Take a Peek at My Cart Companion

I have seen many rolling carts as SLP’s are quite crafty in traveling around a school building. Today, I will be showing you my therapy cart that stays right by my side. I realized after several years that I really needed my materials more organized are accessible during my therapy sessions. I seemed to have a shelf or cute decorative container that I pilled things in/on so that I could keep our table space simple and clean.

But no more!

Listen, we all know those rolling carts that were once used to carry big clunky t.v.’s from classroom to classroom are special. But now they can be used for all types of purposes. Here is how I’ve re purposed my t.v. cart – how about you?

 

 

This is the front. At some point in my career I inherited an old metal stand pictured here. It’s been incredibly useful as you can see. I have my speech therapy expectations easily visible for my students. That way throughout the session I can continue to refer back to them as needed. I also have my mini white boards, erasers, and mirrors (yay magnets!) readily accessible at all times. Oh! And the little notebook (thanks, dollar store) is where I scribble in lesson plans.

This is the back of the stand. I have an extra mirror, folders that contain very strong magnets so that I can place completed data sheets until they are ready to be entered into a database, and a random quiet prompt. I also have my blue pointer hidden back here because all the people want to play with it – all of ’em.

This is the shelf right under my metal stand. By the end of the week it’s a disaster and I have to give myself 15ish minutes to get it back into a functional state.  I always have crayons, a clipboard, and my binder of datasheets. You will also find it full of games and other materials when I am performing back to back therapy. And yes, there is also a clip chart. I don’t use it much, but when I do it’s more of a positive reinforcer than a negative. That’s probably another blog post at some point.

The very bottom shelf contains paper that I am using through out the day from craft directions to parent notes and the like. You will also see a mini binder stand that I just found at a thrift store (haven’t used it yet!), a second clipboard I use when I am going into the classroom, and plastic sleeves to write on.

Lastly, my little nook inside the metal stand. All my tiny items go here such as dot markers, scissors, glue, a counter, floss, a flashlight, and yet another mirror.

And that’s it! Maybe at some point I should post the disaster picture just for fun. How do you organize your therapy materials during your back to back sessions?

A Voice for Introverts

It has been a pretty fascinating development on how the internet has provided introverts a great platform to share their voices. There are A LOT of posts and articles out there about introverts. Some information has made me feel somewhat uncomfortable.  I have read articles almost seeming to ‘attack’ extroverts and/or making the introvert a superior type of person. I have come across writings that make the introvert seem absolutely unapproachable. Then there are the articles that make me think, ‘Isn’t this human nature? Don’t most people feel this way?’. So I am very picky when it comes to reading information related to introverts.

As a result, I want to share a book review that gives a nice work+Life fit to the idea of giving the introvert a voice.  I first heard Morra Aarons-Mele interviewed on the podcast, Extreme Productivity by Kevin Kruse. Her book entitled, Hiding in the Bathroom, described my exact actions as a Speech Pathologist in my first year! I ended up at a school that had not had good SLP support and so there were SOOO many questions from teachers – that I didn’t feel qualified to answer. Ergo, I found myself hiding in the bathroom to avoid some of those questions.

I thought her book gave such a good description in accepting yourself as you are, her own personal struggles, and how to put yourself out there. Even if you aren’t attempting to run a business, I thought it had some really interesting perspectives.

Here are few I really enjoyed:

‘Now that I’ve realized my anxiety is apart of who I am, and that, rather than fight it all the time, I embrace what it gives me, like excellent people skills, empathy, and drive”

‘Don’t think of crying in the bathroom as hiding – think of it as an opportunity to tune into what the crying is telling you’

‘Love your hermit self, but remember it’s not your entire self”

‘Just because your vision seems less ambitious than the stereotypical business powerhouse, doesn’t mean you can take it less seriously’

‘…kindness, caring, and pride in your work is one of the most powerful tools.’

‘…you should take as much pride in a teeny, low-paying, low-profile project as you do a a major one – and treat the client the same’

‘….bathroom hiders, counter intuitively, actually have a great advantage in negotiations, since we’re strongly attuned to both others and ourselves…’

‘Introversion, anxiety, and hiding in the bathroom are not weaknesses’

Have your read this book? What did you think?

My 5 Favorite Food Activities to use in Speech Therapy

I love using food in therapy. There are SO many skills you can address including social skills, life skills, sequencing vocabulary, directional concepts, descriptive language, answering/asking questions etc., etc. And to top it off, it’s highly motivating and memorable.

So here we go! Let me share with you my top 5 faves that are simple to execute, have only a few ingredients, and are kid friendly.

*It is extremely important that you know of ANY feeding issues, allergies, or diet restrictions from parent, teacher, and/or nurse before preceding with any food related activities!!*

Pudding

So simple. So cheap. My students love mixing up the TWO ingredients and seeing it change before their eyes.  It’s completely optional, but I occasionally add sprinkles to the finished product just because I always seem to have some on hand.

 

 

S’mores

Yes! Campfire, burnt marshmallows, fall weather….. making s’mores in a classroom, office, or clinic doesn’t quite have the same ambiance, but there is a simple way to get that s’more taste without starting a fire. Now, you could technically use a microwave, but I really prefer the method I share below because it’s less of a mess and there are no worries about anything getting too hot.

Here is the plan:

  • Talk about campfires, burnt marshmallows, and fall weather
  • Read books or show videos/pictures about s’mores and/or camping
  • Break a graham cracker in half
  • Spread the chocolate on one cracker
  • Spread the marshmallow cream on the other cracker
  • Put the two pieces of graham cracker together like a sandwich
  • Eat
  • Talk about the similarities/differences between s’more made over a campfire and the ones you just ate

 

Fish in the Ocean

You may have seen this one floating around (I kill me) on pinterest looking ah-mazing. I nailed it by super simplifying it to three easy-to-find ingredients. There are a lot of great ocean themed books out there but most recently I have been reading Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck. It’s really cute with great pictures to discuss.

And listen – you can buy the white icing and the blue food dye if you want, but if you need a cheaper/quicker way to crank out this activity to multiple groups you can purchase blue icing that includes sprinkles that LOOK LIKE FISH. I’m in love.

 

 

Cookie Decorating

I don’t think this needs much explanation but it can take two seconds to complete and two seconds to eat.  I usually break out this activity during a holiday such as Christmas or Valentines Day.  Which means I could surround this activity with holiday themed books and discussions. This is also a great time to prompt your students to give the directions to YOU. Then you must do it exactly as they say which can become a pretty hilarious exercise for everyone involved.

 

Popcorn

My FAVORITE activity is the hot. air. popper.  Around 9 or 10 years ago I purchased the hot air popper pictured below for around $15. I save it for the last week of speech therapy of the school year. It is a hit EVERY time. For some, they have never even seen one before – understandable in the age of microwave popcorn. My students who have been with me for multiple years, are still excited to see those kernels pop every May!

 

 

Ta Daaa!  There ya go. You now have 5 ideas to get your student/child engaged and ready to talk! What simple food ideas to you use in speech therapy?