat dysphagia. As a school based SLP Assistant now SLP Intern) I can say that in the rural areas of Texas where I live, it is rare that we ever have a kiddo on caseload who needs treatment for feeding/swallowing disorders.  That's not to say it never happens.  But it is rare.

Because it's so rare, many school based SLPs don't stay up-to-date with research/treatment techniques in the area of dysphagia.  But we never know when we might get a new student with dysphagia/feeding goals.  It's usually a school district decision on whether or not to treat dysphagia at the school, but my take away from the class (other than evaluation/treatment skills) was this:  We, as school based SLPs, need to do what we can do to stay caught up with our ability to treat pediatric dysphagia.  Easier said than done, I know, but we just never know when we might get a student who will benefit from our skills. This can really be true of any area we address through speech services (voice, fluency, etc.).  The discussion of dysphagia in the schools reminded me of the importance of being ready for any child we might need to serve through speech therapy in the school setting.

I am hoping to keep up with my newly gained knowledge of pediatric dysphagia through research articles, trainings, and hopefully by working with some kiddos after school hours through home health or a pediatric clinic.  Do any of my school based SLP friends work with dysphagia in the schools or on the side for a clinic?  Do your schools offer training related to dysphagia? 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

First Day Jitters (with a FREEBIE)

As the school year quickly approaches, I find myself growing a little more nervous each day.  I have to admit, I have some first day jitters!  This year, I will be starting at a new campus, and I will be on my own (mostly).  For the past two school years, I have been an SLP assistant and graduate student with quite a bit of supervision.  Even when I wasn't being directly supervised, my SLP mentors were always nearby.  Things are changing this year.  I will be working as a CF, which requires much less supervision.  I am so excited, and I feel very prepared, but those jitters are still there.

Even as a teacher I experienced first day jitters each year.  It's really a combination of excitement and the unknown mixed together.  Starting at a new campus is a  little scary.  Will they welcome me?  What will my caseload be like?  All the unknowns make me a little nervous.  So I try to channel my nervousness into productivity.  :-)

I've been thinking a lot about this school year and what I can do to be the best SLP this campus has ever had (it's good to have aspirations, right?)  Thinking back to my years as a teacher, and conversations I have had with my SLP supervisors over the past 2 years, I know that communication with the teachers is a key part to having a successful year.  To help with this, I have created a FREE teacher communication packet which will hopefully make the communication a bit easier.

My packet includes the following:
*A blank "Notes From the Speech Room" page
*A "Today in Speech" page for sharing what students are currently working on in speech
*A blank "Important" page
*A blank "Reminder" page
* 1/2 sheet "Speech Meeting Reminder" pages (for IEP meetings, conferences with teachers, etc.)
*A speech schedule page to help teachers keep track of when their students will be going to speech

All of the pages are in black and white for quick printing.  There is an editable file to use when you would like to type directly on the pages.  There is also a pdf file if you prefer to hand write on the forms.

This product is a freebie that I hope will be useful to other SLPs, assistants, and graduate students as they start the new school year.

You can download the file in my TPT store by clicking HERE.  Please leave feedback and let me know if this product helps you as you get ready for the new school year.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Speech Fun {Linky}

I. LOVE. SUMMER. I absolutely love it.  Even here, in the heat of Texas, I just love summer.  The other seasons don't even come close for me.  In honor of my love for summer, I am linking up with Simply Speech to share some of my favorite summer themed games and activities that can be used in speech therapy.  Read on to see what I have to share, then click back to see what favorite activities Simply Speech has for summer and check out the others that have linked up, too.

(I've included Amazon affiliate links on each picture, but there are many different places you can find these games/activities. )

Playing in the sand is the perfect summer activity.  I especially like it because here in Central Texas, not every child has the opportunity to visit a beach and experience the fun of making a sand castle.  I love kinetic sand because it's not as messy as real sand and you can use it in so many different ways.  I like to bury target cards or items in the sand and have my kiddos search for them.  I also like to work on following directions while playing in the sand.  It's also great for describing and exploring new textures.  There are so many different types of sand you can find at different prices.  There are also recipes online that show you how to make your own.  It's the best!

Sidewalk chalk is fun for days when you just need to get out of the speech room and enjoy some fresh air.  I use it to write target words on the ground for my kiddos to practice their sounds.  You can also draw a series of shapes on the ground and have the kids follow directions using the shapes (stand in the circle and clap your hands, sit in the square and close your eyes, etc.).  You can also work on basic concepts such as big/little, in/out, and so much more.  The options are endless!

I love cooperative games.  Some kids just aren't ready for competitive games and I can't always lose valuable therapy time dealing with a child who is upset over not winning.  Cooperative games allow the kids to work together to complete the game and then they all "win."  This Birds of Summer game allows the kids to work together to save the baby birds from predators.  It involves so many skills including memory and problem solving.  Your kiddos will love it!

Summer is about being with family, barbecues, and eating pie!  I love this game because it reminds me of delicious apple pie served at a family picnic.  You can use it to work on carryover of articulation skills, turn taking, conversational skills, and so much more.

Those are just a few of my summer fun games and activities.  What are your favorite summer fun favorites?  You can write a blog about it and link up over at Simply Speech, or tell me in the comments.

Happy summer!!!