Random Therapy Ideas, Social Cognition, Social Regulation, Worth Every Penny

All Aboard the Friend Ship

Remember when you had to memorize all the presidents of the United States for U.S. History Class…in order?!? It took me about 2 minutes of blankly staring at flash cards to realize I was never going to cement those names through repetition alone. So where does one turn for help at 10:00pm the night before the test? Music, of course! The Animaniacs saved my tush that night with their president song (proof here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvy0wRLD5s8). Kids are a lot like me when it comes to learning (or should I say I learn a lot like a little kid…): they do better with multimodal, experiential, and “stuck-in-your-head” leaning styles than mere lecture from adults.

Raise your hand if you find it easier to engage kids in post-play cleaning when you sing the “Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere…” song (did you really raise your hand? No one can see you, silly!). That’s because the song jumpstarted a memory for the child (hippocampus activation) that it’s time to clean. We use songs in all corners of education: ABC’s, rainbow colors, counting, wh-questions, etc. I think I can skip the part where I spend a whole paragraph convincing you why songs matter for learning, because our scientific community has already agreed that music activates important association and learning centers in the brain. Instead, I want to introduce you to my favorite new set of songs for facilitating social regulation, social cognitive, and social emotional development: The Friend Ship.

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You may or may not know that I spend my days targeting social regulation skills with “boys and girls of all ages” (yeah, it’s a bit like the circus!). I am forever on the hunt for innovative ways to help my clients both learn and generalize the key concepts of expected social communication, and music is a personal favorite strategy of mine. The Friend Ship, created by speech-language pathologist Erica Bland, is a CD of songs all about social regulation. With titles like: “What’s the Plan,” “Adding to the Fun,” and “What Zone Are You In,” the songs take teaching and reinforcement phrases I find myself using like a broken record and puts them to a soundtrack of kid-friendly rock, reggae, and hip hop. Whether the songs are used as direct teaching tools or are just on as background music during collaborative play, I find that my clients are humming and singing along after the first couple replays.

Want a sneak peak? Have a listen: https://soundcloud.com/thefriendship-1/sets/the-friend-ship

So how do you get this musical gold mine? Here are a couple ways to make it happen (p.s. it’s only $9.95!!!!!):

Erica also created a companion packet of family or therapist-led support activities to go along with each song. In other words, your lesson plan is already done! So drop whatever you’re doing, pump up the Friend Ship jams, and get your social regulation on!

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!