Friday, September 6, 2019

YouTube – The Bad, The Good and 50+ Links for Therapy

She enthusiastically sang the songs during circle time and encouraged her students to sing as well. The songs rarely changed and neither did the basket of props - flags, shapes, ribbons, and more. Questions were asked and language concepts were learned. Students used words, body movements, and gestures to participate. Everyone looked forward to the group hug at the end.

Ten years later there was a whiteboard. The students watched cartoon characters dance across the screen to songs found on YouTube. All good songs, but no one was singing. 

This is the BAD - mirroring the passive nature of TV viewing.  No one is singing, modeling speech and language, OR interacting with others.  

YouTube can be a GOOD resource and there are ways to effectively use the videos without sacrificing good models and active participation. Below are some links and suggestions. 

Make it Safe and Easy

Watch the ENTIRE video before showing it to your students. You never know what not so nice surprise might appear at the end of that cute nursery rhyme. 

If you at all question the appropriateness of a video, DO NOT use it. 

See my SafeShare link of Pharrell Williams' Happy. 
Have you tried SafeShare?TV? SafeShare.TV takes out the commercials at the beginning of a YouTube clip and allows you to edit where you want the clip to begin and end. You have a nice clean video without distracting ads or other videos visible. Sign-up to create 20 FREE videos on SafeShare.TV. 

Click on the links below to see how teachers, at Teachers Pay Teachers, use SafeShare.TV and QR codes to show stories without distractions. These activities are FREE. 

For more information about SafeShare.TV, check out the YouTube Ad-Free Guide.

Rebecca Reinking, at Adventures in Speech Pathology, has some very useful suggestions to make using YouTube quick, easy, and effective. Check out her post,  USING YOUTUBE IN SLP THERAPY: DON’T MAKE MY MISTAKES!

Make It Fun

Sing the songs with your children, dance with them, use hand motions, and talk about the songs. Stop the music to talk about the characters, story, and lyrics.

Teach core vocabulary words "who" and "not" while singing Who Took The Cookie? (Farm Animals Version) from Super Simple Songs.

Find songs to teach simple concepts at Maple Leaf LearningI Can Hop and On In Under By are two of many original songs found at this channel.

Pair books with  We All Go Traveling By, The Wheels on the Bus, and Dinosaur Rap at Barefoot Books. 

Eric Herman's songs can elicit a lot of language. Check out The Elephant Song.

Make It Engaging

There are so many good books on YouTube. Don't let YouTube replace you reading to students. Mute the sound, read the book, and pause as needed. You will be the model for your students, you can pause, ask questions and comment. Let your students see your facial expressions and hear the intonation as you read.

These YouTube videos show book pages and not so much of the reader. 

Share resources with parents. Some of our students don't have many books at home, but most can view YouTube on a tablet, phone or TV.

Make It Interesting

You can find a YouTube video for just about any skill or theme.

In the spring, read The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle or another seed to plant book. Follow up with From a Seed to a FlowerPeep and the Big Wide World: Peep Plants a Seed, or Sid The Seed.

Talking about fall? Read "Leafy" The Leaf that Wouldn't Leave  and also, The Little Yellow Leaf (A Stop Motion Story) - a wordless story add words 

Sesame Street's many short clips about feelings are great to discuss with your younger students.

Find videos to complement rather than replace your teaching. Use videos as an introduction or as the closing to your lessons. Book trailers make great introductions to lessons. 

If your topic involves occupations or animals, short books found at Speech Blubs, make great introductions. I would definitely use the BUNNY Storybook if working on /b/.

These SLPs Have Even More!

  • Angela Hannigan at Home Speech Home posted Using YouTube Videos to Spice Up Language Therapy.  Click here to see Angela's post complete with a lesson plan.
This is a screenshot of my newest YouTube account - The Budget SLP.
I will be adding to my playlists, but will not be uploading videos. When
you find an account you like, always check videos for any they may
have uploaded. If you like their videos, you may have common interests, so
look at the account's playlists as well. 


© 2019

“Free stock photo - Reshot.” Accessed 28 Aug. 2019.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash 

Singing! (Some happily, some not) | Im000656.Jpg | ~My aim is true~ | Flickr Accessed 28 Aug. 2019. Modified by cropping.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

What to Tell Parents (and Teachers) about Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) Before Asking Them to Use It

So many of us work with students/clients using speech-generating devices or low tech options such as core vocabulary boards. We want our students to use their AAC beyond the therapy setting but, do parents and teachers know where to begin?

It takes about 45 minutes, in a small group setting, to get parents and teachers excited about using the AAC. There will need to be follow-up, but covering the information below will help parents and teachers understand why certain vocabulary is used and how to begin. 

Before you begin training parents and teachers, you need to be comfortable with what you are telling them. There is so much more to AAC than setting up the device. All of these links are NOT for you to pass on to parents and teachers. These links are for you (SLPs) to use as you prepare training materials. 

1. Parents and teachers need to know we didn't randomly choose the words on the AAC system. Make sure you tell them a little about the research! The most popular dynamic display applications use research to determine their vocabulary setups. If using a dynamic display, try one of that company's recommended setups. If you are creating your own board, using a static display, or creating a communication book, look at these research-based lists before choosing your words. 
  • AssistiveWare’s Ordered Core Words is based on the frequency of use, developmental order of acquisition, and flexibility of use for effective communication. You will need to be registered at the FREE AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom download this list. 

2. Introduce core and fringe vocabulary. Show them where the core vocabulary and fringe vocabulary are located on the student's AAC system. Create a PowerPoint, outline, or other documents to guide you through your explanations. Find good resources at these sites. 

  • Project Core's Professional Development Modules are part of A Stepping-Up Technology Implementation Grant directed by the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. 

Too Busy? Too Small? How many children, with
limited expressive language skills,
easily use tablets or their parent’s phones?
3. Parents and teachers need to understand that communication is more than requesting. Their student/child needs a robust vocabulary to communicate for a variety of functions.  Experts tell us not to underestimate the amount of vocabulary needed and to begin with the number of cells the student can see and touch. More cells, on a single screen, require less navigation and will allow for more modeling opportunities. 

  • This article, Choosing a Grid Size, supports using a larger grid size and is a must-read for SLPs. 
  • Read Pat Mervine's blog post, Colorful Language talking about the ability to use multiple parts of speech and multiple functions of language on AAC systems. AND, check out her poster, Sure, I can request, but can I…?, illustrating the many functions of language.  

4. Tell parents and teachers about aided language input. Use the term you are most comfortable using. Parents and teachers like the term "modeling." They need to know that if they are using aided language input, they are teaching language on the AAC device the way typically developing children learn language. 

Parents and teachers also need to know that aided language input takes practice. It's not easy at first. I suggest to parents and teachers that they plan ahead and choose a few activities to model daily during the first week or so. Know the words they will model prior to the activity. Gradually increase the number of activities where modeling occurs until the modeling occurs naturally throughout the day. 


© 2019

“Choosing a grid size.” Accessed 18 Apr. 2019.

Paine, Steve. “Baby Sees The iPad Magic .” Flickr, Accessed 18 Apr. 2019.

The Picture Communication Symbols ©1981–2019 by Tobii Dynavox. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Used with permission.  Boardmaker® is a trademark of Tobii Dynavox.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Gotta Go Buffalo - A Book About Saying Goodbye

I just purchased this book for my grandson and know I will enjoy reading it to him.  However, I couldn't stop thinking about how I could use it in therapy. Gotta Go, Buffalo, by Kevin and Haily Meyers, is a great book to read at the end of the school year. Practice greetings and learn about rhyming. Pair it with an animal or transportation theme. 

 If you want to know more before you buy, see the complete book at Storytime with Mama Emi. 

Pair the book with Time to Go!: An End-of-the-Day Chant, a fabulous PowerPoint Freebie from PB and J at Teachers Pay Teachers. 

Make a Hello/Goodbye Elephant and more - visit Sunflower Storytime.

Make a classroom or take home book. Make your own or use one of the following.

Practice saying hi and goodbye to a variety of animals. This is a great whole classroom activity. Quickly give each child an animal. Tell the children to say hi to the animals. Set a timer for just a few minutes. With your animal, demonstrate actions and/or position words (go up, go under the chair, fly, walk, etc.) and ask your students to imitate. When the timer goes off, the children say goodbye and pass their animal to the child on the left so that everyone gets a new animal. Say hi, set a timer, and repeat the activities with the new animals. 

Roll in vehicles, each containing an animal. Greet the animals as they come in and say goodbye as they leave the area. 

Check out these sites containing Goodbye and Hello songs and rhymes. 

Hello and Goodbye Lyrics from Dr. Jean 

Good Bye Friends a goodbye song from Maple Leaf Learning and The Singing Walrus  

STORY TIME STARTER: HELLO and GOODBYE from the Mansfield Richland County Public Library in Ohio.  

The Goodbye Song for Kids from Kindergarten and Preschool Songs by ELF Learning

Goodbye, See You Soon from Super Simple Songs.


© 2019

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Video Modeling - Timesaving Resources

One of my first attempts at video modeling. "Legos do NOT go in the microwave."
Middle school students were learning about kitchen safety and
using the core vocabulary phrase "not go in."

I have a colleague who makes video models that work wonderfully with her most difficult students. I know she must spend an incredible amount of her family time preparing these videos. As I watched her in therapy, I thought of all the possible ways I could use video modeling but wondered where I would find the time. 

Recently, a parent told me how well a particular online video modeling program helped her child with speech production and sadly discontinued it due to the cost. Are there any FREE or low-cost resources? I did a little digging and this is what I found. 


If you want ready-made video models, here are a few no-cost resources. 

Lindsey at Speechy Things wrote Using First Person Video Modeling as a Tool to Teach Children on the Autism Spectrum How to Play with Toys. Her post and the accompanying video links are fabulous.  

There are many other videos modeling play on YouTube. Start with Playing with Trains, Let's Play Ball, and  Playing Memory

Find a huge number of videos at That Speech Lady. She models using LAMP Words For Life™ in several videos. Watch AAC: LAMP WFL EAT! You will also find numerous videos modeling the production of phonemes and language concepts. 

Yak Back Pack's YouTube channel has quite a few videos you can use to model phoneme production. 

Search YouTube for modeling of specific phonemes. I couldn't resist this video of an orange demonstrating the production of /l/
      Greeting and My Turn by autismvideomodeling are two of the many videos modeling social skills found on YouTube. Browse Watch Me Learn, Meredith Harrah, and villaspeech to find a video or search YouTube for specific skills. 

      More . . . 

      The FREE app, Story Creator, allows the addition of short video clips on each page. Great for modeling sequenced activities.

      Look at this list of Social Stories & Video Modeling Apps. It includes some FREE and low-cost apps. 

      No Ads!!!

      If you find a video you like but want to show only a portion (and get rid of the ads), use I really like Deborah Brooks' YouTube post, Color in Speech Book 6.  However, I only want to use the portion pertaining to /b/. I used to shorten the video and eliminate the ads. Check out the shortened video here


      © 2019

      “Film Strip - Free Clip Art.” Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.

      Monday, September 24, 2018

      I Have a Website - For Just a Few More Weeks

      In 2004, I was asked to show computer resources to parents of preschoolers. I wanted to easily present free websites to 25+ parents so decided to create a one-page website with a large number of links. After several snow days, the site was created. Using Computer Activities to Enhance Language Learning contained over 250 links leading to hundreds of activities designed for young children.

      The presentation to the parents went well, but I was amazed how news of the site spread and how often it was used. One of my colleagues remarked that my site and Pat Mervine's Speaking of Speech were the only websites by SLPs she found when she began working in 2005.

      I faithfully updated the site at least once yearly, adding links and fixing or removing broken links. A second page, Six Weeks of Summer - Interactive Speech and Language Practice Activities, was added in 2013. 

      Last December, the company running the site removed it along with thousands of others due to security issues. Before the site went down, hundreds of thousands had viewed the page. A few weeks ago, it surprisingly reappeared. 

      At first, I thought I would revive it. However, both pages need to be updated and should probably be moved from the genealogy site. After spending time on the site, I realized it is no longer relevant.  Google can easily find websites and activities by topic. The explosion of SLPs on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers, and those with blogs far exceed what I can add to my tired old site. 

      If you haven't visited my website, you will find it, for a few more weeks, at this link


      © 2018

      Friday, September 21, 2018

      FREE Voice-Output For your Core Vocabulary Board

      This core vocabulary initiative began as we saw a need for
      students to have a language system from the first day they
      entered the classroom. This does not take the place of the
      several hundred dynamic and static display systems
      used by students. 
      In 2016, we* began a core vocabulary initiative in my school division. We compiled a core vocabulary board (60 words based on solid research) and distributed it in a variety of sizes. We provided training for SLPs, teachers, teacher assistants, parents, administrators, OTs, PTs, and anyone who asked. We worked and continue to work very hard. 

      However, one component was missing . . . voice-output.

      Static display devices were too expensive and most not large enough for our 60-word board. As all of our targeted students had access to iPads, we needed to find an app. 

      TalkBoard Free by Mark Ashley
      Talkboard Free was the best fit for our needs. It was FREE, we could add up to 100 cells, and voice-output was a feature. 

      Our board was created with Boardmaker symbols so we contacted Boardmaker to ensure we were not violating any copyrights. 

      Once we had the go-ahead from Boardmaker, the first board was made and then transferred to other iPads via Bluetooth. 

      The first board took quite some time to create. Each symbol needed to be added as a JPEG. Recording is much like recording on a static display device so timing is important and takes practice. The 9-year-old son of one of our SLPs made the recording of each word and his recordings transfer to each iPad along with the symbols. 

      * "We" refers to the fabulous SLPs in our school division's assistive technology department. 


      © 2018