Better Speech And Hearing Month



Well HELLO…it is almost MAY!  As my two year old would say, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”

Well, I kid you not.  It is almost May.  Did you know that in addition to being a month of gorgeous, sunny weather, May is also the month we celebrate Better Hearing and Speech?!

This month I’ll be posting some fun facts and trivia questions related to speech, language, voice, swallowing, cognition, and hearing.

I want to hear from YOU….do you have any topics you would like more information about?  Maybe you want more information about language development….maybe about communication after a stroke…maybe about hearing loss….  Let me know and I’ll work it into my topics for the month!

The Mitten and Story Resources

Getting back into a groover following a holiday and break from work can feel jarring.  In anticipation, I wanted to have solid therapy plans in place for my groups because I always feel better and more prepared when I am all planned out (even if nothing during our sessions goes according to plan 🙂 ).

Over the holiday break, my son received the book “The Mitten” by Jan Brett from family members.  HE LOVED IT!  He requested it, we read it over and over.  The SLP in me observed the language-rich opportunities for labeling, inferencing, cause and effect, story retell, and sequencing.  LIGHTBULB…this will be my book for the first week back at work.


Armed with an awesome book, I took to the internet to browse resources of amazing SLPs and educators…lucky me…jackpot!  I wanted to find an activity with visuals that would allow for working on goals ranging from articulation of beginning and ending sounds of words, expanding sentences, labeling to answering wh questions, retelling the story, and sequencing.

There are amazing resources out there, but the one that fit for me is from Home School Creations.  Home School Creations has a variety of FREE materials on The Mitten including a preschool packet, kindergarten packet, vocabulary, and math work.  I chose the preschool packet because I really wanted pictures of the animals and a mitten.  I also wanted the ability to add to this activity in the following weeks if my students really connected with it (and they did).


My students laughed out loud and gasped during the book!  They then eagerly answered sequencing questions and proudly shared their mittens with the parents at the end of our sessions.

Big hit…thank you Jan Brett for The Mitten and Home School Creations for the visual supports.



2016: 10 Halloween book recommendations

Children books are the best!  Some of my most popular and most requested posts are my posts with book recommendations.  Well, here we are at another October and here you have another book recommendation post…Halloween 2016 style.  There will be some repeats from 2015 (because a good book remains a good book 🙂 ), but there will also be some good new recommendations!  In no particular order…here are my top 10 recommendations!

(Want to check out my 2015 Halloween recommendations?  Visit: )

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Makeover Monday: Bottle Dishwasher Basket

Happy Monday!  Any one have a Bottle Dishwasher Basket at home that they are no longer using?  Maybe it is taking up space in your kitchen cabinets…let’s fix that!

This Makeover Monday appeared naturally as I was keeping my little guy occupied while I put the dishes in the dishwasher.  I have a drawer in our kitchen that my little one can play in…it has his cups, plates, bowls, and other odd and ends including the bottle dishwasher basket.

This morning he took out the dishwasher basket and started shaking it and putting his fingers in all of the holes.  Hmmm….it felt like a light bulb literally lit up above my head….let’s put pom poms in the basket through the holes.

This activity kept my 18 month old interested for 30 minutes!!!


What you need:

  • Bottle Dishwasher Basket (or any basket with small holes/openings)
  • Small/medium pom poms
  • Ziploc bag or plastic bag for storing the pom poms


How to use it:

  • MODEL IT!  Open the top of the dishwasher basket and put a few pom poms on the inside rack.  Push the pom poms through the holes and talk through it “I’m pushing the red pom pom in the basket”.
  • EXPLORE!  Put a few pom poms on the inside rack and sit back and watch your little one explore.
  • WATCH & LISTEN!  We, adults, can learn so much from watching and listening to our little ones.  Watch and listen to your little one and follow their lead with this.
  • EXPAND!  Play is the work of children.  Let your little one play and expand their play and language for him/her.
    • If your little one requests “more” pom poms, expand the sentence with “I want more pom poms”.
    • If you little one needs help, expand the sentences with “I need help”.
    • If you want to work on adding some manner words, expand the sentence with “More pom poms please”  “I want more pom poms please” “Help please” “I need help please”.



Language Skills being worked on:

  • Identifying colors
  • Counting
  • Spatial concepts (in, out)
  • Cause and Effect
  • Requesting
  • And many more 🙂


Hope this adds a little creative fun to your Monday!  Have a great day!


Shine on,


Cardboard box, anyone?

Today’s post is all about the power of a cardboard box!  I have had many fellow mamas ask about how I went about moving with a toddler, unpacking with a toddler, or even how to I get ready in the morning with a toddler.  Most days, it is all about a cardboard box!  The cardboard box has bought me time in the morning to enjoy some coffee and even take a quick solo trip to the bathroom all while providing my little boy with brain building and language building moments.


What you need:

  • cardboard box big enough for your little one to fit inside, but small enough to still fit nicely in your house somewhere 🙂
  • crayons
  • stickers
  • enthusiasm and imagination

When I first introduced the cardboard box to my little one, I was over the top enthusiastic calling it his car.  We pretended he was driving it, we read car books while he was in it, etc. He was honestly so excited about his “car” that he pointed it out to anyone who came over to the house.  What is your child into: cars, trains, bikes, horses…you can make your cardboard box anything your little one is interested in.

We then decided (with my lead 🙂 ) that we needed to decorate his car.  I gave him crayons and stickers and supervised this activity because to my little one, crayons and stickers are still delicious.  I started off writing/drawing in the car and then we could talk about where to stick  a sticker or what color to draw a smiley face.  After a few times doing this with him, my little one got the hang of it and can do this time…with me close by to supervise those delicious crayons and stickers.

It is a fun activity we can do together, but also a structured and wonderful activity for him to explore on his own (while I get coffee, put a load of laundry in the wash, do the dishes, or just sit and watch him learn).

Not sure how to get the conversation started with your little one?  Here are some suggestions:

After talking about what the cardboard box is…car, bird, train, boat…sit your little one in the box and draw something.  For this example, I will draw a steering wheel.

  • Hold out two crayons (different colors) and say, What color should we color the steering wheel?  Label the color your little one picks.
  • Should we put the stick above or below the steering wheel?  Model the locations as you say them.
  • While just coloring for fun (scribbles are totally acceptable), talk about this make believe magic cardboard box.  If it is a car:
    • Where are you driving the car?
    • Are we going to the grocery store?
    • Is it sunny or rainy out?

Modeling the language is the important part to this!  You will find that once you do this a few times, your little one can be more independent and you can facilitate the brain building and language building conversation more easily from either right next to your child (while you are enjoying your coffee) or from across the room (working out).


Have you used the magical cardboard box?  How has is worked for you?  Anything else to add?

Music, development, and little ones

I am not sponsored by Music Together or any other music program.  I am simply a parent and a SLP who appreciates music.

I have long been a student of music.  I have memories of my dad playing guitar to my brother and I when we were preschoolers.  As a child, I walked around with a microphone at all times.  Through my school-age years, I participated in many choirs and took as many singing lessons as I could.  In college and after college I had the pleasure of singing with an amazing Gospel choir.

Becoming a SLP, I have the amazing opportunity witness the positive impact music has on development.  Music has a predictable rate, rhythm, and tone.  It makes it an excellent tool for not only young children or for those learning to play instruments, but for those who have experienced a traumatic event (i.e., stroke, traumatic brain injury.

The tune “Happy Birthday” helped a client who just suffered a stroke begin to communicate requests again.  I have preschool students who learned behavior expectations and routines through songs I made up on the fly….my Cameron colleagues will no doubt remember my “We Are Walking” song to the tune of Frère Jacques.

IMG_3841When I was pregnant with my son, I was singing as a proud member of my church’s Gospel choir.  I remember feeling him move and groove with the beat.  When my son was born, music was a source of calm for him (and me HA!).  I started looking for organized music classes early on.  I found Music Together !!  Backed by research and a glowing endorsement from a friend who is a music teacher, I enrolled my son when he was 4 months old.

No…he could not fully participate, but I knew the exposure to music and the observation of the social interactions were fabulous for him.  We continue to attend Music Together classes and I share my love for this program with whoever will listen.  I have watched my son go from a 4 month old lap baby staring at the activity to a 16 month old who eagerly engages in the activities, claps and dances to all music, and interacts with peers.  In our last Music Together class, we would joke that my son was the class greeter.  He would grab an instrument and walk up to the other children to say “hi” or to play the instrument.


My child is not unique in the way music has impacted him.  Music plays a significant role in child development.

Researchers from the University of Washington (UW) suggest that exposure to music positively impacts speech/language processing.  

Researchers from UW examined the effects of music and speech processing on 9-month-old infants.  47 infants participated in the research and we randomly assigned to the intervention group and the control group.  Infants in the intervention group were exposed to music (triple meter) to the tune of familiar children’s songs.  While exposed to this music, in a group setting, the caregivers of the infants tapped out the beat either by hand or with an instrument (e.g., shaker).  The control group infants were grouped together and participated in social interactions, but with no music.  The study lasted for 4 weeks.  During the 4 weeks, participants attended 12, 15 minute sessions.

When the intervention sessions were complete, the participants’ brain processing was tested in music and in speech.  It was found that music intervention the brain’s temporal structure for processing not only music, but for speech, too.  The researchers hypothesize that the intervention also supported the infants in their ability to extract temporal structure information and prediction.


For the complete research article:



Tuesday Tip

This Tuesday Tip is fantastic because it is so easy to implement today!

Tip: When decorating a child’s room or play space, be sure to put books, toys, blankets, and pictures (that are intended to be used by your child) AT YOUR CHILD’S LEVEL.


I bought this cute canvas picture of the alphabet for my little guy’s play area.  I mounted it to the wall at eye level for my toddler.  He interacts with it daily, points at the letters, and it naturally facilitates conversation about the alphabet….hello early literacy!

What have you done to your child’s room or play space to make it more child friendly?!