Apps, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

Squiggles App!

As they say in the adorable little intro video: “A squiggle can be lots of things…like spaghetti, or cotton candy, or a cloud!”  I really really REALLY love this app.  It’s easy, bright, colorful, and super fun.  Plus, there’s no real right or wrong when you’re drawing a squiggle, so kids of all ages and abilities can play!  Here’s the run-down:

WHAT IS IT?

Squiggles is an interactive app that uses the basic concept of a squiggle to animate all kinds of objects.  You get to choose your “page.” The page might have cars on a road, sheep in a field, rockets in space, fish in the ocean, etc.  For each page, you are prompted to draw squiggles somewhere to make the objects DO something.  For example, when you draw squiggles coming out of the back of the cars and then press the “go” button, they come to life and drive along the road.  When you draw squiggles to be the waves in the ocean picture and then press the “go” button, the fish swim around!  You can even choose your colors and/or textures for your drawing tool or add a variety of stickers to your page.

(the random animals in this shot are examples of the “stickers” you can add)

(The more fish you cover with your squiggle-waves, the more that will swim when you hit “go”)

WHY IS IT SO COOL?

  • GREAT for teaching cause and effect: draw squiggles where you are prompted to put them, press “go,” and…viola!…the objects DO something fun!
  • you can target colors and shapes, since you aren’t limited to only drawing squiggles.
  • the available pages/scenes all utilize common objects, which make great vocab words for building lexicons (or be crafty and pick out scenes with target sounds for articulation kiddos).
  • AWESOME for targeting verbs or verb-ING phrases.  Ask your kiddo to tell you what’s happening when they press “go:” the car is driving, the fish are swimming, the rocket is flying, etc.

HOW MUCH IS IT?

Great News!  This app is $free.99.  That’s right, FREE!  So hurry to the app store and download it today!

I hope you have as much fun with my newly discovered squiggles gem as I do 🙂

Advertisements
Articulation Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas

ArticPong

OK, so for all of you out there who are thinking to yourselves…”this looks an awful lot like that game I used to play in college, except we weren’t filling the cups with target articulation words…” YOU WOULD BE RIGHT.  The inspiration for this activity did, in fact, come from my undergrad college days, but I can assure you that it’s a killer activity for your artic clients to get their repetitions for lots of great sound practice.

The game is easy.  Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • big plastic cups (red or blue, although the red ones were just a bit…too…college party for me)
  • a pingpong ball (or a giant pom pom; basically just something that can be thrown, but isn’t heavy enough to knock the cups over)
  • target words/syllables/etc. to place inside each cup

Set your cups up in whatever configuration you’d like (you can mix it up each time so the game stays interesting and challenging for your kiddo).  I chose to do a classic beer artic-pong pyramid configuration.  Then, stick a target word (or two or three) in the bottom of each cup.  I made a few cups “special” by putting M&Ms in them too, so he would get a fun little surprise once in a while.

Have your kiddo throw the pingpong ball from behind a set line, and have him/her say whatever word(s) are in the cup that the ball lands in!  The game will get harder as more and more cups are taken away.  SO, your client will love being challenged and you’ll love all the practice they’re getting in!

That’s the whole shabang!

Random Therapy Ideas

Build A Sentence…LEGO STYLE!

I love legos, you love legos, and guess what?  Pediatric clients LOVE legos.  So why not make legos your tool for building better grammar and better sentences?  Here’s an easy way to effectively bring a favorite activity into your next therapy session for kiddos working on sentence structure.

Getting Ready (subject + verb + adjective + object sentence): Before you begin your session, choose 4 colors to function as your “parts of speech” categories.  You will need at least one basic-size duplo lego (these are the big legos like the yellow one below, not the itty bitty ones) in each color with a velcro piece on the side + one of the large, flat ground/foundation pieces that generally serves at the base of any lego project (like the green one below):

       +          = READY!

Each color of your regular-size duplos will represent one of the parts of speech: (i.e. green = subject, black = verb, yellow = adjective, and red = object). You could certainly add more colors for additional categories if you want more complexity.  Bring a selection of words on small cards (with a velcro piece on the back) that fit into each of these categories.  You might have 5 for each part of speech when you first start out:

  • Subjects: She, He, Johnny, Doggie, Mom
  • Verbs: eats, drinks, makes, finds, wants
  • Adjectives: hot, little, fuzzy, shiny, bubbly
  • Objects: soup, juice, slippers, toys, cookies

GO: The game involves asking your kiddo to velcro the appropriate part-of-speech-card to its corresponding colored lego, and then to build a grammatically correct sentence with those legos.  You can begin to add in articles, additional descriptors, and even punctuation as they improve in their sentence-building skills!  The more complex the sentence, the more your client gets to build!  Maybe you could even work up to a multi-sentence tower/castle/etc. as they improve and you get more creative!

If you’re not ready to work on sentences, use this idea with an easier linguistic level: put one letter on each duplo to build a word, or even use this technique within a minimal pairs activity!  No matter what you end up targeting, your kiddo is sure to love the chance to “build” their skills with legos 🙂

A Good Laugh

SLPs Really DO Facilitate Academics!

A google search for “homework fails” never lets me down when I need a good laugh.  When I’m looking through these, I’m constantly reminded about how important speech-language pathology is in helping kids learn to make inferences, appreciate figurative language, manipulate the truth, or just find ways to express how they feel.  Also, I just get a good laugh at how ridiculous they are sometimes! Here are some great ones from today’s search!

Some kids are just…too…literal:

Other kids are just too honest…

BUT, at least they are COMMUNICATING!  Hahaha.  Smile on!

Apps

Story Time with SonicPics App

What is it? 

SonicPics is an app that lets you create your own stories or sequences with your very own recorded narration (if you want it).  You can take pictures of favorite stories, common daily routines, or even import previously taken photos to create a set of images that encompass a “project.”  You then have the option of viewing the images one by one, or adding a recording to each one and later viewing your project as a slideshow story with the recorded narration playing simultaneously.

Why love it? 

  • This app is great for kids or adults working on sequencing, or becoming familiar with routines.  You have the freedom to use whatever images you want for any given sequenced activity and then record helpful cues, a social story, the client’s narration of the sequence, or even music to go along with it.
  • Kids working on all kind of language goals will love this app.  Create a project with images from a favorite picture book and record the child narrating their version of the story.  You can focus on identifying relevant details on each “page,” emphasizing connector words between “pages,” accurate narrative prosody, etc.  The list of treatment activities goes on and on.
  • Client’s with a self-monitoring goal can listen to their own recorded stories page by page and identify accurate productions of a target vs inaccurate productions!
  • Create a collection of “what’s happening here” or “what’s wrong with this picture” images and record the client identifying details in the picture that don’t belong, seem silly, or appear out of place.
  • Save pre and post-treatment recordings of a client to compare accuracy in any of the above-mentioned activities between the beginning and end of treatment.

          

What are the downsides?

Unfortunately, the stories don’t seem to export to youtube well. The images all appear, but they are out of sync with the recording, so the pages and narration might not accurately match up.  I haven’t tried adding text to any of my images, but I have heard rumors that it sometimes disappears when narration is then recorded.  Honestly, this app seems to be best utilized in the therapy session for immediate feedback with the client, or as a saved record of language production on your iPad.  Still, it’s a great little tool for what it can do (and I thought pretty simple to use).

How to get it?

Simple: go to the app store to download ($2.99)

 

Worth Every Penny

Unrolling a Good Time

Do you want to shake your session up a bit…literally?  Then invest in your very own Rory’s Story Cubes Game.  This glorious little box contains 9 dice that will get your kiddo’s imagination AND language production rolling.  Here’s the premise:

  1. Roll any/all of the 9 dice
  2. make up a sentence/story with the images that appear on those dice

Yup, it’s that simple!  But wait, there’s so much more you can do with this game.  If story generation and spontaneous language aren’t your primary goals, here are some other ideas to use with your Rory’s Story Cubes Dice:

  • For the WH-questions kiddo: take turns rolling 1 die (I know, it’s a weird singular form of dice…I double-checked with google).  The non-roller must use WH-questions to guess what image the other person rolled.
  • For the articulation kiddo: Be creative in how you “name” the images for their word/sentence/story.  The “bee” can be an “insect” if you’re targeting word-medial /s/ (like me).  Or the “light bulb” can actually be “dark” for those postvocalic /r/ sounds.
  • For the kiddo working on opposites: simple…roll a die and try to name the opposite (or something that’s different vs same) from the image that lands up.
  • For the semantic deficits kiddo: roll a couple dice and try to find a way to semantically link the images together (do they all fit into some kind of basic category?  How are they related or unrelated?).  OR, roll one die and try to name other things that might belong in the same category as that image.
  • For the sequencing kiddo: connect your images into a story with clear, concrete temporal connector words.
  • For the kiddo with disordered (or just plain messy) narration: this can be a great game for focusing on strategies to work lots of novel elements into a cohesive story.  Ask you kiddo to create an introduction of character(s), setting, etc., then to generate a clear story with a climax, and finally to conclude their story.  Use the images on the dice to guide the story!
  • for the pragmatics kiddo: work on turn-taking by creating a story together where you each get to add one die image at a time and must build off of what the last person said.; Create a fun sentence with some of the dice images and ask the kiddo to determine whether you’re producing it in a declarative vs interrogative vs exclamatory way based solely on your intonation (suprasegmentals baby!).  Then have them say the sentence with a target intonation.
  • For the prosody kiddo: make up a crazy sentence with some of the dice images, and then ask your kiddo to identify what kind of emotional tone you’re using to produce that sentence: happy, angry, confused, surprised, sad.  Then ask them to produce the same sentence with a target emotional tone.


As you can see, there are a plethora of ways you can apply this great game to your variety of kiddos!  So take the plunge on amazon.com and get your own set of Rory’s Story Cube dice.  There’s also a set with action images, so the possibilities are even more endless than before!