Friday, April 22, 2011

A new reason to buy Shoes!!!!

(My Dream Shoe, by Michael Kors)

I love shoes! Just as much as I love shopping for shoes!And you may be asking yourself "what does this have to do with speech & language therapy?"
Well my friends, these two actually go hand in hand, and I promise you'll leave this blog post with a new rationalization for the shoe shopping you do this Easter weekend.

The thing is, after you slip those sparkling, sexy heels on, there's a great therapy resource lying on the floor longing to become one of your prized clinical tools....."the shoebox!"
I started making shoebox therapy tools late last year, when I was looking for a
new way to work on following directions. We had used larger boxes in grad school clinics to make the ever popular posting boxes, but I was looking for something smaller, that could be more easily stored. Thank goodness I had just bought a new pair of pumps. What I made ended up looking like this:

and the children loved it, even more than I had anticipated. I stuck the pictures on, then used a craft knife to cut holes for the mouths. Children are asked to feed pictures of food to the dog vs the frog, and when they put the picture in they are rewarded by a shaking box, and lots of hungry eating noises. For early vocabulary and sentence building I encourage "eat frog", "dog is eating", "the dog is eating icecream", etc, depending on level. I also use it to post artic or language pics, using the same concept of the posting box.

The next way I use my boxes is for categorisation and sorting, particularly with children on the Autistic spectrum. This, however, isn't an original idea, as I
have seen a similar concept on I have about 3 of these, working on sorting colours, frogs vs turtles and animals vs food, into different containers in the shoebox. These containers fit nicely into holes cut out with my handy craft knife.
Unfortunately most of my boxes are on loan right now to clients, but I have half a box, so to speak, to give an example.

This box is an all time favourite of a little boy with ASD, and at one point was the only real motivator for him in therapy. It was actually the first item I used to teach him PECS.
The original concept was taking the beads out and matching them to the 3 pipe cleaners by colour (red, green, yellow). As you can see he reaaalllyyyy loved this box and used it well. I think it's definitely time to make a new one, which also means it's time for some shoe shopping (see how this works ladies?).

I encourage you this weekend, for the sake of therapy and to really enhance your clinical practice, to go out and buy some shoes. Your clients will thank you for it.

Happy Easter everyone :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011


It has been a tiring two weeks! It has also been fun times at the Easyspeak Clinic!
The children were on an early easter break from school, and I took that time to do something that I've been thinking about and planning for a while now. "Camp Easyspeak" comprised of 2 groups, one social skills group for children with ASD (higher functioning), and a phonology group.

The social skills group was more of my pet project and I was beside myself with happiness to see it actually come off perfectly. This group consisted of 4 boys ages 5-7, who came on Thursdays from 9-11 am. The phono group came on Fridays 9-11 am, and consisted of 2 boys and 2 girls ages 3-5.
For both groups children participated in teamwork activities, arts and craft and free play, working around certain themes.

The phono group went through cycles of some of the sounds they were doing with me in therapy, around an Easter theme. We ended up with some interesting projects like the one below: "Attack of the eggheads!"

I wanted to share more with my readers on my social skills group, and recommend it to any therapist. I was so impressed with how well the boys worked together on all the activities. They were completely different children compared to their 45 minute individual sessions.

I wanted the parents to be fully informed about what was happening at the group, so I gave them a handout that showed what we were working on and what language/social skills areas the task focused on. An example of this can be viewed here.

I made every action and interaction a language/social skills task, from putting down bags, to greetings, to eating snack, to clean up time. There were 2 teams, who were responsible for different tasks around the camp area. We were set up outside on the deck, which provided lots of space for them to move around and an outdoor atmosphere that wasn't too distracting.

One of the most effective tools was my behaviour chart, which had visuals for appropriate behaviours, and gave points for these behaviours. Every 4 ticks got a sticker, which worked very well , as the boys were trying really hard to get their Spongebob stickers. The visuals for the behaviour chart I found at, one of my favourite sites for FREE language and behaviour resources.

Our 2 main activites were "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" sequencing activity, which also incorporated listening for details and 'wh' questions; then our following directions task to make an easter bunny. These were lots of fun and a lot easier than I had expected. Some of the boys really stepped up and offered help to the others, and it was nice to see some asking for help. They made me proud.

All of the parents were very pleased with the groups, and have been asking when the next one is planned for :)

Try it out at your clinic and let me know how it goes :)