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


“Look around and use what you have” Dr. Hank Lawson

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on August 17, 2011

In a preview for the TV show Royal Pains Dr. Hank Lawson was asked how he knew to use some non-medical object to help a patient  and  he stated ” I just look around and use what I have.” It is also a philosophy that I tend to use in therapy. I realize this is part of who I am but I believe as an SLP it is part of our job description. Often when working with a child I can see that the great activity I planned is falling flat so I “look around” and adapt. This happened yesterday with a young client I see in private therapy. We have been working on improving her speech intelligibility but when you are only 4 years old drill and practice is not so much fun. So I’ve tried to pump up activities to keep her focused, motivated and improve her sounds. She loves the Crocodile Dentist game but she does not like to push the teeth. She enjoys watching me get “bit” though. We have used the Crocodile Dentist Seasons app* (which I see is no longer listed in the US iTunes store) but it was not as exciting for her. So we continue to use the crocodile toy in our sessions and this is how I used it yesterday.

*There are some different apps called  Crocodile Familylion dentistdentist game and shark dentist available at the time of this posting.

I took the worksheet with our target sounds and put it in the crocodile’s mouth.  As she said each word (for the croc to eat) I pushed a tooth and we continued until he bit! We had done this in the past using articulation cards but using the whole worksheet seemed to make her giggle more today. The bonus of not cutting up the pictures today was that I could send the page home with crocodile bite marks- small indentations but I drew some in so she could show her mom. This also led to making up sentences about what the crocodile liked or didn’t like to eat. It seemed today the crocodile liked boogers as a seasoning. So the croc ate a bug with boogers, a cup with boogers, a hat with boogers… which reminded me of another fun activity from Eric Raj.

If you would like to see some more fun “use what you have” activities be sure to check out Erik Raj’s newest post in his Artic Brain blog. This one is fun and the gross factor will be a hit!  Another fun gross game is Totally Gross from University Games which I have used with older kids (recommended age 8+) to work on language and articulation skills.

The point of my blog today is to use what you have and change it up similar to my last post Pump up your frumpies. We often find ourselves with this great activity (in our eyes) that isn’t so great in the child’s eyes. So look around and use what you have or follow the child’s lead and let them create a new activity from what you have. I’m always a fan of incorporating higher level thinking skills within all my sessions. This can be as simple as saying “What do you think?” or “What can I do with this?” For less verbal kids it might just be me holding out an object and shrugging. I just try to use what I have.

Now it’s your turn.  Please add your ideas on how you “use what you have” in the comment section. Thanks!!!

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Pump up your “frumpies”

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on August 11, 2011

Brooke’s Gnome Home

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on August 6, 2011

Brooke (5) wanted to make a Gnome home for herself after helping me with mine. (See the last two posts: Part 1Part 2)  So we headed back to Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts for a box. She chose a heart-shaped medium-sized cardboard box. We used left over birch bark, moss, lichens and pinecones from the Gnome home I posted about in my last two posts.

This time Brooke added helicopter seeds from super nana’s tree. (I am Nana and we call her Great Grandma “Super” Nana.)  These were still very green but a few had pinkish tips that Brooke claimed were “just perfect.” She also wanted to use a giant pine cone on top but the asked me to break it up for shingles…creative genius (from my side of the family). The “deer fur” was especially exciting for Brooke (see the white hairy stuff sticking up. Shhh don’t tell her it’s really a chunk of dog hair.  Then she added three fake tiny flowers and voila!!

The rocks can be used as a front step or welcome mat for each home. I think I will use a paint marker and write on the rocks. Any suggestions for what it should say? Gnome Place like Gnome… send me  other ideas!

The resident gnome will be Kinder Garden Gnome and will help Brooke adjust to starting kindergarten this fall. Like she says it’s ok to be shy and you can just listen and not talk right away. I think her gnome will whisper reassuring and encouraging messages as she begins this new adventure. Thanks Jennifer at Gniffer’s Gnome for helping bridge this next step.

A note about these box Gnome Homes- It started out as an experiment and turned into something quite sweet. I was initially going to leave a space on the box so the cover could be put back on but it left too much uncovered and looked unfinished. The covers have made excellent stands for the boxes instead. You could add a ribbon or decorations around the edge of the cover but I kinda like it as is. The materials we used were all found on the ground in the woods or our lawns. So my cost was only for the glue (apx 4.00) and boxes ($1 each). I did see moss and other nature items for sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts. It doesn’t take much to cover these small boxes. We did not cover the bottoms and only part way down the sides.

I will be making these with my students in speech therapy sessions this school year. I think I can even have them take a nature walk and collect leaves or what ever might be close to the school. I have lots of moss growing around my house this year so I will pull some more up. I do want to get some acorn caps and twigs to add to my bag of “nature.”  I will have the kids either draw a paper gnome to cut out or color a small clothes pin as a gnome. What a great way to work on following directions, vocabulary, and taking turns.