Sunday, January 31, 2016

Building my Travel SLP Game Collection

I recently have taken on an extra 6 clients, outside of my amazing full-time school SLP position.  I need the extra income because we are saving up for a house, and additionally I want to maintain my speech skill sets outside of working with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

So, since I have a whole tribe of new kiddos (all who are pre-school age), I wanted to invest in some games and toys that I can keep at my apartment and then select from each day to throw in my trunk.  

I gave myself a few rules when it came to what purchases I would be making, and I would recommend you do the same!

1. Nothing over $10 (I am trying to save money after all!)

2. Games had to be open-ended, so I could use them during drill activities

3. Used games are A-OK so long as all pieces are included or could easily be replaced

4. Must have a box for ease of travel, or easily be carried in a ziplock bag

So, after I made my rules I had to decide where to look for my new assortment of games.

First, I started checking out Amazon's daily deals and found two games that I was super excited about! They were brand new, and with the use of Amazon Prime's free shipping, each was under $10 so they fit the bill.

The next place I looked was on Facebook! My town has a Mom's market group where people buy and sell items.  I scored these three games from the same mom!  She even gave me Don't Wake Daddy for FREE.  

The last place I looked was a store in my town called Once Upon a Child, that buys and sells all things related to children.  It was here that I scooped up these games for $4.50 each!

Where have you all found your best, cheap toys/activities for home care?


Monday, January 25, 2016

Quick & Easy Recipe

As a full-time SLP, plus after hours home-care provider, dinner time can be frantic.  I'm usually starving by the time I get home.  I try to decide on Sundays what I will make each day of the week, so I don't lose time being indecisive or figuring out what I can create from anything I find in the fridge that day.  An additional hiccup is having a gluten allergy, so most TV microwave dinners are out of the question.

Pot Roast has been a frequent go to dinner in recent weeks. I took it from my mom's recipe book. It's perfect because you can prep it the night before, or in the morning, and then just plug the crock pot in before you leave for work. It also has that cozy, home-made feel that's perfect for these cold winter nights.

What do you need?

A crockpot that will fit your meat
Beef Chuck Roast (size depends on how many you are feeding)
Salt to liking
Ground Black Pepper to liking
Mini carrots
Fingerling potatoes
Onion powder to liking
2 Cups water
2 Beef bouillon cubes

Lauren, what do I do with these ingredients?


1. Rinse and dry off potatoes -> place them in bottom of crockpot until bottom is covered
2. Rinse and dry off carrots -> layer carrots on top of potatoes in crock pot
3. Place beef chuck roast in crock pot
4. Pour in two cups of water
5. Place 2 beef bouillon cubes in crock pot *Make sure they are covered by the water or they won't dissolve*
6. Sprinkle in Pepper, Salt, and Onion Powder for taste. Make sure these end up both on meat as well as in the water
7. Cover crock pot and set to low if you are going to be at work all day, or high if you will only be gone for 4-5 hours

When you arrive back home, be sure to check to see if your pot roast is done. If it is, you can change the temperature to Warm so that it stays warm without continuing to cook!  Usually I then use the juice in the crock pot to make gravy. I take out two cups worth of liquid, and add it to brown gravy mix, and voila!  You have gravy. You have pot roast. You have carrots. You have potatoes.  Delish!

Looking for more quick & easy dinner ideas? Take a look at Speech 2U's blog post to check out other SLP dinner ideas! Speech 2U - Quick & Easy Dinner Ideas


Sunday, January 24, 2016

El Deafo

I mentioned to one of my friends and coworkers how long it had been since I had the time to sit down and dive into a great book.  In response, she gave me the gift of El Deafo, by CeCe Bell.  Since there was a blizzard this weekend, in between shoveling I sat down thinking I would knock off a few chapters.  I ended up reading the entire book.  Granted, the story is written in a style similar to a comic book...

but even if it wasn't, it was such a well-written book that I think I would have flown through it regardless.  The book is based on the real-life of CeCe Bell, who lost her hearing as a result of meningitis at the age of four.  The story follows her through pre-school up until elementary school.  She discusses how she went to a school for the deaf for just one year, before her family moved and she was then mainstreamed.  She did not learn sign language, and instead depended on lip-reading as well as the use of her hearing aids.  She discusses the implications of being the only child with a hearing loss in her class, the reactions of classmates, the emotional conflict of wanting to have friends while also not wanting others to know that she was deaf, while hiding a large and heavy body-worn hearing aid under her shirt each day.  Eventually CeCe did make true and life-long friends, but it was a journey to get to that point as well as to learn to self-advocate for herself. 
Although it is such a small portion of the book, being a Speech-Language Pathologist at a school for the Deaf, the pages of her story depicting her time at a school for the deaf was the most impactful for me. She felt included. She felt understood. She felt like she belonged. She appreciated her teacher who treated her so kindly.  When CeCe was first mainstreamed, she describes how she imagines herself along with her newly dispersed friends who have hearing loss, who were all sent to different schools.  She says:

"Most of the time we are lost, drifting along on our own planets. But we are together in the same universe, at least. "

These lines stand out to me.  At my school, the children bond with other children who also have hearing loss. We hope that these bonds are life lasting, even when some of the students do go off and are mainstreamed into their local schools. For students who stay at our school, who use sign language, they also feel included here. They look forward to coming to school where everyone speaks their language and they are not so different from other children.

Realizing that our students with hearing loss want to feel understood and not different, it is important that SLPs are familiar with basic types of hearing amplification and trouble-shooting.  It is comforting for a child to walk into a room where the adult is already familiar with their equipment.  Many SLPs may go years in between working with a student who is deaf.  For any of you who need a quick refresher or introduction, please take a look at my:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dollar Store Speech Ideas

Ahhh, the dollar store.  I've never met an SLP who doesn't love going in one and leaving with arms full of bags.  When I first graduated from the masters program at Queens College, I stocked up on many of my first speech supplies from dollar stores and garage sales.  I couldn't wait to put them to use at my new real SLP job :)  Even though that was a few years ago, there are still a few dollar store finds that I use on a pretty regular basis in my speech room.  Here are a few of them that you can borrow for your own!

These fun hole-punchers were a great find!  I use them during drill articulation tasks.  Every time a student uses their good sound, they get to punch a piece of paper with the hole-puncher.  When they finish, I let them choose what to do with the "confetti." They can glue them into their speech book so mom or dad can see how many times they used their good sounds. They can toss them up into the air (over the garbage) to celebrate finishing the task.  Sometimes they just like to keep the paper that has these shapes punched out of them! These are also great for any students who need to exert extra energy during speech, as they really have to push down hard on these babies!

Okay, so this might look like any old bean bag (which it is), but kids never out grow these!  I love spreading any kind of picture card down on the floor, face down.  We take turns tossing the bean bag and having it land on a picture.  Then, we just turn the card over and do whatever it is we are doing! Sometimes it is describing a picture, working on pronouns, prepositions, articulation, plurals, LITERALLY ANYTHING can be done with a bean bag!

My cousin actually found this for me at the dollar store and thought I would love it.  I use it to teach communicative turn taking.  Whoever is holding the key is the one speaking or signing.  It helps keep little hands occupied, is fun to hold, and helps provide a visual for a sometimes difficult concept.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my Dollar Store speech finds! I would love to hear about your own :) If you want to find some more awesome dollar store ideas, be sure to check back to Talkin' With Twang's blog by clicking right here-> Talkin' With Twang


Sunday, January 10, 2016

We don't do/say that in Room 20

So, this week is the first time that the temperature has felt like winter this year.  11 degrees outside and for some reason my earmuffs fall a half inch below my ears.  On this chilly, wet, and sad afternoon I started thinking about what made me smile throughout my week, since obviously it wasn't the weather.  I realized that a lot of the joy in my week was given to me by my students, unbeknownst to them.  Every time one of them says or does something ridiculously funny I find myself saying my go to phrase of "We don't say/do that in Room 20."  Every now and then I switch it up to, " We don't do that in Speech."  This week I had to use these phrases a lot, so I thought I would share some of my little moments of joy with you.

Here are a few statements or actions from my students that resulted in hearing my catch phrase.

"I got new underwear! I'll show you!" - Starts to take pants off

"I like to smell my toes."

"Can I taste the play-doh?"

"This play-doh tastes like poop." (This one lead to a discussion on not eating poop anywhere, ever.)

-Licking the floor

-Child lifting Rifton chair over head "I AM THE HULK."

Hope you got a little bit of the joy from these! Please share with me some of the ridiculous comments you have heard from your own students :)