Language Therapy, Random SLP

Stop Using L1?!? Ain’t No One Got Time for That!

Blog post explosion! I went from 2 months of no posts to 2 posts in 1 day! You’re welcome. I would normally wait a day or so to add a second post, but this feels too important to wait. In the past 2 weeks, I’ve had 3 different experiences of hearing from bilingual or multilingual parents that their child’s teacher, doctor, or (gasp!) speech-language pathologist has recommended limiting or eliminating all language input other than English in order to decrease the negative impact of a communication disorder.

SAY WHAT Y’ALL?!?!?!? The belief that having input from multiple languages either causes language disorders or makes them worse is FALSE!


I’d like to think that all my SLP friends and colleagues know better than to disseminate this kind of information to parents, but I’m finding that lots of people out there still are woefully behind on their bilingual/multilingual/ELL research and how it relates to communication disorders. With that in mind, I’m sharing a wonderful website that provides lots of information about the myths surrounding bi/multilingualism and communication disorders: Multicultural Topics in Communication Sciences and Disorders ( Here are some of the long-standing MYTHS they discuss:

  1. Delays are to be expected in bilingual children because they are processing two languages at the same time

  2. Code-Switching is a sign of disorder in bilingual children

  3. If a bilingual child has a language disorder, parents should avoid using L1 in the home

  4. If a child has a communication disorder, introducing a second language will make it worse

  5. Bilingual children should only receive instruction and intervention in English in order to lighten their linguistic load

  6. If your child is learning English at school, you should speak English at home, even if it is not your first language

If you are still mistaking these myths as facts, you better check yo’self and EBP (evidence-based practice) it up! Sit back, kick up your feet, sip a cup of tea, and read some research articles! Here’s to supporting a better educational environment for our amazing, fabulous, and uniquely special linguistically diverse kiddos!

Executive Function, Language Therapy, Pragmatic Language, Social Cognition

ANAMAzing Ideas for Therapy! (Thanks Pixar)

While sitting in a day-long conference on school-based SLP challenges associated with qualifying kids from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds, one the the presenters mentioned using the Pixar animated short film, Partly Cloudy, as a great interactive, informal assessment or treatment tool to evaluate a child’s narrative skills, emotional recognition, inferencing skills, etc. This got me thinking that there might be other Pixar “shorts” out there that would be fantastic for use in treatment sessions. Below are some ideas about how you can use a few of these fun mini movies with your clients:


Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 12.22.50 PMWhat your client can be working on:

  • Recognizing and analyzing facial expressions (and explaining why the character might be feeling that way)
  • Pausing the video at different points and making predictions about what will happen next (immediately next, after an hour or two, tomorrow, etc.)
  • Problem solving when the character(s) feel sad/upset/disappointed
  • Comparisons between happy/joyful/ecstatic/proud characters and sad/upset/disappointed/angry ones


Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 12.32.22 PM

What your client can be working on:

  • Create a script for one or both lamp characters. This involves perspective taking, theory of mind, prediction, etc. (lots of those tough social cognition/executive functioning/social communication skills that many kiddos struggle to learn and use)
  • Inferring how each lamp character feels at different points in the mini movie
  • Making predictions about what will happen next (and supporting those predictions with contextual clues from the mini movie)


Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 12.44.03 PM

What your client can be working on (this short is best for older elementary/middle/high school students):

  • Create a script for one or both characters. What kinds of expressions are they likely to be using? Are these characters friends? Siblings? Strangers? How do you know?
  • Categorize the differences between things that happen during the day versus at night. Work on finding an efficient way to document all of these examples without having to re-watch the short over and over (this is a critical study skill!)
  • Pause the mini movie at various points and discuss how the characters feel and how you know


Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 12.50.17 PM

What your client can be working on:

  • Fill in thought bubbles for each umbrella and notice and discuss the changes in what each umbrella is thinking as the short video goes on. Why do these changes in thoughts/emotions/behaviors occur?
  • Make predictions about what will happen next

Media can be such a great way to engage students of all ages in working on therapy objectives. Any other animated shorts out there that folks are using?

Evaluation and Assessment, Language Therapy

Communication Matrix

Do you know about the Communication Matrix? If not, then this is your extra lucky day! I, along with my fellow UW grad clinicians, use this measure during lots and lots of evaluations, especially when the client is at a developmental stage where they are not using a huge number of conventionally communicative behaviors. I’ll give a short and sweet overview of the Communication Matrix, but the best way to learn more about it is to go to the website and check it out yourself!

What is the Communication Matrix?

The Communication Matrix is a structured assessment measure designed to determine how an individual is communicating, and to provide a framework for determining logical communication goals. It was first published in 1990 and was revised in 1996 and 2004 by Dr. Charity Rowland of Oregon Health & Science University (yeah, Oregon!). Based on responses from the child’s caregiver, a matrix profile is generated that describes the types of behaviors the child is currently using (e.g., Unconventional Communication, Conventional Communication, Concrete Symbols, etc.) and the purposes for which those behaviors are being used (e.g., to refuse, to obtain something, for social purposes, and to gain information). The measure can be completed online by making a profile for the client, or in a printed, paper-based format. I’ve only ever done the online version and since we live in 2013, I recommend you give that format a try too! See that picture below? THAT’s what your results look like once you get through all the sections and questions (it’s called a “matrix” for a reason).

How is the Communication Matrix Administered?

This measure is based on information provided by the child’s primary caregiver. In my experience, it works best to have a clinician actually sitting with the caregiver and walking them through each of the questions and sections to ensure they understand what’s being asked and to take any informative notes that might come up (there’s a place for notes in each section so you can keep track of this information in an organized way). I realize that you won’t always have a clinician to spare during assessments, so the parents could certainly be set up to fill this out while you’re working your magic in the eval!

What Do the Matrix Results Tell Me?

Remember that picture a little ways up in the post? You can probably still see it from where you’re currently reading! If not, it’s time for some scrolling action! Along the vertical axis (going from top to bottom, along the left) are the types of behaviors a child is currently using to communicate. These are ordered (from top to bottom) based on when they appear in typically developing children (i.e., Preintentional Behavior all the way down to Language). If you hold your cursor over each stage, a pop-up with a more detailed description of that stage will appear (on the actual website…not on my blog post). Along the horizontal axis (going from left to right, along the bottom) are communicative functions/purposes for which communication is used. The overall matrix gives you a visual sense of the client’s skill level with different communicative behaviors for various communicative functions (not yet used, emerging, or mastered). In other words, how are they using communication and for what purposes?

How Can the Communication Matrix Compliment My Other Assessment Tools?

Good Question! This tool is a fantastic way to support findings from other measures. If you plan to use the Rosetti, MacArthur Bates CDI, or other caregiver questionnaire as part of your assessment, it’s always a good idea to have a second caregiver measure to ensure reliability in their responses. The matrix gives both a qualitative description of the child’s current communicative functioning as well as a quantitative description of which developmental age range their communicative abilities fall into. And that’s pretty darn cool!

How to Get Started:

Go to the website and create an account. It’s free! You can add individualized profiles for clients and save their results for later reference! All in all, it’s an amazing resource!

There’s lots more detailed information about the Communication Matrix on the website, so I highly encourage you to check it out and give it a try! You can find it by clicking here:

Since I’m so confident that you’ll find this tool helpful…YOU’RE WELCOME!

Executive Function, Language Therapy, Pragmatic Language, Social Cognition

Ideas for Social-Cognitive, EF, Pragmatic Language Therapy: Part 1

I work with a high schooler who (in honor of Thanksgiving) has a cornucopia of challenges in the social cognition, executive functioning, and pragmatic language realms. I am by no means an expert on this population, but I’ve been lucky enough to spend time interning with a few experts in this area of speech-language pathology (Pamela Ely and Sean Sweeney), and also received a scholarship to attend the Social Thinking conference in Portland, OR this past October. These experiences have given me a solid foundation for developing intervention plans for kids who fall somewhere on the spectrum of social language deficits.

Just to complicate things a bit, clients with social communication deficits rarely have isolated issues with pragmatic language. Often, they have concomitant challenges with executive functioning, cognitive flexibility, and overall impaired cognition. As such, effective intervention requires lots of adaptation and a willingness to incorporate ideas and methods from a variety of sources. I love mixing resources from Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking ® curriculum, Sarah Ward’s executive functioning curriculum, Pamela Ely’s social cognition curriculum, and Bonnie Singer’s self-talk curriculum. This 2-part blog post is all about sharing some of the ideas and visuals I’m using in my therapy with this current client, and highlighting the amazing minds who have come up with the awesome ideas underlying what I’m doing!

Probe for Perspective Taking

Although I did this as a probe to gather some baseline data about my client’s perspective-taking abilities, you could easily use this as a treatment activity to support the development of perspective-taking skills. I used sequence scenes from the following set of cards:

The reason I like this particular set is that it has sequences with 6-8 cards each (which makes the task more challenging for the client). You’ll want to pull out all the cards that relate to a single sequence and flip them over so the pictures themselves are hidden. Ask the client to choose one card and keep it hidden from you while he looks at it. First, ask him who knows what card he has (correct answer: “me”). Next, ask if you know what card he has (correct answer: “no, I’m the only one who knows what’s on the card”). Then, ask him how he could help you know what’s on the card without just showing it to you (correct answer: “I can describe it to you”). The client’s response to each question provides valuable information about their ability to take another’s perspective. Finally, have the client describe the picture to you using whatever details he chooses. Once he’s done describing the card, slide it back into the pile (still face down), shuffle all the cards, and then flip them all over so the pictures are showing.

You then try to guess which card the client had based only on the details he described. Since many of these cards have similar items (bike, boy, mom, helmet) and the client likely didn’t give enough detail to isolate a single card, you can narrow down your choices of possible cards and see if he can provide enough specific details to identify his chosen card from the others. This is a great little task for both determining a client’s current level of perspective taking and for teaching the skills associated with strong perspective taking!

Self Talk Visual

My client requires LOTS of visual support as we tread through the concepts of social cognition and pragmatic language. This is a super easy way to help him contextualize self talk as something that occurs like a thought bubble. Even though we do a lot of audible self talk right now, I’ll eventually fade that along with the visual aid. For now though, I model self talk by holding up this laminated thought bubble (yeah yeah, I know it looks like a laminated intestine…it’s not art class!) and often ask him to do the same. All you need is some card stock, a laminator, and a few straws (covered in tape) for the handle!

Sometimes, I use this same thought bubble to demonstrate when I’m having a red or green thought, and the kinds of feelings those thoughts give me. The beauty of laminating everything is that you can write on them with dry erase markers and then just wipe them clean. I stick my green or red thoughts to the velcro inside the thought bubble and specifically indicate the emotion that I’m feeling:

Conversation Roadmap

Once I taught my client how to introduce short, concise topic statements that let people ask “wondering” questions (i.e., wh- questions), I moved onto the conversation timeline. Little did he know that conversations don’t just involve one person talking for 20 minutes about the topic of their choice. This visual gave him a concrete way to recognize the basic components of a conversation, and even helped to reinforce the idea of talk time I’d previously introduced (color coding the cards made this a piece of cake). Since we were practicing conversations as a pair, I had two differently colored sets of cards. The “topic” card indicated a topic statement for the conversation, the “C” card indicated a comment, the “?” card indicated a question, and the “R” card indicated a response to a question.

Each time someone added something to the conversation, they mapped out their addition by laying down the corresponding card. This gave us a concrete way to go back and consider the parts of our conversation and what worked/didn’t work! It also let him see how often each person was contributing (if one person dominated the whole conversation, there would be only one color).

My second post will include a couple more therapy ideas and visuals to consider when working with kids with social-cognitive/pragmatic language impairments. Hopefully these ideas spark your own creativity!

Executive Function, Language Therapy, Random Therapy Ideas

When it’s Always a BIG Deal: Using the 5-Point Scale

As I was reflecting back on my last couple of posts, I realized I should have included a small discussion (however one-sided it may be) about what to do when you introduce the idea of self-talk/self-coaching through the Big Deal/Little Deal flowchart, and EVERY problem or decision the child encounters is experienced as a BIG deal. The clients who tend to need some extra instruction about how to effectively use self-talk/self-coaching are also likely the ones who will have a hard time discerning between major issues and small glitches, because in the moment they genuinely may feel that even a small ordeal is a crisis.

Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis introduced a fantastic resource for these moments: The 5-Point Scale. Since the scale can ultimately be accommodated to meet just about any situation where scaled decisions can be made, I highly encourage SLPs to understand how to use this scale and have it in their treatment toolkit. As you might imagine, the 5-point scale is simply a scale that helps clients to quantify and qualify their problems/decisions/reactions/volume/etc. into a more appropriate realm. In my Big Deal/Little Deal post, I said the following: Many of these kids have a hard time recognizing when a problem is REALLY BIG, and when a problem is totally minor. In other words, every problem is a crisis for them and they need to learn a way to coach themselves through these situations. This easy flow-chart I created is a good way to visualize the “coaching” process. To use the flowchart, begin by asking yourself: “Is this problem a big deal or a little deal?” While self-coaching through the flowchart steps is an important foundational skill for these kids, it’s also helpful to have a plan for when they simply tend to categorize everything as a big deal, and this is where the 5-point scale comes in.

Imagine that Johnny Q comes to you in hysterics because the blue marker, which is his favorite, is all dried up and no longer works for coloring the assignment. For most people, some Big Deal/Little Deal self-coaching would kick in and they would recognize that this is a pretty minor deal-one that could be solved by using a different color, asking around for another blue marker, or asking the teacher is there is another set of markers from which to pull a blue replacement. So how will you use the 5-Point Scale with Johnny? Begin by asking him where on the scale he thinks this problem falls. It’s important to point out that he (and all other clients) should previously have been taught how to distinguish between the numbers (ideally by letting the students pick examples for each number). A 1 is a minor glitch (like a broken pencil tip that can be almost momentarily fixed by sharpening the pencil). On the other hand, a 5 is a crisis (like a natural disaster-something that might take weeks to solve). 2-3 fall somewhere in the middle. Again, this scale can be highly individualized to each client. Your 5-Point Scale discussion with Johnny Q might look something like this:

You: Johnny, on our 5-point scale, where do you think this blue marker problem falls?

Johnny: A 5!!!!!!!!! (while crying hysterically)

You: Hmmm, I can see that it might feel like a really big problem right now, but remember…we decided that a 5 is something huge, like a natural disaster, that might take weeks to solve. Do you think this problem is going to take weeks to solve?

Johnny: No

You: I don’t think so either. So now that we’ve thought about it a little, where does the problem fall?

Johnny: A 4!!!!!

You: A 4 sounds better than a 5, but I still think it might be too high because we decided that a 4 is still a really big deal, like breaking your arm and having to go to the hospital and maybe even wear a cast. Do you think we can bring our marker problem even lower?

You would continue coaching Johnny through this process until he lands on a more appropriate number (1 or 2). Even though the client’s initial reaction might be to hugely overreact, it’s important to acknowledge how they are feeling and remind them how they agreed to represent each of the numbers (with specific examples assigned to each number) so they can more accurately define their problem. It may take Johnny a few times using the scale before he can really assign an appropriate number to a problem, and that’s ok! The goal is simply to keep moving him towards accurate self-talk, even if that is a process rather than a fast transformation.

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The 5-Point Scale can be altered to fit a variety of situations: volume level (1 = whisper and 5 = screaming), decision-making (1 = no thought necessary and 5 = lots of consideration with pros/cons list), etc. Regardless of how you choose to incorporate the scale into a client’s therapy, it’s a great way to help them visualize the severity of problems/volume/decision-making and more accurately use their self-coaching skills.

Here are some ideas for integrating the 5-Point Scale into your therapy!

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Best of luck!

Executive Function, Language Therapy

The Conversation Tree: A Visual Support for Conversational Mapping

I’d like to dovetail on my previous post about executive functioning and its impact on the development of social-cognitive skills and pragmatic language. In its role as the brain’s “secretary,” executive functioning helps to regulate an individual’s ability to map/plan a conversation and then to follow that plan. This isn’t to say that every conversation should be planned out ahead of time-that would be completely crazy and impractical, as conversations are organic, dynamic, and sometimes take unpredictable turns based upon the participants’ perspectives. What I mean by a conversational map is some kind of mental/visual representation of the essential components of a conversation. These maps are what help us to recognize the main topic of the conversation, ask relevant questions that maintain the conversation and include each member, and make relevant comments that support the main topic.

Conversational maps take many forms: I have seen everything from a conversation umbrella to a conversation house. I strongly believe that therapy strategies should be as individualized as possible, so whatever visual schema works for a particular student, alrighty! Use it! I merely want to offer another way to conceptualize the general map of a conversation. I led a group of students with social-cognitive and pragmatic language challenges in a summer wrap-up camp last week at The Ely Center in Newton, MA. During one particular discussion about building skills to support social success with old and new classmates, I introduced the idea of the Conversation Tree. Like an umbrella, a house, or even a flowchart, this is another way you can help kids to visualize the basic components of a conversation!

One application of the Conversation Tree is to literally present the necessary components of a conversation: the main topic/main idea, the sub-topics that help to maintain the conversation, and the details that develop the sub-topics and connect them back to either the main topic or other sub-topics. I highly recommend introducing the Conversation Tree in a group therapy context, since conversations tend to develop more with peers than in 1:1 settings with a child and a therapist. Here are the steps for building a Conversation Tree during your next session:

1. Choose a main topic/main idea. This will be the trunk of the tree. In other words, this main topic is what will support the rest of the tree/conversation. Clients may need to be regularly reminded to do a self-check through the self-talk skills discussed in my last post: “Am I connecting my thoughts with the trunk topic, or am I building another tree altogether?” It’s important to redirect kids when they jump to a new conversation tree and help them find a way to connect their thoughts with the trunk topic.

2. Once you have your trunk topic determined, you’ll need to add some sub-topic branches. Work with the kids in your group to decide what kinds of sub-topics relate to your main trunk topic. Another way to approach this is to add a sub-topic branch each time the conversation moves in a new direction (and addresses a new subtopic). This method involves building your tree simultaneously with the conversation (which relates more to self-monitoring in a conversation than mapping ahead of time-totally ok and awesome!).


3. If you were to stop a conversation after only introducing a main topic and the sub-topics, it would feel sparse and bare…much like the tree above. In order to make the conversation flow and feel cohesive and connected, you need details! These get added as leaves on each sub-topic branch. The details help to connect the branch sub-topics to the main trunk topic and also to connect branch sub-topics to one another. Leaves represent clients’ individual experiences around each sub-topic. You could even give each student a different colored leaf to add to each sub-topic branch to represent their talk-time within each sub-topic!


Once you’ve fully mapped the conversation, the tree might look something like this:

As I stated above, there are numerous applications for the Conversation Tree as a language therapy tool. Another way to use the tree idea is to visualize the use of Wh-Questions as a means of maintaining conversations, showing interest in a conversation, and being an active, on-topic participant in a conversation. You can use the same tree template, but instead of branches representing the sub-topics, they can each represent a Wh-Question. Each time a client asks a relevant Wh-Question, he/she gets to add a leaf to that branch (I cut leaves out of green sticky notes so they would automatically stick to my paper). The goal can be to fill up each branch with a variety of on-topic questions. You can also use this as a fun way to practice embedding the “wh” word into the question rather than always starting with it (e.g., rather than asking “When did you go to New Hampshire?” you could ask “Did you go to New Hampshire when the leaves were changing?”).


Executive functioning impairments are not easy to assess, quantify, or treat. Often, we have the most success targeting those deficits within the context of other social-cognition and/or language goals. Providing clients with a visual support to conceptualize these challenging planning/mapping processes can be an invaluable tool when addressing executive functioning deficits, and I look forward to hearing how this activity  (and any others you’d like to share) are working to address clients’ needs within this realm!



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, 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!

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!