Blog Archive

Saturday, November 17, 2018

How to Build Social Competence with Simple Science Experiments

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Social competency involves the social, emotional, and intellectual skills and behaviors needed for social adaptation. It involves the ability to use past experiences, social communication, emotional regulation, and intellectual reasoning successfully across different contexts. Social competency also looks very different in different stages of development. Our roles and responsibilities as speech-language pathologists in building social communication skills includes consultation, education, collaboration, and intervention. In this blog post, I want to share how you can use simple science experiments in your social language groups to facilitate social competency.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

How to Use "Smellies" in Speech Therapy

The beginning of the school year is my time to reflect on what worked from last year and what didn't. Returning to school refreshed and relaxed always motivates me to try something new in the speech room. This year, I wanted to find an alternative to sticker charts and treasure boxes in speech therapy. The early childhood special education teacher and PreK teachers on my campus were using flavored lip balm on the back of little hands as a tangible reward for sitting during carpet, or completing work in a learning center. I started off the year experimenting with this reward system and realized that PreK students were not the only ones motivated by my "smellies." Turns out that three year-olds and fifth graders all love smellies in speech therapy. You can purchase several flavors of lip balm for $1 each, and you'll have enough to last the entire year.  But after a couple sessions of smellies, I discovered there are so many more uses for flavored lip balm than just a reward for good behavior. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Speech and Language Activities for "The Apple Pie Tree"

Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year for speech therapy. The warm smells, vibrant colors and cooler weather provide a platform for rich literacy and language opportunities with children. If your speech therapy groups are anything like mine, you have mixed articulation, fluency, social and language needs throughout the day. 

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall, is a sweet and engaging book for kindergarten through upper elementary. Activities can also be adapted for students in alternative curriculum classes needing age/grade level appropriate content. (An Amazon affiliate link is provided)

I've outlined a few target skills and included a freebie at the end of this blog for you to start using today. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

How to Make Glitter Glue Sensory Bottles

Sensory bottles have many names, calm down bottles, sensory bottles, discovery bottles, and sensory jars. It's safe to say that sensory bottles have become my go-to for children who need an opportunity to process their emotions and anxiety, and organize their sensory system in a way that is meaningful and appropriate. 
Sensory bottles can be used at home, in  classrooms, clinics, after school programs, and therapy rooms. Children with  ADHD, sensory processing disorders, language disorders, autism, and behavior disturbances can all benefit from using sensory bottles. The key is to create one that the child will engage with. 

In this post I want to share how to make the perfect glitter glue sensory bottle. (Amazon affiliate links are provided).

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Jaw-dropping Shark Theme Activities in Speech Therapy

My Speech Tools
SHARK WEEK 2018 begins July 22nd and I am ready for some fabulous FUN! Whether you work with preschool, school age, or high school students shark mania is the highlight of summer. I've researched some fun shark activities and short videos you can use this week in therapy. I've included Amazon, Pinterest, and YouTube links, as well as links to my fiction and non-fiction products highlighting sharks. So here are my favorite shark week activities.

( Affiliate links are included. Purchases made through the links may result in a small profit for Lisa Erwin, M.S. CCC-SLP and My Speech Tools)

Smiley Shark  by Ruth Galloway is a sweet story about a the biggest fish in the ocean. He's so big that no one wants to play with him until he shows how much he cares for his friends and saves the day. 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Growing Up with Dyslexia: A Teen's Struggle to Learn

I've been working on this blog for several weeks now. I had planned on the post going live during the month of May in honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month. But because of the style and topic, it took me a little longer to release it. 

If you've read the "About Me" section from my blog, you know that I have three children. What you may not know is that two of my children have dyslexia. Over the years, I watched my children struggle with their learning disabilities. I advocated for their educational rights, and I dried many tears. In this blog, my daughter shares her story of growing up with dyslexia. She recounts her elementary years, talks about her struggles, and reveals her personal understanding of dyslexia. She also offers advice to other teens living with dyslexia. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

5 Reasons Why I Use Lift-the-Flap Books in Speech Therapy

There is something about using lift-the-flap books that draws in children and creates opportunities for engaging language and fabulous therapy sessions. Lift-the-flap books are typically promoted as "baby" books. However, I have found that toddlers and preschoolers are intrigued by these sturdy interactive books with flaps on every page.

So why do I love lift-the-flap books? First of all, they are interactive. Early language learners have short attention spans and learn through experiences. They want to touch, feel, and interact with people and objects around them. Lift-the-flap books offer a platform for young language learners to run the show. They are able to shift joint attention from book to adult readers rather quickly.

Friday, April 6, 2018

5 Fabulous Farm Books for Speech Therapy

There is something so enticing about playing with a farm set. Cows, horses, chickens, ducks, pigs and tractors are enjoyable for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary students. Farm sets are open-ended toys which sparks imagination and can keep children actively engaged. Farm related books are also a great way to introduce students to new vocabulary, narrative structure, build background knowledge and facilitate creativity. Farm books create opportunities for language expansion and experiential learning.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Grab Your Students' Attention with Button Nail Art

I first heard of Button Art from my ABA SLP friend Rose Griffin. After I ordered this play set from Amazon, I was thrilled with the bright colors and motivating pictures. After using it a few times with my preschoolers, I wanted to share this engaging activity kit with you as well as highlight a few speech therapy goals that you can target with your young learners.(This post contains an Amazon affiliate link).

Monday, March 12, 2018

10 Speech and Language Goals for "In the Tall, Tall Grass"


In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming is a colorful fun read aloud written from a caterpillar's point of view. With rhyme, rich language and simple text this is a wonderful book to share with students this Spring.

So let's spring forward with 10 different goals you can target using "In the Tall, Tall Grass" for your speech and language therapy groups this Spring.

Monday, February 26, 2018

See You at TSHA 2018

Will I see You in Houston?

Do you live in Texas? TSHA 2018 is coming to Houston, Texas. I hope to see you there! Several SLPs from the Texas Panhandle are  attending. I'll be driving about 10 hours from Amarillo to Houston and looking forward to meeting the other Texas SLPs.  This is my first state conference to attend and I am thrilled to be presenting on the topic "Supporting Literacy and Language Skills in the PPCD Classroom." 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sizeable Funds are Available for Speech Therapy Materials with Donor's Choose

Funding for speech therapy materials is scarce for public school speech-language pathologists. Limited funding and a large caseload often means purchasing only a handful of new materials each year. In addition, public school speech-language pathologists frequently buy their own materials in order to meet students' needs and address target goals properly. is a United States 501 non-profit organization that connects local donors with educators to fund public school classroom projects. Since it's founding in 2000 by a high school teacher, has funded over 1,000,000 classroom projects.  When I discovered, I did a little research and then started the process of creating a project of my own.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Quick and Easy Activity to Teach Inference Skills

Do you need a quick hook to grab the attention of your students? Are you introducing a new theme, topic, or skill? Mystery Bags are a fun way to elicit student engagement. Mystery Bags are a common use in elementary classrooms as a form of show-and-tell. This activity is so versatile and can be used to address many different goals. So whether your students are in elementary or middle school, this activity will address their goals. 

In this post, I want to share with you some new ways to use Mystery Bags in your speech therapy lessons.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Try Doodle Buddy App in Speech Therapy for FREE

Do you search iTunes and Google for FREE apps to use in your speech therapy sessions? Are you wondering how to incorporate technology into your therapy session but aren't sure where to start? Doodle Buddy is a free app for your phone or tablet that is versatile for all ages. You can draw, color, paint, and create just about anything on Doodle Buddy. 

In this post, I want to show you 5 different ways you can start using Doodle Buddy today.

Friday, January 12, 2018

How to Create a Winter Sensory Bin

Children of all ages enjoy sensory play, and winter is the perfect season to explore learning opportunities through the 5 senses. By using taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound, children develop their cognitive, language, social, emotional and motor skills. Sensory play can also help children calm down and focus for other learning activities that require sustained attention, such as story time. 

So what do you think of when you think of winter? I think of snow, snowmen, penguins, polar bears, ice crystals, snowball fights, snow angels, and even hot chocolate. Brainstorming from these possible themes can lead to the creation of some exceptional sensory bins to supplement any book unit or play opportunity.

In this post, I want to share with you my winter sensory bin and give you a few ideas on sensory bins you can create around your winter themes. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Announcing My Speech Tools is Now on YouTube

2017 held several new beginnings for me. I started my business in February and my blog in April. I had a drive to share my passion with you and it has been an amazing experience. Now in 2018, I am excited to share my new adventure with you. I have created a YouTube channel Speech Therapy Tips with Lisa Erwin, SLP.