Here are some picture sets for the /k/ sound, in all word positions, available in either black and white or colour.
This is a really fun theme to do with a child for an individual appointment or with a group of children.
When I have done a pirate theme for an individual appointment, I usually:
- Start by reading the Ahoy! Pirate Pete book, but I substitute pictures of their targets for the pictures from the book. That usually results in a pretty silly story. After we have created the story, I will encourage them to read it through. Depending on what level they are at, I may encourage them to try finish the sentence by saying the target word, or say part or all of the sentence.
- Play Cariboo Island. I find reading Pirate Pete first is helpful because then I can show them how Cariboo Island looks like the dessert island from the Pirate Pete book. To make Cariboo Island even more exciting, I like to hide a little surprise inside the treasure chest, so that they have some treasure to take home. Usually this ends up being a sticker, but sometimes if I happen to have a little prize that will fit inside the box (and not much does), then I will put that in instead. Depending on their age I may play by the rules (i.e., after they have said their target they must pick a card and find the matching door) or, to simplify it, I may let them choose a door to open after they have said their target.
- If there is time left, then I will play Crocodile Dentist. I have found that some children are really put off by having the Crocodile bite their finger, so I have a little plastic dentist mirror that they can use to "check" his teeth after they have said their target.
For a speech sound group:
- Set the room up with a pirate feel by setting up the Viking Toys Pirate ship and some pirate figurines. I hid pictures of their targets around the room (corresponding to pictures on a treasure map - more later). I also hid a wooden pirate's chest (jewelry box) under an "X", for them to find later. The materials to make a pirate hat can be set up at a craft table.
- Start by sitting together in a circle and reading a book. Encourage the children to listen for their target sound in the story. When I ran this group, I read I Love My Papa Pirate.
- I then had the children and parents split off to practice, so that I could check in on each individually. I found having multiple copies of a toy like the Magnetic Pirate Adventure works well for this. (If I had multiple copies of Pop Up Pirate, I would have used this instead).
- Then the group came together to make pirate hats at the craft table. Parents are encouraged to emphasize target sounds as they come up in the activity. For example, if they are working on /f/, they could emphasize that sound in "fold". Another way to get more target practice into this activity is to give them their targets as stickers to use to decorate their hats.
- Once the children have their pirate hats complete, then it is time to go on a treasure hunt. Prior to their arrival I had hidden some pictures of their targets around the room. For the treasure hunt activity, I used the treasure maps from LessonPix. Each child had two maps with their targets on it (corresponding to the target pictures that I had hidden earlier). Once they found all of their target pictures, they turned it in to me (I was sitting beside the X that marked the spot) for a prize from the wooden treasure chest.
- At the end we came back together as a group at the circle. I divided up the swords from Pop Up Pirate and the children took turns practicing their target sounds as they played this game.
Check out my Pirate Theme board on Pinterest for more ideas and links to materials:
So, as I mentioned in my last post, whenever things get nutty in my life the first things to go are the things that are best for me. The is the first part in a series that I am doing on self-care. These won't be SLP-specific, but I am sure that I am not the only SLP who puts other priorities above my own health, so hopefully what I share will be of value to others.
In this post I will outline some of the self-care topics that I plan to review in future posts. I'm not currently doing all of these things but, as I get back to making myself a priority, I plan to resume them as I go along.
In no particular order, here are some of my favourite self-care activities:
- Eating healthy
- Going for walks
- Creating something
- Spending time with family and friends
- Relaxing at home
I'm sure I'm forgetting some, so I may have to edit this post if I remember more. :-)
Now, the bigger question is HOW will I get myself to do these things? One thing I learned about myself by reading Gretchen Rubin's latest book, Better Than Before, is that I am an Obliger. (Want to find out what your tendency is? Take Gretchen's quiz, The Four Tendencies, here).
While I knew deep down that this was a tendency of mine, I hadn't really thought about it consciously before and the results of her quiz really made me more aware of this. This has helped me a few times already to stop myself from cutting something for myself to do something for someone else (it's a process, I'm still not catching myself all the time).
One of her suggestions for Obligers is that they make their aspirations public, in order to give them that external accountability that they need. That is essentially what I am hoping to achieve by sharing my self-care aspirations here. :-)
I think I will come up with a plan to start incorporating the other activities into my life over the next couple months, so that I can start on my birthday (birthdays just seem like a good time to start projects like this). I am doing a few of the activities I listed above currently and I intend to continue to do them while I develop my plan.
What are your favourite self-care activities? Let me know in the comments, maybe I will remember something I've forgotten or pick up a new gem.
I can't believe it has been 11 months since my last post. It's been a crazy year. I know I started a 2014 Year in Review post, but it was too overwhelming to write.
I've been bike commuting to work again recently and it gives me lots of time to think. There are a lot of things I've been missing in my life that I was doing when I was posting here regularly. With my birthday coming up (September) I think it is a good time to make a plan for prioritizing the things that are important to me for the year ahead. Many of these things have to do with self-care, as I find I get stressed with work and everything else (i.e., hobbies, exercise, healthy eating) falls by the wayside.
I think I might start by doing a series of posts on some of my favourite things that keep me motivated to stay healthy.
(hopefully by writing, and posting, this I will now feel obligated to post what I promised)
For a long time I have tried to get myself organized so that I work in themes, in order to avoid using the same materials in too close a time frame (there's few things worse than pulling out an activity, only to have the child tell you we did it last week). I've tried to quickly set up rotating themes for myself, but inevitably the lack of preparation meant that I could only come up with a three or four themes and many materials completely slipped off of my radar.
I reorganized my cupboards at work the other day (this was loooong overdue) and since most of my materials were facing out so that I could see them, I decided it was a good time to snap some pictures and come up with a list of activities organized by theme. Later that weekend, as I was putting the word document together, I had a Mr. Wonderful moment (if you are familiar with the TV shows Dragon's Den or Shark Tank, then you'll know what I mean) and I thought: "THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY"!
I decided to make use of some of the features that are available to me using my Squarespace blog and voila - my materials index was born! Now, presuming my computer at work can load my site (it is being replaced soon, so this shouldn't be a concern for long), I will be able to go onto my site and with the click of a couple buttons I will be given a list of materials that I can use for any given theme, age, target, plus more.
I realize that not everyone will have all of the same materials that I do, but I hope that nevertheless others will find this to be useful too. If you haven't checked it out already, you can find the materials index here in roughly alphabetical order.
How To Use The Materials Index:
Each material has it's own entry. Associated with that entry might be a photo, general information, related blog posts, categories, tags and additional links.
The "Categories" can be treated like themes. My plan is to do a different theme each week. By clicking on any given theme, one can quickly see and be reminded of all materials that fall under that theme. [see the list of themes below]
The "Tags" can be used to look for specific features in materials. These might include: target sounds, concepts, recommended ages, or other areas of practice. Select a feature to find materials that contain that feature. [see the list of features below]
As this is a work-in-progress, please feel free to provide suggestions in the comments for additional themes, features, or other information that would be useful to have linked with these materials. I will be updating entries as I come up with more information for each.
- Animals: Zoo (1)
- Construction (1)
- Outer Space (1)
- Sports (1)
- Valentine's Day (1)
- Winter (1)
- Birthday (3)
- Fairy/Princess (3)
- Halloween (3)
- Monsters (3)
- Animals: Dogs (4)
- Christmas (4)
- Dinosaurs (4)
- Easter (4)
- Food: Pizza (4)
- Pirates (4)
- People (5)
- Around The Home (6)
- Animals: Ocean (7)
- Animals: Farm (8)
- Bugs/Insects (9)
- Transportation (9)
- Food (12)
- Animals (18)
- "ch" WI (1)
- /f/ WF (1)
- /n/ WI (1)
- /p/ WF (1)
- /p/ WM (1)
- /sk-/ (1)
- /z/ WF (1)
- 1 yr (1)
- 10 yrs (1)
- 3D (1)
- Answers in Motion (1)
- Arts/Crafts (1)
- Construction (1)
- Eric Carle (1)
- Eric Hill (1)
- Flashcards (1)
- French (1)
- Learning Resources (1)
- Lotto (1)
- Narrative (1)
- Neat-Oh! (1)
- Occupations (1)
- Phonemic Awareness (1)
- Phonological Awareness (1)
- Puppet (1)
- Raffi (1)
- Smart Snacks (1)
- Sound effects (1)
- Vowels (1)
- Wonder Forge (1)
- auditory bombardment (1)
- barrier activity (1)
- clothing (1)
- less than 12 months (1)
- less than 24 months (1)
- lift-the-flap (1)
- location words (1)
- wordless (1)
- "sh" (2)
- /g/ WM (2)
- /s/ (2)
- /s/ WM (2)
- 9 yrs (2)
- Body Parts (2)
- Following Directions (2)
- Questions (2)
- Rhyming (2)
- cooperative (2)
- gross motor (2)
- storybook (2)
- velars (2)
- "sh" WF (3)
- "sh" WM (3)
- /st-/ (3)
- Disney (3)
- Fluency (3)
- Puzzle (3)
- Repetition (3)
- puzzle (3)
- "sh" WI (4)
- /b/ WI (4)
- /sn-/ (4)
- 8 yrs (4)
- BIG/little (4)
- Cranium (4)
- Fisher-Price (4)
- /g/ WF (5)
- /g/ WI (5)
- /k/ WM (5)
- Letters/Alphabet (5)
- Melissa & Doug (5)
- /f/ WI (6)
- /k/ WF (6)
- /p/ WI (6)
- 2 yrs (6)
- Memory (6)
- Songs/Nursery Rhymes/Fairy Tales (6)
- multiple ways to play (6)
- /s/ WF (7)
- Language (7)
- /k/ WI (8)
- Shapes (8)
- /sp-/ (9)
- Counting (9)
- Numbers (9)
- Pretend Play (9)
- portable (10)
- Magnets (12)
- Vocab (12)
- Special Occasions (13)
- Matching (16)
- 7 yrs (17)
- Fine Motor (19)
- Colours (21)
- 6 yrs (32)
- 3 yrs (50)
- 4 yrs (61)
- 5 yrs (62)
If you know me, then you know I love technology. As I wrote about in Going paperless (part 1), I have been using my iPad, Notability, and the Adonit Jot stylus to take notes at meetings and continuing education events for a few years now.
After trying several styli the Adonit Jot was, for a long time, the best stylus I had used with the iPad, that is, until today. What happened to change that? Well, it started innocently enough with my husband flipping through the London Drugs flyer. Knowing my passion for styli (yes, I admit to having a "passion for styli"), he pointed out that there was one in the flyer with a fine point tip and suggested we go check it out.
The sales person at London Drugs helped my husband to track it down. Since I have been so happy with the Adonit Jot I didn't feel pressed to buy a new one. The sales person assured my husband that I could try it and return it within two weeks, if I wasn't satisfied, so long as the packaging was all intact.
We will see how it fares in the long-run, but after using for a little while today these are the pros and cons of the TruGlide apex stylus as I see them:
- Easy to set-up with no Bluetooth connection (the quick start guide shows you how to twist the cap to remove the protective battery cover; once that is removed you just twist the cap slightly clockwise to turn it on and counter clockwise to turn it off; a blue led light shows when the pen is on)
- Fine point (2.3 mm)
- Soft tip makes it quiet (compared to the Adonit Jot)
- You can use it with any app (the Evernote Jot Script is, I believe, optimized for use with Evernote's Penultimate app and Adonit Jot also has supported some specific apps)
- The tip glides nicely across the screen
- I suspect the soft tip won't scratch the screen (the Adonit Jot has made a couple small scratches on my iPad screen)
- Price ($49.99 without a case, and $59.99 with a case, versus $74.95 for the Evernote Jot Script)
- It comes with a spare battery and replacement tip (you can purchase replacement tips for the Adonit Jot styli on their site, but I don't believe they come with a spare tip, at least I have not purchased one that has come with a replacement tip yet)
- Requires an AAA battery (but then again, so do many of the "active" styli)
- Soft tip slightly reduces the pen-like feel (overall, I would say the soft tip is still a pro)
- Does not have palm rejection (I have yet to try a styli with the iPad that does have good palm rejection; thankfully Notability has the ability to write along the bottom of the screen using zoom mode, which helps reduce the likelihood of touching the screen with your palm)
I haven't been using my iPad to take notes as much lately, as I have been using my Microsoft Surface Pro2 (more to come about that in a future post), however, when I use my iPad to take notes in future, I can guarantee you that I will be using the TruGlide apex stylus from now on. My first Adonit Jot lasted nearly a year before the tip needed to be replaced; I have been using my current Adonit Jot Flip for over a year now and it is still going strong. Time will tell if the TruGlide apex stylus will perform as well as the Adonit Jot.
Do you have a favourite stylus that I haven't tried yet? If so, let me know in the comments.
Here are a couple pictures of the bulletin boards at work for May is Speech & Hearing Month. It was a busy month and they were a tad rushed. I would have liked to have had a different "read this" article and a more current SAC poster in the bottom right corner of the main board.
Regardless, I am really happy with how BCASLPA's "Communicating is Connecting" posters came out and I was very appreciative for the envelopes that were sent to members containing these materials.
Today was my first day back to work after 2.5 weeks of holidays. It's nearly mid-June already and past time to update the boards. I will have to try to tackle that next week.
At the 2010 BCASLPA conference I learned about Language Fun Storytime (scroll down to find the blurb about it), a program created by Vancouver SLPs and librarians. Since then I had been interested in learning more about the local library programs for preschool-aged children. Specifically, I wanted to know if they would be appropriate to recommend to the children and families that I work with. Late last year I had a few extra minutes at work one day, so I decided it was a good opportunity to send a quick email to the library.
The people at the library were absolutely wonderful. I was quickly connected with the woman who runs the programs for preschool-aged children, of which there are two that run weekly: Drop-in Family Storytime and Drop-in Baby Time. We arranged for me to join them at the end of January for Drop-in Family Storytime. The plan was for me to answer parent questions about speech and language development and observe how they run the group, to see if it would be appropriate for the children that I work with. I shared with her some information about who I am, so she could enter it in their events calendar.
The week before my visit she contacted me to let me know they had a regular group of about 20 families attending and that they had pushed the start time back by fifteen minutes. I prepared some packages to give to families. The packages contained:
On the appointed day I made the short trek over to the library to join them for Family Storytime. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I arrived a few minutes early, which gave me some time to check out the library (I found these awesome brochures), answer questions from the public, and to chat with some of the parents as they waited to go into the storytime room.
There was some confusion regarding the audience for the event and a couple people came to speak to me only (not for the storytime). One person was from another country and she was interested in learning more about the speech-language pathology profession. Another lady came to see how she could access services for her school-aged child. I did my best to answer both of their questions and then spoke with some of the families that had arrived early. Every one of the regular attendees spoke very highly of the storytime program and they all appeared to have a great appreciation of the importance of reading books with children.
I enjoyed the storytime and would most definitely recommend it to families of children with, or without, speech-language difficulties. The woman who read the stories had a wonderful demeanor and did a great job of engaging the children (and the parents) in the activities. The storytime involved:
- Reading stories: Children were encouraged to sit on the floor close to the storyteller so they could see and follow along with the pictures. The stories were read at a nice pace that would also help children to be able to follow along.
- Singing songs: She used lots of repetition and actions that would be of benefit to children with speech/language difficulties.
- Props: She used felt cut-outs to help make concepts from stories and songs more concrete.
There wasn't a lot of time for me to talk after storytime, as I had to get back for an appointment. I was able to stand up at the front of the group and give a brief explanation of the work that I do, how parents can refer for preschool SLP services, the importance of reading books for language and literacy development, and I handed out the packets that I brought.
Here are the lessons I learned, that I will keep in mind for future community visits:
- Make sure it is clear who the intended audience is.
- Give myself more of a time buffer (in case times change or things run late).
- Provide a clear description of who I work with and what I do (I.e., that I see preschool children).
- Bring information for parents (the public) on how to access services for people other than preschoolers; the BCASLPA public page on the website would be a good resource to share.
In Victoria, the community where I live and practice, most children receive their vaccinations through appointments with the public health nurse at 2, 4, 6, 12, and 18 months of age, following the BC child immunization schedule. During these appointments the public health nurse will get to observe the child and Health Checks are completed by the parent(s).
The Health Checks are essentially simple screens for speech-language, hearing, nutrition, and dental milestones. If a milestone has not been met, or if the parent has concerns, the public health nurse may: give some recommendations to support development in that area, do a more in-depth screen (such as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire), or refer to another professional.
Many of the referrals I receive come from the public health nurse, so you can probably already tell where I am going with this...
If a family does not immunize their child, then they will not be having these regular appointments with the public health nurse and it is possible that developmental delays, including speech and/or language delays, may be missed.
Parents often, but not always, know when their child is not developing as expected. If parents always knew, then there wouldn't be any need for these sorts of checks. Often times parents of children with speech or language difficulties will tell me that this was their first child and they didn't know what to expect or that they thought boys, or the second child, might talk less than an older sister or a precocious older brother.
Of course these children will most likely be seen by their family doctors but, as we all well know, doctors' time with their patients can be very brief and there is a chance that they may miss something that would be spotted by the public health nurse, who may spend more time with a child and family.
The takeaway: Whether you immunize your child or not please familiarize yourself with developmental milestones so that you know what to expect and when to refer your child to a speech and language (or other developmental) specialist.
Below you will find some links that may be of help to anyone interested in their child's speech-language development:
(Disclaimer: These tools are not intended to replace the expertise of a health professional. If you have concerns about your child's development, even if these links below do not indicate a concern, then I recommend you make an appointment to discuss these concerns with the appropriate health professional)
- Richmond Public Library: Speak, Read, Succeed Interactive Checklist (Free; British Columbia)
- My Child's Talk (Paid; Canada) [at the time of writing this, this site was undergoing redevelopment, but I have included it so that it will be available in the future]
- Talking Point: Progress Checker (Free; United Kingdom)
Did you know: Most speech-language programs for preschool-aged children, including Island Health, accept referrals from parents as well as physicians, public health nurses, and other community professionals? Therefore, if you have concerns regarding your child's speech or language development, you can make the referral yourself (you do not need to request a referral from your family doctor).
Today is the last day of May, so it seemed like a great time to think back on how I celebrated Speech-Language and Hearing Awareness Month in 2014.
This year, as a member of BCASLPA's advocacy committee, I was very excited about the theme we came up with: "Communicating is Connecting". As soon as my envelope from BCASLPA arrived, with my materials (posters, postcard, bumper sticker, candies, and balloon), I laminated my posters and put them up on the bulletin board at work (picture to follow).
I also promoted the Speech-Language and Hearing month by putting things where the public would see them. I put my "Communicating is Connecting" bumper sticker, from BCASLPA, on my truck (and then took it on a road trip to Calgary). I put the "Communicating is Connecting" postcard facing out from my window at work. I purchased my first SLP t-shirt and I have worn it a few times already. I have also been wearing my "Communicating is Connecting" button all month.
While wearing my button in Calgary I was identified by an SLP student, who was talking to a prospective SLP student. I got to join in their conversation by adding my two bits and by asking a few questions of them too. The button worked: I really enjoyed communicating and connecting with these "SLPs to be".
On May 11th a colleague and I did a "Communicating is Connecting" themed event at the Saanich Centre. We set up a table with a variety of informational posters, crayons, stickers, colouring sheets, postcards, bumper stickers, and brochures to give away.
We also had blank speech bubbles and we encouraged people to tell us what "Communicating is" to them (for a chance to win a $20 Starbucks card). The response from the public was phenomenal! By the end of the day we had over 45 speech bubbles with the most amazing messages. The things that people shared went above and beyond what I, as an SLP, ever could have conceived of.
As you can see, from the tweets above, I also helped to share the "Communicating is Connecting" campaign on BCASLPA's various social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn). We also had a Twibbon campaign with over 20 unique supporters!
This month also meant more clearly defining my new role as the Social Media chair for the newly established Social Media Committee for BCASLPA. I am thrilled to have this opportunity and I am looking forward to continuing my work with this amazing organization in this way.
I would have to say this has been my favourite Speech-Language and Hearing awareness month ever. The materials that BCASLPA shared made me feel connected to something bigger. I am also so happy to have done the event, as it was great to connect with the public and get people thinking about communication.
How did you celebrate Speech-Language and Hearing Awareness month?
Some of the best money I have ever spent on Speech-Language therapy materials was on plastic Easter eggs! I bought my eggs at least four years ago and I have never had a child who didn't enjoy going for an egg hunt. In fact, some children like the egg hunts so much that they request this activity long after Easter is over.
In years past I have usually hidden folded up pictures of their targets inside the eggs; while it might not seem exciting, it is usually a hit. I have also sometimes used the animals from Discovery Toys - Busy Farm.
This year I decided to use the animals from my "Who Lives Where?" game (currently available on Amazon). I bought this game several months ago at a toy store in Napa (I can't recall the name, but it was a great store). I only just opened it a couple of weeks ago, as I was worried the kids wouldn't like how plain it is (because of the wood) or that they would feel it is for little kids. I couldn't have been more wrong. The kids have loved this game!
Before the child arrives I put the animals inside the eggs. Since I have 12 eggs, and there are 20 animals, many of the animals have to double up (except of course the whale and the elephant, because they are too big). Then I hide the eggs around the room. As you can see from the pictures the hiding spots can range from quite obvious to a little bit tricky, in order to keep it moving fast while still being interesting.
When the child is there I tell them that each time after they [fill in the blank with whatever they are working on], they can go find one egg and bring it back to the table to open it. I have found I can get a lot of "work" out of them for one egg. Once all the eggs have been found, we use the same animals to play the "Who Lives Where?" game.
The premise for this game is simple: divide up the animals between the number of players (10 animals each for 2 players, 6 animals each for 3 players, or 5 animals each for 4 players). There are wooden blocks with animal shapes cut out. Each block fits a pair of animals. There is a triangular piece of wood that goes on top of each block to cover the animal shapes and to form the roof. Each player takes turns lifting up a roof to see if they have an animal that fits inside and everyone must try to remember who lives where. The first person to find the homes for all of their animals is the winner. Of course before someone gets to take their turn, they need to say their target.
Some of the children I saw this week were also working on vocabulary or word retrieval skills. For those children I created some playing cards with pictures corresponding to the animals from the game using LessonPix (a website that may be tied with my plastic eggs for best money spent on SLP materials - review to come). I printed the cards on card-stock and sent them home for practice. You can access the cards via the link below.
All of the children I saw this week loved these Easter themed activities and it was very quick to put together between appointments. Maybe next year I will try something new from Pinterest (as long as I can use my eggs!).
Did you do anything special for Easter?
Today, and every April 16th, is World Voice Day. I wanted to do a voice theme on the bulletin board for April because of this, unfortunately it took me until today (mid-way through April) to finally print and put the voice posters up!
I put up two posters from the materials section on the World Voice Day site, one on the main bulletin board and one on the smaller board, and I also made a tips poster based on the Voice Caring page on their site.
The BCASLPA Did You Know poster this month was voice themed and it worked well as an informational poster. It really makes you think about how important our voice (vocal cords) are to our personal and professional lives and updating the board sparked a conversation about this between me and an admin person.
Since I was late to get these posters up I will probably leave them up for the rest of the month, as the information is still important. At least for next year I will have the posters all printed and ready to go - so theoretically I will be prepared to post them at the start of the month.
Think about your voice: What would you miss most if you lost your voice? How would a voice weakness or loss impact your life?
It has been one year since I started this blog and so it seemed a good time to reflect a little on how it has been going.
First of all: I am so happy I started this blog. I love the buzz I get from creating something and it has been wonderful to have an outlet to allow myself to do so more regularly. I've also really appreciated what I have learned along the way about writing, planning, and blogging in general.
Has it been perfect? Certainly not. I started off well and then had quite a large break due to fear of not having anything good enough to write. Once I let go of that mindset and just allowed myself to write for fun, then I was doing quite well with regular posts until the last two months.
I wish I could say what threw me off. I don't think I have been any more busy over the last two months than I was in the two months before that.
I think my biggest mistake has been not having a consistent writing schedule. This is something I need to work on in some of the other areas of my personal life too (like cleaning).
I hope to get back to posting on here regularly and I thought an anniversary post would be a great way to start... time will tell. I think I will start by doing research on different tips for time management and writing schedules.
Let me know if you have any tips for writing regularly.
For a few moments, try to imagine what it would be like to know exactly what you want to say, but be unable to express it. There may be any number of reasons why you can't express yourself. Maybe nothing comes out, maybe the words come out slowly or stuttered, maybe the wrong words come out, maybe the words come out in the wrong order, or maybe the right words come out in the right order but they are slurred or otherwise unclear. These kinds of difficulties fall under the expressive side of communication.
Of course, the ability to express yourself is just one side of the communication coin. On the flip-side, imagine knowing that someone is speaking to you but being unable to follow, understand, or make-out what they are saying to you.
As you imagine what this would be like, make sure to consider how it would impact your day-to-day life. Imagine how people who do and do not know you might respond. How do you think you might feel having what you want to say trapped inside of you? Frustrated for sure, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Trying to express yourself when you have a communication difficulty can be exhausting, even if you are able to use other means such as writing or gesturing. For many reasons, effort included, communication difficulties can also be incredibly isolating. Couple that with the fact that, in many places around the world, support for people with communication difficulties is extremely limited.
The communication difficulties that I am describing show no bias for age - they affect people of all ages from children who are having difficulties learning to talk to adults who have lost their ability to communicate from injuries such as a stroke. I've worked with both adults and children and I've seen the expressions on their faces as they struggle to get their messages across. I've also seen the joy on their faces when they successfully get their message across. This is why I do what I do and this is why I am so excited about the International Communication Project 2014 (ICP2014).
The official ICP2014 website has launched earlier this year and, if you haven't already, I encourage you to check it out and to sign the pledge stating you support that the opportunity to communicate is a basic human right.
Now, after the exercise above, you might be thinking, 'Wait! Surely communication is already considered a basic human right?' No, sadly, communication is not currently included in The Declaration of Human Rights.
Isn't it crazy to think that something so vital to our quality of life is not considered a basic human right? Wouldn't it be wonderful if, as a result of the International Communication Project 2014, the opportunity to communicate is added to The Declaration of Human Rights? Maybe this would have an impact on how speech-language services are valued in our healthcare and educational systems and maybe it would increase access to services for those who struggle with communication.
Maybe, if nothing else, this campaign will increase the profile of communication difficulties and that, in and of itself, would be a start. I think one of the biggest issues is that many people have no concept of the wide scope of difficulties that a speech-language pathologist can help with or the wide range of communications difficulties that can exist. I don't know how many times my colleagues and I have told someone what we do only to realize, by their response, how little the public understands of what we do (this raises another issue entirely, but let's just say I am very excited about the Speech & Hearing Awareness campaign that BCASLPA has planned for 2014).
For instance the other day I heard of an SLP manager (in another part of the country) who, in an effort to express the importance of speech-language therapy, said something along the lines of, "yes, having articulate children is very important". Apparently, it would seem, she has some inclination that articulation is one of the areas that we work on. And I suppose that "being articulate" could be considered to be part of the end result of what SLPs are trying to achieve with some children, but it also highlights the simplistic view that others hold of our profession. And if our managers don't even know what we do, then how can we expect them to support us when it comes to advocating for increased services for the public?
I'm still holding out hope that the International Communication Project will result in a change to The Declaration of Human Rights (an SLP can dream, right?). For that to happen, this campaign will need to get a tremendous amount of support worldwide. I am thrilled to see that organizations from around the world have partnered together for this project and I will be following with keen interest to see what comes of it.
For January, and the start of 2014, I decided to feature The Universal Declaration of Communication Rights pledge from the International Communication Project 2014 on the speech department bulletin board at work.
Here are some ways that you can connect with, follow, or show your support for the International Communication Project 2014:
- Visit their website
- Sign AND SHARE the pledge
- Follow @ICP2014 and the #ICP2014 hashtag on Twitter
- Subscribe to the YouTube Channel
- Add a Twibbon to your Facebook or Twitter profile picture
- Write a letter or email to an elected official in your area and encourage them to support this project
- Tell everyone you know about this project and discuss the fact that communication is not currently considered a basic human right
- Keep the conversation going!
Let me know, in the comments, if you can think of any other ways to promote this campaign.
I'm off today, which meant I couldn't celebrate Valentine's day with my students on the actual day. So instead, I celebrated all week!
A couple of weeks ago I purchased a few packs of Valentine's cards and, amazingly, I remembered to bring them into work. Over the years I've learned not to write on the card until the receptionist calls to let me know the child has arrived for their appointment. This saves wasting cards on no-shows or cancellations (sometimes planning ahead isn't the best idea).
This year I used the "Stamp and Sort Mailbox" I wrote about last April, to do a Valentine's day themed activity. Before I brought the child down to my room I put a card, addressed to the child, in the bottom of the box and locked it. During the therapy session we pretended to mail Valentines (flashcards), specific to their target, to various people in the child's life. It's pretty sweet to hear who the children want to mail things to and why.
I have some small manila envelopes that are the perfect size for (most) flashcards. I have put clear contact paper on the front of the envelopes so that we can write names on them and then I can wipe them off to reuse again later.
Conveniently the mailbox has three slots. I used this to work on categories with one student by assigning each slot a different category.
Once all the cards were in the mailbox we used the key to open the door and then put the cards in the mail-satchel (a shiny red drawstring bag) so that we could deliver them. Sometimes the child would deliver them to the people in the room (usually Mum and/or Dad). Other times we put some toys around the room (such as a Spiderman figurine, the Dudsberry puppet, or the Marbleworks Castle) and the child delivered the cards to the toys. As we delivered each envelope, we opened them up to see what was inside (this provides another opportunity to practice the targets).
Some children spotted their card as soon as they opened up the mailbox and other children didn't see it until they were delivering the mail. Either way it was really fun to see their reactions when they realized that there was something there that they hadn't mailed and that it was for them!
How did you celebrate Valentine's day this year?
Today I updated my bulletin board for February. It seemed perfect timing to do a book-reading/literacy themed board given this months BCASLPA "Did you know...?" Poster and my recent library visit.
I reposted the Today's Parent article on boys and reading, shared the times of the local drop-in library programs for children, and shared BCASLPA's tips for "Reading with your child".
I'm hoping to get some of the GVPL's "100 picture books to read before kindergarten" brochures.
And I would LOVE to add the poster, pictured below, to my bulletin board.
February 5, 2014 - Updated to add: after I posted the following on Twitter:
Over the years I have created several different lists of SLP blogs. Initially I bookmarked them in my browser. Then I collected a few on a Pinterest board. Most recently I started adding those that I already followed, as well as searching for new ones, with Feedly so that I could read them regularly.
I've come across a few lists of SLP blogs, but nothing that was either comprehensive or that was regularly updated. I recently discovered List.ly and it didn't take long to realize that it would be a great way to curate a list of SLP blogs. What I love is that people can add to the list; they don't have to wait for me to add them. There is also the potential to invite friends to "help" with the list. This means that other people can help moderate items (i.e., add descriptions, remove duplicates or delete items that do not belong in the list).
I started this four days ago and it has been a fun little exercise to add as many blogs as possible. I began by adding those that, in one form or another, I had already been following. Then I added those that had recently been tweeted with the #SLPBloggers hashtag. Finally, I did a Google search for #SLPBloggers to find even more. At the time of writing this post the list was up to 131 items - four people have added their own blogs directly, plus a few contacted me via Twitter to add theirs, and the rest were added by me!
Since starting this I have found so many SLP blogs that I did not know about before. I haven't added descriptions or tags for many of them at this point, as I've been focusing on finding and adding them. Once I have more time to go through the list I will start to add more information so that users can more easily find the sorts of blogs that they are looking for. It will also help me to figure out which blogs I want to add to my Feedly.
Any suggestions for what sorts of tags would be most helpful would also be greatly appreciated.
Don't forget to check the list (see below) and add your SLP blog, if it isn't there already.
In other news, the news in fact, as I was mid-way through the January transformation of my bulletin board, it became famous by appearing on the evening news!
No, unfortunately there wasn't a feature on my bulletin board, or even speech/language for that matter. The Chek News team was at our health unit to do a piece on the rush on flu immunizations that was taking place. My bulletin board, however, appeared a couple of times in the background during the interview with a public health nurse.
I had planned to do a screen capture of it, but unfortunately they took the video down quite quickly. All I could get was a picture of the screenshot, showing the outside of the building I work in, from when Chek posted it on their Facebook page (they've since taken the Facebook post down as well).
Even though my bulletin board was not the feature of this news story, it did receive a lot of exposure as there were close to 200 people that received the flu vaccine at the health unit on that day alone! (Kudos to the public health nurses, admin and volunteers at Island Health for taking care of so many people so quickly!) Hopefully the bulletin board caught the eyes of the visitors to the health unit and provided them with some interesting and informative reading on speech and language.
Despite the fact that I am posting this at the end of January, I did update the bulletin board within the first week of the month.
Under the "Tips" section, I posted a copy of More Than Baby Talk (full pdf available here). This is a wonderful resource for caregivers of young children. It contains 10 tips for promoting language and communication skills of infants and toddlers. It is very well written and I love the fact that they link the tips to evidence.
This month I also commandeered another bulletin board for the speech department. It has been completely empty for as long as I can remember, probably because when the door to the speech wing is open it blocks the board. However, the proximity to the speech wing is precisely the reason I decided to adopt it as my own. Since I work part-time, there are many times when the door to the speech wing is closed and people waiting in the reception area will be able to read what is posted there.
Finally, as I was updating my bulletin board for January, it became a TV celebrity for a brief moment. Read more about that here.
I just pledged to read 12 books in 2014 on the 50 Book Pledge site. I hope to read more than 12, but there wasn't another option until 25 and that seemed a bit too ambitious at this time. What can I say, I like to set achievable goals. I hope to surpass my goal of 12 and maybe even beat my 2013 record of 15.
These are the books that most inspired me in 2013:
- The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young
- The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
- Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
- The New Relationship Marketing by Mari Smith
- Amazing Things Will Happen by C.C. Chapman
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- The YOU Factor by Leslie Strong (I'm currently reading this)
[originally posted here]
In 2014 I'm already planning on reading:
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
- Before Happiness by Shawn Achor
- The Scientist in the Crib by Alison Gopnik
What's on your "to be read" list for 2014?