Top 5 Tools for SLPs
Working with students on their speech and language goals, evaluating them, and keeping lines of communication open with families can be challenging. Thanks to technology, we have a lot of resources available to help us with our daily tasks. Using these tools will help to maximize time, balance work, and keep things fresh within your sessions.
Apps for SLPs
Kids of all ages love to use technology devices. Using apps from time to time is a fun way to incorporate speech and language goals into real-world items. In addition to this, apps are wonderful to recommend to families to use at home. Many times, they may want something for “on the go” to work on their child’s skills. A great place to start are these lists for free SLP apps, App reviews by SLPs, and educational app lists.
The key to using apps within a speech session is to think outside of the box. None of these apps are traditionally used for this purpose. You must engage kids while working on IEP goals. What could a child do during a turn in the game where they must talk through something, model, or follow up by practicing a skill? Try some popular free gaming apps for yourself and see what twist you may be able to put on them. Some apps that work well with children of all ages include:
- Angry Birds
- Cookie Jam
- Little Alchemy
- CrossyRoad (several different versions including Disney)
- Colors United
- Emoji Blitz
- Pokemon Go
- Sugar Rush
- Fruit Ninja
Have some fun! Come up with different rules for your version of the app in session play. If you are playing CrossyRoad, make up different tasks for the child to do based on how many steps they hop. For example, 50 hops would be to use some practice words in a sentence, and 100 hops could be to act out a word in a sentence. Older kids may enjoy talking through their play. Have them focus on using verbs, key descriptive words about the scenery, or anything else that fits with the game.
Teachers Pay Teachers
While it’s great to make your lesson plans to use in sessions, you don’t always have to do this. Thanks to the website Teachers Pay Teachers, you can find activities, planners, and other resources from other SLPs that may be helpful to you. Most of the bundles cost, but some are free. In addition to buying plans on Teachers Pay Teachers, you may also want to share what you have made. Follow their directions and possibly earn some extra income for your hard work while helping others in your field.
SLP Session Resources
Beyond the plans for SLP sessions, there is a lot of additional pieces that are needed to keep things going throughout your day-to-day. There are some great lists on Pinterest with places to look online for information on behavior management, free organizational printables, and motivational freebies. There are a lot of ideas in these places that will help students who may have different needs or keep your files and plans in order.
In addition, here four valuable resources are available online and can help SLPs meet the needs of their culturally diverse and linguistically diverse students.
American Speech Language-Hearing Association(ASHA)
ASHA offers a website full of rich information about the language milestones children should reach each age, as well as detailed information about how to teach children to become bilingual.
For children: When working with CLD children, SLPs can use the information on this website to track their language progress. The site also offers several age-appropriate ideas that SLPs can use when working with children to help them develop language skills, such as role-playing daily activities and singing songs.
For adults: SLPs can refer parents of CLD children to use the site as well, as it offers a wide range of ideas for home activities that will help children further language progress. The site also provides parents with tips for how to best help their children develop bilingualism, such as reading books to children in both languages.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)
The CDC’s website provides several free materials to help in tracking children’s developmental milestones.
For children: Professionals working with children can use the checklists, posters, and videos to track the children’s developmental progress. The site also offers recommendations for books and other resources that SLPs can use to help facilitate children’s development.
For adults: Parents can download the CDC’s Milestone Tracker mobile app to help them track their child’s developmental milestones from two months to five years. The app includes illustrated checklists, videos to show what each milestone should look like, tips for encouraging a child’s development, and information about what to do if you’re concerned about your child’s development.
Help Me Grow
The Help Me Grow site, a project of the State of Minnesota, provides several resources for families to understand developmental milestones and learn whether they should have any concerns. The goal is to help families detect any potential needs as early as possible so they can seek additional support.
For children: When working with CLD children, SLP professionals can rely on the print, video, and online resources available on the Help Me Grow site to measure children’s progress towards developmental milestones and to conduct screenings and evaluations.
For adults: Many of the resources on the Help Me Grow site are available in multiple languages, so SLPs can refer parents of their clients to the site. There, parents can learn in their language about childhood development milestones and how to help their children. The site also offers outreach materials and presentations that SLPs can use with adults.
1, 2, 3 Grow!
Produced by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, 1, 2, 3 Grow! is a public television program about early childhood development for families of young children in eight languages and cultures.
For children: Professionals working with children with cultural and linguistic diversity can watch these programs to become more familiar with their clients’ cultures and languages, helping them to be better prepared to serve these children and their families.
For adults: Parents of CLD children can benefit by watching the program, which is hosted by physicians and parents of young children. These hosts represent the languages and cultures of their audiences: English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Portuguese, and Vietnamese. There is also a show in English focused on African-American concerns.
Blogs continue to be a popular space for people to share what they have been doing with students. There are a wide variety of SLP blogs out there for others to benefit from. Many of these websites have additional tools, plans, and examples of what they have successfully done. Some of these SLP bloggers are also found on other social media platforms, so be sure to check their blogs for more information.
SLP Professional References
As an SLP, it’s important to keep up to date on your profession. This means visiting professional organizations, looking for conventions/conferences/workshops to go to, and participating in free webinars/conferences. Consider attending our annual Bilingual Therapies Symposium, hosted in a new location each year. This unique, hands-on symposium is designed to build on the knowledge and skills of monolingual and bilingual speech-language pathologists and related professionals who serve dual-language users. Speakers will focus on evidence-based practice and share practical applications for clinical services while earning CEUs and networking with other SLP professionals.
In addition to this, you must stay on top of the changing demands of IEPs and work on how to manage your caseload. It’s also nice to see what type of SLP advocacy and SLP funding or grants are available.