Monday, June 24, 2013

Phono Learning Center App Review and GIVEAWAY!!!!

Today's app review is for Phono Learning Center. It was created by Smarty Ears and can be found in the Itunes App Store for $14.99. I would like to start out by shouting,
"It's here- the app I've been waiting for!" 
This app was just what I was hoping for because it approaches phonological process therapy in much the same manner as I do.  I often ask my students for a lot of repetitions while we play fun and educational games that are designed to elicit certain responses and that is what this app does too.

Phono Learning Center is an engaging and motivating app for all ages of students and it was developed to target phonological disorders in children using the Hodson's Cycles Approach, PLC.  The games within the app only require a simple touch and drag.  This allows my younger students to achieve productive imitation and stay focused on task without other complicated operating tasks.  In addition, the older students enjoy the motivating factor of  task completion, which the games provides!

Please continue to read for a description of this fabulous app. Also, if you are a visual learner, here is a video tutorial from Smarty Ears of the app:
Author:  Mary Huston, MS, CCC-SLP

Phone Learning Center was designed to assist in sound production therapy for students who are highly unintelligible. What is really cool is that careful consideration was given to the development of this app.  In fact, a hierarchy of primary and secondary targets developed by Barbara W. Hodson (2010) was utilized to determine which patterns and phonemes would be targeted.  Areas covered include: syllables, initial consonants, final consonants, clusters, anterior contrasts, liquids, and more!

Overall what we like about Phono Learning Center:
*multi-user play with data collection
*four interactive and motivating games with play options
*the auditory bombardment feature
*the homework pages
*the ability to import users from the free Therapy Report Center app from Smarty Ears
*ability to individualize targets (primary, secondary and/or advanced)
*settings button allows further customization for the student
*the use of the cycle approach and the ability to turn it off if you would like to use more than one target
*individualized goals and report cards for each student
*the ability to rate the students performance and store results
easy to use and quick to set up
*students enjoy being able to select their own picture
*students enjoy the reward of watching something grow or a task to be completed
*good support from Smary Ears for technical issues

Thank you for reading our review. We hope that you can leave a comment to let us know what phonological process that you work on the most in your therapy room and take the time to enter the giveaway.  Please see the Rafflecopter entry below.

Have a great day!

Shanda and Manda, SLP's
Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Activity Pack For /S/ vs. /TH/ Minimal Pairs (Words to Sentence Level)

We really needed these exercises for several of our speech students and we hope that you will find them beneficial too! We have provided a variety of minimal pair cards that target the /s/ sound and then the /th/ sound. The /th/ sound is a difficult sound for many students to produce. We have discovered that it is particularly difficult for some students who are learning English as a second language, as the /th/ sound is not regularly produced in all languages. We have also found that trying to produce the /s/ and the /th/ together is especially difficult for some individuals as the /th/ at times will discriminate to the /s/ sound.

This colorful packet contains teaching tips, picture therapy cards, games, coloring pages, and worksheets. We hope you find it fun and helpful! We welcome your feedback as we strive to make each packet useful and fun and one that you will want to use often with your own speech students.

Manda & Shanda, SLP's

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Top 10 Compensatory Memory Strategies

Shanda and I see a variety of clients at our clinic who are experiencing memory loss. One of the most common reasons for memory loss is when a person has had a stroke. A stroke most often occurs when the blood supply to the brain is stopped due to a blockage of a blood vessel to the brain or leakage of a vessel into the brain.  Strokes seem to cause the most difficulty in the short-term memory area vs. the other memory area called long-term memory. We find that the most clients will still have very good long-term memories that were established years before the stroke, but the ability to recall new information after a few minutes often becomes difficult for them.

*Short term memory is also known as recent or working memory. And it is defined as a system for temporarily storing and managing information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension. Short-term memory is involved in the selection, initiation, and termination of information-processing functions such as encoding, storing, and retrieving data

*Long-term memory: A system for permanently storing, managing, and retrieving information for later use. Items of information stored as long-term memory may be available for a lifetime.
Other patients that we have seen that have exhibited changes in short-term memory loss have experienced traumatic brain injuries, or another neurological conditions or disorders such as; Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, Dementia or brain tumors. We have taught and practiced a variety of compensatory memory strategies and techniques with our clients over the years to help them learn ways to simplify and organize their lives, and to learn new information. 

Today's post is a list of our top 10 compensatory memory strategies that we like to teach our clients in therapy.  We hope that you find this information useful.  Thank you so much for stopping by our blog today. 

Manda & Shanda, SLP's

1)Use calendars, daily logs, appointment books, and/or journals.  It is essential to write information down so that you can easily look up information that you need to remember at a later time.

2)Use hand held tape recorders, iPads, cell phones and iPods, for recording ideas and other information that you want to remember.   Use these devices to help keep frequently used phone numbers and emergency phone numbers with you at all times.

3)Always place important things such as money, keys or glasses, in the same place so you will always know where to find them.   Designate one bowl or spot on a shelf, for instance, as the spot for the daily routine placement of these objects.

4)Bring someone with you to appointments if you predict that you may be receiving a lot of new information.

5)Use a bulletin board, calendar, or the front of the refrigerator as the “go to” spot for always posting appointments and events so that you and all people in your household can easily see what is planned for that day.

6)Use a telephone answering machine or utilize voice mail so that phone calls can be recorded.

7)Use checklists during tasks that require a number of steps and make a “to do” list daily.

8)Use timers and alarm watches to alert you to remember important appointment times and when to take medications.

9)Become better organized.  Reduce clutter in your surroundings. For instance, organize magazines and books into piles, put pills in pill boxes, keep all phone messages in a notebook next to the phone and not on a lot of different post-it notes.  Throw away or give away things that you have not used or plan not to use.  Make a clean environment.

10)Use compensatory memory techniques to remember information, lists, and names of people.  (Our top 10 memory techniques will follow in another posting).

*These definitions taken from Medicine Net Online on 6/19/2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Enter to win our Groovy Grammar Documents Giveaway!

Hello! Do you need to add some funk to your grammar lessons? We did, and that is why we put together these two groovy comprehensive grammar documents.

We would love for you to check them out!  They are super groovy!!  We will help two of you out for sure because we are starting a FAR OUT giveaway today in order to give them away to two cool cats! 

In the meantime, if you want to start making your speech or classroom time cool-o-roonie today, then head on over to our TPT or TN stores to get your own copies!
They are only $5.50 a piece!  That's a low price for days and days worth of fun grammar games, worksheets, and activities for your therapy room or classroom. In fact, there's 117 pages when the two documents are combined.

TPT Store Link
TN Store Link
Enter the contest via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. 

Good Luck!!
Manda & Shanda, SLP's
Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Syllable Splash App Review and GIVEAWAY

Hello!  We are happy to post a review on another wonderful Smarty Ears app.  It is called Syllable Splash and it has an under the sea theme.  Syllable Splash is an app for teaching the concept of syllable segmentation. We think that increasing a child's ability to recognize syllables in words can be a very productive activity. If a child can increase their ability to say one syllable at a time after seeing or hearing a word, that has been shown to increase a child's ability to spell words! That makes this a great app for early readers and spellers to use in order to increase their phonological awareness skills.

The fish, turtle, shark, and submarine pictures that are used all throughout the syllable counting exercise are both colorful and fun.  In addition, the children are presented with colored pictures of real objects and people for the syllable counting task that is featured in this app.  In fact, we read that Smarty Ears, LLC has provided over 1000 images for counting from 1 to 4 syllable words within this app.  In our opinion, it would be hard for a child to ever see the same picture twice! That's a great way to keep students engaged!

Syllable Splash can be bought from the app store for the price of $9.99. Other descriptive information is as follows:
  • Category: Education
  • Updated: May 11, 2013
  • Version: 1.1
  • Size: 340 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller: Smarty Ears, LLC

  • Although Syllable Splash is designed to mainly practice the task of syllable counting, in our opinion, it can also be used for increasing spelling awareness, multiple syllable word reading skills, and for practicing verbal expression of 1 to 4 syllable words.  We typically are targeting one or more of these goals with the students that we see at our speech clinic, so that is why we think this app is terrific!

    To start, the teacher or therapist can choose to click on Quick Play, or to Select a Player.  At the select the player screen, the Settings tab can also be found.  In settings, you can choose to eliminate the buzz if an incorrect choice is made,  the number of wrong options given, to have the level of difficulty increase, the words that are presented (1 to 4 syllable), and if you would like to turn the fish and shark animations off.

    Once your settings are edited and a student is selected (an choose up to 4 students), then the game begins after pressing the Play button. This picture shows an example of one of the colorful pictures that is shown on the submarine.

    To show the shark, we picked the incorrect answer of "1 syllable" in the word tractor.  The shark comes out to eat that incorrect choice. Chomp! ha! That shark is fun and the kids loved seeing it!

    To show another cute feature, here we have clicked on the counting syllable turtle.  He is clapping out the syllables in the word, "thirteen."  Clapping is a great teaching method for children when first learning how to count syllables in words.  This cute turtle does a great job demonstrating that task and he is a fun character to watch!

    If you click on the arrows at the top of the submarine, the word associated with the picture is displayed in large letters across the front of the sub.  This is a great activity for reading practice and for letter recognition.  Also, at anytime the picture can be pressed and the word can be repeated.  This is a nice option for the child who needs extra verbal reinforcement. Finally, verbal expression of multi-syllable words can be practiced right after the word is given.  The child can practice counting the syllables in the words along with saying the word out loud.  A great activity is to advance the difficulty of the verbal expression practice of just saying the word by putting it in a sentence.  For instance, I asked one of my older students to say the word shown in a sentence like, "I see photographs under the water." I had him use the same sentence over and over and we just filled in the blank after "see".

    Press the Done button when you are ready for the child to end the exercise.  The app does not end until you initiate that action.  Once you press the Done button, you are taken to the report cord screen.  You have the ability to share the results by sending them via email or by putting them in the Therapy Report Center.  The Therapy Report Center is another app by Smarty Ears that is free and it is a for storing all of the data obtained for all of your students who have used the Syllable Splash app or any other Smarty Ears apps in the past. The ability to email the scores to a parent or myself is one of my most favorite things about the Smarty Ears apps.  The parents like to see the work done in sessions and I like to keep a print out in my soft files to track progress with therapy goals.

    Compliments & Concerns:
    Syllable Splash is a colorful and engaging app that does a wonderful job presenting a wide variety
    of 1 to 4 syllable words in order for the student to practice counting out syllables in words.

    This app provides a nice visual model of how to clap out syllables to aid in the students learning.

    Syllable Splash is colorful, fun, and engaging for children and it can be used for the pre-k to at least third grade crowd.

    This app is good but limited in what it can do and the price is a bit high in our opinion.

    We like how the app keeps track of the student's results, but we wish that tracking could be shown on the screen. 
    Students like to see how many questions they have done and how many more they need to do.

    This app could be used for advancing vocabulary, spelling, reading and verbal expression skills.  These treatment tasks could easily be recognized by a therapist or student. That makes this seemingly limited to one task app much more than meets the eye!

    Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read this app review.  We are happy to let you know that you can enter to win one!  Thank you Smarty Ears for your generosity and we commend you on the completion of another great app!!

    Please enter the contest via the Rafflecopter contest below. 
    Best wishes and good luck!
    Manda & Shanda, SLP's

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Father's Day Speech, Language, & Articulation Themed Unit With Crafts!

    We have put together 78 pages of fun Father's Day themed activities for you to do with your students this Father's Day!

    Inside the packet you will find games, reinforcer pages, literacy, language and verbal expression therapy cards and worksheets!

    Don't miss out on the fun "mow like dad" articulation task. Your speech students will have a lot of fun mowing up their speech sounds while they practice their targeted speech sound!

    Also, at the end of the document you will find a wide variety of cards to be made for Dad or Grandpa. They will be a great personalized gift for those special guys in our life this Father's Day!
    Please download the preview at our TpT and/or TN stores to see the content pages and many sample pages found in this terrific unit!

    We will be giving away two of these documents within the week.  Please enter via the rafflecopter option below and GOOD LUCK!

    Have a happy Father's Day!
    Manda & Shanda, SLP's
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Sunday, June 2, 2013



    Thank you for stopping by our blog today.  We would like to introduce you to our latest documents targeting grammar skills with this post and the last one.  We used a fun 70's theme to make them both super groovy!  Enjoy the far out theme as you work on important grammar skill areas with your students.



    We have provided a variety of therapy cards, games, and worksheets to make learning about homophones, synonyms, antonyms, and sentence level grammar accuracy FUN!
    Manda & Shanda, SLP's



    Looking for some new grammar exercises? Why not download this groovy document and enjoy the far out fun of the 70's theme?!


    We have provided a variety of therapy cards, games, and worksheets to make learning about nouns, action verbs, irregular verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns and contractions FUN!

    Enjoy this awesome download that will improve grammar and vocabulary skills for a variety of your students from pre-k to sixth grade!
    Please download the preview at our TN and/or TpT stores to see the groovy contents of this unit and several page examples.
    Have a far out time dudes!

    Manda & Shanda, SLP's

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    SLP's Care For Oklahoma

    “Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond...”
    ― Leo Buscaglia
    (Graphic courtesy of Mia owner of Putting Words In Your Mouth)
    Dear Readers,
    Shanda and I feel fortunate to be able to help out in our own small way by contributing our bug hunt themed articulation document featuring the sounds of TH, SH, S & L to a very large speech document bundle that has been put together by generous and talented speech-language pathologists across the country.  Our document is in the #2 Two Moore Speech Bundle that was put together in order to help raise money to replace speech materials in the Moore Public School District in Moore, Oklahoma. 100% of the profits that are received by the sale of the bundles will be given to the SLP's, and their school district in the Moore, Oklahoma area!

    We, were so sad to hear of the tornado that took lives, and destroyed two elementary schools and severely damaged a junior high school in the Moore Public School District on May 20, 2013. Our hearts go out to all of the people effected by that deadly tornado. Please know that you and your families are in our prayers and that we are praying for continued safety for you all during this stormy time of the year in Oklahoma.

    To see the Two Moore speech bundles, please click on the links below that will bring you to Teachers Pay Teachers where you can review their contents and purchase them.

    We sincerely hope that many of you will find it in your hearts to contribute to this cause and gain some wonderful speech therapy materials for yourself in return.  Thank you so much for your support for this cause.

    The speech community is a wonderfully supportive community and we are proud to say that we are a part of it.

    Manda & Shanda, SLP's
    Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy

    Two Moore Speech Bundle #1

    Two Moore Speech Bundle #2

    Additional Information:
    If you would like to make additional donations of therapy materials or monetary donations, here is what you can do:
    1) Donate via the paypal widget on the side of Amy Minor's Blog called The Major Speech Pathology By A Minor Girl.  Donations to that account will go towards the same account that the proceeds from this fundraiser will go to,
    2) Email Amy at for an address if you would like to donate actual therapy materials
    Amy lives in works in the Moore school district.  Please go to her website for more information!  Lets also keep her and her colleagues in our prayers and thoughts.  Stay safe Amy, and everyone else experiencing this stormy season right now down south.   Please go to Amy's blog, Major Speech Pathology By A Minor Girl for further information!

    A List Of The SLP Contributors To The Care For Oklahoma Bundles:



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