Thursday, June 26, 2014

Favorite Therapy Item Thursday Post: Magnet Paper! A Guest Post From Denise From Speech Language Pirates

Shanda and I are excited to welcome, Denise Polley, M.S., CCC-SLP from Speech Language Pirates to our blog today to guest post on her favorite therapy item.  She is a talented and crafty SLP who works with elementary and preschool public school kiddos and who makes her own useful and creative products.  You can check these out over at her wonderful Speech Language Pirates Teachers Pay Teachers Store today by following this link: Speech Language Pirates At TPT.

We really appreciate Denise's friendly and informative post on how magnet paper can help out in the speech therapy room. Thanks so much Denise for reminding us all how useful magnets are for creating a fun and educational speech therapy experience for our students.  Enjoy the post everyone! 

Manda & Shanda

Hey there! It's Denise, from Speech Language Pirates and I'm here to tell you about my favorite therapy item. My favorite thing about doing therapy is that I can incorporate my love of crafting, so my favorite therapy item has a little something to do with that. But, I promise you don't have to be too crafty to be able to use it!

One of my very favorite things to make therapy materials with is magnet paper!

magnet (1)

It's as easy to create with as a piece of paper, but it's a step up in fun! I originally got the idea from this pin. Each pack (I bought Avery brand) came with 5 sheets. I love using magnets to make sets for barrier games. The Angry birds set I made was 3 pages total, so I needed 2 packs of magnet paper to make 2 sets of angry birds pieces.

magnet (3)

You just insert a sheet into your printer and out comes this! I wasn't sure the image would hold up, so I chose to ModPodge over the top of each page. This step is not essential, but it might help them hold up a little better when tiny fingers are picking at them. I just cut out each piece and had my kids go to town! Kids freak over these birds, so they LOVED this game! There are great opportunities for language with the above set: short/long, shapes, colors, vocabulary, describing, not to mention the concepts that go along with ANY barrier game (i.e. location concepts, following directions, etc.). I use the magnetic barrier board I already own to use these, but you could also use a magnetic personal whiteboard/chalkboard for each student if you don't have this Super Duper version.

magnet (4)

You can use magnet paper with any images you find (that you might usually use Velcro with). I also made this fun game into magnets 2 winters ago.

magnet (2)

There are a million uses for magnet paper! I hope you enjoy these fun versions that I've shared!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Freebie! Monster Truck Lowercase and Uppercase Letter Puzzle Piece Matchup

Hello and welcome to Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy LLC! We are so happy to see that you have stopped by to pick up our latest freebie. This document contains both colorful and black and white upper and lowercase letter jigsaw puzzle matching cards. They are a fun and useful set of letter cards to have in order to practice letter and object coloring while identifying upper and lowercase letters, and especially for kinesthetic learners that benefit from moving and touching while working on learning new things.

In addition, the letters are great to have because other things can be worked on while the child cuts or colors.  For instance, a teacher or therapist could ask, "What color is that card?" (concept) or "What sound does that letter make?" (phonics) or "Lets say truck." (final K sound is a common articulation goal).

We hope you enjoy this freebie and encourage you to check out our new kindergarten readiness packet that contains more cool monster truck themed worksheets. It was designed to see if your child or student is ready for kindergarten and this is initially assessed via the kindergarten readiness screener that is at the start of the document. The later part of the document contains over 150 useful worksheets that work on a wide range of kindergarten readiness skills such as: letter identification, cutting, number identification, counting, prepositions, pronouns, concepts (colors and shapes), phonics and more!

Here is a link to find out more about that Reeeeeved up packet!

Teachers Pay Teachers: ARRRe You Ready For KindeRRRRgarten? Kinder Readiness Packet- HUGE!

Teachers Notebook: ARRRe You Ready For KindeRRRRgarten? Kinder Readiness Packet-HUGE!

Thanks again for stopping by our blog today. If you liked the freebie, maybe you could leave some feedback and become our follower here at our blog and at TpT and/or TN? It would be awesome if you did!

Have a great day!

Manda & Shanda, SLPs
Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy LLC

Monday, June 16, 2014

50% off for 24 hours! ARRRRRe You Ready For KindeRRRRgarten Kindergarten Readiness Screener and Worksheets

This new packet will be 50% off for the next 24 hours. We hope that you can grab it quickly and enjoy using it for a long time with your preschoolers and kindergartners! Enjoy!!

Get ready for a rip roarin' time through mud and over the hills! We have put together a wonderful monster truck - themed kindergarten readiness packet for your students or your own children who are preparing for kindergarten this year or next. The little boys in your life will especially enjoy the super cool monster truck theme, but please know that there are plenty of general animal and every day object worksheets in this unit too so many girls will have fun completing the useful worksheets and activities too!

We are most proud of the kindergarten readiness screener that we created and plan to use it ourselves at the start of each year or therapy period to obtain a baseline of skills for our pre-k students. Later, the skills screener will be re-given to show parents the wonderful progress that their child has made during their teaching/therapy period. In summary, we think that any preschool teacher would find it great to have for their preschool class in order to show student progress at conferences and later at the end of school. It would serve as a nice example to parents to where their child stands in the area of kindergarten readiness. 

After the screener, we would advise you to dive into the almost 150 pages of awesome worksheets to work on the skills needed for kindergarten readiness. These fun worksheets target such things as: concepts, literacy, numbers, fine motor, visual processing, auditory comprehension, and MORE!!

There's really way too much to report in this description area and so we encourage you to download the previews at our TpT and/or TN stores to read the content pages of this 162 page unit and to see sample pages. The preview will be a great place for you to see exactly what you are buying before you do.

Thank you!


Manda and Shanda, SLPs

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Themed Speech Therapy Sessions: Angry Birds, Father's Day, Pizza, Bugs, Fish, Mother's Day, & Dr. Seuss Units (as seen on recent TSSALT Instagram posts)

Hello! This is a post about some of our most recent Instagrams.  We like to share pictures there of our speech therapy sessions conducted at our outpatient rehabilitation clinic.  So, if you haven't frequented Instagram recently, this post will be full of new pictures and great speech and language therapy session ideas! 
Click here to check out our most recent pictures on Instagram. 
To find us using the instagram app, you can search with the words: TwinSistersSpeech.

If you know Manda and I, you know we love to teach with a theme!

Here is a recap of some weekly themed sessions that we have had recently.  Each recap provides some pictures of the activities and information about some of the resources that we enjoyed using with them (with links).

The kiddos still enjoy some Angry Birds action-very fun week!

Angry Birds worksheets here, here and here. Several great ideas found at Homeschool Creations and several other useful sites.
Angry Birds crafts. Everyone enjoys completing a craft it seems when an Angry Bird is involved. We made Red Bird Magnets.
Angry Birds game. Used for turn taking, direction following and verbal expression!
Angry Birds plush.We used these to throw at our tower of angry birds cups- to try to knock down the pigs of course:).
Birdfeeder craft. This was fun to make! It can be completed using peanut butter and/or shortening.
Busy Bee Speech has a great Angry Birds activity teaching the main idea to use and you can read about it here.

The big hit this week was our bug hunt!

Bug puzzle. We have this Melissa and Doug version. There's something about using the magnet on a stick that makes putting puzzles together more fun:).
Bug crafts here and here. The kiddos enjoyed making the bug jars from Oriental Trading Company especially.
Bug games here and here. The Honey Bee and Antz in the Pants game are so much fun and great for turn- taking while targeting any speech and language goal.
Bug worksheets here and here. 3 Dinosaurs always has many worksheets and ideas that we use. It is a wonderful site!
Bug books here and here. Another week after the bug-themed one, we read and did another unit just on The Very Hungry Caterpillar book.  We love that book because it is full of concepts and is perfect book for reading in the springtime because of the caterpillar and butterfly that are in it. Mia McDaniel has this awesome "Feed the Caterpillar Basic Concepts" in her TpT store that we used. Very cute!
We used our Bug Smash articulation and reading units these weeks too. Find the artic one here and the reading one here.

Any cooking unit is always a blast and well received by our students!
Pizza party set. Following directions while you put a pretend pizza together is a ton of fun.
Pizza felt activity. Taking turns while making pretend pizza is a great activity.
Pizza worksheets here, and here. Kidzspark and Enchanted Learning have many great worksheets for all types of themes with speech, language and literacy targets in them.
Pizza game. Find this one at Amazon - fun!
Pizza making app. We downloaded this fun app and talked a lot about pizza vocabulary, worked on verbal expression, targeted articulation and completed direction following. We did this while we waited for our pizza to cool.
Pizza ingredients- your local grocery store:) Making pizza was one of the most rewarding units so far this year. We saw a lot of smiles, heard a lot of "yums", and loved the motivation we saw which encouraged a lot of learning.
The Budget SLP has awesome ideas for a pizza themed speech and language themed session and you can read about her them here.

Mowing up our articulation words was a blast!

Twin Sisters Father's Day Unit. This unit has 140 pages now- 60 of the new pages are in black and white. Everything we needed to target speech, language, literacy and articulation for our entire caseload was in our unit.
Toy lawnmower. We placed articulation cards that had  grass in their background down on the floor and asked the kids to "mow" over the words as they practiced producing them.
Golf play set. The kiddos had a blast trying to golf. If the ball passed over a card with one of their goal targets on it (numbers, letters, articulation, wh question etc) they tried to answer and/or repeat.
Father's Day crafts. Many key chains, large ties and photo frames were made this week. All of these crafts were from Oriental Trading Company.
Work Bench. It;'s fun to play at the work bench. It's easy to answer questions and repeat speech and language targets when you can direct the play while it's being asked of you.
Drill set It seems all the students love to use this drill set- it's just fun!
Practicial AAC has some wonderful language enhancement techniques for Father's Day and you can read about them here.

We couldn't get the kids away from the water tub:)

Ocean and fish worksheets here and here. Enchanted Learning and 1plus1 helped to provide us with wonderful ocean/fish themed worksheets for this unit.
Bath toys. These toys were found at Target. The water tub was a huge hit. We took the opportunity to introduce vocabulary, work on color/shape/phonic concepts and to target 1-3 step directions.
Sonny the Seal game. Have you played this great turn- taking game? If not, you should. The kids love trying to get the ring around Sonny's head so he will clap for them!
Speech fishing sets. We have many of the articulation, vocabulary and concept fish from Super Duper. Always a great activity to do at speech!
Magnetalk Activity Center. This is a must speech and language purchase for your therapy room- if you have the funds to buy it- GET IT- it's a wonderful set from Super Duper!
Fish puzzle. Nothing beats another magnetic Melissa and Doug puzzle:).
Live, Love, Speech has some great ideas for the preschool population using the ocean theme. Read her post on it here.

We planted a flower for mom this week which was a lot of fun!

Twin Sisters Mother's Day Unit. Find this at our Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook stores. It is filled with speech, language, literacy and articulation targets.
Shape Cupcake Sorter. A fun way to target shape identification.
Cookie matching. A great buy at Oriental Trading Company.
Mother's Day crafts. We loved making picture frames and decorating planters for our moms this week in speech.
Counting Cookies. Moms make the best cookies- right?! These cookies help us to learn how to count too!
Speech Lady Liz wrote an informative post for speech and language enhancement with Mother's Day in mind. Her post can be found here.

Who doesn't like Green Eggs and Ham?

Dr. Seuss crafts. We made book markers that were cheap, fun and useful too.
Objects to take out of hat. These objects from Lakeshore Learning are used in our speech therapy sessions all of the time. We use them to target speech, phonic and articulation goals. We put/hide them in just about anything we can find.
Dr. Seuss books. We have over twenty Dr. Seuss books and several more digital ones on our Ipad. We had each student pick out a book and it was used during their speech and language session.
Dr. Seuss ideas. There are some great ideas at this Pinterest site for Dr. Seuss.
Egg Flip cards and other ideas at TPT. Don't forget about Teachers Pay Teachers for great materials for Dr. Seuss and every other theme around!
Dr. Seuss worksheets here and here. The official Dr. Seuss website and 123 Curriculum provided us with many Dr. Seuss themed worksheets targeting speech, language and literacy.
Dr. Seuss game. We loved playing this game during speech!
The Speech Ladies wrote a post on Dr. Seuss printables which was helpful for us this week and it can be found here.




Thursday, June 12, 2014

Let's Talk Dysphagia - Top Ten List: Swallowing Exercises

Lately, I have been treating a large variety of patients whom have dysphagia.  Dysphagia, which is pronounced (dis-FAY-ja) is a swallowing problem that is often caused by weakness; or a loss of feeling in your tongue, lips, palate and/or throat.

The causes of dysphagia are wide in range and can result from such things as: a stroke, disorders like Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis, a head injury, and even a recent intubation that was needed for help with breathing for a surgery (the tubes that have been put in place for the surgery can hurt surrounding throat muscles).

As a speech-language pathologist who works in an outpatient hospital clinic, I often see patients who have previously undergone a swallow evaluation at the hospital.  The swallow evaluation was probably performed by a speech-language pathologist who either completed a bedside swallow evaluation and diagnosed the dysphagia after watching the client eat food and liquids, or, after they underwent a video swallow study in which an evaluation was completed via X-ray.  The video swallow studies are awesome because they show the swallow happen in real time.  The client is asked to eat or drink food or liquid that has barium mixed in it and this barium is what helps to show where the food and liquid goes during the moving X-ray.  It is a very nice way to see if a person is having trouble getting the food straight down into their stomachs and down into their esophagus safely, or if the food or liquid is going other places, like getting stuck in areas of the throat or accidentally going down the windpipe.When a person has food or liquid that goes down their windpipe (trachea), that is when they have had the occurrence of aspiration.  Aspiration is dangerous because it can often cause pneumonia. It is this dangerous occurrence of aspiration that inspires an SLP/dysphagia therapist to help increase their client's awareness of and to help prevent from happening.  The following picture shows aspiration of a liquid during a video swallow study. The liquid in the front of picture has left the esophagus and has gone past the vocal cords and is heading towards the lungs. When the food or liquid enters the lungs, bacteria may form around the substance and aspiration pneumonia could result.

During dysphagia treatment, therapists provide a large amount of safe swallow strategies and food and liquid alternation suggestions to clients.  They also work on strengthening the swallow and that is what leads me up to today's top ten list!  Here are ten swallowing exercises that I like to teach my clients in order to help improve the strength in the back of their tongues.  This back of the tongue area connects to swallowing muscles and it is hoped that by improving the tongue strength in back, that we also improve the swallow timing and accuracy. Please see the following picture to notice how close the back of the tongue is in relation to the swallowing muscles that are in the back of the throat.

Disclaimer: It is advised that these exercises be completed only after a trained therapist who is familiar with dysphagia treatment has explained and modeled them correctly, and only after the therapist has advised them after completing a swallow evaluation. Twin Sisters Speech & Language Therapy LLC is not liable for any problems or medical concerns that may result from the advice presented here. Please do these swallowing exercises at your own risk. 

Top Ten List: 
Swallow Strengthening Exercises

1) Swallow hard.  Swallow and as you do, tighten all of the muscles of the throat.  I tell my clients to "squeeze" as you swallow. Repeat 10 times. 

2) Say, "GA" strongly.  Push out the "g" sound very hard. Repeat 10 times.

3) Gargle.  This should NOT be done with liquids!  I tell my clients to pull back their tongues and to hold "gaaaaa". Repeat 10 times.

4) Tongue back. Pull the tongue straight back and hold it there for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.

5) Yawn. Pretend to yawn by opening the mouth wide.  Yawns helps to pull the tongue back and the back of the tongue connects to the swallowing muscles. Repeat 10 times.

6) Say "ball" and exaggerate the "l" sound for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.

7) Tongue out.  Stick your tongue out forward until you feel a slight pull.  Hold for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.

8) Say, "KA" strongly.  Push out the "k" sound very hard. Repeat 10 times.

9) Tongue out & swallow. Stick out the tip of your tongue between your front teeth, VERY GENTLY bite down on the tongue to keep it from slipping away, then swallow.  This one is tricky, but can be achieved with practice! Repeat 10 times. 

10) Cough. Take a big breath and try to cough hard. This is a nice thing to practice as a strong cough can protect your airway from liquids and solids remaining in there once they have been aspirated. 


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