Copyright 2014, Natalie Snyders, SLP. Powered by Blogger.
I don't know about you, but I often have students that need extra visuals to help learn a concept.  I realized the other day in the midst of a session with a sensory bin with a kindergarten student that I needed something to help with preposition or direction terms.

 FREE preposition visual reference chart for SLPs

So, I created this preposition reference chart, and made one for you, too!  :)  I've found it helpful in structured play settings with my younger students.

 FREE preposition visual reference chart for SLPs

This free download is available in my store in a full or half page version.  I hope you find it helpful!

Looking back, there are so many things I wish I had known in grad school about being a school based SLP!  Classes can only teach you so much, and there is so much more I wish I had known starting out.  Looking back, here are five of the things I wish I had known!

Grad school for speech language pathology is difficult, but it's difficult for a reason.  

Our field is so broad that you really need to have a wide base of knowledge to draw from to be successful.  Even in the school setting, you'll be faced with all sorts of challenges and different disorders every day, and it is essential to have that knowledge base to fall back on.

That being said, you won't know everything as a new graduate, and that's ok!  

It's only now, going into my ninth year, that I feel fairly confident in my knowledge base, and yet I know I could have a new student walk in tomorrow with an issue that I will know nothing about.  It's perfectly normal not to have an answer for every question you are asked - the important thing is that you know where to look or who to ask for an answer.  My go to line is always, "I am not sure on that, but I'm going to do some research and get back to you."

The first position and salary you have won't be exactly what you expect.  

That median salary data is just that - the median, compiled from SLPs with many more years of experience, and from around the country, particularly in places with high living expense costs.  I can tell you with certainty the pay range in central Illinois is very different from California!  Most school districts have salary schedules for all employees, and there's generally not much (if any) room for negotiation.

Along those lines, your first position will likely not be exactly what you had your heart set on.  As the newest employee, everyone else with more seniority will generally get the chance to switch or move positions first, generally leaving single position open for you.  You may have really wanted to work with preschool, but all that was available was a middle/high school position.  No matter what position you end up with, I guarantee it will make you a better therapist, even if it's not exactly what you thought you wanted.  And don't worry - you won't stay in that position forever!  I don't know any of my friends from grad school who are still in the same exact placement that they started in their CF, even if they are still working for the same district.

Get as much supervised observation time as you can now.  And don't be afraid to ask questions!

Observing different therapy sessions and styles is invaluable experience - you won't realize it until you're out in the field and don't feel like you know what to do with a particular student!  Observe as much as you can - and don't be afraid to ask the SLP why he or she did or said things a certain way.  This is one of the best ways to grow as a therapist, and once you are out of grad school, there won't be much opportunity for this.  Even if you don't like something the therapist is doing, you can learn and make informed choices about what you would do in therapy and why.

Being a speech-language pathologist is the best job in the world!

Being a speech-language pathologist is such an amazing role and responsibility, and I wouldn't want to do anything else.  I truly believe the quote from Daniel Webster that says,

 SLP Inspirational Quote Posters from Natalie Snyders

School SLPs, what other suggestions do you have to add to my list here?

PS: Don't forget to sign up for my email newsletter at to make sure you never miss a post!

Looking for a quick therapy idea?  Try beach balls!

3 easy ways to use beach balls in speech language therapy

Beach balls are a fun, easy way to incorporate more movement into your therapy sessions, without a lot of prep time required.  Here are 3 quick ideas to incorporate them into therapy!

3 easy ways to use beach balls in speech language therapy

1.  Use a beach ball to target articulation or phonology.  You could write target words on the beach ball, but I prefer to write numbers instead, so I can use them with any sound target!  Simply use a permanent maker to write numbers all over the beach ball, then toss the ball to your student.  The number closest to your student's thumb is the number of times they have to say their word, phrase, or sentence.

3 easy ways to use beach balls in speech language therapy

2.  Use the beach ball to model fluency enhancing strategies.  To model slow rate, simply toss the ball up and say one word in a sentence for each toss.  (Ex: toss - My - toss - name - toss - is - toss - Natalie.)  You could also use this to model chunking or phrasing, where you would only say two or three words on a breath before taking a pause.

3 easy ways to use a beach ball in speech-language therapy to target common goals

3.  Use a beach ball to work on prepositions and following directions.  Have your student show you the ball "above" the table, or "next to" the chair.

I don't know about you, but I'm all about automating everything I can to make my life easier!  Between my school job, family, blogging, creating therapy materials, and presenting, my time is at a premium.  I also live in a small town at least 20 minutes from the nearest big grocery store, with "real" shopping about 30-40 minutes away.  I use Amazon Prime on a regular basis, and their "Subscribe and Save" and "Prime Pantry" and I have become BFFs.  (Yes, I get monthly deliveries of cat food and my favorite English Breakfast k-cups!  It's so much easier than having to make special trips to different stores, especially during the school year.)

So when I heard about Stitch Fix (*affiliate links throughout post) a few years ago - a service that sends a curated box of five clothing items directly to your house on a monthly basis - I was definitely intrigued.  I went to the website to learn more, figured out they didn't carry my size, and promptly forgot about it.

And then, a couple of months ago, one of my friends was raving about the service, and I decided to check them out again.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had expanded their size range!  I had just wasted two hours going to the mall looking for an outfit for a special occasion and came up empty, and didn't have time to sort through all of the options online and worry about the sizing, so having clothes exactly my size sent directly to me definitely sounded appealing.

After sharing some of my fixes on Instagram, I've had several people reach out for more details, so I decided to address some of my most frequently asked questions.

FAQ's About Stitch Fix

What sizes do they carry?

Stitch Fix now carries women's sizes 0 to 24 (XS-3X).

How much does it cost?

There is a $20 styling fee per box (or fix).  This amount is then applied to any items you decide to keep.  (So if you decide to keep a $40 shirt from your fix, they will apply the $20 to that shirt.)  You can select what price range you feel comfortable with for each item type (the cheaper the better, $50-100, $100-150, $150-200).

I have all of mine set to "the cheaper, the better."  Most of the prices have been comparable to shopping at a department store without coupons, if that makes sense.  I've gotten everything from a $35 top to $78 pants so far.  There is a 25% discount if you keep all 5 items in your fix.

What kinds of clothes do they send?

You get to choose!  You fill out the extensive style quiz, and let them know how often you would like to receive the different types of items.  You can also provide the link to your style Pinterest boards, which can help Stitch Fix get a better sense of your preferences.

I prefer to get tops, blazers, and some pants, mostly for work or presenting - I don't wear a lot of dresses or skirts, and shoes are just too difficult to fit to not pick them out myself.

All of the items I have received so far have been very good quality.  I haven't kept everything from each box - I have averaged 2-3 piece from each fix so far.  A couple of pieces weren't flattering colors or shapes on me, some weren't "wow" pieces, and a few pieces just didn't work for the upcoming season in Illinois, so they were sent back.

My favorite pieces so far have been a navy 41 Hawthorne blazer, sleeveless Alice Blue blouse, and both black and green Liverpool pants.

One of the things I like about Stitch Fix is that they push me a bit outside my style comfort zone!  Some of the pieces that came in my shipments made me think, "Oh, there's no way I'm going to like that!" but Stitch Fix simply asks that you at least try everything on once.  After I tried them on, I find that I change my mind at least half of the time!

You also have the option to fill out a request for each specific fix if you would like.  They can't always meet your request (I'm still waiting for a cargo vest for fall!), but they definitely try to include at least one or two items that are close to your requests.  For my next shipment, I asked for a fix full of my favorite colors, bright cobalt blue and kelly green!

How do you give feedback?

When you check out, there is a place to leave feedback about the sizing, style, and any other comments you would like to leave.  The more detailed you are, the better your stylists can select items for future fixes.

How often do they send a fix (box)?

You get to select how often you receive a fix - you can have one sent every three weeks, monthly, every other month, or on request only.  Once you receive your box, you have three days to decide what you want to keep and what you want to send back.

Who would you recommend should try Stitch Fix?

I would definitely recommend it to busy school SLPs, teachers, and other professionals looking for some quality and unique pieces to add to their wardrobes that don't have a lot of time to shop.  (If your personal style is, "whatever I can get on sale," it's probably not a good fit for you.)  I would also recommend Stitch Fix to someone looking for an outfit for a special occasion or event.

How can I see more of what pieces you get from Stitch Fix?

You can follow my Instagram account (@slpnataliesnyders) to check out future fixes!

*If you choose to sign up for Stitch Fix through my affiliate link, I receive a small credit.  This post is not sponsored or endorsed by Stitch Fix in any way; all views are my own.

6 Easy Bulletin Board Ideas for SLPs

Do you have bulletin boards, or perhaps some wall space that needs a little special something, but don't have the time or energy to come up with an idea?  Tired of feeling like you have to change them up for each season?  No need to worry, because I've gathered six easy bulletin board ideas for you, designed specifically for SLPs!

6 Easy Bulletin Board Ideas for SLPs

1.  Student Goal Display (free here)


This is something easy that I do with my students each year in our first session!  I love it, because it gives me a chance to get to know my students, as well as get a picture of if they truly understand *why* they come to therapy or not.  

It's also great to refer to during sessions when students ask what we're going to be doing that day.

2.  "I Can" Posters Aligned to the Common Core State Standards for SLPs

These posters are something I came up with a few years ago when my state switched over to the CCSS, and I wanted to be able to tie them into therapy.  I have two different levels - kindergarten through 6th grades, and fifth through twelfth grades - and multiple color options.  I love these, because they look so nice, but can be put up once and stay up for years!

3.  See You Later, Alligator Posters for Articulation

 See You Later, Alligator Posters for Articulation

I created these posters when I was trying to think of ways to encourage articulation carryover.  I often told my students, "See you later, alligator!" when they were leaving my therapy room, and one day, I thought it would be a good idea if I had responses set up for them with their target speech sounds in them!

 See You Later, Alligator Posters for Articulation by Natalie Snyders

4.  "Words Have Power" Growth Mindset Bulletin Board

This bulletin board was inspired by the growth mindset movement - where you encourage students to go from negative, "what I used to say," to more positive "what I say now."  I simply printed the negative statements in different fonts on white paper, and put the positive re-framing statements on colored copy paper.

5.  Inspirational Quote Posters for SLPs

This set of ten inspirational quote posters are all related to communication, so they are perfect for an SLP's room!  You can put them in individual frames, or make a bulletin board display with them.

 Inspirational Quote Posters for SLPs

6.  High Stakes Vocabulary Builder (younger and older versions)

 High Stakes Vocabulary Builder for SLPs

My High Stakes Vocabulary Builders are designed to strengthen a student's testing vocabulary throughout an entire school year, with one word used per week.  There are two versions - the younger version for about first through fourth grades, and the upper version for about fifth through twelfth grades.

Sometimes, we don't always have a lot of time or materials available to us as busy school speech-language pathologists.  Let's face it, we're lucky if we get a budget to spend at all, and if you're like me, that goes pretty quick when it's time to order new tests or protocols.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs

The great news is that there are plenty of common objects that we can utilize for different therapy goals, including things like post-it notes, paper clips, and file folders!  I'll be sharing ways to use these for different areas of articulation and language later on, but today I would like to share some ways to use common objects in stuttering therapy.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs

This is by no means a comprehensive list of activities to try in therapy, but meant as way to get yourself to "think outside the box," so to speak!

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs

1.  Use a file folder as a stuttering fact book.  I think it is incredibly important that students know the facts and myths about stuttering, and a file folder is a great place for them to keep track of what they are learning.  They can keep it in your therapy room to add to over various sessions, and is a great discussion starter.  If your student has a question about stuttering that you don't have an answer to right away, jot it down on a post it note and stick it in the folder, so it will remind you to look it up together later.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

2.  You can use a popsicle stick as a pacing guide when working on slow rate.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

3.  You can also use paper clips as a pacing guide when working on slow rate.
12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

4.  Use a paper clip to show where to take a breath or pause when working on chunking or phrasing.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

5.  Use post it notes as a visual reminder on which fluency enhancing techniques to use.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

6.  When reading aloud, use a post it note to remind your student which strategy to use, as well as cover up the next lines to encourage your student to only focus on one line at a time.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

7.  Use dice as a starting point to discuss students' feelings about their stuttering.  Make sure to give examples from your own life as well.

8.  Use dice to determine conversation topics when working on demonstrating fluency enhancing strategies in structured conversations.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

9.  Use popsicle sticks to randomly draw conversation topics when working on structured conversation.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

10.  Use mini erasers as story prompts when working on fluency enhancing strategies in unstructured conversations.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

11.  Use a file folder when practicing the slow rate or phrasing/chunking techniques as a warm up for therapy.  Break up the sentences into 3-4 word chunks, and write each one on a different side of the folder.  This forces the student to slow down as he or she has to flip to the next part of the sentence.

12 Easy Ways to Use Common Objects in Stuttering Therapy for SLPs by Natalie Snyders

12.  Use a fun band aid as a reminder to use fluency enhancing strategies outside of therapy.  (Definitely check with your student first to make sure they are ok with this!  I find a lot of my students are fascinated by all of the "fun" band aids I keep in my drawer, and it can be a good reminder if the student is comfortable with it.)

 Student Self Rating Scales for Fluency

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Speech Retreat - A New Kind of Professional Development for School Based SLPs!

If you have been following me on social media, you know that I recently returned from the first ever Speech Retreat in Anaheim, California!

The Speech Retreat is a new kind of professional development for school based speech-language pathologists - it is an entire day of practical, hands-on ideas and advice that you can immediately implement to make your life as a busy school SLP easier and more efficient!  Our goal is for therapists to leave refreshed, recharged, and ready to tackle the new school year with increased confidence and ideas.

Speech Retreat - A New Kind of Professional Development for School Based SLPs!

The Speech Retreat is a collaborative effort between myself, Hallie Sherman from Speech Time Fun, Felice Clark from The Dabbling Speechie, and Maureen Wilson from The Speech Bubble SLP.  We’ve been planning the first Retreat for the past six months, and had such an amazing inaugural event!  Today, I wanted to take you a bit behind the scenes if you weren’t able to make it.

Speech Retreat - A New Kind of Professional Development for School Based SLPs!

One of our guiding principles behind planning the Speech Retreat was to be transparent and honest about what it is like to live the #speechlife, and for our attendees to know they aren’t alone in their challenges, and offer them solutions.  The real #speechlife is not always beautifully organized, or with thoroughly planned therapy sessions, or stress-free.  But it is, as I think most SLPs would agree, one of the best jobs in the world!

We had 125 amazing SLPs, SLP-As, and graduate students give up a day of their summer to spend with us, learning all things speechie!  They came from near and far, including ones who flew from Minnesota and Tennessee(!).  

Our day included sessions on:
  • Power Hour: Organization, Data Collection, & more
  • 30 Ideas for Therapy That Take 30 Seconds - or Less - to Prep
  • Make and Takes - practical ideas that our attendees were able to leave the retreat with an implement the next day
  • Adapting Materials for Different Ages & Disorders
  • Tricky SLP Situations (including tips on push-in therapy, how and when to say “no,” how to manage as a traveling therapist, ideas for working with older students, and AAC)
We also had a tremendous amount of giveaways from some generous sponsors, including:
  • For all attendees:
    • 3 month memberships to The Informed SLP
    • Coffee & bagels provided by Therapy Travelers
    • App codes from Erik X. Raj
    • Lanyards from Smarty Ears Apps
    • Stickers from Peaceable Kingdom
    • AAC Placemats from iTherapy
    • Erasers from Ooly Ooly
    • Speech Retreat sunglasses, beach ball, & tote bag 
    • our own swag (see below)

Speech Retreat - A New Kind of Professional Development for School Based SLPs!

  • For select lucky winners:
    • Gift certificates from TeachersPayTeachers
    • Memberships to SLP Toolkit & SLP Now
    • SLP Tumblers from Cupcakezie on Etsy
    • Jewelry from Charmingly SLP on Etsy
    • Games from Eeboo, Peaceable Kingdom, & Think Fun
    • Miniature items from sensory bins from Dinky Doo Dads on Etsy
    • Amazon gift cards from Speech Pathology Group
    • Throat Scopes
    • Planner stickers from Kiwi Speech on Etsy
    • ABC See, Hear, & Do Book by Stefanie Hohl

I must admit, I’m much more comfortable behind a computer screen than I am up on stage in front of a crowd, but presenting with some of my best friends and in front of such an amazing audience made it such a wonderful experience!

Speech Retreat - A New Kind of Professional Development for School Based SLPs!

Because we had such a tremendous response for the first Speech Retreat, we have already planned our second one!

We’ll be in Chicago on Saturday, October 14 - you can find out more information and sign up at  Our tickets are about 75% sold out right now, so I would encourage you to grab your seat this week before they are all gone!  

What do you think?  Would you come to the Speech Retreat if we came to your area?  We'll be making plans for Summer 2018 soon!

PS: Interested in becoming a sponsor?  Send me an email at!

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