Cindy L. Meester's Blog- Speech Therapy with a Twist

4/18/10- Congratulations to the 25 winners! Thank you to Kyle Tomas for giving extra codes so everyone could be a WINNER! Be sure to still check out these great apps!

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 15, 2011

There are lots of apps to use in therapy today I am going to highlight four from Mobile Education Store. I have been using these in therapy and find them to be very useful and fun! So rather than write about each look at the videos -To view videos of these apps click here: Videos for Mobile Education Apps

Kyle Tomas started the Mobile Education Store to help his special needs daughter.
He generously offered codes to my blog followers. I have 10 codes for Sentence Builder and 10 codes for Question Builder
So if you are interested just leave a commentand state which app you would like. If you are interested in both let me know which one is your first choice. I will do a random drawing to choose the winners on Sunday 4/17 8:00pm CST. The codes will need to be redeemed before 4/30/11.

Recharging part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 11, 2011

When my students or my own kids complained about being bored or that some activity/class etc. was dumb, I would tell them that “only you can choose your attitude”. If you choose to be bored you will be bored but if you go in thinking that you will find one thing that is interesting then you change your attitude. Just like I’ve done at many school meetings over the years that did not pertain to me or my job. But this weekend was all about getting to sit through sessions that pertained to me so my attitude was great!

Today started with the MSHA breakfast and annual meeting. The organization brought back the poster contest this year. The posters are created by students or clients about communication for Better Speech and Hearing month. The grand prize winner was an 8th grade student from my school district. Joan W. was her SLP and asked if she would like to participate. The student turned in her drawing and Joan was in awe of the artistic talent and so was everyone at the conference.

The meeting discussed how to get more SLPs and Audiologists to become members. Of course many feel it is one more due to pay, as I have said too (but I did join this year). Others don’t understand where the dues go or what the Association does for SLPs and Audiologists. Well today I chose “a new attitude” about this. The organization pays lobbyists to represent our needs and concerns in the political scene. They are the ones who are fighting for changes or fighting to keep funding for our services. This is something to think about and maybe you too will choose a “new attitude.”

The sessions I attended today addressed stuttering and Collabortion between ELL and SLPs for interventions and assessments. Here are some resources:

Recharging my SLP brain cells

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 8, 2011

I am attending the MN Speech and Hearing Association conference this weekend. It is always great to get recharged and be around people that speak SLP.

I went to a session presented by Carol Westby, Ph.D about literacy and English Language Learners. It made my brain think it was back in grad school but in a good way! She is so knowledgeable and it made me think about what I can do better or differently in my schools. Here were a few tidbits that she shared:
Storybook Curriculum
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
She likes to use Caldecott Medal Winner books as they often are around longer so it makes it easier to find them.

I was torn between staying to hear the second part of her presentation or attending other options. I ending up attending a presentation from Super Duper on their HearBuilder series. There are 4 programs: HearBuilder Following Directions, HearBuilder Phonological Awareness, HearBuilder Auditory Memory and coming soon HearBuilder Sequencing. All are CD based but the company is working on internet based options!

My last sessions of the day was iPod Touch and iPad for Children in Speech Language Therapy presented by Eric Sailers the creator of ArtikPix app and more. It was great to meet and chat with him. I use his app everyday with my articulation kids. I even use it with my fluency kids- it’s an easy way to have them practice at the word and sentence levels and keep data. Eric is going to pursue more speaking engagements and has begun working with Assistiveware. We all gained knowledge about iPod Touch, iPad, Proloquo2Go and iTunes features. Here are a couple of other apps we looked at for use in therapy:
Violet and the Mysterious Black Dog
Wheels on the Bus

It was also nice to see some of my co-workers and other SLPs friends. And also some of my blog followers like Laura! So even though I live less only 25 minutes from the conference I chose to stay over night at the hotel. Did I mention it was next door to the Mall of America?!!! Ok gotta rest and be ready for more shopping learning tomorrow.

hAPPy Spring

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on April 1, 2011

It is the last day of my spring break. In Minnesota spring break is an oxymoron. Last year it was 81 and today it is overcast and 43 but not snowing!

As I look back on this time last year a lot has changed. I was mourning not getting a grant for 6 iTouches and ending up buying one of my own from e-bay. And that was how it all began and now I have 3 iTouches, 1 iPhone, 1 iPad with a wireless keyboard and over 1000 apps. My Facebook page has evolved into information for apps and therapy. I recently joined Twitter but reluctantly so that is something I still need to explore. I visited my 80 year old mother in Wisconsin this week and tried to explain Facebook to her… it was a long day. But it did get me thinking do I ever “talk” to anyone anymore?

With all this great technology we do still need to make personal connections. I know I still do so I’m not feeling too guilty. I might start with a text but it leads to a face to face encounter. The same for using technology in therapy. I use my iPad and iTouches with all my speech/language kids in therapy. What I don’t do is base my language therapy on an app. For example I have a group of 5 fifth graders and they are all working on vocabulary, comprehension, problem-solving and social skills. We have been using the app Stack the States and learning a lot of new vocabulary. They work in two groups and while one group is using the app the other group has a globe and can be the “life line” and help. They love this activity and don’t even realize they are learning while “playing.” This group has now moved on to earthquakes and tsunamis (with some free apps).

Now backing up after mourning about not getting the grant I used “my” iTouch all summer in private therapy. I realized an iPad would be a better tool to use with groups. I reapplied for the grant in the fall but changed it to one iPad, one iTouch and 200.00 in app purchases. It was granted and has lead me down a this new technology path.

I do base my articulation therapy around apps. I use apps from Smarty Ears and ArtikPik. They are wonderful and keep data for each student. I even use the pictures for my fluency students. i also use articulation apps from Talking Tails (Speech Squares and Say It Again).

With all the apps out there how do you decide what to buy? I recommend viewing Gary James’ site. He has videos for many apps that show how the app works without judging it (that is left up to you).
Or another option is

And to end this blog here are some shout outs for apps I have been using-
Talking tails
You need to add these to your Facebook page-
AAC Therapy Solutions
iTeach Special Education- iDevices in Special Education
Fun Educational Apps
Digital Storytime