Monday, October 29, 2012

Creepy Crawly Categories

Pictures courtesy of: Boardmaker Plus
Looking for a language game with a Halloween theme?  Well, here's a Creepy Crawly Categories game just for you!

Simply dowload, print, cut out, and have your children sort the creepy crawly spiders into the correct web category.

Want to make it a bit more difficult?  Challenge your students to think of additional category items, giving them one point per item they can think of.  The student with the most points wins.

Want to make your own categories?  I added some blank spider web category cards and spider category item cards at the end so you can make your own!

Symbols from Boardmaker:  The Picture Communication Symbols ©1981–2010 by Mayer-Johnson LLC. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Used with permission.  Boardmaker™ is a trademark of Mayer-Johnson LLC.  DynaVox Mayer-Johnson; 2100 Wharton Street; Suite 400; Pittsburgh, PA 15203; Phone: 1 (800) 588-4548; Fax: 1 (866) 585-6260; Email:; Web site:

For personal use ONLY!  NOT for redistribution!  Communication Station:  Speech Therapy, PLLC reserves the creative rights to all materials created and released via

For the full PDF version, head to the bottom of this blog!

This material has been removed.

Enjoy!  Happy Talking!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Bean Bag Toss!

Pumpkin Bean Bag Toss:  I just played this simple game last week and it was super fun and great for facilitating multiple repetitions of target sounds! 

First, I cut up 10 index cards and numbered them accordingly.

I placed two bean bags on the ground (different color for each child).  If you have more than two kiddos, just label the bean bags somehow (masking tape or stickers maybe?).  Don't have bean bags? You can fill snack ziplock bags up with beans, pasta, or rice and tape shut with packaging tape as a substitute.

I then placed the index cards in a row (in numerical order) from farthest to closest the pumpkin bucket (that I purchased for $1 at the dollar tree).

The child picks a target picture and each time he/she produces word (sound, syllable, sentence, etc. whatever level you are working on) correctly, the child jumps to the next number.  Once the child says the target incorrectly, he/she stops jumping and must throw the bean bag from the number he/she is on.  Therefore, the more times he/she says the target correctly, the closer the child gets to the bucket. 

And of course whoever gets the most bean bags in the bucket by the end of the game...wins!

I love this simple activity because it is motivating to repeat the production correctly up to 10 times.  It adds gross motor skills and fun to therapy, and encourages self-monitoring skills as the child needs to know when he/she said the target correctly.

IF you are working specifically on self-monitoring and discrimination (you may want to change the rules a bit), you can reward the child with a forward jump IF the child can demonstrate awareness of correct and incorrect productions.

And of course this activitiy could really be used for numerous goals (whatever stimulus cards you like to use) as well as any holiday or theme...just change the bucket you are throwing your bean bag in and voila' and activity for the whole year through!

Do you have a fun twist to this activity?  Comment below.

Happy Talking!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Fun from $1 Bin PLUS Halloween Game FREEBIE!

I found these fun Halloween erasers for $1 a bag in Target's $ bin section.  They come in packages of 25.  I knew when I first saw them I could use them for some type of therapy activity.  And luckily for me, I remembered I had them when the time came for me to use them. 

This past week, I was seeing a PK kiddo and I thought it could be fun to use these erasers as a reinforcer activity.  So...
I brought my "Haunted House" that I got from the Dollar tree to a  speech session.
I mixed up a bunch of the Halloween erasers to the house, and we (my client and I) shook them up really well!  After several trials of target words he was able to...

...use tongs to lift out as many erasers as he could WITHOUT LOOKING!!!! (That was the fun part!)  I love adding tongs to therapy activities becuase they are a GREAT way to work on fine motor skills as well!

Once the erasers were out, we spent time sorting them and at the end of the session we counted each column and determined which erasers we had the "most", and the "least" (great way to add math concepts to our activity).  I also pointed out that although it LOOKS like we have the MOST skeletons, we actually had more ghosts, showing my little friend that length does not necessarily equal more quantity.  A nice additional lesson in perception to boot!

We had a great time and his laugh during the session was infections and he kept cracking me up! 

Such a simple activity that kept a 4 year old actively participating in continuous practice for 30 minutes!'s an added bonus!  A Halloween Gameboard Freebie!
Check out Trick or Treat Lane below!!!

For the full PDF version, click below!
Trick or Treat Lane Game

Remember you can use these activities above for ANY goals you are working on.

Happy Talking!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Articulation Spider Web, Craft, and Snack!

Liked the Busy spider activity?  Here are a few more fun Halloween articulation and language activities you could do at home or in therapy.  Articulation Spider Web-I bought some yarn and made a human spider web for the kids to climb through. 

I used clothes pins to fasten the articulation pictures to the yarn (you could use language pictures or any other stimuli you are working with).  The children can take turns climbing through the web and take the pictures off the spider web as they pass them. 

They can name each picture, or put the picture word in a phrase or sentence to target the sounds at a more complex level.  The fun of trying to climb through the spider web without knocking the pictures off is a challenge and keeps the children interested.  IF the target sound was said incorrectly, they put the picture BACK on the web.  The child with the most pictures at the end, wins!

Saw this fun simple hand print spider craft on pinterest somewhere a while back and thought since we were already focusing on spiders we could make a simple craft to go with it.  It is fun to provide a model to for children and see if they can problem solve what steps it takes to make the craft.  You can talk about what materials you need, and see if they can figure out how to make the spider.  You'll be surprised with all the solutions they may come up with.

Here is a fun spider snack that I found online.  I used peanut butter crackers, pretzel sticks and M&Ms, but I have seen other pictures of people using oreos rather than crackers.  Again, its fun to make a model without the kids seeing, and watch how they problem solve what materials they need and what steps they need to take to make the snack.  Tip:  I used extra peanut butter to hold the legs on the cracker and to achor the M&M eyes!  It is fun to watch how the kids problem solve how to keep those spider legs on!

Enjoy!  Happy Talking!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Busy Spider Game: A Halloween Themed activity!

I love Eric Carle's book,  The Very Busy Spider!  (I love all of his books really, but I especially love this book for this time of year.)  I tend to read it often in the fall, probably because this is the time when we start seeing more spiders out right before the cold weather hits.  Also it lends itself to discussing the difference between arachnids and insects.  But maybe the biggest reason I love doing spider activities in the fall is because these are activities that are culturally appropriate. Even if in your school you can't talk about that crazy word "Halloween".  You can ALWAYS talk about spiders!!!

If you haven't read it, this book is great for PK and early Elementary kiddos.  Its a repetitive story about how numerous farm animals want to play with a spider but the spider is too busy to play (you'll have to get the book to find out why).  You can discuss farm animals, the noises the make, the things they like to do.  As the book is repetitious your children will begin to repeat or predict and anticipate words in the story as you read!

Inspired by this book I made a fun little game that you could do in conjunction with reading the book or separately as a reinforcement activity!  So its great for any type of speech, language, voice, fluency, social skills activity.

**Communication Station: Speech Therapy, PLLC reserves the creative rights to all materials created and distributed via  For personal use only!  NOT for redistribution!  If your friends want a copy, feel free to direct them to this website where they can download and print their own copy.**

Your students will each get their own spider web sheet. 

The object is to collect all four flies AND their spider from the hodge-podge of spiders, flies, and farm animals that you place in a bucket, pile or even under stimulus cards!

Symbols from Boardmaker:  The Picture Communication Symbols ©1981–2010 by Mayer-Johnson LLC. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Used with permission.  Boardmaker™ is a trademark of Mayer-Johnson LLC.  DynaVox Mayer-Johnson; 2100 Wharton Street; Suite 400; Pittsburgh, PA 15203; Phone: 1 (800) 588-4548; Fax: 1 (866) 585-6260; Email:; Web site:

If a student has all four flies (but not their spider yet) and picks up another fly,  the fly must return to the pile and the game moves on to the next person.

Full PDF Version Below:

Enjoy!  Happy Talking!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Soical Story: Trick or Treating!

 Need a Social Story for Halloween?  I made this simple story by using clipart from Microsoft powerpoint.

If you want to make it more personal, I would suggest taking pictures of your student or child practicing Trick or Treat activtivies and add them after their respective pages within the book!  Check it out!  Full PDF version to download is below! 

Remember:  repetition is the KEY!  Read often and practice skills daily for a successful Trick or Treat experience!

Full PDF Version:
Trick or Treating

Enjoy!  Happy Talking!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Spothlight on Audiology: (Central) Auditory Processing Disorder!

You may have heard of Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) or Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in the past.  These terms are used interchangeably and refer to the same skill set.

The following information was adapted from the ASHA website  (American-Speech-Language Hearing Association).
Please click on the link above for more detailed information.

What is (Central) Auditory Processing [(C)AP]? 
ASHA's (The American-Speech and Language Association) definition: “(Central) Auditory Processing [(C)AP] refers to the efficiency and effectiveness by which the central nervous system (CNS) utilizes auditory information”. 
AP includes skills such as:
·         “sound localization and lateralization;
·         auditory discrimination;
·         auditory pattern recognition;
·         temporal aspects of audition, including temporal integration, temporal discrimination (e.g., temporal gap detection), temporal ordering, and temporal masking;
·         auditory performance in competing acoustic signals (including dichotic listening); and auditory performance with degraded acoustic signals”

What is (Central) Auditory Processing Disorder [(C)APD]?

According to ASHA,(Central) Auditory Processing Disorder [(C)APD] refers to difficulties in the perceptual processing of auditory information in the CNS as demonstrated by poor performance in one or more of the above skills”, and the cause of which cannot be attributed to deficits or delays in cognition, language, attention skills or other disorders (e.g. Autism, learning disability, etc).  With that said, APD can at times coexist with other disorders but is NOT the result of the coexisting disorder.

In other words “(C)APD is best viewed as a deficit in the neural processing of auditory stimuli that may coexist with, but is not the result of, dysfunction in other modalities”.

Although skills such as phonological awareness, auditory memory (including attention skills to auditory information presented), auditory comprehension, auditory synthesis, and other similar skills may be reliant on the auditory process, they are considered higher level cognitive-communication skills or language-related functions and are not included in the definition of (C)AP.

How does APD affect my child’s development?

Although (C)APD affects individuals differently, school-age children can demonstration difficulties in a number of areas:
·         learning difficulties
·         speech production deficits
·         language deficits (comprehension and expression)
·         reading delays
·         writing deficits
·         behavioral, emotional and social difficulties

(C)APD Screening:

·         Can be conducted by audiologists, SLPs, psychologists, and others using a variety of measures that evaluate auditory-related skills
·         Screenings usually consist of:  observation of listening behavior,  performance on tests of auditory function, questionnaires, checklists, and other related measures that look at auditory behaviors related to academic achievement, listening skills, and communication.
·         At this time there is no universally used method of screening and screenings should not be used as diagnostic tools.

(C)APD Evaluation: (Due to the inconsistency of language, cognitive and auditory skill development in young children, it is believed that children below the age of 7 cannot be effectively diagnosed with (C)APD.  In fact some professionals believe that diagnosis cannot be consistent or effective prior to the age of 10 years; the age at which the Central Auditory System is considered fully developed.)

·         Can only be conducted by an audiologist familiar and experienced in this area of specialty
·         ASHA’s code of ethics discusses 13 principles to APD testing:

1. the audiologist should have the knowledge, training, and skills necessary to do testing.
2. The test battery process should be motivated by the referring complaint and the relevant
information available to the audiologist.
3. Tests used should have good reliability and validity
4. A central auditory test battery should include measures that examine different central processes.
5. Tests generally should include both nonverbal (e.g., tones, clicks, and complex wave-forms) and
verbal stimuli
6. The audiologist should be sensitive to attributes of the individual.
7. the audiologist needs to determine the appropriate tests for each individual.
8. The audiologist should be sensitive to the influences of mental age on test outcomes. When testing
children below the mental age of 7 years, task difficulty and performance variability render
questionable results on behavioral tests of central auditory function.
9. Test methods should be consistent with the procedures defined in the original research of the test or
as specified in the test manual or literature.
10. The duration of the test session should be appropriate to the person's attention, motivation,
and energy level, and should permit the measurement of a variety of key auditory processes.
11. SLPs, psychologists, educators, and other professionals should collaborate in the
assessment of auditory processing disorders, particularly in cases in which there is evidence of
speech and/or language deficits, learning difficulties, or other disorders. The speech-language
pathology assessment provides measures of speech and language ability and communicative function,
and assists in the differential diagnosis of an auditory processing disorder.
12. In cases in which there is suspicion of speech or language impairment, or intellectual, psychological,
or other deficits, referral to the appropriate professional(s) should be made. In some cases, this
referral  should precede (C)AP testing to ensure accurate interpretation of central auditory
13. Test results should be viewed as one part of a multifaceted evaluation of the individual's
complaints and symptoms. Examples of other data that should be examined include but are not limited to
systematic observation of the individual in daily life activities, self-assessments, and formal and informal
assessments conducted by other professionals.

Types of tests available for (C)APD:

The types of testing measures available for assessing APD are listed below.  This is not an inclusive list, meaning that an APD assessment is NOT required to include testing types, but  is just a guide for clinicians to understand the types of testing available for (C)APD assessment. (list directly quoted from ASHA website)
1.      Auditory discrimination tests: assess the ability to differentiate similar acoustic stimuli that differ in frequency, intensity, and/or temporal parameters (e.g., difference limens for frequency, intensity, and duration; psychophysical tuning curves; phoneme discrimination).
2.      Auditory temporal processing and patterning tests: assess the ability to analyze acoustic events over time (e.g., sequencing and patterns, gap detection, fusion discrimination, integration, forward and backward masking).
3.      Dichotic speech tests: assess the ability to separate (i.e., binaural separation) or integrate (i.e., binaural integration) disparate auditory stimuli presented to each ear simultaneously (e.g., dichotic CVs, digits, words, sentences).
4.      Monaural low-redundancy speech tests: assess recognition of degraded speech stimuli presented to one ear at a time (e.g., filtered, time-altered, intensity-altered [e.g., performance-intensity PI-PB functions]), speech-in-noise or speech-in-competition).
5.      Binaural interaction tests: assess binaural (i.e., diotic) processes dependent on intensity or time differences of acoustic stimuli (e.g., masking level difference, localization, lateralization, fused-image tracking).
6.      Electroacoustic measures: recordings of acoustic signals from within the ear canal that are generated spontaneously or in response to acoustic stimuli (e.g., OAEs, acoustic reflex thresholds, acoustic reflex decay).
7.      Electrophysiologic measures: recordings of electrical potentials that reflect synchronous activity generated by the CNS in response to a wide variety of acoustic events (e.g., ABR, middle latency response, 40 Hz response, steady-state evoked potentials, frequency following response, cortical event-related potentials [P1, N1, P2, P300], mismatch negativity, topographical mapping). The use of electrophysiologic measures may be particularly useful in cases in which behavioral procedures are not feasible (e.g., infants and very young children), when there is suspicion of frank neurologic disorder, when a confirmation of behavioral findings is needed, or when behavioral findings are inconclusive.”

The SLPs role in (C)APD:

ASHA’s Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology statement explains the SLP’s role in (C)APD should focus on “collaborating in the assessment of (central) auditory processing disorders and providing intervention where there is evidence of speech, language, and/or other cognitive-communication disorders”.

Treatment of (C)APD:

ASHA describes three main types of treatments for (C)APD:

1.       Direct Skills Remediation or Auditory Training:  this treatment approach is designed to resolve or reduce (C)APD.  Direct remidiation should be deficit specific, intense and frequent (often requiring daily sessions for several weeks), and adequately challenging (between 30-70% accuracy; 70% accuracy MUST be met before increasing difficulty of taks).  Auditory training tasks should require active participation and provide immediate feedback and reinforcement to maximize learning.  Auditory training activities include (not limited to):
a.       Activities targeting intensity, frequency and duration discrimination
b.      Phoneme discrimination
c.       Phoneme-to-grapheme skills
d.      Temporal gap discrimination
e.       Temporal ordering or sequencing
f.       Pattern recongnition
g.       Localization/lateralization of sound
h.      Recognition of auditory information presented with competing background noise

For a number of specific FREE auditory training activities go to Bonnie Terry Learning

2.      Compensatory strategies training: treatment approach designed to minimize the impact of residual (C)APD unable to be resolved via auditory training and that affects or exacerbates deficits in language, cognitive and academic areas.  Strategies themselves are not effective in remediating the effects of (C)APD but should be practiced often and in various communication environments as one with (C)APD will most likely require the use of these strategies over his/her lifetime to be successful.  There are 2 main types of strategies.
a.       Metalinguistic strategies:  include
                                                              i.      Schema inducation and discourse cohesion devices
                                                            ii.      Context-derived vocabulary building activities (e.g. pre and post-teach academic vocab)
                                                          iii.      Phonological awareness skills (e.g. letter/sound ID, rhyming, decoding, encoding, segmenting/blending of sounds/syllables)
                                                          iv.      Semantic network expansion activities (e.g. synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, categories)
b.      Metacognitive strategies:
                                                              i.      Self-instruction
                                                            ii.      Cognitive problem solving
                                                          iii.      Assertiveness training (also focus on improving self-reliance and self-efficacy)

3.    Environmental modifications: goal is to improve presentation of information at class, work or other communication environments.  Strategies  focus on enhancement of the signal and listening environment.  The following is a list of more common strategies used but this list is far from comprehensive.
a.       Preferential seating (means close to the point on instruction)
b.      Use of visual aids
c.       Reduction of competing signals and reverberation of acoustic sounds
d.      Use of assistive listening systems   (Note:  The strongest indicators for the use of personal FM as a management strategy are deficits on monaural low redundancy speech and dichotic speech tasks which  involve degraded signals, figure-ground, or competing speech that are similar to the effects of noise and reverberation)
e.       Have other speakers present auditory information slowly, pause more often, and emphasize key words

You can find a more complete list of classroom accommodations and modifications below:
Accommodations and Modifications for the Classroom

What should you do if you suspect your child has (C)APD?
Contact an experienced audiologist in your area for a consultation.

If you are an audiologist or an SLP who is well-versed in (C)APD, feel free to comment below.

Happy Talking! 


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