Do you have a special SLP in your life?  Need some help picking out the perfect holiday, birthday, or "just because" present for that SLP?  Well, you are in luck, because today I am sharing some of my favorite SLP gift ideas!

1)  SLP Gear, such as these awesome shirts from The Peachie Speechie!  There are over 60 SLP-related designs to choose from, and the designs can be placed on t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, and more!

2)  SLP Accessories, such as these adorable "Speech Ninjas" and SLP tote bags from Dean Trout's Etsy store.  (Note: if you are ordering for Christmas, make sure to get in your order before Dec. 1, as Dean only takes a limited number of orders for the holiday season.  But these would make great gifts year round!)

3)  Cranium Cariboo - This amazingly popular game is very easy to adapt to speech-language therapy.  Unfortunately, it is currently out of print, and hard to obtain.  Make your favorite SLP's day keeping an eye out for it when cleaning out kid's toys or visiting garage sales!

4)  Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Certificates - TpT is the most popular website to find low cost, original therapy materials that can be printed out immediately.

5)  Office Supplies - SLPs can go through tons of office supplies in one year!  Nice pens and pencils are always a good option, as are these personalized notepads from Erin and MBK Prints on Etsy.  Also, not pictured, but another great option would be a personal laminator and laminating sheets, like this one from Scotch on Amazon.

6)  Hand Sanitizer - If you work with children, this is a must!  Make it more attractive by packaging it with a pretty soap dispenser, like the green one pictured here.

Tell me, what is on your SLP wishlist this year?
One of the best innovations to happen in the SLP world in the last 5 years was the creation of a website called (or TpT).  I'm linking up with Speech Time Fun today to tell you why!

I first heard of TpT in the summer of 2012.  I have created my own therapy materials since graduate school, but never really considered selling them.  A grad school friend mentioned that I should consider posting some of my items for sale (thanks, Danielle!), which gave me the push I needed to create an account and start posting.  Being a seller on TpT has been an amazing journey!  

But even as a seller with close to 100 items in my store, I am still a buyer, too!  Why is that, you may ask?  

1)  TIME SAVER:  I can't possibly make enough materials for my diverse caseload to keep up with the entire school year.  Creating materials takes me anywhere from 2-70 hours, depending on how complicated they are, and I just don't have the time to do that for every single student on my caseload every week.

2)  SAVING MONEY:  While there are definitely items I love from the big speech therapy companies, I can get SO much more for my money on TpT.  For the cost of two or three books from one of the big companies, I can purchase enough materials to last me an entire semester from TpT.

3)  EMERGENCIES:  Do you ever have a "therapy emergency" happen in your day?  For me, this might mean I've forgotten the materials I needed at home, or I get a brand new student with goals that I have no materials for, or what I have planned just isn't working.  With TpT, I can go online, find something that fits my needs, and have it printed out in five minutes or less.

So, where should you start on TpT?

I might be a little biased, but I think you should start in my store!  :)  I have a wide variety of products, but some of my most popular include:

Series of Progress Monitoring Tools (available for articulation, grammar, and language)

"I Can" posters (aligned with CCSS for K-6 and 5-12)

There are many great products by other SLP sellers on TpT as well.  Here are some you should definitely check out:

What have been some of your favorite purchases on TpT?
Something I’ve had a lot of questions about is my reward/incentive system for my students.  Obviously, my system won’t work for every setting or population, but it seems to work well for the majority of my elementary school (K-6) students.

As you can see in the picture, I keep reward charts for my students on display on my large metal cabinet.  These were simple ones I created in Powerpoint to go with my color scheme, but there are many others that are commercially available, including in my room decor sets available on TpT, and in teacher supply stores and catalogs.

On each chart, there is a space for each students’ name and grade, which I write on each one at the beginning of the year.  (Since I always seem to add students throughout the year, I make sure to have extras on hand!)  I laminate each one, then put them together on a flat surface - my cabinet works well for this, but any bulletin board or wall space would be fine.

I keep my system fairly simple.  Each time a student comes for a speech-language therapy session, they put a star/mark on their chart with a dry erase marker.  At the end of the session, we talk about if the student has worked hard or not - if so, they get to add another star.  In addition, students may receive a star for each piece of homework returned.  Once my students fill up a row (which has seven spaces), they may choose something from my treasure box.  Since the majority of my students see me either two or three times a week, this ensures each student gets a prize about every other week.  Once a student fills up their chart, I put a star at the top next to their name (to indicate how many times the chart has been filled), and erase the other stars to start over.

As you can see from the picture, I have sort of a hybrid treasure box.  I still have some traditional items in my box (which currently includes regular and mechanical pencils, erasers, sticky hands, bouncy balls, tops, stickers, bracelets, small plastic mazes, and notebooks), but have included some rewards from my No Cost Rewards freebie available on TpT (which includes the privilege of using a pen/mechanical pencil, sitting in my chair, having a piece of artwork displayed in my room, and choosing a stuffed animal buddy for the day).  The traditional items are generally small rewards from Oriental Trading Company (I usually make an order each summer), the dollar store, or party favors.

Tell me, do you use a reward system for your students?  How does it work?

I don’t know about you, but I sure wish I could be in sunny Orlando right now!   While I unfortunately can’t bring you some nice, warm sunshine, what I - and several of my other wonderful blogger friends - can provide you are some therapy ideas and nuggets of wisdom!

 You’ll want to make sure to hop through each blog in order.  Keep track of the letters on each post, because you’ll be able to enter them at the end for an awesome prize package!  (Keep in mind, the hop and giveaway close at Saturday, November 22 at 11:59 pm EST.)

The Value of Listening

To become a more effective speech-language pathologist, I have a simple piece of advice: listen.

          As SLPs, we often love to talk!  After all, it’s part of our job as master communicators, right?  Get a group of us together, and we can talk for hours.  We also talk with our students constantly, guiding them and teaching them new skills.  We feel like if we aren’t talking, we aren’t doing our jobs.  Do we know that listening is an important part of communication?  Sure we do!  But things can get so busy and hectic in our every day jobs, it's easy to forget to take the time to do so.

          Sometimes, the most important thing you can do in your day is to take a step back and LISTEN to what your students need to say.  Did you ever stop to think that you, as their SLP, may be the only adult that day to spend one-on-one time with him or her? 

          One way I make time to listen to my students is to go get my students for each session.  Yes, our elementary building is huge, and my pedometer says I average about 4 miles a day walking up and down the hallways each school day.  It can take up to 5 minutes to get from the furthest wing of my building back to my speech room, depending on how crowded the hallway is.  But I consider this time a valuable therapy asset to get to know my students better.  I ask how they are doing, and what has happened since the last time I saw them – and then I listen.  Most of my students love having that individualized attention, and I learn valuable information about their lives. 

Something that research has shown is that if you can connect what you are teaching to your students’ prior knowledge and experience, you have a much higher likelihood of making those concepts stick.  If you take the time to listen to your students and what is going on in their lives, you have a better picture of what prior knowledge they might have.

In addition to helping to activate their prior knowledge, listening to your students is also important in identifying underlying problems that might be going on in a particular child’s life.  Honestly, some students might have so much going on, that producing their R sound correctly is the last thing on their minds! 

Once you have worked with a student for a while, you can generally get a feel for when they aren’t feeling well, or something is bothering them.  If there is something bigger going on, there is no way you are going to have a productive therapy session. Sometimes, you have to listen to what your gut is telling you, throw the therapy plan out the window, and listen.  Ask the student what is wrong, or keep him/her behind when you send the other students back to their classroom.  Maybe a classmate is making fun of them, or their allergies kept them up all last night, or they just failed a test.  Maybe their parents are going through a divorce, or maybe they are worried if they will have a place to sleep tonight. 

You will never know everything that is going on in that child’s life, but if you take the time to listen and earn their trust, your therapy will be much more effective in the long run.  Sometimes, you can do something about the problem, like talk to the child’s teacher, or call home.  But sometimes, all you can do is listen, and tell the child, “I am so sorry that you are going through this right now.  I can’t fix that for you, but you know what?  I am on your side.”

          So, my mission for you – take some time this week and truly listen to your students.  I guarantee, it will be worth it in the long run!


For the giveaway, write down the following as the first letter for the secret code:

To go to the next blog in the hop, click here to visit my friend CC over at Super Power Speech.

To skip to the last blog, click here.

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