Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guest Post: Applying for Disability Benefits for Children with Communication Disorders!

Today I have a guest post written by Molly Clarke, who is the Social Media Coordinator for Social Security Disability Help and contributes regularly to the Social Security Help Blog.  She explains the process of applying for disability benefits for parents whose children have communication disorders.

To contact Molly with further questions, please email her at   

Applying for Disability Benefits for Children with Communication Disorders

Communication is a vital part of human life—it allows us to connect, learn, and grow. When a child is not able to communicate effectively due to a communication disorder, his or her entire life can be impacted.
A communication disorder is general title given to a group of disorders that prevent a child from speaking, hearing, or processing language. Communication disorders affect children in varying ways. One child with a communication disorder may not experience any significant limitation in his or her life while another child with the same communication disorder may be extremely limited in his or her abilities.

If you are the parent of a child who has difficulty speaking, you likely make it your first priority to tend to their needs. Unfortunately, this can be made difficult for families who have limited income. If you find that you cannot afford the heightened medical bills, assistive devices, or therapies necessary to improve your child’s communication, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits on his or her behalf.

Before jumping into the application process it is very important that you understand the programs available to you and how to qualify on behalf of your child. This article will provide you with that information and get you started down the correct path.

Technical Requirements

Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits through two separate programs, children only qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on their own record.  SSI is a needs-based benefit program that provides assistance to elderly and disabled individuals who have very limited income. To qualify for SSI, an applicant must meet very specific financial rules. In the case of a child, his or her parent’s income will be taken into account. This process is called parental deeming.

Learn more about parental deeming and SSI requirements, here:

Medical Requirements

To meet the SSA’s definition of childhood disability, your child must have a physical or psychological condition that is expected to last at least 12 months and that impairs his or her ability to perform daily activities.

If your child meets this definition, his or her condition will be evaluated based on the standards set in the SSA’s blue book. The blue book is the SSA’s official handbook of potentially disabling conditions. Under each listing, the SSA lists the specific symptoms needed to qualify for SSI.

As a parent, you should first check the blue book listings to see if your child’s specific disorder is listed. If your child’s condition is not listed, he or she may still qualify if their symptoms match the criteria of a separate listing.  Once you find the appropriate listing, you must procure medical documentation to prove that your child meets all of the listing’s requirements.

Communication disorders are specifically listed in the following section of the blue book: 111.09 (Communication Impairment Associated with a Documented Neurological Disorder). To meet this listing, you must be able to produce medical evidence that he or she suffers from a neurological disorder that causes the following:
·         A documented speech deficit which severely affects the clarity and content of the child’s speech; or
·         A documented comprehension deficit which results in ineffective verbal communication; or
·         A hearing impairment that can be treated with a cochlear implant; or
·         A hearing impairment that cannot be treated with a cochlear implant.

Not all communication disorders will fall under listing 111.09. Other relevant listings may include:
·         Section 102.10 – Hearing  loss not treated with cochlear implantation
·         Section 102.11 – Hearing loss treated with cochlear implantation
·         Section 112.03 – Psychotic Disorders
·         Section 112.05 – Mental retardation
·         Section 112.06 – Anxiety disorders
·         Section 112.08 – Personality disorders
·         Section 112.10 – Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders
·         Section 112.11 – ADHD

See all blue book listings, here: 

Application Process

To begin the SSI application process, you will be required to complete two forms and your child will have to undergo an interview with an SSA representative. These two forms include the Child Disability Report and the Application for SSI. Currently, only the Child Disability Report can be filled out online. For this reason, many parents prefer to complete both forms at the time of their child’s interview. Schedule your interview by calling the SSA’s main phone number (1-800-772-1213).

Before attending your interview you should collect medical and non-medical records needed to support your child’s claim. The following checklist can be very helpful when compiling your child’s records:

What to do in the Case of a Denial
It is important to realize that your child may not be approved right away. In fact, many initial applications are denied. If your child is denied, you have 60 days from the date of the denial to appeal the SSA's decision. The best thing you can do for your child is to remain persistent in your efforts. You can prepare for the appeals process by collecting the most up to date medical documentation and even by retaining the services of a disability attorney.

Once you are awarded disability benefits you will be able to provide for your child’s needs and help them to cope with or overcome their speech impairment.

For more information visit Social Security Disability Help ( 

Happy talking!
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Show me the data linky!

If you've been following Crazy Speech World's data collection link up, you know there are a number of brilliant SLPs out there streamlining their data collection in the most efficient means possible for their particular setting.  If you haven't checked the linky party yet, do so.  You may just be inspired to or can grab a few free data collection forms you could try!!!

I started writing this blog post before I knew about this link up in response to a follower requests on wanting to know how I keep data.  This link up just happened to fall at the perfect time for me to get this blog post finished so I could share it.  So here goes nothing!!!!

Ok so as school is beginning soon, I know as SLPs out there, you are gearing up for ALL the paperwork that must be completed BEFORE you can even see one student.  I had a request for some posts on how I track data and progress and then Jenn over at Crazy Speech World decided to host this linky party so I thought it was perfect time to share with you what I did when I was working in the schools.

My Lesson Plan:
I have very specific district data forms that I needed to fill out on every student.  However I needed some type of form where I could update lesson plans on a weekly basis and could keep track of my data.  So I made these lesson plans below.

This is an example of what my lesson plans looked like (all the names and goals are fictitious!)!  I simply created a word table each table for each day of the week.

  • As you can see I organized it by time I saw the students and which students were in the group I pulled on that day and time (the first column).  
  • The second column is for the IEP objectives for each student.  
  • The third column is where I planned the lesson/activity.  For my younger kiddos I would typically have at least 2 activities to keep their attention, but for older kiddos usually 1 activity was all we could get through in a 20 minute session.  This is also the column I changed and updated each week to show my new lessons which of course reflected the changes and improvements in my students's skills.  
  • The final column is for data collection.  I always tried to type in all the necessary information (in my own shorthand) to keep data so I could save time tracking data during the session.  I also add a few spaces for extra notes I want to take.  Often times I used the margins as well, especially when taking qualitative data.   

If a student was absent, at the nurses office, in assembly, field trip etc. I would write in big letters across the row so I had a paper trail as to why I didn't see that student that particular day.

All of this information was then transferred to the district required data sheet (always kept my lesson plans as a paper trail just in case the school ever had a mediation or due process situation I had to be part of).  I usually transferred from am students's info during lunch and my pm students's info at the end of the day.  The district sheet recorded progress on a point scale,but I always wrote a narrative of the activity and detailed description of the qualitative and quantitative data for a student just in case I ever had to explain what I did with a student on a particular date.

I had worked with younger kiddos where I lost time walking students to and from the therapy room so I had to build in extra minutes in my day for "transportation".  However, a co-worker, who serviced older school-age students was able to save some time but making her students (with the classroom teacher's help) responsible for walking to the therapy room on their own.  So she didn't have to add any additional time for transportation.

When working with teachers/aides taking data:
Isn't it the BEST when you have a teacher that is willing to help track their student's speech progress?!

I worked with some wonderful classroom teachers who were willing to do just this.  How did I get them to do this you ask? Here are my tips:

  1. Keep things as simple as possible by providing all materials needed for tracking
  2. Ask staff to decided what time of day (what activity) would be the easiest time for them to track (it was usually during their small group time)
  3. Randomly check the data sheets during class time and ask the teacher every few days how the student is doing in the classroom (a little bit of accountability always helps!)
So what was my system? (I cannot take credit for this early childhood teacher I worked with helped me with this b/c she is brilliant!)
  • Each student had their own folder.
  • Inside their folder was a classroom data collection sheet (like the example below)
  • I gave the teachers sheets of blank labels hooked to a clip board (usually only 1 sheet at a time b/c those things are pricey and if they are only tracking data for a few kids, it will take a while to go through 1 I LOVED when they asked me for more label sheets...means they are keeping data).
  • Each day they took data (I was happy with 1-2 days a week...lets be realistic here!), they would write it on one of the labels and place the label in of the of boxes on the data collection sheet.
  • I'd check the sheets periodically (gave them new sheet and labels when needed) and kept the completed sheets to show at IEP meeting time.  This is a GREAT way to show parents speech is NOT done in a vacuum and that the entire staff is really trying to help their child grow and learn.
(Keep in mind you may have to train a teacher or aide how to take data and what they are looking for before putting this system into place)

Why did I use labels instead of having them write directly ON the data sheet?  I have found its much easier for a teacher to carry around 1 clipboard during the day than several different student folders (then taking the time to open the folders, pull out the sheet, take the date, put back in the folder, etc....not going to happen!) Sometimes teachers are actually taking data on numerous kiddos at one time or in various situations so its much easier for them to take data in the moment (wherever they are on their labels sheets clipped to the clipboard) and simply transfer at the end of the day (or when they had time) by just sticking the labels on the correct student's sheet.  This just seemed to be the way that worked so I ran with it! :)

And that's it!  Those are the two primary ways I tracked progress in the school setting.  Want your copy of this classroom data sheet?  Well you can grab it here!!!

In private practice I am back to writing good ol' fashioned SOAP notes.  I tend to write a lot and I have tried a narrative type form previously however I didn't feel like it was super efficient.  So I recently decided to change my SOAP note form.  This is what I came up with.  Not sure how I'm going to like it yet but I'll try it out for a while and see.

Want a copy of this SOAP note?  You can grab it here!

Anyway, that's how I track data!  I hope you enjoyed this post and this link up.  I know I've really enjoyed reading all the other posts and great ideas out there!!!!

How do you take data?  Let us know your system by commenting below!!!
Happy taking...and tracking!!!

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Friday, July 26, 2013

FREEBIE Friday: Parts of a Whole

Here's a fun "Parts of a Whole" activity I made.  There are 9 pictures of binary choice cards with 3 descriptors (parts of the whole) and 9 object pictures you can use to have your client describe it by naming at least 3 parts of the object.

Grab your free copy here!


Enjoy and happy talking!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

SRN Linky party: Games I like!

Speech Room News hosted a linky party last Friday.  The topic:  Games I like!

So I thought I'd share some of my favorite games I like to use in speech therapy.

Note:  All pictures are courtesy of

Here we go!

Product Details
1.  Guesstures:  who doesn't love this game?  A fun charades game where my students read the word and act it out for fellow peers to guess.  I love this game b/c I wan't to see if my students have effective gestural language.  We are also focused on language but many of our language delayed kiddos struggle with nonverbal language as well so I like this game for that.  Also gives me insight into problem solving and reasoning skills when the students are guessing.

Product Details
2.  Taboo:  is another one of my favorites for language delayed kiddos, social skills, articulation, fluency (timed game).  However, b/c so many of my language delayed kids struggle with describing objects, I will allow them to use the "forbidden" words on the cards as their starting off point.  As students begin to get better at describing objects they will no longer have to use these words.  If I want to see if a student can describe objects using the most salient descriptors, I just omit the game cards....write the objects down on sheets of paper and still use the timer and buzzer (we love to buzz our friends when they get it wrong...all in good fun though!)

Product Details
3.  Mad Gad:  is SO MUCH FUN and great for older kids as well.  Perfect if working on encoding, auditory processing (what word/phrase does it sound like?) or just as a reinforcement game for various goals!!!

Product Details   
4.  Uno Moo:  So much fun for the younger kiddos...perfect to work on color ID, animal ID, animal/sound match up, same, vs. different, problem solving and reasoning...and how fun is it to push our neighbors animal into the barn?  So much fun!!!!

Product Details
5.  Hungry Hungry Hippos:  Who doesn't LOVE Hungry Hungry Hippos???? So much fun!  I like to make my kiddos do as many repetitions or stimulus cards as the number of balls the winning hippo ate.  Keeps it fun  and exciting!  Be warned: this game is super loud when 4 kids are playing it...but then again...who really cares b/c it so much FUN!!! :)

Oh I have so many more games I love and actually have some game reviews written and ready to go.  They will be coming out in about a month or so for the beginning of the school year so you can decide which games you'd love to have in your therapy room.  In the meantime, these are the 5 I picked (and that was such a difficulty choice!) I hope you have been following this linky b/c it's been super fun to see what other SLPs use in there therapy rooms!

If you had to pick 5 favorites for speech therapy...what would they be???? Comment below!!!!

Enjoy and happy talking and playing!!!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Join an ASHA SIG!

Special Interest Groups - Logo
Photo Credit
At ASHA's Schools Conference last week, there was a SIG 16, School-Based Issues special interest group,  meeting held and all affiliate members were invited.  Of the 1100+ participants in the conference (and I don't recall the exact number), ONLY a handful of us attended.  Why was that?  Was it because there really were more members there but thought lunch was more necessary at the time?  Or was it that there really were so few affiliate members there at all?  So this got me you SLPs out there know about the SIGs offered by ASHA and do you know the benefits of joining?  Hence, in that moment this blog idea was born!

As SLPs we are also looking for great learning opportunities and getting cheap CEUs doesn't hurt either right?  Well here's one of my favorites ways to do that.

Years ago, I was introduced to this wonderful hidden gem offered to ASHA members called the Special Interest Groups (SIGs for short).  Being just out of graduate school and trying to keep up with all the different disorders and deficits I was trying to evaluate and treat, I had NO time the first few years to look into ASHA and  see what the inner workings were all about.  I had no real idea of what ASHA actually did.  All I knew is that I had to save all year long to pay my $250 (in December...worst time of the year of course) to keep my CCCs and it seemed like a raw deal not getting much for what I paid in.  ASHA was so convoluted to me!  I had no idea what it took to keep this organization going nor how MANY professionals volunteer their time and talents to share their knowledge and love of this profession to mentor, guide and educate the rest of us!  Even now, to tell you the truth, ASHA in itself is very similar to a government (in my opinion) with all of its committees and positions, and who really understands the inner workings?  Not me that's for sure.  BUT over time, I, at the very least, realized that there are some nice benefits to being a certified member.  I'm not just talking about being able to keep my job (which is of course the most important perk! Ha) and reciprocity of state licenses (since I've worked in 4 different ones since graduating).  I'm talking about joining a SIG which, in my humble opinion, is DEFINITELY one of the perks!

So what SIG am I a member of and why to I love it so much?

I'm a member of ASHA's SIG 16, School Based Issues, and here are my reasons why I love it! 

(I cannot speak for other SIGs as I am not a member but the following reasons may also work for them as well)

1.)  Cheap CEUs: Let's be honest, this is probably the only reason many of us had ever even thought about paying an extra $35/yr to become a SIG member.  SIG 16 publishes 4 times a year (March, June, Oct, Dec) and if you read each publication of SIG 16 yearly and take the CEU test (each test costs $ an additional $20/year) you WILL get your 10 yearly CEUs.  For those of us who have worked or are working in school districts that provide NO CEU opportunities or reimbursement, paying out $55 bucks a YEAR for 10 CEUs is DEFINITELY AFFORDABLE!  You will NOT find cheaper CEUs anywhere!

2.)  Self-paced and LOTs of time to take CEU test:  I LOVE that the SIG issues are publications we can do on our own free time.  Years ago when I first joined SIG 16 they did not give much time (~3 months before the next issue was published) to read and take the CEU test. NOW, SIG 16 has changed the way they do things and have extended the due date for CEU tests sometimes for years!!! So you can go back to previous publications as well to obtain CEUs which is pretty awesome!  Word of caution, just make sure to check each publication to make sure when the CEU test should be completed, but I promise you, you will have MORE than enough time to do it.  I was so, so, so happy when I saw this change because as SLPs in schools we KNOW the busy times of year, the times we have NO TIME for anything BUT work so I appreciate that the leaders of this SIG have decided to accommodate for school schedules and allow members enough time to really read and LEARN before having to take the CEU test.

3.)  Issues are relevant and timely:  This is one of my FAVORITE things about SIG 16 is the issues that have been published over the last two years have really become much more relevant to the current issues school based SLPs are facing.  So we are learning in real-time what to do with the changes in education.

4.)  Issues relevant to ANYONE who works with pediatrics:  I know SIG 16 is called School-Based Issues and the committee does a great job keeping the information relevant for school based clinicians BUT I  left the schools a year ago and I find each issue has been worthwhile for my continued education as well.  As pediatric SLPs it doesn't matter if we work in the schools or in private practice we still NEED to know what is happening IN the schools so we can effectively support parents as well as school-based SLPs when sharing clients.  So I'm a big advocate of SIG 16 for private SLPs as well!

5.)  Volunteer Opportunities:  there are a number of volunteer opportunities available to SIG members.  One of which is being a state representative (I can't recall the exact name they used) at your state's speech and hearing conference to do some PR for the SIGs and another is peer review (I'm sure there are more volunteer opportunities but I don't know them all).  So if you ever wanted to get more involved in ASHA but have no idea how to go about doing it, here are some nice volunteer opportunities.  I had no idea about these volunteer opportunities until I went to the affiliate meeting at the conference.  Think you don't have the qualifications to be a peer reviewer?  Well I was ASSURED that you don't have to have a doctorate of any kind to offer this service and that most committee members were in fact Master's level SLPs.  So don't question your ability to volunteer and help out!

6.)  SIG online community:  This is my NUMBER 1 REASON TO JOIN SIG 16 (I'm sure other SIGs communities are great as well)...the online community is AMAZING!!!!!  We, as SLPs in the trenches are the experts!!!!  There's not hierarchy of education here.  There's no..."If you don't have a PhD., your response is not needed" mentality! Members ask questions and other members share their experiences to help answer those questions.  There are no right or wrong answers as state laws differ and everyone's experiences are valid and allow for a new perspective!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this online community so much and often times free materials and educational resources are shared so it really is a win-win!  In addition, while reading these daily email updates, you really begin to feel a part of a community and a part of this huge conglomerate we call ASHA.

Some other perks:

Additional Discounts:  SIG members are ensured 50% discount on select short courses at ASHA convention.  Not really great if you don't have the dough to go to the convention but still cool if you will be there, why not save a few bucks right?

Online Chats:  all online chats can be accessed in the archives after the event for additional learning opportunities (no CEUs).

Affiliate meeting at schools conference:  and of course the last perk is you can put faces to names at the affiliates meeting as the schools conference every summer.

So hopefully I gave you enough incentives to at least look into joining an ASHA SIG!  We are life-long learners and this is a great, affordable way to support that.  I hope to see you all on SIG 16's online community asking and answering questions and sharing your experiences because we need to learn more from each other and you have so much to give!!!!

Until always, happy talking!
Update 7/25/13: After I posted this blog, a member from SIG 16's online community shared with me how she has benefited from being part of this SIG.  She contacted SIG 16 when: 

"1 - When I had a "sticky" situation with a CF who I didn't think made the grade - Deborah Dixon did an excellent job confirming what I needed to do, and gave me lots of resources
2 - When  I wanted to discuss an idea that I thought would be helpful for ASHA members regarding testing
3 -  When I needed a therapist referral for a parent who was out of state
4 -  When I needed contact information for a clinician who I met at a conference
5 -  When I needed some practical info for a parent of a friend on an aspect of the field that is not my specialty"

She also wanted to share that: 

"You should also be aware that for a very low fee you can access the Perspectives magazine of another List for a 24 hour period.   I did this when I needed additional practical information on supervision.   It was very helpful to access the Perspectives from the Supervisors List."

Now can you see why I love this online community so much?  People come up with such great ideas I have never even thought of.  Anyway, check out the just might like them :)

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Freebie Friday: 1-Year Blogiversary Freebie Packet!

I'm celebrating my 1-year blogiversary with a very special freebie for all of my loyal followers.

As you know, all of the materials I share are FREE.  So how can I make a special packet to celebrate this milestone?  And how could I make this 1-year blogiversary packet special for you, my trustworthy followers?

Well, I thought it would be a nice way to say thank you to those of you who have been reading my blog for some time now, commenting, and sharing your own ideas.

So this time there will be no direct google docs link for this packet.  Instead, I will share with you a preview of the entire packet and email you this FREE packet once you answer two simple questions by commenting below.  If you cannot comment because you don't have a gmail account, but you've been a faithful follower, don't you worry!  You can head on over to my FB page and leave your comment on my post there for this blog freebie.

OK here are the two questions I have for you: 1) What was your favorite or most helpful blog I've posted over the last year?  2) What topics, issues, information, etc. would you like to see in the future?

Update 7/25/13:  I am no longer accepting email addresses for this packet!  Thank you for all of your suggestions and recommendations!

Want to know what's in my blogiversary packet?  Well I tried to make something for SLPs who work with all ages of children.  I've spent much time on this packet b/c I really wanted you to know how very grateful I am that you are following me and supporting me.  I hope you like it!  So here goes:

The first activity is for older students and students working on higher cognitive skills such as inferencing and predicting.  On each card is described a scenario with characters and inferencing and predicting questions to ask.

The second activity is a reinforcer game I like to call "Monster Mash-Up!"  You can print off as many copies of these cute little monsters as you want and play various versions of games (concentration/memory, "war", "slap", etc.) as a reinforcer for any speech or language goals. 

The third and final activity I made was "Monster Truck Jam"!  Its a fun phonological awareness game I've been playing with my own clients for some time now.  I laminate the Street Sound Mat, write letters of different sounds in the circle before each road, and when I say a word, the student will place a monster truck on the street that represents the sound he/she heard.  This has worked WONDERS for a few of my kiddos who used phonological processes as this improved their phonological awareness which translated into improvements in self-monitoring and self-correction skills.

Update 7/25/13:  I am no longer accepting email addresses for this packet!  Thank you for all of your suggestions and recommendations!

Ok so this is my 1 year blogiversary FREEBIE packet!  I hope you love it as much as I do!  Don't forget to get it by commenting below (or on my FB page) and answering these two questions:  1) What was your favorite or most helpful blog I've posted over the last year?  2) What topics, issues, information, etc. would you like to see in the future?.  Leave your email address also so I can email the packet to you!!!

1 year down!  I hope you keep following me b/c there is much more to come!!!  Happy Talking!
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A look back: A year of blogging, motherhood and new speech pathology adventures!

 This month I am celebrating my 1 year blogiversary! WHAT????   I started my blog on July 13th of last year, but as I was away at ASHA schools conference over the weekend, I didn't get a chance to post this until today.  So I'm taking some time away from my usual Tip Tuesday post AGAIN (I promise to be back on track next week) to take a look back over the last year and say...Happy Blogiversary to me and a special THANK YOU to all of you out there following me!!!!

So its been a year since I posted my first blog.  Can you believe it?  I don't know that I can.  If you would have told me, that in 12 months, I would have followers from all over the world and be blogging for ASHAshpere monthly, all while starting my own private practice and being mom, I would have probably laughed in your face.  Who knew then what God had in store for me?  His plan is ALWAYS greater than any I can even dream for myself.  So it's always nice when I actually follow my own advice and "Let Go and Let God!" because it really does wonders for my life and my family!!! 

And at the beginning, I really had no idea what this blog was going to look like or how it was going to change and shift over the year.  I think for me, I have always felt that sharing our knowledge, our tips and tricks of the trade, great research and anecdotal information, is the BEST way to give back the the field of Speech-Language Pathology.  I truly believe we are on a life-long quest to learn as much as we can and share our knowledge with others.  Luckily for me, I was born in the age of technology where I can do this without leaving the comfort of my living room (or...on some pajamas ;)!  Ha!

So let's take a stroll back over the last year!  What wonderful blessings has God brought to me?

1.  Blogging:  When I started this blog on July 13th of last year, I was in a period of transition.  My family moved from KS to AZ, I was trying to get myself incorporated, get a business license and generate some clientele while unpacking, helping my son transition to this new place and trying to get this building we now live in to feel like home.  But I missed seeing students, so I felt I needed a connection with the SLP world.  I felt there was more I could do, say, share that could be helpful for other SLPs, parents, educators, etc.  So...I started this blog!  

Now, I am not computer savvy by any means, so yes it did take me hours upon hours to figure out how to change the layout and design, to determine what it was going to look like, to add pictures, and don't even get me started on widgets or blog buttons!!! Hahahaha!  But finally, it was up and running, with more tweaking to go in the future for sure.

I started this blog to give back, but what I didn't realize is how much I would receive in return.  The kind words and comments left by all of you over the last year has kept me going.  It truly is A LOT of work to blog and sometimes I think we all ask ourselves why are we doing this?  But the answer always comes in the form of your kind words, posts, shares, comments, FB messages and tweets (I don't have twitter but I'm speaking for myself and other bloggers as well).  So PLEASE, PLEASE if you ever enjoy a blog that has taken someone's time and talent to create and publish, don't hesitate to tell them because they just may need to hear those words!

2.  FB page:  My Communication Station: Speech Therapy, PLLC facebook page has also been a blessing in disguise.  I started it to share all the wonderful freebies out there to parents, teachers, SLPs, etc.  I realized there was also a need to share research and educational information I found as well as other activities and other wonderful ideas so many bloggers have out there.  So my goal to reach out and help, spread to my FB page.
As in blogging, keeping up with it all, scouring others posts to find freebies and relevant information does take much time.  But I do always try to post freebies every week.  It really just depends on when I can sit down to my computer to find some resources for you.

3.  Pinterest:  To my surprise, my pinterest boards have really been a Godsend in that I have been able to reach more and more parents, SLPs, and educators to share my information.  I also post all of the freebies from my FB page to FB posted Freebies board on pinterest as an easy way for you to find old freebies I have posted in the past.  Again, it seems to take only a few seconds to pin something but when you have to pin everything you are posting it does add some more time to the mix.  But by the wonderful power of Pinterest, some of you are now following me!  So thank you for finding me!

4. Private Practice:  Well, once I got established in this area, made some connections, I found it very easy, actually through word of mouth, to find a few clients to begin seeing in my private practice.  I think there is such a need for SLPs everywhere that parents are always searching and looking for the best services for their child.  There are so many things I loved about working in the schools but there are also many things I love about seeing clients privately.  My favorite part is the connection and communication I get to have with parents on a daily basis every session.  The parent counseling, training and education aspect of my job was lacking in the schools simply due to the fact that my caseload was outrageous and (as you school SLPs know) there is never enough time to adequately communicate with parents when there are students to see, meetings to attend, paperwork to do, collaboration and consultation with staff to participate in, and education to share.  

I have only taken on a handful of clients this year as my main purpose for not taking on a full time SLP job was to stay home with my son.  Which leads me to blessing number 5!

5.  Mommyhood:  Although I feel this truly is the BEST, #1 Blessing on my list, it just seemed a logical progression to place it here in this post.  I had worked full time in the schools for the first 2 years of my son's life.  My husband had deployed, my sister was helping me out and living with us, and I felt like I lost the first 2 years of my son's life.  So...this move brought on a whole new change for our family!!!  Come (you know where) or high water, I was going to be home with my son!  And we are so so so blessed by God's grace that our financial situation allowed us to do this.  I know so many wonderful mom's out there that want DESPERATELY to be home with their children but cannot financially afford it.  So this blessing does NOT go unnoticed or unappreciated by me on a daily basis!  I feel the BEST part of our move (which was of course controlled by the Army gods) was that I could be home with my baby!

I cannot tell you all the things we have done together this year, because we've done so much.  I can't tell you all the things he has learned this year, because he's learned so much.  I can't tell you all the hours we spent enjoying each other's company, laughing, joking, tickling, snuggling, because they were and (I hope still are and will be) endless and completely fulfilling!  This is the GREATEST most wonderful gift God has bestowed on me and my family this last year and I am so very grateful!

6.  My hubby:  The second GREATEST gift over the last year, has been that my husband has been state-side and with us for a whole year!!!!  If you are part of a military family reading this, you know what an AMAZING LUXURY it is to have your spouse with you for a whole year!  This is the LONGEST my husband and I have every been together since we began dating 9 1/2 years ago. Hahaha!  But what a blessing it has been for my son, to see his daddy EVERY DAY!  

My son needs his father!  I've seen such a change in him since my husband returned from deployment.  Mommy's are amazing, superhuman, the best.  But daddy's are the anchor, the rock, the strength. At least that is how it is in our family and God has been so very kind to us to bless us in this way!

And through all of these transitions (and trust me it IS a transition when you actually have to live with your husband again full time...again those of you who are military will understand what I am talking about here!), God has been there guiding me along the way!

So that's it.  My look back over the last year!  It's been an amazing ride and I couldn't have done it without each and every one of you out there reading, commenting, sharing, posting, etc.  

I have no idea what new adventures in speech pathology you and I will experience over the next year but I can't wait to see what God had planned for us in the future!

Many hugs and much love from my family to yours!  And as always...happy talking!

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

ASHA Schools Conference!!!

ASHA Schools 2013 
I am taking a break from my typical Tip Tuesday blog post to share with you that I will be heading to Long Beach, CA this weekend to participate in ASHA's Schools Conference!!!!  I'm super excited to learn, learn, learn!

As I will be gone the rest of the week, there will be no FREEBIE Friday post this week either.  But I'll be back next week with another fun freebie so please bare with me.

By the way...I have my monthly Kid Confidential article coming out this Thursday on ASHAsphere.  I am talking about Reactive Attachment Disorder so make sure you check it out!

Sooooooo.....back to the conference!

Will you be there in Long Beach this weekend?  If so and you see me, say "Hello"!

I will take very diligent notes and (with presenters' permissions) I will share with you some of the goodies I learn from this conference in the weeks to come.

Want to know what presentations I'm planning on going to?  Here's my possible list (let me know what you think):

  1. We Can Do This!  Practical, Powerful Strategies for Closing Literacy Gaps Using the RtI Model by Nancy Alemian Telian, MS, CCC-SLP
  2. Lend Me Your Ears!  Auditory Teaching Strategies for Young Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing by Teresa H. Caraway, PhD, CCC-SLP
  3. Enhancing Phonological and Metaphonological Systems of Children With Highly Unintelligible Speech: An Update by Barbara W. Hodson, PhD, CCC-SLP
  4. Treatment Decision Dilemmas and Strategies for APD by Gail J. Richard, PhD, CCC-SLP
  5. Childhood Apraxia of Speech: Thearpy Strategies That Make a Difference by David Hammer, MA, CCC-SLP

So, what do you think of my choices?  I hope I learn some new interesting things so that I can share them with all of you out there in the cyberworld!!!!

Now it will most likely take me a few weeks to blog about all the info I learn at this conference.  So please be patient and bare with me!

Happy Talking!!!
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Friday, July 5, 2013

FREEBIE Friday: Circle the Rhyme...

I have a few clients that are working on phonological awareness activities in order to improve their auditory discrimination skills.  I make these worksheets for therapy and thought I'd share with you.  

These are also great for homework!

Grab your free copy here!


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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tip Tuesday! Why I love "I Spy" Books!

I have a LOVE-LOVE relationship with the "I Spy" book series.  When they began publishing their toddler series AND began offering them at discounted rates on Scholastic Books, I wanted to kiss someone!

"I Spy" books are SO GREAT for the younger population for many reasons:

1.  Vocabulary development: Oh the things we can see in these books!!!  The wide variety of objects pictured on each page lends itself for some great vocabulary expansion for object labels (i.e. object names).

2.  Prepositions: I LOVE working on prepositions (i.e. location words) once the objects are found on each page.  A simple "Oh where is the (object name)?" or "Where was that (object name) hiding?" is a great way to work on prepositions (next to, above/below, over/under, behind, in, on).

3.  Visual and Auditory Memory: How great is the page with the list of pictures your child needs to find?  I love to read it, have the child point to the pictured objects on THAT page (while I have the "spy" page covered up)...then cover up the prompt page and have the child try to recall (using visual and auditory memory skills) and find the objects.  It's a great way to train the auditory processing skills of listening and recalling key words early on in development (you can focus on the same processing skills for older populations using the "I spy" older series).

4.  Phonological Awareness and Rhyming: I love that every two pages completes a rhyme!  Great early phonological awareness skill and helps in predicting the end of the sentence.

5.  Adjective development: For many of these rhymes to be completed, several adjectives are used which I just LOVE!  It's a great way to expose a child to adjectives and a fun way to talk about descriptions of objects.  I always expand it by finding a different object on the "spy" page and provide a similar adjective (color, texture, size, etc.).  It doesn't have to be one of the objects located.

Anyway, these are 5 of the reasons why I love, love, love using "I spy" books in therapy as well as with my own child.

Happy talking...and spying!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Communication Station is now on Bloglovin'!!!!

Courtesy of:

For all of you out there wondering how you can follow me now that Google Reader is gone...don't worry!  Follow me on Bloglovin'!!!!!  I'll see you there!!!!

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