Monday, September 28, 2015

Middle School: Materials and Motivators Linky Party

Click on this picture to go to the first blog post in this link up!

The Frenzied SLPs FB page has been at it this summer, updating the way we are able to provide some educational and professional information by sharing tips, tricks, techniques, ideas and materials via bimonthly linky parties.  Now that things are beginning to settle down this fall, I'm finally participating in my first one.

Today I'm going to share with you some of my previously offered materials that could be used for middle schoolers.  Keep in mind, these materials are for students of varying cognitive and communication levels.  Don't miss out on these, most of these are freebies!  Click on the title of each material and it will take you to the blog link for that material.

Middle School Materials:

1.  Auditory Memory: Associated Words and Digit Recall Sheet

These are a just a few of the freebies you can find at my website ( as well as this blog address (  Click under the FREEBIE Friday labels on the right on both pages and you'll find a treasure trove of goodies!

My best advice for working with middle schoolers and keeping them motivated is to do two very simple things:

1.  Keep it fun.
2.  Follow their interest.

You do that and you should be just fine!  Check out all the other great blog posts on this topic from our fabulous SLPs participating in this link up.

Happy Talking!
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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Do's and Don'ts of Incidental Teaching!

Last week, I talked a little bit about what incidental teaching is and the steps you can take to implement this technique.  This week let's talk about all the Do's and Don'ts of this strategy.  This is a list of my own tips that I have found to work well.

The "Do's and Don'ts" of Incidental Teaching:
  • Keep it as natural an interaction as possible.  Ex. "Oh, I see you looking at Mr. Potato Head.  He is soooo fun!!!!"  Wait for child to request and if no response " Do you want Mr. Potato Head?" Wait for response.  No response "Tell me, 'Head'."  Child responds and you give praise "Oh I heard your voice! Here's Mr. Potato Head."
  • DON'T OVERDO IT!  One of the biggest mistakes we as therapists make is over use of a particular technique or strategy.  I typically would only use this technique when child wants to begin a new activity.  I would not hold ALL objects/materials out of reach and have child request EACH piece.  That seems to me to be a bit of overkill and really doesn't represent real life.  A child only has to request at home the things that are out of reach.  Many of his/her toys are within reach, so we want to teach this skill of initiating requests yet maintaining it's natural interaction.
  • Keep functional use in mind at all times.  Remember this skill of requesting items out of reach is one that, if used correctly, translates to the home environment for requesting things such as snacks, drinks, toys out of reach/sight, etc.  Generalization can be seen when you train parents to use the same technique at home.
  • FOLLOW THE CHILD'S LEAD.  Do not pre-plan that you will be playing with various activities/toys for certain time spans, but follow your student's lead.  Allow him/her to choose the activity from your pre-chosen options.  Give your students' the permission to terminate each activity upon their own choosing.  Do not force more play time if the interest in the activity is no longer there as learning will not occur.  Rather, allow your student to clean up (with your help), then choose the next activity.
  • Make incidental teaching a routine.  If you are using this technique, be sure to use it for each therapy session so your students get used to this routine.  Very soon, you will have your students initiating requests without prompts if you dedicate yourself to routine use of this technique.
  • Alternate materials to which the child has access.  To keep motivation high, be sure to alternate the toys and other materials you allow your students to have access.  Be sure to have a mix of familiar and unfamiliar/novel materials available.
  • When working with a group of students, be sure to teach your students to "take turns" choosing an activity.  This way you can use the technique, while also teaching very important social skills such as turn taking, waiting, etc.
This is a quick and easy list of tips that can be helpful when implementing this technique.  Always remember to have fun and keep it simple.

Happy talking!

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Don't Forget Incidental Teaching!

Incidental teaching is defined as creating a highly motivating learning environment by fostering and nurturing our students' interests.  Incidental teaching simply uses developmental activities based on the students' cognitive level.

Incidental teaching is considered part of a behavioral therapy program however you can also see this technique used in relationship models as well.  Relationship models tend to call this technique something similar to "environmental sabotage" or "playful obstruction".  Please note that in relationship models this technique tends to be used in a more naturalistic way rather than part of a structured behavioral approach.  Whatever you choose to call it, this technique can be a very simple and effective approach for speech therapy if used appropriately.

The Steps of Incidental Teaching:

  • Arrange the therapy environment so materials are within child's sight (not reach), making it necessary for child to request objects that are highly motivating for him/her.
  • Wait for child to initiate engagement.
  • Prompt child to respond only as necessary.
  • Provide child with access to materials requested when child uses correct response.
  • Fade out prompting over time.

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