Apps, Language Therapy

What Does Miss Bee See?

Super Duper has so many iPad-friendly fun deck apps to choose from, and What Does Miss Bee See ($1.99 in the Apple App Store) is a great addition to any speech-language pathologist’s technology toolkit. This fun deck includes 56 illustrated picture cards that all pose the question: What does Miss Bee see? Most cards qualify this question by including an additional clause after the question: What does Miss Bee see…hiding in a box? This app is a great way to target all kinds of language skills-from describing to inferencing!

Like all of the Super Duper fun deck apps, you can track correct/incorrect responses for each card and can individualize included cards for each client (or include them all)! Below are a couple creative ideas for using this app in your next therapy session:

 

I know this app is called WHAT Does Miss Bee See, but if you are targeting who-questions, you could easily substitute who in for what and generate lots of “WHO does Miss Bee see” questions: Who does Miss Bee see out the window? A bluebird and a squirrel!

The images are all colorful and detailed, so you can ask questions about details and have your client practice generating descriptors/adjectives while describing what Miss Bee sees. Instead of a horse, some pigs, and chickens, Miss Bee sees a big, grey horse, four hungry chickens, and four pink pigs rolling in the mud.

Although many clients might successfully respond to what- and who-questions when there’s only one plausible response (which is really more of a labeling task), they fall apart when they must respond to these questions if more complex verb clauses are involved. When first introducing the cards in this fun deck, you can start by simply asking the client to label the picture with the question: “What does Miss Bee see?” As they become more and more successful with these responses, increase the level of difficulty by including the additional clause: “What does Miss Bee see that looks clean?” You can even come up with your own qualifying clauses to check that your client is reeeeaaaaalllly listening to the question and not merely naming the most salient item on the card!

 

Some of the cards include a Miss Bee who is clearly excited/scared/worried/etc. Use these to target emotion identification!

 

I hope you can use some of these ideas to make Miss Bee a hit with your clients!

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Random SLP, Uncategorized

Food for Thought

Summer spurs images of the people laughing, ice cream cones melting, and my friends sunbathing under the all-too-quickly-disappearing rays here in the great NW. The concept of sitting through hours of class each week is quite new to me this summer, and it finally caught up with me last week when I realized I would much rather be kayaking with orcas again in the San Juan Islands than studying for exams and writing yet another set of SOAP notes. That frustration nagged me all morning on Tuesday, and I’ll admit that I walked into a session with my fluency client in a less than chipper mood.

My client, a soon-to-be college freshman, pulled out his copy of The Rainbow Passage for another few (hundred) rounds of the Camperdown Prolonged Speech Pattern. Through my forced smile, all I could think was, “Here we go again: wheeeeennnnnn suuuunnnnnnliiiiiight striiiiiiiikes raiiiiinnnndroooops iiiiinnnn theeeee aaaiiiir…great…” BUT, he threw a curveball at me that has been on my mind ever since. Rather than jumping into practice, he asked me, “By the way Hanna, this is going to cure my stuttering right?” After a slight hesitation, I explained that despite lots of current research, we still don’t know exactly what neurological proceses cause stuttering, so our intervention methods are intended to treat the symptoms of stuttering (e.g. blocks, repetitions, prolongations, etc.) rather than cure the underlying impairment. For the next 20 minutes, we put The Rainbow Passage aside and he, my supervisor, and I talked about what he thought would be different in his life if he either stopped stuttering altogether, or reduced his stuttering severity significantly. “I could meet new people more easily,” “I wouldn’t have to worry about answering questions in class,” ” I wouldn’t have to plan out everything I’m going to say.” In the end, I asked him to sum up his thoughts into a single difference; his response was: “I would still be me, I would just be a more expressed me.”

You might not have had the same kind of “tuh-duh” moment I had when reading those words, but this is a BIG DEAL! Here I am pouting about my lack of a tan, and in front of me is an individual counting on me and the amazing supervisors at UW to radically alter his life- to make him a more expressed version of himself. In that moment I was forcefully reminded that speech-language pathology is important. We don’t just help people, we open up doors that have never existed for our clients before. We give them a way to express what they otherwise couldn’t, and that is not to be taken lightly.

I was talking with my mom, a retired special-education preschool director, the other night and she was telling me about her on-the-job “training” in counseling parents of children with disabilities. “I would go to their houses after work to do in-home visits. We’d be sitting on the couch chatting back and forth when all of the sudden these parents would just fall apart in front of you. Through tears, they would tell you how they just wanted one more baby to complete their family, and after two perfectly healthy kids they now have a three-year old with a severe disability, and they can’t imagine how they’ll ever manage to make it through the next year…or 15 years…or 50 years…with a child who will never achieve the milestones and goals they always envisioned. They’re so frustrated and guilty for feeling disappointment in their own child, and they’re looking to you to help them. They are counting on you to support them along this journey and to remind them that at the end of every dark tunnel, there will be some light-some new milestone to celebrate and new goals to set.”

I know that I’m new and optimistic and haven’t spent years bogged down by billing paperwork and disengaged parents. I know that I haven’t had to face coworkers who don’t want to hear another classroom recommendation or refuse to take your expertise seriously. But despite all that, I want to congratulate the amazing community of speech-language pathologists (and OTs, PTs, SpEd teachers, and other professionals working in this field) for waking up every day and changing the course of peoples’ lives. Whether your client is 18 months old, 18 years old, or 88 years old, you matter to them and their families. Their dreams are bigger than your missed morning coffee, delayed amazon.com package, or (heaven forbid) lack of a tan, and I am so grateful to my fluency client for reminding me of that.

Random SLP, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

Don’t Eat The Bubbles!

Dear world of people who use bubbles with kids:

I will give you one whole dollar if you can honestly tell me that you have never watched a child (oral apraxia or not) inhale or ingest bubble solution while trying to blow those oh-so-magical bubbles (accidentally or on purpose). Let’s just be candid for a moment. It’s GROSS. I have worked as a nanny for lots of kids in lots of families, and I’m always shocked at how many kids attempted to eat and drink things that have either spent a week or more fermenting under the refrigerator or could double as an insect killing agent. With all this in mind, I hate that more bubble solution usually ends up on your client’s face than turning into bubbles. They inhale instead of exhale, they accidentally stick their tongue out, the bubble pops on the wand before it flies away-you name it! “So what’s the solution Hanna???” you wail desperately: The Melissa and Doug Bella Butterfly Bubble Blower OR the Verdie Chameleon Bubble Blower.

I came across these while online shopping one day, and almost jumped out of my seat with joy. Why so great? There is a solid 4 inches of plastic butterfly or chameleon goodness between where the client puts his/her lips and where the wand actually touches bubble solution. As a bonus, it blows great bubbles!!!

You’re welcome bubble-blowing friends!

 

I am in no way affiliated with Melissa and Doug…I just love this product!

Apps, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

iSequence, You Sequence, We All Sequence

I came across this app in a moment of panic, when I realized that the sequencing cards I’d been banking on using for one of my client’s baseline probes were not, in fact, going to be of any use. I jumped on my iPad and happened across iSequences, a great app ($2.99) from Fundación Planeta Imaginario. For less than a grande skinny vanilla latte, you get 100 sequences depicting common, functional activities! Exciting right? Read on!

There are actually 2 separate activities included in this app: the first involves putting 3 or 4 images in order of what comes first, next, last, while the other asks the client to either choose the correct end to a sequence (between 2 or 3 options) or to describe how the character in the sequence is feeling.

I stuck to the first activity with my little guy. Since the app allows you to customize which sequences you’d like to include in your game, I chose only sequences that were functional and familiar to my client (e.g putting on socks, blowing up a balloon, putting together a puzzle). The app will allow the user to put the images in the incorrect order and still move on (which is great for gathering baseline data), but it will also provide a positive reinforcer (fireworks and accompanying music) when the sequence is ordered correctly. There is a few-second delay before the reinforcer appears, so you can always skip to the next set of images if you want to avoid it!

I would recommend this app for anyone looking for a fun, easy-to-manage sequencing activity for their iPad. I love how functional many of the sequences are for children; this makes the app a great support tool for teaching sequencing skills in the context of functional hands-on activities. Although I’m not always a fan of cartoon images, these are clean & clear and get my stamp of approval. I had great success using iSequences to gather baseline data, and look forward to using more in future sessions!

Apps, Language Therapy, Worth Every Penny

Ficky Ficky Ficky…Adjective REMIX!

I think we can all agree that some app developers out there are one hit wonders. Then there are the rare Usher-like developers…the ones who come out with a hit time and time again! Smarty Ears is one of those fantastic app developers, whose apps are always great additions to any SLP’s iPad. Their recent app, Adjective Remix, is yet another great tool for any great speech-language pathologist or SLP grad student! Adjective Remix ($9.99) allows users to practice awareness of adjectives by identifying the item that best matches the cued adjective during each turn. There are 8 categories of adjectives included for practice in the app: appearance, colors, feelings, quantity, shape, size, time, and touch & taste.

Upon opening the app, you have the option of jumping right into the activity (by clicking on the “quick start” button), or adding & selecting specific students who will be playing. If you select students (up to 4 at a time), the app will keep track of their responses, detailing their accuracy for each category of adjective as well as the overall percentage of correct responses. Any app that tracks the students’ responses and records/saves the data gets a gold star in my book, so it’s nice to know that all your data is being tracked as you play! This information (called the report card) can then be emailed and/or printed at the end of your session.

In case you only want to target particular categories of adjectives, you have the option of deselecting either entire categories or specific terms during a given game. The selected categories/terms can always be updated later! You can also adjust the type of feedback for incorrect responses as well as the order of item presentation.

Aside from the logistical pros of this app, I love that you can target multiple categories of adjectives during a given game. The photos all include real objects, making them highly contextual for clients requiring the real-deal (rather than line drawings or clip art depictions of an object).

Since many of the included objects are also common items, you can easily recreate the comparisons in your clinical sessions to provide additional functional practice with the adjective terms. If you are practicing the term “empty” on the app, you can grab baskets and leave some empty while filling others in order to allow for additional, hands-on practice with the concept. Additionally, you can use this app creatively by turning off the sound and text and asking your client to tell you what’s similar/different about the presented objects. Not only will you probably elicit some adjectives, but you will also be targeting comparisons and similar/different concepts!

Since I try my best to be a critical consumer, here are some things I wish were included in the app:

  • The ability to remove the positive reinforcement visual/sound when the student chooses the correct picture. This app would be a nice way to gather some baseline probe data about adjective comprehension, but the data isn’t valid if the child is receiving performance feedback.
  • The ability to customize the categories targeted for each individual client. Although all the categories are important for practice, not every student will automatically be at the same level as their peers in a group session, and it would be nice to customize the target adjectives for each student rather than for the game as a whole.
All in all, I think Adjective Remix is a wonderful addition to your iPad arsenal of apps! Happy “habilitating!”