Monday, January 26, 2015

Shaving Cream Fun!

This Week in Speech ~ Shaving Cream Fun!

This week in speech we decided to get a little messy! With shaving cream, a lunchroom tray, lots of towels, and various treatment plans we were able to have a lot of fun!

 My department orders these tiny shaving cream canisters. Simply spray onto a surface that can be wiped off and you are set for fun!

 There are so many options that you can use this in therapy! Here are just a few ideas!
  1. Articulation – you or your student draw out target words to practice
  2. Reading sight words
  3. Spelling
  4. Visual memory – write it down, draw it out, and then wipe it off – recall later
  5. Story telling
  6. Receptive language – identifying drawings
  7. Vocabulary – Learning about the vocabulary terms of “soft” “messy” “fluffy” and “white.” Drawing/writing synonyms and antonyms. Expanding vocabulary knowledge by letting the child draw or try to explain the feature that you drew.
  8. Receptive language – following directions through drawing i.e., make a circle before you draw a square.
  9. Groups – if you have a group you can turn this into a race, a collaborative effort (1 child draws while the other gives the directions), etc.
  10. Playtime/Game time! I always like to reward my patients with a fun game if they have completed all of their work.

Cautions: If you have a child with sensory concerns then they may not like this activity. If you have a child that mouths objects then you may want to consider using whip cream instead of shaving cream. You also want to be sure that you clean well between uses!

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Dissertation Adventure!

Dissertation Blog Post 1

This week’s blog post is a little different from my traditional posts. As some of you may know, this past fall, I started my journey to earn a professional doctorate at Nova Southeastern University! This semester we have two classes Methods of Inquiry and Business Management and Leadership. Within our Methods of Inquiry class we have the opportunity to start our research! One of our first assignments consisted of creating a dissertation blog, a place where we can share our thoughts/outlines of our dissertation. My professor gave me permission to include this within this current blog! So without further adieu I present to you my problem statement and a peak into the research to support it!


Working in an outpatient rehabilitation facility has given me the opportunity to see patients referred for modified barium swallow studies from various skilled nursing facilities and rarely home health care. These swallow studies can at times be difficult to complete. Sometimes at the last minute the patient is unable to come due to transportation difficulties or not having a care provider with the patient during the study. It is our hospital policy that a member from the patient’s skilled nursing facility must be present, available, and responsible for the patient 100% of the time. Obviously, this may not always be possible for a facility.

Outside of personal experience, evidence shows various reasons why patients from skilled nursing facilities and home health care may have difficulty in participation in modified barium swallow studies. In some cases, general access to a hospital with the capability to perform modified barium swallow studies may not be available (Groher & Crary, 2010, p. 203). Even if access is available, Bottino-Bravo and Thomson in their 2008 article “When It’s a Hard Act to Swallow, reported that patients from home health care may have difficulty even getting to participate in an instrumental evaluation of the swallow due to the time needed to obtain an order from the physician. Other complications included concerns of the patient’s physical health such as extreme weakness or obesity, and the possibility of insurance not covering the evaluation. Farnet and Consolmango (2007), recognize that due to expense and the act of changing settings it may be difficult or impossible for patients with dysphagia in skilled nursing facilities to participate in modified barium swallow studies. It is from this evidence that I have formulated the below problem statement for my research.

The problem to be addressed in this study is that access to instrumental tools for a comprehensive diagnosis of dysphagia, specifically modified barium swallow studies, is difficult for patients within home health and skilled nursing facilities.


Be sure to stay tuned in for later posts where I reveal my hypothesis! With the help of my professor, classmates, and maybe some of you, I am excited to see this dissertation develop!

Bottino-Bravo, P., & Thomson, J. (2008, April 26). When It's a Hard Act to Swallow. Retrieved January 17, 2015, from
Farneti, D., & Consolmagno, P. (2007, August 1). The Swallowing Centre: Rationale for a multidisciplinary management. Retrieved January 17, 2015, from
Groher, M., & Crary, M. (2010). Instrumental Swallowing Examinations: Videofluoroscopy and Endoscopy. In Dysphagia: Clinical management in adults and children (p. 203). Maryland Heights, Mo.: Mosby Elsevier.

Hatley, L. (n.d.). The Best Dissertation is the One That's Finished! Retrieved January 19, 2015, from!prettyPhoto

Monday, January 12, 2015

Free Vocabulary CEU!

This afternoon I completed a free on-line CEU from Super Duper Publications. The course was titled “Apps for Vocabulary Assessment and Intervention” presented by Beth Holland M.A. CCC-SLP. This free course is only available until January 21st 2015! You can find the link below.

This course focused on the assessment and intervention for expressive and receptive vocabulary. Since the course was through Super Duper Publications and presented by an employee of Super Duper Publications the material/tools that were introduced in the course were primarily created by Super Duper Publications. However, Beth Holland recommended some other fantastic resources such as “Creating Robust Vocabulary” by Dr. Beck.

Within the course the lecturer does a fantastic job of providing evidence that speaks to the importance of vocabulary development (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). After the evidence for continued vocabulary development is presented then the presentation is geared towards assessment and intervention through apps to target vocabulary.

The assessment that was presented was the MAVA. Now my facility has the MAVA but in the traditional printed form. In the presentation the app looks like it is easily accessible, motivating to the patient, and decreases scoring time due to a built program. The test assesses expressive and receptive vocabulary separately. The examiner will need to still use the traditional scoring form, the app does not track all answers as you go. You will need to calculate the raw score independently and enter it at the conclusion of the assessment. When the raw score is entered then the standard score, percentile and age equivalency will be determined in the app. Another nice feature of the app is the basal feature. With both the receptive and expressive language test a basal must be achieved. So say you start at item 20 and the patient does not make the basal then when you swipe backwards it will automatically take you to the correct question, once a basal is found and you swipe forward again then you will be taken to the next appropriate question. I would imagine this saving a lot of time with flipping pages during the assessment.

The MAVA breaks vocabulary down into three main tiers. Tier 1 is basic vocabulary, Tier 2 contains more advanced vocabulary such as words with multiple meanings, synonyms, etc., and Tier 3 contains vocabulary that is domain specific. For example in Tier 3 a golfer would specifically know what birdie, eagle, par, boogie means but someone that is not a golf may just know that they are relative golf terms. The assessment has the capability to analyze what percentage of vocabulary the student knows in each tier.

After the assessment portion is covered then the speaker discusses several apps that Super Duper Publications created that help target vocabulary. They even divided up the apps by approximate Tier levels in this presentation!  There are definitely a few apps that I am hoping to by such as Kangaroo Island and Caveman Time Machine!

Overall this was a fantastic hour presentation. I am excited to look into some new apps. The presentation was clear and concise and I would recommend looking into the CEU for anyone that is working with pre-school and school-age individuals.

Holland, B. (n.d.). Apps for Vocabulary Assessment and Intervention. Retrieved December 21, 2014, from

Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year! Word Search App Review

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year! I am so excited for this year of blogging. I have a lot of exciting things planned for the website! Be sure to explore the newly working tabs above for previous blog posts. 

App Review Word Search

Word Searches are a great way to target visual attention, sustained attention, and focused attention. It can also be a fun way to reinforce recently taught vocabulary. WordSearch by VirtueSoft offers a free and easy to use app on the iPad.

The free version includes 10 word lists: English, Food & Drink, Fruit & Vegetables, Family, Boy Names, Girl Names, Colors, Body Parts, Clothes, and World Countries. There are twelve words included for each word search. The user has an option of using uppercase or lower case letters.

A nice feature is the “hint” option where if the user is completely stuck and cannot find the word then the hint button will highlight the word briefly. Another fun feature includes the ability to have a blackboard look or a notebook style look. You can see the blackboard style with the “hint” option below!

Once a word is found and highlighted then the highlighting stays and the word on the left is marked out automatically. The only downside to the app that I have found is the inability to change the font size.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Stranger Danger

Stranger Danger Material
Recently in Springfield, Missouri a horrific crime was committed against a ten year old girl Hailey Owens. I created this free Stranger Danger material in her memory. In this activity there is a board game provided where each student has the change to race home to win. Depending on the color they land on will determine if they do one of the following:

    1. Tell you if the scenario read aloud is a Safe Idea or a Stranger Danger situation. Cards are also provided to hold up for the answer.

    2. Explain what they would do in a given situation.

    3. Sort a given character into the stranger, familiar person, or friend/family section.
With this game all you will need to provide are token pieces for each player and a set of dice. I encourage all of you to download, make copies and share. Talk about methods to ward off strangers or to help identify if the person is a stranger such as having a buddy system or creating a family password.

This activity provides opportunity for several language goals to be addressed such as: reasoning, problem solving, sentence formulation, pragmatic language skills, etc. This activity can be found on my teachers pay teachers store at 


Monday, September 1, 2014

Grandparents Day!

September 7th is Grandparents Day! Be sure to call or write a letter to your Grandparents letting them know just how much you love an appreciate them.

Above is a photograph of my Grandpa Richard Mahon and Grandma Helen Mahon with my adorable dad when he was a child. The second photograph is my Grandpa T.H. Fitzpatrick and Grandma Naomi Fitzpatrick celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary. 

All of my grandparents have passed away with the exception of my Grandma Helen, who will be 91 this year! I personally feel it is important to recognize our Grandparents. I know that all of mine were incredibly influential in my life.  So in honor of my Grandparents and all Grandparents out there I created this material so that you can talk about Grandparents day with all of your kids!

This packet includes the following:
- A mix of “wh” questions + some how questions. (12 in total).
- Learning how to address an envelope.
- Guided letter writing (fill in the blank).
- Independent letter writing.
- Guided letter writing (via drawing pictures).
- Creative design - drawing a self portrait with their
grandma or grandpa. This can lead into great discussion
on attributes, actions, basic concepts, etc…