Functional Fluency Lesson for Stuttering

Fluency issues at the upper elementary and middle school level can be tricky to say the least.  Are they regressing, improving, or maintaining their fluency?  How can I make them more independent regarding their fluency?  How can I keep them fluent outside of the magical bubble of speech therapy? So many questions and insecurities-for us and for them.

That's why I developed this sweet little checklist for independence and ownership.  I send my middle schoolers out into the harsh world of middle school with this slip of paper.  They go to the office for a ream of paper or to deliver a note to a teacher.  Don't get me wrong-this is not for the major disfluent kiddo.  This checklist is for that student who is having a fluent time and needs to try to move towards maintenance.  They know what they are supposed to be doing to maintain fluency but are they doing it?  This checklist helps them see what they are doing correctly and what they need.

Print out this free checklist, cut them in half, and go over each area with your student.  Have him/her use this form in therapy for a few weeks checking and rating their current fluency levels.  Email the chosen NICE staff member or teacher and give them a heads up that you are sending your speech student to them to listen to how they sound.  They can simply hit "reply" and let you know.  Have the student rate themselves on the rating sheet.  That's it-documented and ready to go!

So, download this FREE Fluency Self-Check (click link below) for your students and BAM, planning is done!

Articulation Flip Books

     I'm joining up with the Frenzied SLPs to show you my Articulation Flip Books and how they work!  They will be on sale for 28% off during the TPT site wide sale!

     These flip books came about from a kindergarten student who is unintelligible and also struggles with graphemic and phonemic awareness.  I created the flip books and she absolutely loved them--and even better, she began sounding the cards out during speech therapy!  I made more copies for more of my kids and they loved them too.  I was worried they may find them boring but they began asking me for their "books".  I keep them laminated on 3M hooks behind my table for easy grabbing during therapy times.  

     How they work:  Print out the large, phoneme card of the place, manner and voicing cards.  Laminate or place them in sheet protectors so they can go in a binder.  Print and laminate the cards and cut them out in word format.  There are covers for each set of booklets. Hole punch them and put them on ring clips.
     Discuss with your students about how the placement of the articulators works in correlation with the pictures on the cards (PLACE).  Then discuss how the mouth is open and the sounds may be in the back or the front of the mouth (MANNER).  Last, tell them that the green dot means to cut their voice motor on and the red dot means to cut their voice motor off (VOICE).  This is such a visual strategy with simple words that the students seem to really grasp well!  These cards are in full color but it can be used for years and years!  Have a great school year!


What's in My Cart? Linky Party

     I am so excited about the Teacher's Pay Teachers Back to School "Best Year Ever" Sale!!  There are great deals to start your busy school year so load your cart up and save 28% or MORE!

In my store I just recently updated my Back to School Speech Unit with 29 more pages-plus as an added bonus it is currently 50% off.  If you already own this unit then download it again to receive it for FREE!!

     This huge bundle will also be on sale for a great discount.  If you need some social skills activities for your students-this bundle will cover you for the year for a multitude of age groups.  Plus, this is a growing bundle so as I finish a new social skill unit I will add it to this bundle.  You will then receive the new unit for free!  I use this bundle all of the time!                    

     A super fun back to school game is my "What's on My Desk?" game.  My kids love it all year long!  Each student receives a "desk" and then he or she pulls a card with appropriate and inappropriate items.  They have to complete the target and then either keep the appropriate card or put it back in the deck.  There are tons of smiles and giggles with this game!  

What I'm Buying!
     My friend Speech Dreams has been working hard all summer making the cutest speech crafts ever!  This bundle is definitely in my cart.  These crafts are simple to complete and super cute to display!  My kids are going to flip out--better than that, it's a growing bundle!  Go check it out!

     Mia McDaniel's Back 2 School Fun Pack looks like what I need to go with my fun Speech Dreams crafts. The first few weeks of school are chaotic for me.  I try to make planning a breeze and make my speech kiddos excited about coming to speech with me! 

     Fall means new preschool and elementary students who have parents who may know nothing about speech therapy.  That's where this set of handouts from Jenna Rayburn comes into play.  As SLP's we have to be proactive and share our knowledge with our clients' families so that they are informed and they can help to further our cause to help children by telling other people in their neighborhoods.  It's good PR and job security! Plus, it's just the right thing to do! ;) 

     Check out all of the awesome SLP sellers on TPT!  There are so many phenomenal SLP's out there they are like M&Ms--you can't just pick ONE! Have fun at the sale!! 

Let's Address Laterals--Really!

     Laterals or lateralized sounds can be almost scary to correct.  I remember in my first year of practicing speech therapy in the public school this precious 7th grade girl walked into my therapy room and spoke to me and my stomach fell to the floor.  Not because of what she said but how she said it!  
She lateralized EVERYTHING;  /ch, dg, sh, zh, s, z, tr, dr, blends/---everything!!  
I remember thinking when she left--how in the world do we correct THAT?!
     Well we started completely over with her therapy--threw the old SLP's goals out of the window (sorry old SLP).  When I say started over, we started with /t/ and established some stability and placement (this is where you will begin too!).  Then we moved to words like; 

     We made /t/ into a strident and dragged it out so that it became an /s/.  When working on getting the /t/ to become an /s/, do not stop making the sound.  The /ts/ should be "dragged out"  to help them get that correct placement for /s/.  You can even use some motor cues such as starting the /ts/ on the shoulder with the opposite hand and dragging it down the arm to the hand to show the student that the sound does not end. This helped her tremendously and she got it!  That's where this program came from-one of my wonderful students who worked so hard and corrected all of the lateral sounds she was producing!  I am so proud of her, 19 years later!  I have also used this with other students with great success.  If you have students who lateralize you may be interested in the entire program available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Click on the flag at the top and it will take you there.  Don't forget to follow me by email and on TPT!

Testimonial:  "Thank you for this well thought out product. I have many students who lateralize. Some have s,z,sh,ch,j and some just s,z and some just sh ch j. I have taught every strategy out there and my own and have had success in the past. Right now I have several who cannot make a clear SH CH J. Some can get Ch,J, but the SH is the hardest! I am going to start back with the T again and go through your program. It looks very visual which the kids need and it is step by step. I cannot wait to try this out. I really needed something with all the sounds together. I really like the specific instructions -this will be great for the parents to help the students practice at home. Again- thank you thank you! This is what I really needed to help my lateral hardworking kids! This is a must have resource for working on lateral sounds!" Susan, 11/15/2015

Please leave comments and/or questions!

Disclaimer:  All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only.   Amy makes every effort to provide the most accurate and current information possible.  Amy makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site & will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.  The ideas and resources shared are not meant to replace consultation or treatment provided by a certified Speech/Language Pathologist.  If you are a parent, caregiver, or teacher who is concerned about the speech & language development of a particular child, you are encouraged to seek out a complete evaluation from an ASHA certified Speech/Language Pathologist.  You can begin your search for a local service provider by visiting the ASHA web site at  Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable.  It will be your responsibility to make sure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements.  Amy makes no guarantees that your child’s speech and language skills will improve by implementing some or all of the ideas on this website.

Language Development and Critical Thinking Skills Go Hand in Hand

     In my line of work as a public school SLP, it is my job to identify and serve children who have speech and language needs. I serve so many children who are missing the ability to think critically and problem solve. Determining what skills are missing and how to fill in those gaps is my job-and do I ever love it!!

     Think about language development as the foundation of a house being built.  Each step is important and if it is not done correctly, the student's ability to problem solve will not be solid and strong. Language development is the house's foundation and critical thinking is the rest of the house!  In Child Development 101 classes, we learned how children develop language skills in a step-by-step approach, building on one another until the child begins to problem solve higher level problems.  
Pam Schiller wrote an amazing article entitled, Early Brain Development Research and Update, 2010 in which she makes the statement, "Experience wires the brain. Repetition strengthens the wiring."  We know this is true from hands on experience.  Another truth we as educators know is that generalization needs to happen across environments for new skills to "stick".  So, the moral of the story--teach it and teach it again!  If a child is struggling in these areas we need to:

  • Determine the student's prior knowledge of the topic.
  • Teach missing information using pictures first-if possible.
  • Details, details, details--I'm talking about; attributes, categories, functions, sensory information, etc.
  • Can they make predictions?
  • Ask "WH" questions-the too big areas here are, can they answer 'Why' and 'How' questions. Why does this happen? How did she feel? How do you know?
  • Find out if they understand opinions about given topics.
  • Can they compare and contrast using the concepts of same and different?
  • Can this student ask a peer relevant questions on this topic? (This shows application.)
  • Finally, the big one--Problem Solving.  Can this student identify, analyze, and solve a problem?
  • Critical Thinking Strategies This is a sample of one way I teach critical thinking.
      In the classroom, teachers are so intuitive, they usually recognize immediately which students are struggling and they are great at analyzing the "why" behind the struggle.  I hear comments like, "Mary can't answer 'Why' questions"  and "Johnny doesn't understand the math vocabulary to complete word problems." These are both examples that something may be missing in their language development skills that directly affect being able to think critically.   Usually, when teachers ask me about these students who may be at risk, I may pull the students and show them pictures and ask them questions to assess his or her current level.  If they are older, I may get them to listen to a reading passage or read a passage to me and then ask higher order (Bloom's level) questions to see where he or she may be struggling.  These strategies are very eye-opening at times for myself and the teachers.  It will often show teachers that they need to break down this skill to help this child.  Sometimes, providing intervention and scaffolding is as easy as providing materials to teachers to help them teach the entire classroom about finding the main idea, how to infer, or looking for details in a step-by-step way.  After I teach any skill I take tons of data on each child to monitor progress.  Data is essential because as I learned throughout undergrad and grad school, "If you didn't write it down (collect data), it never happened."  Comparing Mary and Johnny's data to themselves and not to each other makes more sense and more progress in the end!  I suggest you collect simple data maybe once a week when you teach (small group times are perfect) and you only need to collect 5-10 samples to get an easy percent to get that window of how your teaching is reaching them. 
     The student who continues to struggle may qualify for speech and language therapy.   If this occurs,  I come in and follow the law to begin paperwork to see this child in speech therapy.  Standardized testing is used to see any discrepancy as to where this child falls in comparison to his or her peers.  Informal assessments are also used to get a global picture of exactly what this child needs for assistance.  We work on vocabulary, basic concepts, semantics (word meaning), grammar, and even social skills.    If only part of the day focused on developing language skills, critical thinking skills would grow too and help to build those foundations strong!  :)

Throwback Therapy Tool

     Today I am going to show y'all an invaluable tool in the speech room, especially when working with low verbal students or children with autism.  Drum roll please..... No , it's not the seat belt chair but that is one PRICELESS tool to me as well.  Seat belt chairs are so important to me because therapy does not happen without one.
     You know that kid--the one that can tear your entire room up in 2.5 seconds?? Yep, had one of those and luckily my fabulous administrators bought a seat belt chair for me to use with my individual kiddos. Hallelujah--best day ever, and most productive.  Below are some photos--one of my seat belt chair and the other of a very retro and cumbersome device that I am going to either introduce you to or remind you of its existence!  Hopefully, you already use one of these in your therapy room.
     Ahhh--the Language Master!  Used by teachers everywhere back in the day to teach reading.  SLP's have begged, borrowed and pretty much stolen these from teachers after learning their power.  I currently use mine to harness the power of the echolalic child--with wonderful results.  Price?  around $270.00.  Extra cards are around $30.00.  There is just something magical about using this instead of an iPad.  I think the "low techi-ness" of it makes them curious and my kids love to watch that magical card produce my voice.  Plus, research suggests that echolalia is how some kids learn--why not turn it around and make it a positive attribute??

      With most of my students, I start with common objects, actions, shapes, colors, and animals.  I usually try to work on ten at a time.  The way the Language Master works is you slide the magnetic card through the slot located under the Califone label.  Press teacher and then record as it is fed through the machine.  You only have a few seconds to record so make it count!  I will say the word /cat/ and then maybe add "meow" to add interest. The student is prompted to repeat or "Use your words."
      My student, who was nonverbal, is now saying a huge variety of words.  Repeated, yes, but he is carrying over very well!
       Below, these are cards from an older student who was working on sentence structure and pronouns.  These cards are also fantastic for working on social skills.  I record them saying the sentences for feedback or even if they need articulation therapy.  This would also be a great tool for students who stutter!
I hope you have a Language Master somewhere that you can utilize in your therapy room.  Try it and I hope you see great progress with your students!  I would love comments!!

Favorite Organization Tips for SLPs

The Frenzied SLPs have joined up again to bring you some favorite organizational tips!  If you really know me in real life and not just the pretty pictures I put up for you on here, then you know I am not organized.  I am a stacker, a notorious stacker.  On tables, on computer printers, on anything that basically doesn't move and has a horizontal surface.  I am not apologizing for this, just telling you this is real life.  I change groups every thirty minutes and I have about 54 kids on my caseload and I'm working on placing 2 more--so yeah, my day is slammed.  I organize when the kids leave (or after an infusion of Diet Coke).  

So, I may not organize as a rule, BUT I do SOME organizational things, so I guess that's basically the same thing.
I'm a visual learner so I included photos to help y'all see the vision. I also did not post my entire room because a girl has to have some skeletons in her speech room....
My Speech Room at the Elementary School
(Note the amazing bulletin board from Natalie Snyders' TPT store with "I Can" statements on display.  Yes, that is a burlap border.)  
Tip#1 Clean my therapy table everyday.  Yep this is a must-do. When my students say, "Umm, Mrs. Amy, I don't have anywhere to work because of all of your papers," there may be a problem!  I need to keep it tidy so my kids don't complain and my mental health is preserved.  Plus, it's flu season and I have to keep wiping my table to kill all of the yucks. 

Tip #2 Use student folders to keep work in (and save my sanity).
At the beginning of the school year I buy three prong folders with pockets in them (paper) that are on a serious big box store sale.  I have a product in my TPT store and I give them a cover to color and personalize.  We go over their goals for the year and keep all work that is in progress in the pockets of the folders.  They keep them here in the above baskets and when I pull my students (from 5K kids through 2nd graders) they immediately find their folder, get a crayon basket, and sit at my therapy table.   
Tip #3 Use a planner!  It doesn't have to cost a fortune or even be pretty (although I do like pretty).  Write down meetings, grocery lists, paid bills, when you turned in paperwork, new referrals, what's for supper--you get it everything.  Y'all I turned 40 in August and my memory is becoming so bad.  I do remember this from undergrad, "If you didn't document it, it never happened." So document it in the planner and you will feel so good when you look back and know it actually happened!  Erin Condren Planner

I hope this helps you in some way!  Have a great day!