Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Initial Z Printable Speech Activity: Color By Word

Practice /z/ in Initial Position

Click on the image to open it to full size and then right click to save it to your computer.

Enjoy! If you like this activity, look for other free printables and therapy ideas or my comprehensive speech therapy kits.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Patched Pants

My son had a pair of pants that were torn almost as badly as this (yet to be repaired) pair.

I had been ignoring the holes in the knees for several weeks as they steadily worsened, but it really had gotten to the point where sending him to school in them was embarrassing. I remembered a pin on pinterest that led to a page with an adorable monster patch for a child's pair of pants.

At the bright shiny beginning of the project I enthusiastically searched through my scrap bin of too-small kids clothing for just the right things to cut up for scraps. I spent an hour cutting out the background for the mouth (from an old corduroy button down shirt of Michael's), teeth (from an old swaddling blanket), and the eyes (from an old onesie). I fray checked all the edges of the monster components, cut a huge hole out of the knee around the hole/tear/worn material, and carefully pinned everything in place.

I sat down excitedly at my sewing machine to sew the new patch in place thinking I'd be able to hand Michael his "new" upcycled pants in 20 minutes and realized I had overlooked something rather important. I couldn't fit the leg of his teeny tiny jeans over my sewing machine - much less turn the material around in the ways necessary to do the applique. (!*!!!$@#) However, I was not going to be defeated. A little hunting online led me to the conclusion that I was going to have to rip out a huge section of the inseam on that leg so I could lay it out flat.

So that took... a long time. And then they are fleece lined jeans so I had to rip open the lining too. Then I spent 20-30 minutes sewing on the monster pieces with Michael at my side asking when I would be done. He wanted to know if he could wear them right away. It was so adorable. I needed his enthusiasm at that point to keep me motivated.

Finally I was done with the patch itself. I was thinking I was home free. Only two straight lines left. One to repair the inseam of the lining and another to repair the inseam of the jeans. Because I am brilliant and naturally crafty, I only then realized that just as I couldn't fit the jeans on my sewing machine to sew on the patch, I couldn't fit the darned things on to repair the inseam either. I sent more than a few uncharitable thoughts towards the jeans, my sewing machine, and the entirety of the so-close but not finished project. I scrunched up the ankle and managed to sew up four inches of the inseam that way. Then I just pinched the darned thing closed and sewed it from the outside. It's not like anyone is going to be staring at his inner thigh anyway.

And tada!

The boy is so excited. He couldn't wait to wear them to school today. As for me, well... It may have taken three hours, but I'm pretty pleased. I didn't have to throw out one of Michael's favorite pairs of pants and he sees it as a significant upgrade so I'm calling it a win and a learning experience. Now I just have to take on about two other pairs of jeans with similar knees...

Friday, March 8, 2013

CEU Challenge: Week 7 - Reading Comprehension in Secondary Students - Intervention

This week's CEU course from LinguiSystems: Reading Comprehension in Secondary Students: Intervention. It is a great follow-up course after last week's course on reading assessment. Again, although this title specifically refers to "secondary students", I feel that much of this information can be useful to SLP's (or parents) working with children of all ages.

The course reviews the definition of reading comprehension and discusses the underlying skills. The role an SLP can play in supporting reading comprehension is discussed and methods of finding time in your schedule and the schedule of your students is also covered. Finally, the course covers in detail specific language skills to target to support a student's reading comprehension. This in great information to become familiar with and I suggest saving a copy of the PDF for future reference.

I found the course material to be comprehensive and well organized. The 20 question multiple-choice quiz was straightforward and relatively quick to take. After completing this course I have finished all of the continuing education credits I need for the calendar year. I am feeling pretty great about that. For once it is early March and I have all of the CEUs I need for the calendar year. It feels wonderful to have made a reasonable plan (one course a week for 7 weeks) and stuck with it through completion.

Did anyone else take this course? What did you think?

See the complete 7-Week Free CEU Challenge here.

Catch up!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

And then she was 4

Ava is now four years old. She is such an independent spirit. She prefers to do things for herself and to make her own choices. Ava likes to choose her own clothes and I let her (assuming they are clean and seasonally appropriate). If she chooses to wear the same favorite dress to school every day of the week - so be it. If the dress, leggings, socks, and shoes are all different colors and patterns- so be it. Making your own choices is awesome and she shouldn't miss out just because she's little and her fashion sense is still developing.

And yet, for all her independence, somehow that doesn't stop her from wanting to be close to people at the same time. Ava is not a loner. She wants to be near her loved ones and engaged in conversation. She doesn't hear the siren call of the computer or a game on a phone the way the rest of the family does. Ava would just as soon walk away from the electronics and engage someone in conversation, a snuggle, a tickle, or a game of chase. If I'm sitting in my rocking chair reading a book, she will snuggle in at my side just for company. If her Daddy is cooking in the kitchen she will drag a chair over to the counter and ask to help. I love that about her even while the introvert in me often wishes for a pry bar and 5 minutes of space upon occasion.

Ava and her brother are best friends. She spends time happily away from him, but when school is over or when he wakes up later than she does (always!) she is glad to see him. They play together seamlessly and effortlessly. When she is offered a treat, she asks if she can have one for Michael as well. When she's told she can have a special privilege (some extra tv or a special snack, for example) she'll call to him to make sure he doesn't miss it. If he is upset she tries to comfort him. If she cannot help him, she'll get upset too. Their play together has its own dynamic. Michael often leads the imaginary play and Ava happily follows along. She's the mouthpiece of the duo. If they want something (a real snack for their pretend picnic), Michael will send her to ask. Ava will appear at the head of the stairs bellowing a question. After being answered we hear her footsteps heading for her brother as she reports our answer.

Ava's favorite colors are pink and purple although I am beginning to see signs of her branching out a little. She loves art and is particularly content when coloring a picture with an adult happily giving instructions about which color should be used on which section next. She still loves kittens although the kittens don't have to be Hello Kitty any more. Any adorable kitten will do. She prefers to wear dresses rather than shirts and refuses to wear any pants other than leggings. She likes to turn her bed into a tent by covering the sides (she's still in a toddler bed converted from her crib) with blankets. She sleeps with stars on the ceiling and a glowing fairy on the wall and does not at all like to sleep in the dark.

Ava's showing signs of liking to perform. She'll want to show off tricks from gymnastics or the way she can use her dance streamer to make a spiral. She will definitely watch to make sure you are watching during her mini performances.

Ava is a little girl. It has been so much fun to be with her as she changes from the toddler she once was to an active, healthy, communicative preschooler. Happy fourth birthday to my big girl!

Friday, March 1, 2013

CEU Challenge: Week 6 - Reading Comprehension in Secondary Students - Assessment

I was quite excited about the topic of this week's CEU course from LinguiSystems: Reading Comprehension in Secondary Students: Assessment. As you may or may not know (I can't remember if I've mentioned it before) I was 3/4 done with a PhD program when Michael came along just a little sooner than I planned for starting a chain of events that completely shifted my priorities. The area I was studying was reading. I love reading. I like engaging in recreational reading. I like studying reading. I like teaching reading. I like assessing reading. In the past few weeks I have adored listening Michael read his first real books to me (Dr. Seuss Beginner Books are now within his reach).

The only reservation I had about this topic was that reference to "Secondary Students". Traditionally, I most enjoy working with toddlers and preschoolers and then early and late elementary. As children reach high school I am less in my comfort zone. As it turns out, I would say that a large portion of this course is applicable to working with elementary students as well - at least 65-70% of the course. This makes it well worth your time even if you work with younger children. When you finish the course you'll be familiar with the underlying skills woven into skilled reading and the role an SLP can play in assessment. You will also earn 0.2 CEUs or 2 hours of Continuing Education Credit.

I found the course material to be comprehensive and well organized. I also found it to be easily understood, but I was already familiar with most of the material, so I may not be the best judge of that. The 20 question multiple-choice quiz was straightforward and relatively quick to take. After completing this course I have finished 13 of the 15 continuing education credits I need for the calendar year.

Did anyone else take this course? What did you think?

Don't forget to complete Week 7: Reading Comprehension in Secondary Students: Intervention - 0.2 CEUs for next Friday! This will be the last course in my 7 Week Free CEU Challenge.

See the complete 7-Week Free CEU Challenge here.

If you missed it, catch up on my Week 1 review: Counseling Theories and Skills for SLPs - 0.2 CEUs. Then catch up on my Week 2 review: Evidence-Based Practice - 0.2 CEUs. If you're still going strong when you finish that one, check out the Week 3 review: Intervention Programming for Nonverbal Children - 0.2 CEUs. Then catch the Week 4 review: Introduction to Ethical Decision Making in Speech-Language Pathology - 0.2 CEUs. The Week 5 review is here: HFA, AS, & NVLD: Differential Diagnosis by the SLP - 0.3 CEUs.
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