Apps, Articulation Therapy, Language Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

Sundaes Everyday! (Crazy Cat App Review)

I’m always on the lookout for fun, free apps that can be applied for a variety of clients in a variety of settings. The family of _____ Maker (Sundae, Salad, Cake, Donut, etc.) apps by Crazy Cats Inc. fit the bill just right. I have decided to walk you through the basics of one of their apps (Sundae Maker), provide a few pictures of additional Crazy Cat apps that I love to use, and talk about how to use these apps in a number of different ways! All of the apps I’m highlighting in this post are $free.99 (FREE!!!!!), so you can download them without fear!

Sundae Maker begins by allowing the user to choose their sundae bowl or cone. The pictures in all of these apps are the real-deal, so they should really resonate with your clients! There are a good number of images available for each option (bowl choice, ice cream choice(s), topping choice(s), etc.), and you can always unlock more through in-app purchases.

Once your bowl has been chosen, you get to fill it with ice cream. Want 1 scoop? You’ve got it! Want a double-decker-super-size-straight-to-your-hips sundae? Go for it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No sundae is complete without toppings, toppings, and more toppings! Choose anything from candy to nuts to chocolate sauce to whipped cream-the sky’s the limit! Once your sundae is all dolled up, it’s time to “eat” it! You can tap, tap tap the screen to take “bites” out of your sundae until it’s all gone (or half gone, or 1, 2, 3…target # of bites are gone).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what are some other great Crazy Cat apps to consider?

Salad Maker:

Cake Maker:

Donut Maker:

Not convinced yet? Here are some suggestions about how to incorporate these apps for all kinds of clients and sessions:

  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech clients: sessions often involve LOTS of practice for getting those accurate motor pattens down. Use these apps as an opportunity to practice target words and phrases a handful of times in context before moving on to the next target term/utterance: pour it, pour it, pour it, pour it, mix, mix, mix, mix, mix, roll out, roll out, roll out, more, more, more, more… This works great in the Donut Maker app since you have to add each ingredient, stir lots of times, combine doughs, fry the donuts, frost them, etc.
  • First, next, last practice: “First we tap the bowl button, then we choose the bowl we want, last we tap the bowl picture.” I did this with my client yesterday as we made a salad, but you could just as easily talk about the order of a functional activity (making a cake) with each choice being its own step (rather than doing first, next, last practice at each step). I just wanted to get as many opportunities in as possible.
  • Articulation clients: Choose options that align with your target sounds/words/phrases and practice, practice, practice!
  • Adjective practice: “What kind of ice cream did you choose?” “Let’s add red gummy bears.” “Hmmmm, can you find the purple icing?” “I’m thinking of a green vegetable to add to the salad. Can you find it?”

There you have it! I hope you find these ideas helpful for your next session with these fun apps!

Articulation Therapy, Just for Students, Language Therapy, Random SLP

How Do You Do Data-Collection? Tips and Resources!

It seems that finding effective, efficient methods of data collection is a task for seasoned clinicians and new graduate students alike. There are sessions when I can cruise through on-line data collection without a backwards glance, and there are other sessions where I get so caught up in a client’s complex issues that I find myself struggling to keep track of what kinds of prompts/support I had to give to elicit a target behavior. I used to throw together my own data sheets before sessions, but the time commitment that turned out to be was insane on the grad-student timeline! SO, imagine my joy when one of our fab UW clinical supervisors introduced us to some great data-collection resources from the Treatment Resource Manual for Speech-Langauge Pathology by Froma P. Roth, Ph.D. and Colleen K. Worthington, M.S. (at the University of Maryland). We were given a handful of pre-made data collection sheets included as appendices, and I have decided to share my all-time favorite (and go-to data collection method) with all of you!

Data Form 1

The form is simple: in the left hand column, you can write the name or description of a task you’re using during your session. In the smaller columns to the right of that, you indicate the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the client’s response to your antecedent during each trial. You can also track the prompts the client required for each triel. This sheet is a fast way to gather critical information in an organized fashion, AND it’ll be fast to find previous data if you know what your data collection sheets look like! Now that you have the basics down, here are a few tips for making on-line data collection simple, organized, and functional!

1. Make an “accuracy key” that’s functional for each specific client and write it at the top of your data collection sheet!!!

  • It might be as simple as + (correct), A (approximated), (incorrect).
  • OR, you might want codes for varying levels of prompting/support you have to offer each trial, especially if you’re working on fading prompts. For prompt codes, I tend to use: Rp (repetition of the initial cue), Ch (characteristic hint: a verbal hint about a characteristic/a descriptor of the target response to clue the client in the right direction), G (gestural pompt), Vs (visual prompt), Ph (phonemic prompt), IM (indirect model), and DM (direct model). Now, don’t get me wrong-I don’t necessarily use all of these for the same client in a single activity. BUT, it’s nice to have your own hierarchy of prompting down for when you need to keep track of it!
  • You might need to make your codes abstract if your client catches on to +/ types of coding. Consider things like: O (old)/T (target), or even just pick random symbols that you assign meaning to: ^/X. Just make sure your coding system doesn’t get overly complex (because then you’ll spend more time trying to remember how to use it than actually using it effectively). Data collection is supposed to be efficient!

2. If your client makes lots of approximations of the accurate response (more common in artic therapy), consider using a numerical scale to capture how close their approximations are to the correct production.

  • This way you can track progress even if the productions aren’t 100% correct. I like to use a 1-5 scale, where 1 is completely incorrect, 5 is perfect, and 2-4 are scales of accuracy in approximated productions. Then, write the number into each trial number spot on the data collection sheet!

3. Write an abbreviated version of your client’s behavioral objectives/goals at the top of their data sheets before each session.

  • Why? Because this serves as a fantastic reminder of what they are working on. I can imagine that goals start to blend together when you have lots of clients on your caseload, so this is a simple strategy to keep you on track and help you shape activities to the client’s individual goals when you’re using more client-directed activities in a session! You can write these down on a data sheet before filling anything in, and then just photocopy that initial data sheet to be used for additional sessions!

This last sheet is one option for aggregating your individual session data into a graph to track progress over time.

Percentage Record Form

Alrighty folks, I hope some of this resonated with you and potentially helps you out the next time you take some awesome, rockin’ on-line data!

Apps, Articulation Therapy, Language Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

App Synthesis: Custom Boards-Premium and ABA Flash Card Decks

Do you own the Smarty Ears app, Custom Boards-Premium?  Hmmm?  Do you?  Well, I made the leap and bought this app while it was on sale for Better Speech and Hearing Month (normally $39.99) and I am officially IN LOVE with it!  Although I did appreciate the grad-student friendly sale price, this app is worth it’s weight in gold (or dollars…if you want to be that way) at the regular price.

Now, I could go on and on about the over-11,000 smarty symbols you get when you purchase this app (ummmm, a pseudo Boardmaker for your iPad anyone?).  I could also spout off facts about their 100+ templates into which you can input pictures and text.  But, I think I’ll take this post in a different direction and tell you about how I’m loving using this app with my fellow classmates!

I am a big fan of combining great ideas.  You know that killer food that’s always left over from Thanksgiving?  Rolls + turkey + cranberry sauce = BEST sandwich of your life.  Iced tea + lemonade = summer staple (thanks Mr. Palmer).  Glitter + …….ok, you’re right…glitter is just the devil, no matter what you combine it with!  Anyway, my point is that Custom Boards can be a great tool on its own, but you can make it a super-stellar-Avengers-style tool if you are savvy about combining it with other apps.  The groom to my Custom Board bride is the collection of free ABA flash card decks I have downloaded (from Kindergarten.com).  If you don’t own these apps, go download them immediately.  I mean it…right now!  I’ll wait…

Ok, now that you have the free ABA cards AND Custom Boards, you’re as set as you’ll ever need to be!  Here’s the plan:

1. Take screen shots of the flash cards you want to include in your Custom Boards project:

2. Open Custom Boards and choose a template:

3. Click on the first white box and select the iPad Images button.  This will pull up your photo library (and your ABA flash card screen shots should be there).  Select the first picture.  Once it’s selected, you can size it (by pinching your fingers in or out) to fill the screen with exactly what you want.  Remember that you can add your own text into each box on the template, or leave them blank.

4. Repeat with the other picture(s) to complete your template!

COOL!!!!!  Right?  Of course it is!  Apps can be fantastic on their own, but the possibilities are endless when we think about synthesizing their contributions to our field!  I would love to hear how you are combining your iPad apps to create great new projects and therapy tools!  Below are a couple more examples of boards I’ve made using the ABA flash cards 🙂

Post-vocalic /r/ animal Articulation Therapy board:

Emotions Board:

Apps, Articulation Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

Musical Bubbles

Looking for a super cute app with great potential for therapy?  Wish granted!  Musical Bubbles is an app that let’s you play your favorite kids songs by popping the bubbles that float across the screen.  Each bubble-pop corresponds to the next note in the song.  The app is basic-one screen with one objective.  BUT, sometimes basic can be better than detailed and crazy, especially if you have clients who are easily overwhelmed or unable to navigate multistep activities and games.  I especially love the idea of using this app with kids who have limited motor control of their fingers/hands because you can hit any of the bubbles floating around the get the next note in the song!

Additional ideas for using Musical Bubbles:

  • Use it to help kids pace their speech (say-rather than sing-the words to the song and pace it by only saying one word per pop/note).  You can pop the bubbles (and therefore get the next note) as quickly or slowly as you want, so there’s flexibility in how you want to target their rate.
  • Integrate it into bilabial artic therapy.  You PoP the BuBBles (and get a song!)
  • Simple pull this app out as a reward for hard work during a session.  It’s fun, easy, and unlikely to get a kiddo all riled up.  Plus, the songs are very familiar ones, so you’re bound to be able to use them for target sounds for artic/phono kids!

Price? Only $0.99-a steal in my opinion!  

Articulation Therapy, Books for Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas, Worth Every Penny

Sideways Stories for Spot-on Therapy

Granted, I’m not all that old, but I like to think I can say things like, “waaaaaaay back in the day, I read all 3 Wayside School books.”  Hats off to Louis Sachar for creating some of the weirdest, yet best books I ever read as a kid! Sideways Stories from Wayside School is a book about Wayside School: 30 stories high with one classroom per story (except for the 19th floor).  The stories are admittedly very strange, but seem to have just the right length of chapters (short), difficulty level, and “weirdness” for elementary-aged kids.  I don’t know if I identified with this school because my elementary school in Winchester, MA, Lincoln Elementary, had one grade per floor (not one classroom per floor, but I still thought it was cool) or what, but anyone from my “generation” who has ever run across this book has loved it.

My personal copy had long since disappeared, but when I came across a tattered and torn copy at my local Goodwill store I had to have it immediately-and it fit the grad student budget juuuuuuust right!  I decided to introduce it to my artic client this quarter- a 9 yr. old boy working on his /s/, /z/, and postvocalic /r/ sounds-once he reached the reading linguistic level for productions.  Not only did he LOVE the book (mom and dad went out to buy their own copy that day), but just think of all the target sounds I was getting in just the title alone: Sideways Stories from Wayside School.  With characters like Mrs. Gorf, Louis, and Miss Zarves, it was a target-sound-gold-mine!

I think there’s sometimes an inclination to default to cool technology with all the bells and whistles in therapy, especially with the 9, 10, 11 year olds.  Don’t get me wrong, we pulled the iPad out all the time and there was never a shortage of basketball throwing or tennis ball “darts.”  BUT, as a recent kid myself, I think it’s still hugely important to remind kids that reading aloud can be a great chance to practice target sounds and have a ball at the same time!  The Wayside School magic just seems to get kids hooked and offer countless opportunities for great productions. In addition to Sideways Stories from Wayside School, there’s also Wayside School is Falling Down and Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger.

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!

Articulation Therapy

Making Drill Activities Fun

I know you’ve been there…agonizing about how you’re going to actually convince your kiddo that making 100 productions of speech sounds/pronouns/blends/syntactic structures/etc.  in a single therapy session is the most fun they’ll ever have in their life.  I bet you’ve come up with a plethora of ideas to make drill activities fun and exciting (we are brilliant SLPs after all), but here’s one more to add to your arsenal of ideas:

Let’s set the scene: You have your 5 year old boy coming in for his session in 5 minutes.  As you pull some toys down from the materials shelf, you frantically remember how disastrous last session was when he turned all his attention from the target words to the hotwheels cars he loves so much.  You want to incorporate cars into the session (speech therapy should be fun after all), but you also need him to work.  My super-creative classmate had a great idea for her little guy:

She made little stop signs (easy! Popsicle stick + red paper with STOP + tape) and placed them on top of small stacks of his target word cards (4 cards per stack).  She put the stacks and stop signs all around the floor of the room, and even interspersed some cute little road-blocks around the carpet.  Her client got to choose his car and drive it around the road-blocks to each stop sign.  When the car reached the stop sign, he had to say the target words on the cards under the sign.  The beauty of this simple set-up?  The client was thrilled with the “game,” and the clinician was thrilled with all the productions she got out of him.  Keeping the piles to 4-5 cards each kept his attention from wandering, and making lots of stop sign piles kept him from getting too engrossed with the car.

My question for you: What are your tricks for making drill activities fun for your kiddos?