Blogjam SLPs and audiologists are blogging about their experiences and discoveries. Check out some of their posts. Blogjam
Blogjam  |   July 01, 2015
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Blogjam   |   July 01, 2015
The ASHA Leader, July 2015, Vol. 20, 18-19. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.20072015.18
The ASHA Leader, July 2015, Vol. 20, 18-19. doi:10.1044/leader.BGJ.20072015.18
Use Your Noodle
Cindy Montalbano was stumped for a treatment idea for her life-skills group—until she reached into her closet.
The speech-language pathologist, who blogs at In Spontaneous Speech, found summer staples she used to craft into an activity for her five students, each at varying ability levels. A hula hoop, four shortened pool noodles, some jump ropes and balloons turned into a “badminton-type” game.
“They used the pool noodles to hit balloons through the hula hoop and then over the jump rope stretched across two chairs,” Montalbano writes. “We encouraged two students to hit it back and forth to complete turn-taking. I reinforced the prepositions of ‘over,’ ‘through,’ ‘below,’ ‘under’ and ‘above.’ My early-language learners practiced phrases such as, ‘Give it to me,’ ‘Hit it’ and ‘I want it.’”
The pool noodles work well, she writes, because no one gets injured if students hit each other. The balloons help, too, slowing down the game enough for the kids to be able to hit them—but keep spare ones handy, Montalbano advises. “We had one student,” she notes, “who couldn’t resist squeezing and popping them.”
A Moment of Silence
A little bit of silence can go a long way.
“Often SLPs feel pressured to fill every moment with some sound,” SLP Melanie Place writes on her blog, the Speech Place. “[But] silence can be a valuable cueing tool within the therapy room.”
Working with students on using complete sentences to answer “wh” questions, Place used a silent look—instead of correcting them immediately—when they didn’t initially remember to answer completely.
“This simple look helped them realize that they were still missing something in their response and they would answer correctly. I noticed that very quickly they began to need fewer ‘looks’ and were starting to self-correct and self-evaluate their answers,” she writes. “They also seemed to take a few extra seconds before responding to think about their response, which helps with spontaneous answering.”
Place also uses silence for self-correction and self-monitoring in other areas of communication disorders, including articulation and fluency.
The Definition of Success
Word definitions can be hard for any child to parse and fully comprehend, let alone a student who has language-learning difficulties.
The next time you need to use dictionary definitions, tweak them to be more kid-friendly by adding context and clarification, writes SLP Deena Seifert on Communication APPtitude.
Many students “struggle with definitions because of how they are worded, the lack of information because of space [constraints on the dictionary] and the fact that there are tier-two vocabulary words embedded within the definitions,” she writes.
For example, she pulls the original Webster’s Dictionary entry for “prominent”: “1: sticking out beyond a surface or line; 2: easily noticeable; 3: distinguished.”
“Surface” and “distinguished” may stump students, so Seifert uses the online Cobuild Dictionary, which offers clearer entries, and then adds her own words until she reaches her new definition.
Her version: “Prominent (adj) is someone or something that is very noticeable, stands out or is an important part of something.”
Lay It on the Table
You spend hours preparing for meetings with patients, parents and caregivers to best communicate your message. But have you considered how the materials on your table can support those efforts?
“The items that are on the table and within reach reflect our values and our desire to collaborate,” writes SLP Teresa Roberts on the Speech in Schools blog on For example, a box of tissues on the table supports emotional responses (and is also helpful during cold/allergy season).
Some other materials she lists:
  • Pens: Have many available so anyone can use them.

  • Post-it notes: Your guests can jot down quick reminders.

  • Blank notepads: These allow and encourage note-taking.

  • Large mailing envelopes: You can offer one at the end of the meeting to carry paperwork.

  • Paperclips/binder clips: If multiple providers share the documents, the clips can hold papers together.

Store the items in a small basket or tote bin for your own easy access and unpack them before each meeting, Roberts advises.
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July 2015
Volume 20, Issue 7