Copyright 2014, Natalie Snyders, SLP. Powered by Blogger.
I don't know about you, but I'm always trying to make my life - and job! - easier whenever I can.  Today, I want to share another quick tip for articulation therapy.  (See previous posts here and here.)

Take a moment to think about your typical articulation therapy sessions.  How many times with each student do you have to remind them of proper placement for your target sound?  Sometimes, it feels like it is every 30 seconds!

I frequently have students refer back to our articulation reminder posters, but sometimes that's just not enough, especially for the /r/ sound.

One day,  I watched one of my hardest working students struggle with an /r/ sound, but finally was able to self-correct after several tries.  I asked him to tell me exactly what he had done differently to make the more correct /r/ sound, so I could remind him of that in the future.  My student described what he was doing with his mouth and tongue, and it was so powerful to hear in his own words what he was doing!  His description was different than mine, but it clearly made more sense to him than my own description.

I quickly realized that this was a teachable moment, so I grabbed my iPad, asked him to repeat his description, and started recording.  Now, we're able to watch that brief clip when we start each session, and every time he starts to struggle, we can watch it again.

What do you do to help students remember the correct placement for their target speech sounds?

Fluency (or stuttering) therapy is an area that many SLPs feel under-prepared to serve.  While you may have had an excellent professor on the subject in grad school, it tends to be a lower incidence population in the school setting.  In my career, I have had some years without any stuttering cases at all, and the most I have had is two or three at a time.  It's hard to know where to go with therapy and what materials to use when you don't have much experience with it.

Generally, I have two main things that I really focus on when working with fluency disorders.
1) I want my students to understand what stuttering is and what it is not.  Ultimately, I want them to be able to advocate for themselves, and knowledge is power!
2)  I want my students to learn different techniques to help them make their speech more smooth.  There is no cure for stuttering, but we can make speaking easier and less stressful.

Today, I would like to share my top 8 materials that I use in stuttering therapy with my older elementary and middle school students (about 2nd grade and up).
  1. My Stuttering Mini Unit.  I created this because I was in desperate need of a systematic way to approach therapy with my older fluency students.  There are several options out there for younger students, but I had a hard time finding anything with graphics and topics appropriate for students in third grade and older.  This unit is where I start with any new fluency students.  I really like using the pre-test to see what exactly each student knows - or doesn't know - about stuttering.  From there, it teaches some of the facts and myths about stuttering, and then introduces different fluency enhancing techniques, with activities to practice.  
  2. I always start my therapy year by using my Articulation, Phonology, and Fluency Student Self Rating Scales.  With options for both younger and older students, I feel like this gives me a much better picture of how my students view their own fluency skills - which often can be rather far off from my own outside perspective.   This also helps me figure out which situations/settings may the most stressful for my students, so I can incorporate that into therapy.
  3. Books about stuttering.  For my elementary students, I like to read the picture book called A Boy and His Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz.  While I am careful to talk about how the author grew up in a different time period with different views than we have now, it's a book with a good message about overcoming the fear of speaking.  The Stuttering Foundation also has a good book for younger students called, "Sometimes I Just Stutter," which is available as a free e-book.  For high school students, the book, "Out With It" by Katherine Preston is a good read.
  4.  An iPad or other video recording device.  This is helpful to record students' conversational speech to review together in therapy.  You can use it to identify dysfluencies or secondary characteristics, or rate how the effectiveness of different fluency enhancing techniques.  
  5. Games with set phrases to say.  For example, Uno is a great quick card game that has short phrases (ex: "I have a red four") that you can use with different fluency enhancing techniques.  
  6. Books with short stories or poems.  These are great for practicing fluency enhancing strategies, as well as talking about appropriate phrasing and pausing (especially in poetry).
  7. Games with more open-ended speech tasks, such as Tell Tale or Rory's Story Cubes.  These are good for more conversational practice using fluency enhancing techniques.
  8. My Stuttering Homework Calendars.  These are great for quick and easy practice at home.  They come with specific directions for parents to help them understand exactly what you are working on in therapy, and how to support their child's speech at home. 

Want to make sure not to miss any more therapy ideas?  Sign up for my email newsletter here: 

Are you starting out in your school career, or just want to try something different during the first week of speech-language therapy?  Here's what my first week of therapy in the elementary school looks like.

My personal goals are pretty simple for the first week.  My primary purpose is to get to know my students and help them to be comfortable around me, since I will be asking them to try difficult things during the year.  I also think it is important for my students to know why they come to speech-language therapy.  Finally, I like to get some sort of baseline data to see how each student is doing with each of their IEP goals.

First, I welcome the students to my room, and introduce myself.  I show each one around the room, pointing out their reward chart, the treasure box, etc.  I try to make a point of explaining my bulletin board with "I can" statements, and show each student several that relate to their goals in therapy.

Next, we fill out these pages from my Free Student Goal Display.  While they are coloring a picture of themselves, I spend a little time getting to know the students, or if they are continuing students, what they have been up to since I saw them last May.  We also talk about what each student's individual goals are, and why they are important.  (It's so interesting to see why students think they come to therapy!)  I will take these and mount them on colored card stock to make a display for one of the walls in my therapy room.

Then, I will start quickly assessing my students' skill levels with each of their IEP goals.  My favorite way to do this is to use my progress monitoring tools for articulation, phonology, language, and grammar.  If I have a group of students, I will let the others draw me a picture, play with play-doh, or work on a quiet educational app on one of my iPads while I progress monitor with each student.  (This may take a full session or two, depending upon how many goals each student has.)

For my articulation, phonology, and fluency students, I also have them fill out my student self-rating scales.  I just created these last year, and I have found them to be very revealing to see how each student views his or her disorder.  These are also something I like to do again at the end of the year to see how much their perception has changed.

For my older students, we also spend a few minutes discussing how they will come to speech-language therapy.  Some prefer to come on their own, while others prefer me to come get them.  I think it is important to respect each student's wishes, and do what I can to work with each one.

What do you do in your first week of therapy?


I don't know about you, but one of my favorite parts of birthday celebrations is getting to share the day with some of my favorite people.  As I approach a milestone birthday (the big 3-0!) I wanted to take a minute to celebrate with a few of my favorite people - and you are one of them!

Sadly, birthday cake just isn't made for sharing over the internet.  But, I do have a few great giveaways of a few of my favorite things for a few lucky followers!

Check out the three prize packages you could win:

The top package will be given away here on my blog to one of my readers.  The bottom right will be given away to one of my email newsletter subscribers.  (Not signed up yet?  Go here!  The bottom left will be given away to one of my Facebook followers.

So, what is included in the blog giveaway?

  • "SLP" lunch tote from Erin Condren
  • $100 gift card to
  • $50 Target gift card
  • a set of PaperMate Flair pens
  • EOS lip balm
  • "Highly Koalafied SLP" pin from 

How to enter?  Choose one or more of the entry options below by 7:00 pm CST on Sunday, August 14, 2016.  (US residents only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guess what?  It's time for the Back to School Sale on!  

It will run from August 1-2, and I am offering 20% off of everything in my store (INCLUDING bundles), plus you can get an additional 8% off with TpT's discount code.

Today, I'm linking up with Jenna over at to share a few things that are in my cart!

First, here are a few items from my store that you should definitely check out:

Multiple Meaning Words: Mini Unit

 Multiple Meaning Words - Mini Unit for Speech Language Therapy

This unit recently got some formatting updates, and I'm excited to use it this year with my upper elementary and middle school students!

Stuttering Bundle for Speech-Language Therapy

This new bundle consists of my best-selling Stuttering Mini-Unit and new Stuttering Homework Calendars.  With a focus on stuttering education and fluency enhancing strategies, it's a perfect low-prep option your fluency cases in 3rd through 12th grades.

High Stakes Testing: Vocabulary Builder (Jr Edition)

Back to school is a perfect time to pick up my High Stakes Testing: Vocabulary Builder!  Pictured is the younger version for first through fourth grades, but there is also a version for about fifth grade through high school.  These products will help you systematically target words frequently found in classroom and testing directions, and provide an opportunity to expand your impact beyond just your therapy room.

Here are some items I'm looking forward to picking up during the sale myself!

Articulation Carryover Activities for Initial R, R Blends, and Vocalic R by Felice Clark

I don't know about you, but I can always use more activities for /r/!  I love how Felice has designed these to be visually appealing and appropriate for all ages.

Evidence Based Interventions: Vocabulary Edition by Nicole Allison

Nicole always has well-researched and comprehensive products, and this one looks like a fantastic addition to my collection!

No Prep Speech & Language for a Year by Maureen Wilson

School SLPs are busy, and I'm no exception!  I love no-prep activities, and Maureen has got me covered for the whole year with this great bundle.

Speech News Bits: Non-fiction Articles for Speech, Vocabulary, and Comprehension by Speech32

This unit from Nancy looks great for my mixed upper elementary or middle school groups!

What's in your cart for this sale?  Make sure to head over to Jenna's blog to find some other great therapy material suggestions!

PS:  Don't forget that you can leave feedback on previous purchases from to earn free credits towards future purchases!  I love to hear what you think of my items, and who doesn't love an even better discount?!  ;)

As school based SLPs, many of us are required to write a professional goal for ourselves each year.  In my district under the Danielson model, we call it an "Individual Growth Plan," while others may call it "Professional Development Goals," "Professional Goal Setting," "Professional Learning Plan," or something similar.

Now, as SLPs, we write goals for our students all the time, but I've found that it can be much more difficult to write a goal for yourself!  So today, I would like to share some example goals that may help you with writing your own.  Something to keep in mind is that your goal(s) must be SMART; that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

So, where to start?  

First, take a moment to try to look at your job/role as an outsider.  If you are like me, you probably know areas of therapy you need to learn more about, or areas that you would like to improve in.  Do you need to learn more about stuttering therapy?  Do you need to become more comfortable with AAC devices?  Do you want to share some of your knowledge and expertise with others?

Next, think about your students.  Do the majority understand (in a general sense, at least) why they come to speech-language therapy?  Can they explain it to someone else?  Is your therapy style effective for your students, or would you like to try a new approach with some (such as centers with large groups or the 5 minute/speech speech approach for articulation)?

Also, think about other teachers/professionals in your building.  Are there ways that you can help support or re-inforce some of their curriculum?  Do you see your students struggle in specific environments outside of your therapy room?  Are there other professionals that might be willing to collaborate with you or be receptive to push-in therapy?

Don't forget about parents!  How do you communicate with them?  Do you know how the majority prefer to be contacted (text, phone call, note home, etc.)?  Are there ways you could improve on this?  How do you keep track of their contact info, as well as keep a record of your communication with parents?

Let's take a look at some sample goals you might choose.  

Keep in mind, you want to make sure your goals are realistic - don't give yourself too many extra tasks that will interfere with your regular job duties or home life.

The way goals must be written tend to vary across districts and states.  After speaking with several different SLPs, it appears that some (like me) write professional goals for themselves, while others must write goals tied specifically to student improvement.  For my district, I have to choose one main goal with four objectives to be accomplished through the year.  I have heard from some SLPs that their districts require several goals, each with individual objectives.

Here is the professional goal I wrote for myself during the past school year: 

Here were the "action steps" I wrote - essentially, measurable ways for me to meet this goal: 

  1. I will provide packets of information to each teacher, regarding each of their specific students on my caseload, their disorders and goals, and possible academic impact.  (by August 2015)
  2. I will provide packets of information in parent-friendly terms, specific to each student (regarding their disorder and potential academic impact), to be given to parents at the beginning of the school year and at each annual review meeting. (by May 2016)
  3. I will attend & present at the 2015 national American Speech- Language Hearing Association conference.  (in November 2015)
  4. I will take at least two continuing education courses on topics pertaining to my current caseload. (by May 2016)
Here are some resources and articles if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:
  • From TpT: My Parent and Teacher Explanation Handouts were used for steps one and two.  I made lots of copies at the beginning of the year, then kept them on hand for whenever I had an IEP meeting.
  •  I used my personal subscription to watch courses on stuttering assessment and treatment.
  • If the ASHA conference isn't convenient and/or too expensive, you could substitute any specific conference or course that would be more realistic for you to attend.

Here are some resources and articles if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:

Here's another example goal:

Here are some possible action steps:

  1. I will provide packets of information to each teacher, regarding each of their specific students on my caseload, their disorders and goals, and possible academic impact.   
  2. I will send out a survey to my IEP students' classroom teachers to determine which classrooms would benefit the most and which available times work best with my existing therapy schedule.
  3. I will collaborate with at least one general or special education teacher to plan and execute at least one lesson or center time during the first quarter [month, semester] of the school year.  [You could repeat this one for each semester or quarter, or name a specific teacher/discipline in each one].
  4. I will trial the "5 Minute Articulation" approach with at least 5 different students this year in order to determine if shorter, more frequent sessions are more effective than being pulled out from the classroom for traditional, longer therapy sessions.  
  5. I will trial centers for articulation therapy for student groups of 3 or more in order to determine if it is more effective than traditional therapy sessions with all students at the table together.
Here are some resources and articles if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:

Here's another example goal:

Here are some possible action steps:

  1. I will provide packets of information to each teacher, regarding each of their specific students on my caseload, their disorders and goals, and possible academic impact
  2. I will provide packets of information to each parent about the nature of their child's speech-language disorder and the possible academic impact at the beginning of the year and at each IEP meeting.
  3. I will send out a survey to parents to determine how each prefers to be contacted, day/time preferences for IEP meetings, and which families would like speech-language homework/activities sent home and how often.
  4. I will write at least five notes/emails to different parents each month regarding their student's progress in speech-language therapy and tips to maintain their progress at home.
  5. I will provide weekly/monthly homework activities for parents who request it during the school year.
  6. I will maintain a page on the school's website, offering tips and suggestions for parents to help promote communication skills, which will be updated on a monthly/quarterly basis.
  7. I will promote awareness of good communication habits and information during Better Hearing  and Speech Month in May.
Here are some resources and articles if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:

And one last example:

Here are some possible action steps:

  1. Before the school year begins, I will create a bulletin board of "I Can" statements in student-friendly language.  During each therapy session, I will review which statement(s) we will be working on, and then at the end of the session, have each student tell what was targeted.
  2. During the first week of therapy, I will have each student fill out an individual profile that lists his/her general goal areas and why these areas are important.  These will be displayed in the therapy room and reviewed periodically throughout the year as needed.
  3. I will use progress monitoring checks at least once per quarter to assess student progress with their individual goals.  I will review progress individually with each student, and he/she will update their personal goal graph sheet with their progress each quarter.
  4. I will have my students working on articulation, phonology, and/or fluency fill out a self-rating scale at the beginning and end of the school year.

Here are some resources if you need ideas for accomplishing this goal:

What professional goals have you written for yourself?  

PS:  Want to make sure to stay up to date?  Sign up form my email newsletter at and never miss anything (plus get exclusive freebies sent straight to your inbox!)
If you have followed any SLP bloggers on Facebook or Instagram in the past year or two, you have probably seen the SLP Must Have Sale mentioned a time or two.  But what is it, exactly, and when does it happen?

The #SLPMustHave sale is where many of your favorite speech-language pathologist sellers on TpT offer one item from each of their stores on the 7th of every month during the school year at a 50% discount for that day only.

Why the 7th?

  • Because that's your lucky day!  :)  Also, it is easier to remember when we keep it the same day each month.
Does it continue through the summer?
  • June 7th will be our final sale event for the 2015-2016 school year, and it will return on September 7, 2016.

How can I find out about the items on sale?

  • First, make sure to follow your favorite sellers on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram, as that is where many sellers announce which item will be on sale.
  • You may also want to sign up for their email newsletters - my subscribers get an exclusive head's up about which item will be on sale, as well as a chance to vote in advance.  You can sign up here: 
  • There is a Facebook group for the SLP Must Have Sale here.
  • On the 7th of the month, you can type in that month's hashtag into the search bar on, and all of the items on sale will come up.  (For example, this month is #JuneSLPMustHave.)
  • Also on the 7th of the month, you can click on your favorite sellers' links in this link up to be taken directly to their sale items.

Tell me, have you taken advantage of the #SLPMustHave sale this year?
Back to Top