Sunday, June 26, 2011

Movies We Love

Have you seen the King's Speech? If not, then you should! It will change your life (ok, maybe not your life but definitely your perspective on people who stutter). All of the “therapy techniques” the King went through blew our minds! Bless our client’s hearts! The things we put them through! So glad our research has led us to new techniques. Bonus points if you can tell us what Johnny Depp movie Gregory Rush (the speech therapist) is in! Check out ASHA, the National Stuttering Association, and the Stuttering Foundation of America for some great resources on fluency.
The Temple Grandin Movie is another amazing movie! Temple Grandin is an extraordinary woman who brings awareness to autism.

A picture of Temple Grandin and Claire Danes.
We highly encourage you to learn more about her story. It will shed new light on the way you perceive people with autism. We love this movie and thought they did a great job of showing how a person with autism views things (like noise from a fan and lights). Add this to your Netflix now! For autism resources go to Autism Speaks, the Autism Society, and the Autism Resource Foundation.

Both of these movies are a must see even if you are not a speechie! We promise that you will be entertained and get something from them!
Any movies you love that also deal with speech related issues?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

File Folder Fun

I have an obsession with file folder games. They are just so fantastic! Why are they fantastic you ask? Well, they are inexpensive to make, kids love them, easy to carry around, and they don’t take up a lot of space! (And if you are a student, clinic supervisors LOVE it when you take the time to make your own materials!) It just doesn’t get better than that! I wanted to share with you some of my faves. Here are a few that I made on my own. First get some file folders. Colored folders tend to look better than manila folders.

I drew a spider web and pasted a pic of a spider (please try not to be jealous of my awesome drawing skillz). Then I took bug stickers, put them on circles I had cut out and laminated everything. I put Velcro circles on the folder and stickers so the kids can decide where to put the bugs! I know this is not really a “game” but it is a quick and easy reinforcer.
I stole this idea from my SLP friend Jennifer. You paste a piece of scrapbook paper that looks like grass to one side and a spider web on the other side. Then I cut out flies (or you could use bug stickers again to make it easier.)

I lay artic cards face down on the table and put flies under some of the cards. The student turns over a card and says the word/phrase/sentence and then decides if he wants to “save” the bug and put it in the grass, or let the spider eat it and put it on the web. I also staple a baggie to the back of the folder to keep up with all the little pieces since I didn’t use Velcro for this one. Younger kids really love this and almost always want the spider to “eat” the bug!
For this folder I cut up a functions worksheet I had and attached half of the phrase to the folder with Velcro. It was so simple! No doubt there are hundreds of worksheets you could do this with!
This is a SpongeBob Squarepants game that I downloaded from Perkilou Products. (Click on the name for a link or click on the link under Sites We Love.) My favorite part about this is she gives you instructions for how to make your own SpongeBob. It turns out super cute! Another free download from this site is the Scooby Doo game.
I definitely recommend checking her out as there are other free downloads on her site and she has great ideas and products to purchase!

My best tip on folder games is to laminate EVERYTHING- the folder and all of the pieces that go with it. (Well that and invest in Velcro! Ha!)
Ok, tell us about folder games that you use! More file folder fun to come later!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

I have a confession. I am an entertainment news junkie. I know, it’s embarrassing, but true. There is a very good chance that if you were to walk into my house E! News would be on. But you need to know that in order to understand my excitement when I ran across the Stuttering Foundation’s brochure of Famous People Who Stutter. How cool is that? Here are entertainers that so many admire and they wanted the world to know that they stutter, but it has not inhibited them. They have gone on to accomplish great things and that is a message I want all my fluency students to hear loud and clear! I frequently remind my students of famous people who stutter and often times they are pleasantly surprised and I hope encouraged. I recently visited the American Stuttering Foundation’s website and realized their list of the rich and famous who stutter had been updated. So I wanted to share some of the famous faces on the list with all of you!
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James Earl Jones — Actor James Earl Jones, a Broadway, television, and movie star, is well-known for his voice as Darth Vader in Star Wars and his book Voices and Silences. He is also the voice of CNN. Jones is featured in the SFA's Famous People Who Stutter brochure. He received the 2008 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award for his "long and quiet devotion to advancing literacy, the arts and humanities on a national and local scale," said SAG President Alan Rosenberg.

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Nicole Kidman — This award-winning actress is known for her performances in Dead Calm, The Hours, To Die For, Batman Forever, and Rabbit Hole. She is married to Keith Urban and pulls of the "fair skin look" better than anyone else (insert jealousy here).

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Emily Blunt — This Golden Globe Award-winning actress is probably best known for her work in My Summer of Love and The Devil Wears Prada. And she is married to Jim from The Office. Awesome!
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Bruce Willis — Having starred in more than 60 movies, he became popular in the late 1980s with the Die Hard series. Other popular films include Pulp Fiction, Armageddon, and The Sixth Sense. Formerly married to Demi Moore.

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Jimmy Stewart — He is considered one of the finest actors of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Stewart earned Lifetime Achievement awards from nearly every major film organization. In addition to acting, he had a military career in which he advanced to the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force. He is the guy in It's a Wonderful Life. I seriously believe it is criminal not to watch this movie during the Christmas  Holidays!
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Marilyn Monroe — This actress and singer is one of the most popular movie stars of the 1950s and early 1960s. She is known for her comedic skills and screen presence. Monroe is pictured in the SFA's Famous People Who Stutter Brochure. Happy birthday Mr. President!

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Tim Gunn — Host of the popular fashion reality TV show Project Runway. I have a feeling that somewhere along the way a speech therapist told him to "make it work Tim."

(All bios are from the American Stuttering Foundation Website and my own entertainment knoweldge.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Great Find

We are always on the lookout for fun new tools to use in therapy. Awhile back a preschool teacher showed me this Cheerios book and raved about how her kids loved it.

I borrowed hers and used it a couple of times in therapy as a language tool. Turns out she was right! My favorite part is that it has a built in reinforcement (the cheerios that you put in the designated holes).  

I happened to luck up on one of the Cheerio books at Marshalls. Score! They make books with holiday themes as well. What books do you love to use in therapy?
P.S.~ They also make super cute baby gifts!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Top 5 Toys

Below are the top 5 toys our kiddos LOVE! If you want to add some new toys to your shelves consider these! Our students always work hard for a chance to play with these toys. Remember, we mostly see preschool and elementary age children so the following may not be appropriate for all ages. Even if you are not a “speechie” but just looking for fun toys for the kids, these are great! (We are not getting money for endorsing the toys. We just really like them!) Leave a comment and tell us what toys your students/kids love!
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5. Lucky DucksKids absolutely LOVE this game! But beware. It makes noise. A lot-o-ducks-quacking noise. Our best advice is to buy the new edition that is quieter than the original. It may cost a little more, but trust me your sanity is more valuable. Kids pick a duck out of the pond to see if the color/shape matches their card.

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4. Fisher Price Piggy BankAnother kiddo fave. The pig counts as you drop the coins in and sings different songs. But don’t worry; you have the option of turning the sound off if your nerves can’t handle it that day (at least until your student figures out how to work the button and then you’re dunzo). It is spectacular for ABA therapy. It is an instant reward that is quick so you can get back to work. We happen to come across this pig at a thrift store for $1.25. Best. Purchase. Ever.

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3. Pop Up PirateThis is a great game for both preschoolers and older kids (We have 5th graders that love this). Warning: The pirate really does “pop up” (shocking we know!) so don’t let it startle you! (One of the Speech Ladies may or may not have jumped in her chair on occasion when the pirate “popped”.)

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2. Playskool MailboxThere is so much you can do with this! Mail away artic cards, tokens, or letters.  And the kids love to open the mailbox to pull it all out! This is the old school version so we’re sure the new version is even better! There are holes for the kids to drop in the blocks, but we lost those long, long ago.

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1.     Chipper Chat – This is another fantastic toy for ABA therapy. There are different cards to choose from and when your student fills theirs up or has completed the number of trials you set, then they can use the magic wand to pick up all the chips! The kids are amazed by the wand every time. Seriously. They will turn it over and over trying to figure out how it works. Too cute!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


While most of my limited experience has been with children I recently wrapped up an externship at a subacute rehab facility. I had many new experiences there and learned a great deal. However, I feel like one of the most practical things I walked away with was my exposure to the Saint Louis University Mental Status Examination (SLUMS). The SLUMS is a screener for dementia. It is now often being used in place of the Mini Mental Status Examination. While at a Speech and Hearing Association of Alabama conference I had the pleasure of hearing Teepa Snow (a dementia expert) speak and she included the SLUMS in her presentation.  I must say I felt like a star student because I knew what she was talking about! (P.S. If you ever have the chance to hear Teepa speak - DO IT! She is an incredibly dynamic speaker and you will NOT be sorry!)
To download the SLUMS and print it off go here (or just Google the SLUMS examination test).
To download the instructions go here.
The SLUMS is easy to administer (obviously if I can do it!) and it consists of 11 questions. The creators say it takes about seven minutes to give, however, in my experience it usually takes a little longer but mostly it depends on the patient. Another reason that I really like this test is that it has separate scores based on the patient’s highest level of education.
Some of the minor adjustments I make when administering the test include drawing a big circle on the back of the page for the client to draw their clock (for question #9). The test provides a small circle for the patient to fill in; however I don’t think that it is very practical for elderly people who have trouble seeing in the first place. Also, I repeat the memory objects in item #4 at least twice. I am aware that the test was not normed this way; however these are some suggestions that helped me to give the test in real life situations.
Here’s a quick view!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hello everyone! My name is Cindy and I have been a speech language pathologist for over 30 years. Right now I work with pre-school and school age children, but I have previously worked with adults. I am also an adjunct professor and teach some undergraduate speech classes. I love what I do because I have the opportunity to meet new families and help them learn how to help their children overcome their communication difficulties.  I originally went into speech after visiting with a speech pathologist that was in private practice.  I was an undergraduate student that started out in early childhood education, but decided after a two week observation, that I was required to complete for a class, that that was not for me!  The 20 to 1 (20 little children and one adult) ratio was too overwhelming for me.   Then I tried accounting!  Strange I know, but I was looking for something completely different --- that was not for me either.  Then one day a friend was listening to me lament about not being able to decide what to do with my life and suggested that I visit with a friend of hers who was a Speech Pathologist. I took her up on it and the rest is history! I’m excited that my daughter, Kristina, decided to become a SLP and hope she finds her journey as an SLP as rewarding as I have.

Hey guys! My name is Kristina and I am in graduate school for speech language pathology.  I should have known that I would become an SLP. I literally grew up in the clinic where my mother worked and was asking questions about the “Golden” Fristoe while I was still in elementary school. Growing up I always thought my mom had the best job, mostly because her office had the most glorious. Room. Ever. The toy room! It was Heaven on earth, though the room was small, it had shelves from top to bottom filled with all kinds of toys. I could entertain myself for hours! I loved going to work with mom! Even though it seemed like speech was a clear choice for me I went to college and I majored in everything else. Seriously, you name it and chances are I had that major for at least a month. For various reasons I could not stay settled on any one career. The pressure to pick a job that I would want to go to five days a week for the next 40 years was crazy! My mother begged and pleaded with me to just try one speech class. I finally caved to her request and ended up really liking it! Guess mom really does know best! When I graduate I would really like to work in the schools. Like mother, like daughter!
We want this blog to be a place where we can share our experiences (both good and bad), thoughts and therapy tips. Mostly we look forward to learning from y’all and hearing what therapy materials and methods you like best! We think it is important to constantly be evolving as a therapist and a person. We have discovered that the best way to do this is to stay in touch with other Speech Language Pathologist!

Mom and me with Aubie! War Eagle!

The entire family!