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

Robot and Jellyfish Invasion

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on November 21, 2011

As I mentioned in my last post I enjoy doing classroom lessons during my 3:1 week. It gives me a chance to see the students in another setting and we can work on transferring skills (hopefully!).  I didn’t start my 3:1 schedule until November due to changing schools. I needed time to get my schedule set up and my position changed from two schools to one (yeah!). I was ready to get out of my speech room and shake up my schedule. I always offer lessons to teachers during my collaboration week. This week I was able to go into the three site-based classrooms and do whole group lessons. I talked about the Turkey Luminaries in my last post. Here is the fun I had in the other two classrooms.


This summer I found an activity that talked about making robots with tin cans and junk drawer finds in the Disney Family Fun site. So I saved cans of various sizes and pulled junk together from every drawer, recycle bin, and toolbox around our house. That was the easy part but finding magnets that were strong enough to hold these treasures and were not too expensive took more hunting.  I was able to find them at the Great MN State Fair believe it or not. Northern Tool has a store set up at our State Fair and it carries a wide variety of equipment, tools and just fun stuff. I bought several sets of disc magnets that were very inexpensive. I used my glue gun to attach the magnets to my junk drawer finds.  I did not glue all the magnets to junk drawer finds. I saved some to use with items that are attracted to magnets and could be changed out easily.

Before creating our robots we talked about robots and looked at some of these apps- Dancing Robot (free), Little Blue Robot (.99), Talking Roby (free), Talking Roby for iPad (free),  Interactive Alphabet (2.99), Toca Robot (.99), AR Robot (free) You need to print this picture to go with the app- Robot app picture.

I set the box on the table and we “guessed” what was inside-not too hard since I had robot pictures glued to it! But it was fun to give them my “wrong” guesses. It was a way to work on joint attention and joint enjoyment. I set out the cans and the junk drawer finds on the table. This classroom is one of of our autism rooms and  many of the students’ verbal skills are limited. It was best to create visual models for this group. I picked up items and placed it on my can saying this is my robot’s eye, mouth, brain, hair, ear, etc. The students did not have any difficulty creating their robots. One boy even began talking for his  robot in a robot like voice . This made my heart ping as he is not very verbal and here we were talking “robot” together.  One other student so wanted to take his robot home but  was able to dissemble his when he knew he could have a picture with his creation. I used my iPad to take the pictures and printed one of each student. I used  the Photo Collage Creator (free) to make the photo above. The faces are hidden to protect their identity with stickers found in this app.  I have a feeling the Robot box will be making more appearances!  This is the sheet I printed out so they could take their robot home- just add your name and insert their picture. I left the blank for them to create a name for their robot at home but you could add that with them too. Robot Makers

Other activities with Robot themes: Robot Dominoes


There is very funny and talented lady named Kate who I follow on Facebook, Twitter and on her Picklebums Blog. She posted a cute Jellyfish Activity and I knew I would be using it! I did not use it exactly as she presented it although I’m sure the students would have had fun singing the song. The class was another one of the  special education site based rooms and these students have a range of cognitive disabilities. I knew we would need to be as interactive as possible to keep everyone’s attention.  I cut out the jellyfish except for their tentacles. We talked about what the creatures were called and what to call the long things at the bottom (tentacles). With help or independently each student cut between the tentacles. Together  we said “cut” and said “stop” when we got to the head. I used drinking straws (from our supply room) and we taped them on the backs.                                Concepts targeted: up, stop, over (tape over straw), back/behind, front

I projected ocean pictures through the classroom smart board. The students took turns having their jellyfish swim in the ocean, away from a shark, over/under/behind/in front of a sea turtle, inside a cave, away from the beach/sand, around a scuba diver, floated on top of the ocean, etc. Pretty soon we had a smack* of jellyfish and lots of giggling. (*other terms used for a group of jellyfish are: swarm and bloom)                                        Concepts targeted: up, down, over, under, in front, behind, back, fast, slow, away from, together, apart, stop, go, float, sink, scary, friendly, cold, hot, dark, light

ocean pictures

Jellyfish Apps that could be used with this activity- Sea Life Matching Cards (.99), Funny Stickers-Sea World (free), Sounds of the Sea (free), Fraise Puzzle (free), Macaron Fraise Puzzle (free), Jellyfish Frenzy (free), Jellyfish Hunter (free)

Missing events…. bummer

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on November 20, 2011

Has that ever happened to you? An important date sneaks right past you!

Event 1: Well it happened to me…again. Not a big deal and a gift or card weren’t expected or even necessary. See it was my blogs anniversary and I’m sure it wasn’t too upset that I didn’t give it an extra post in October.  Here’s a little background on how it all began…. A few years ago I found a site called Backflip. It allowed you bookmark websites and put them into categories. You could access your favorites from any computer. Then one day it crashed and never recovered. So I lamented and searched for other options.  I had been following Jill Kuzma‘s WordPress site and decided if this great MN SLP could do it so could I! I jumped in and clicked here and there and inserted the website links I had from backflip.  Then I realized I could write words of wisdom or  in my case rambling thoughts.

Looking back on my first posts I see that I just kept writing on the same post page oh such a neophyte I was. As I grew in my understanding and actually read some of the WordPress tutorials (who knew directions help) I soon changed my ways.  Now I guess I am a “true” blogger or so I’ve been told. In my mind I’m just a “sharerer.”  So happy belated anniversary to my blog and sorry about your name. I should have not named you after me maybe something more catchy like Communication Happenings or  Welcome to My Word. Oh well you are stuck with Cindy L. Meester’s Blog at least you’re not a junior!

Event 2:  ASHA… This is my national speech conference. And this year it is in San Diego..warm sunny CA.  I just couldn’t afford the cost and neither could my school so I wait to hear from others who are there this week.  Enjoy!

In the meantime while you are enjoying the speakers, meeting colleagues, and visiting the  booths here is what I’ve  up to …..

I use a 3:1 model which allows me three weeks of direct therapy followed by an indirect week. This past week was my indirect week or as I like to call it my collaboration week. It gives me an open schedule to observe students in settings outside of the speech room, meet with teachers, set up interventions, and so much more. As I told my principal I often forget to schedule in a lunch…this time I did. This week  I also like to do a whole classroom lessons. The turkey luminary was one of the lessons I did this week. I also did a robot lesson and a jellyfish lesson which I’ll post later.

Turkey Luminary – I made these with the students in one of our autism classrooms. I can’t take credit for the craft. The directions can be found at Family Fun.

Here’s what you need- Lunch bag, tissue paper, brown paper, beans (to weigh the bag down)  and battery tea light- The only things I bought were the tea lights  and beans. I found all at the dollar store so the project cost very little. The other supplies were in our supply room at school.

  1. Cut a circle towards the bottom of the bag (use the non seam side). I used the inside of a masking tape roll as my guide. I cut these out due to time and student skills.
  2. Cut a bigger circle from white tissue paper and glue over the hole. I used the outside of the maskingtape roll as my guide. I also had these cut out before we started.
  3. Use other colors of tissue paper to cut feathers and glue around the circle. I had some cut but we let the students cut too and helped those who needed more support.

I used the app Making Sequences to create a 5 part sequence for the students to use before we made the project. I also printed out the pictures so they had a visual as we worked on the project. Concepts to target included: around, first, next, over, bottom, middle, top, requesting supplies, more, all done, open, inside, outside, etc.  These are the pictures I used for the sequence: Turkey Luminary Pictures

Happy Thanksgiving!

So Much 2 Say

Posted in Uncategorized by Cindy on November 2, 2011

I wanted to share an app I have used recently. First you need to know that I was gifted this from the developer which I try not to influence me when doing a review.  But I do really like this one!

So Much 2 Say


This was designed to be used as an iPad AAC picture communication app that is specifically for individuals with multiple disabilities. Eric and Kirsten Ferguson developed this app to help both of their daughters who are multiply disabled, with cognitive, language, and motor impairments.

I was able to program this app easily. You can use the small picture library provided or add your own photos. This is the part I liked the best. I am a speech language pathologist and work with a range of disabilities in children. I used this app as part of my therapy sessions. I was able to add photos that were pertinent to my students. I could take photos with the iPad camera or copy ones from the internet. I then created folders for specific students that I could pull up and use in our sessions.  The app lets you record your voice on each picture. I can have my students record the label for the picture or even a sentence. One group had used  News-2-You and learned about Natural Wonders. I was able to copy pictures from the internet depicting Old Faithful, Niagara Falls, a volcano and the Grand Canyon and add them to the app. The students were able to say a word or sentence for each one in their own voices. They loved it and it met their IEP needs too!   Today I walked around the school with a student from our autism program and we took pictures of the gym, lunch room and more. We went back to my room and I added these pictures into the app. Now he has his own folder to learn the vocabulary and practice saying the words.   This app has been very easy to use and has great potential in my sessions as a therapy tool.

Now as an augmentative communication device it is simple without all the bells and whistles as compared to some other apps. But this does not mean it isn’t useful. Take Sam for example. I worked with Sam all through out his elementary years. At the time I was training a service dog for Helping Paws and Gabby was a great motivator for Sam. When I worked with Sam we were trying to get more sounds into his speech.  He could practice his /g/ by throwing a ball and saying, “Go get it Gabby.”  Well Sam is now almost 18 and in high school. He still loves dogs and his present SLP has a therapy dog (with its own dog blog),  to help motivate and work with students.  But Sam is past working on learning how to  say the “g’ sound.  He is now working on being more independent and enjoying community events just like any other high school student. He also wants to order a hamburger and have the server understand him without having to rely on his family to interpret his wants and needs. I met with Sam’s mom this week to talk about cases for iPads. They were able to use waiver money to purchase an iPad. It will be used to help him order his hamburger, work out at the health club, understand his schedule and more within his home and community settings. I was able to show her the So Much 2 Say app and we looked at it through Sam’s eyes. It is a good  fit for him.  The bonus is his mom won’t need to carry around a baggie full of pictures anymore. The camera in the iPad will enable the family to take pictures “on the go” and add them into the app immediately. For 24.99 this is a perfect fit for Sam and his family.  You “go get” your hamburger Sam!

So Much 2 Say is Available from iTunes