Speech Therapy & Science Experiments

Kelly McLendon, M.S., CCC-SLP, a lead SLP in one of our districts reminds us that not all sessions need to be about data, some can be fun while still targeting goals.

Speech Therapy & Science Experiments

A less common type of activity to do in speech is science experiments. You and your students will love the language elicited!

There are tons of science experiments that use materials that are at school or home, or are cheap and easy to grab. Pinterest is an excellent resource for simple experiments. A few examples are: oobleck, slime, dancing raisins, and elephant toothpaste.

For a recent session, progress monitoring was put aside & fun was had in speech therapy. To celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday, we made oobleck. For those who haven’t heard of it, oobleck is a mixture that sometimes is a liquid & others is a solid. First, we measured out 1 cup of corn starch into a bowl. The kids got to touch it and described how it felt to start. Words used included, “creamy”, “soft”, and “weird”. Then we voted on a color and added a few drops to 1/2 cup water. We predicted what was going to happen when we added the water to the corn starch. Each child had an opportunity to stir, and I finished mixing it together. Then the fun began. We all dove into the bowl, started playing, and talked about how it felt.

oobleck

Here are some goals that can be can addressed during science experiments:

  • Predicting/inferencing
  • Describing
  • Social skills
  • Articulation
  • Fluency
  • Sequencing
  • Following directions

Remember, not all sessions need to be about data, some can be fun while still targeting goals!

Kelly McLendon, M.S., CCC-SLP

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GJPQY – Go Below Song

Mary Adolf, M.S, OTR/L talks about the song she co-created to help teach students about descender letters, the letters that “go below” the main body of the letter. 

GJPQY – Go Below Song

So………….  I had an idea. There are 5 letters that go below. And I aptly call them, the “go-belows.”  They are g, j, p, q, and y.  I do push-in whole group instruction for first graders on handwriting.  How can I teach my first grade students to remember the ones that go below?  I show them in repeated visual demonstrations during whole group instruction, and I tell them funny things like “the go belows do not like heights, and like to sit their bellies on the line.”  But I needed more.

I love writing poems.  So I decided to write a little poem about the go belows.

Hey Hey Ho. What do you know?

There are 5 letters that go below:

g, j, p, q, y,

These are the letters that don’t go high!

They like it on the bottom line low,

So make sure you make them go below!

But it needed music!  Being collaborative at Exton Elementary, I decided to send my poem to our music teacher, Jamie Klingler!  He is so good with the students, and has a knack to just “make music” on demand.  So one of the first graders brought my poem to Mr. Klingler, and wouldn’t you know it, within an hour or two I had the music!  He created the tune to go to my poem, and taught the lines to the students in his first grade music class, and voila!  So awesome!  Collaboration at its finest.

The song was used to teach the first graders the go-below letters for the next two weeks!  So much fun!

Tap below to hear the tune!

Capture

And thanks again to Exton’s music teacher, Mr. Klingler!

-Mary Adolf, M.S, OTR/L (OT at Exton Elementary School)

The Gift of Giving

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” -Norman Vincent Peale

I have to agree with Mr. Peale. Everything IS softer and more beautiful this time of year.  Even though it’s one of the most stressful months for teachers, parents, and therapists, it’s a wonderful season filled with reflection, giving, and spreading warmth to those around us.  It’s even more special when we see our students and children getting into the spirit of giving because it gives us hope for peace and our future.  When children give, it comes from a pure place; when they shine their light, it’s so bright.  When I think about this, I realize that so often the students we work with are on the receiving end of someone else’s help, usually an adult.  They need help with their school work, they have goals and therapy services, they need additional supports to participate successfully in their classrooms and school environment.  But here’s the thing, everyone can give something.  And students with special needs should know that while they are receivers of help, they can also be givers. This nurtures a very important piece of their self-worth, shows that they are important contributing members of society, builds character, and just plain old feels good.

I’m thrilled to say that many of our therapists have embraced the joy of giving in their therapy sessions these past few weeks and we couldn’t be more excited about it. PTS is so very proud of the hard working, creative, and dedicated professionals we are blessed to call teammates year in and year out.

One of our awesome therapists posted on Facebook about her recent therapy session:

“Working on life skills today, while making homemade dog biscuits for Diamond in the Ruff rescue! How could you not love your job when it gives you the opportunity to combine your love of dogs, kids, and baking?!”

dog-biscuits

Another therapist emailed:

“Here are some pics of making invitations and delivering them……getting ready for the Holiday Breakfast Café!”

A most fabulous Speech Therapist posted in our private PTS team page:

“Social skills activity in an Autistic Support K-2 class. We are learning about kindness and doing acts of kindness for others. So we made a Grinch face & in the smile we drew what we could do to make others smile. Then hanging on the wall was a Grinch. For each act of kindness, the students could put a heart on him. At the end of 3 weeks, we celebrated our kindness with a Grinch Party. We made ornaments & a popcorn snack!”

 

So as we wrap up 2017 with a beautiful, big and sparkly gold bow, we want to thank our team and their students for making the world softer and more beautiful.  Our gratitude is far deeper than anything I could write in this post.

From all of our families to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. May 2017 be a healthy and prosperous year for you!

Many Blessings,

Candice

Ccandice-bio-picandice Donnelly-Knox, OTR/L
Director of Clinical Services & Team Capable Classroom
candice@pts-inc.net

Interested in PTS? Visit our Facebook page                                                                   Or find us here: www.capableclassroom.com  ♥  www.pts-inc.net

 

Research Update: Early Life Stresses, Physical Activity & Families, Health Disparities & Disability

Early life stress can leave lasting impacts on the brain

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, have taken a close look at the amygdala and hippocampus of children who have experienced stressors early in life. They found that stressors such as physical abuse, neglect, and low social economic status, were associated with smaller amygdalas and hippocampi. These brain structures are believed to be related to memory and learning.

Associations between objectively assessed child and parental physical activity: a cross-sectional study of families with 5-6 year old children

This article, available in full-text from BioMedCentral Public Health, looked at physical activity levels of young children and their parents. The study found that children reached the recommended duration of physical activity less often than their parents. While 80% of adults reached the recommended level of physical activity, only 29% of boys and 47% of girls did so. This may mean that children and their parents do not have the opportunities or resources to engage in physical activity in mutually satisfying ways.

Little Progress Made in Reducing Health Disparities for People with Disabilities

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that chronic illness is much more prevalent for adults with physical disabilities, and even more so for those with physical disabilities and psychological distress. The chronic illnesses measured include arthritis, asthma, coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and stroke. Additionally, persons who had both physical disabilities and psychological distress face other barriers to health, in particular accessing health care through insurance and monetary means.

Creating Visuals For School-Based Therapies

All kids love visuals, and the more attractive and personally meaningful, the better. From picture-based communication systems, to visual cues for articulation sounds, pictures can support a wide range of children, including those with autism and learning disabilities. Pictures can make therapy goals more engaging, entertaining, and achievable!

In a previous post, we talked about how pictures can be used in a therapy session. And now we are going to share some ways to create terrific looking visuals!

Our first stop is the “Visuals Engine” from Connectability.ca. This is a free resource that includes templates for basic picture communication, with included photos and pictures, and an option to upload your own photograph. The website has tips and guides for creating tools using the picture templates, and is a great alternative to more expensive picture communication tools.

Another option for creating picture communication tools, as well as games, exercise programs, self care sequencing, and many more tools, is the iPad application “Custom Boards” by Smarty Ears. Custom Boards gives the user an incredibly easy way to take photos and import directly into the application, all using the same device, in addition to access to the built in pictures, and access to Google picture search for even more options. You can save, print, and email the boards, and change font, font size, and background color of the pictures.

*As of publication, Custom Boards is currently $19.99, available on the iTunes Store.

Check out these great visual tools created using Custom Boards!

Custom Boards Sample 1

Custom Boards Sample 3Custom Boards Sample 2

Another great tool for creating awesome pictures is PicMonkey. This is a web-based program that allows the user to a upload and edit photographs in a variety of ways, including adding text and creating collages. PicMonkey allows the user to use Instagram-like photo effects, as well as touch ups. There are many options included with a free option, and premium options are available for a fee. The website interface is user-friendly, for even those less experienced with technology.

 

We’ve shared three great resources for creating attractive visuals for our students. Are there any more that you have used and recommend? Let us know here, or on our Facebook page!

Lesson Planning (From a Therapist’s Point of View) – Speech and Language Therapy

In our previous post we looked at a classroom through an occupational therapist’s point of view. In our second post, we will look at the classroom through a new set of eyes – in this case, the speech and language therapist! Speech and language pathologists work to support children who are experiencing difficulties with communication. The areas that a speech and language pathologist may address include: articulation, language, voice, fluency,  and swallowing. Per the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), children with a speech and/or language impairment may struggle with participating in classroom activities, interacting with others, developing literacy, and learning.

Continue reading Lesson Planning (From a Therapist’s Point of View) – Speech and Language Therapy

Lesson Planning (From A Therapist’s Point of View) – Occupational Therapy

Education is a complicated task, and it can take a team of professionals to help some of our students succeed, particularly when they are working to overcome learning challenges. But all students can benefit when the classroom is examined through the eyes of a developmental expert, including speech language therapists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. In this series of posts, we bring a few different sets of eyes to the classroom, and hope that this “x-ray” will help therapists recognize and take ownership of their specialized knowledge, as well as inform teachers about the potential benefits of partnering with their school-based related service professionals!

The Classroom Through an OT’s Eyes Continue reading Lesson Planning (From A Therapist’s Point of View) – Occupational Therapy