Blog Archive

Friday, May 26, 2017

5 Reasons to Use Graphic Organizers in Speech Therapy

speech therapy
When do you use graphic organizers? Do you use them to pre-teach concepts, or during brainstorming activities? Do you use them during lessons to target specific skills such as comparing and contrasting with a Venn Diagram? Do you use them at the end of a thematic unit to assess comprehension? I hope the answer is all of the above. Graphic organizers use symbolic language to communicate and connect visual information in the brain. Once I understood that graphic organizers use visual language to represent concepts, I knew they needed to be incorporated into my lessons regularly.

In this post, I will give you 5 reasons why you should be using graphic organizers in your speech therapy sessions, PLUS I am offering my Graphic Organizer FREEBIE through this blog post.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Managing Difficult Behavior Part 3: Structure for Success

structure for success
This is the third part of my series on managing difficult behaviors in language impaired children. I encourage you to read both the Introductory Post and Part 2: Create Routines for some background information in this series on managing difficult behavior in your speech therapy room. In this post, I am want to outline 3 ways you can structure your speech room for success.

1. Eliminate Unnecessary Visual Stimuli
As much as I love colorful and stimulating classroom decor, some of our special needs students just cannot handle the visual stimuli. In a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University, kindergarten students in brightly decorated classrooms were found to spend more time off task and made less academic gains than those in sparsely decorated classroom. For special needs students, systematic structure, visual schedules, behavior charts and anchor charts for learning can be useful decorations. Think about your speech room, is your classroom decor structured for success? You can download my Wh-Question Anchor Charts FREEBIES HERE.

2. Adjust Your Schedule
Sometimes you just have to switch things up a little. What may have worked for the first few months of school, may not work anymore. Groups may need to be adjusted and students switched from one group to another. I reprint my speech schedule at least once a month. I currently have a large number of first graders on my schedule that receive speech and/or language services. Their needs have changed throughout the year. They have matured at different rates, some have learned to read quickly, while others struggled. I have added students, dismissed students, updated goals at annual review meetings, and changed direct service times. In the past, I've also moved students from the morning to the afternoon. Be flexible and be willing to switch students around in order to structure for success.

3. Collaborate with Others
Communicate regularly with classroom teachers, counselors, and other special education staff that interacts with your students. Use cohesive language when referring to behavior. Talk to other professional about simplifying language for your language disordered students. Be available to draw and/or write social narratives to address skills that need to be learned (asking permission, sharing materials, rules for the restroom, etc.). Collaboration creates structure for success.

If you have found ways to structure your speech room for success, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and sign up to

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Lisa, SLP

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Speech Room Organization with Command Hooks

command hooks
One thing I really try to do for myself is stay as organized as possible. For me, I am a more effective therapist when I am organized. In our profession, we have resources for multiple ages and grade levels, various levels of disabilities, specialized curriculum, and tools and toys for just about every holiday.

I think if there was one organizational MUST HAVE for your speech room, I would suggest you invest in Command Hooks. You can find Command Hooks HERE on Amazon, or other stores such as Michaels, Wal-Mart, and Target.

In this post, I want to share three different ways you can organize your speech room with Command Hooks.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Teacher Appreciation

My Speech Tools
There is one week out of the school year that being called the "Speech Teacher" has it's perks. Teacher Appreciation Week has always been something to look forward to in my district. In the past we have had fun things like an extra planning time; free appetizer and drink coupons in our mailboxes; snacks and dessert bars; lunch provided and jean passes. It's usually something everyday from Monday through Friday. Teachers are the pillars of the community. Everyday I trust educators to take care of my own children. I trust them to keep them safe, to love on them, teach them and mentor them. As a speech-language pathologist, I have worked in many different settings. Education is where my HEART is!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Managing Difficult Behavior with Routines

create routines in speech therapy
This is the second part of a 5 part series for managing difficult behaviors in language impaired children. You can link here to read the introductory post. 

How is your day structured? Do you have a morning routine that involves drinking coffee or hot tea? It is widely known that students thrive on routines. If we consider our busy lifestyles, we can admit that we all feel more successful when we work with a routine. For students with communication impairments time concepts are often very difficult to understand. Knowing what is coming next may decrease anxiety and increases focus and endurance for longer periods of work time.