Questioning AAC

I know it’s been forever since I posted…and I apologize. I’m currently working on a post about PROMPT and whether it’s EBP or pseudoscience and I suspect I’m avoiding delaying working on it because I’m afraid of what I’ll find.

However, I wanted to post something…and this has been laying rather heavily on my heart lately, so I thought I’d post it here. Go on…click on it, it’s not personal.

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Blurred Lines

I feel the strong need to preface this post, mainly because I suspect it will anger many people. However, before you get too angry, please read all the way to the end…and then if you want to comment – walk away for a few minutes before you hit send. I’d love a discussion, but don’t really want a debate, and I won’t argue. I’ve been considering this post for a while and I’ve resisted it for a couple of reasons. One, I’m not sure I’ve fully considered all aspects. Two, I’m not sure I have a solution (and I hate to be a part of a problem with out a solution). And three, the alternatives suck. If that hasn’t scared you off…  Continue reading

Musings about Assessments and things

I recently read a great post by another SLP, Tatyana Elleseff, over at Smart Speech Therapy LLC.

I strongly recommend that you go read it. It’s a great post about WHY she does what she does, and why some parents (and schools) request her to do it. Intrigued yet? What are you waiting for – go read it. It’s titled: Special Education Disputes and Comprehensive Language Testing: What Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates Need to Know.

Tatyana’s post gave me some pause for thought…and then of course I had to follow the rabbit trail my mind seems to take sometimes. Ultimately, I came away with some questions and deep thoughts about our profession.  Continue reading

Reflections on Learning

Also known as … wait? It’s MY fault he’s not learning?

I recently attended a webinar by Presence Learning that was part of their Agents of Change series. Before I go any further, I’d like to suggest that each one of you (if you’re an SLP or Teacher) go to their website and sign up for the newsletters so that you also receive notifications of their free CEUs. The information presented is typically very useful AND they’re repeating the series called Greatest Hits Summer Series (Grandin, Prizant, Robertson, Burns, and more).

Okay…Now that that’s done (You DID do it, right?)… here are my thoughts about one I attended recently. Continue reading

Language Samples = Book Review

Also known as Adventures with Adolescents…or is that Adolescence?

A while ago, I was invited to review a second book from Plural Publishing. Always thirsty for knowledge, I jumped at the chance to review another book. So, without further adieu. I bring you…

Language Sampling with Adolescents: Implications for Intervention

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RRRRRacing toward good speech?

Okay…that’s a little cliche and I admit it…

Okay…that’s a LOT cliche…but there’s a reason.

I had the privilege of reviewing a new up-and-coming app prior to it being released and I’m here to share my thoughts with you regarding it.

The people at Complete Speech have created a new app called Speech Racer Lite. (For those who have read my reviews before, I reviewed another app of theirs called Vowel Viz a while ago.)  Speech Racer provides biofeedback for each R word said.


Speech Racer Lite is designed to give students a “fun, interactive way to practice ‘RRR’ sounds.”

This is the Lite version – the full version will be released in August. The full version will have self-scoring, over 300 flashcards with visual cues, and the ability to customize R targets in different positions, including blends.


It looks as though the app is well thought out and full of detail. I wasn’t able to access some of the elements as they are reserved for the full version (which isn’t available yet). However, they seem to have thought about everything important.

Word lists include Initial, Medial, and Final R words (over 300 flashcards!)  I REALLY like that they have the R Blends and post-vocalic /r/ separated into their own words (to me this is critical for a good /r/ app).

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There will be four activities av available in the full version.


The Lite version has two activities available. These are both meters that show how accurate the R production was. The student is directed to prolong the R to make it a bit more noticeable (more on this later). The meter will then flash up to the “rating.”

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In the first one, a poor /r/ sound will result in a red light…an approximate /r/ sound will result in a yellow light, and a good /r/ will result in the green light and running lights being illuminated. The lights stay illuminated until the record button is pushed again.

In the second meter, the meter goes from Red (empty) to Green (full) based on the quality of the R.

I can see the benefit of the biofeedback for R as it can be very tricky for kids to master self-monitoring. Having the immediate feedback helps with correct placement and recognizing what it is that the student had to do to get that /r/.

My only concern is that it doesn’t necessarily facilitate a “true” /r/ in that it does need to be slightly exaggerated to be picked up by the device. However, that is a minimal concern and similar to producing an exaggerated /s/ and then shaping it into a true /s/…an exaggerated /r/ is fairly easy to shape into a true /r/ once they get the feel for the position and develop the self-awareness.

Overall, I think this app has some potential. I’ve been a fan of Vowel Viz for a while now, but I can see many of the students on my caseload responding better to this than Vowel Viz. I know I’m excited to try it with them and I’m definitely looking forward to the full version.

Be sure to check out Speech Racer here and check out Complete Speech here.

So…let me know. Do you think you can see a need for Speech Racer Lite in your future?

Until then….Adventure on!


Disclaimer: I was provided with a code for Speech Racer Lite; however, the review and thoughts are entirely my own.

Milestones? Nah…why bother!

Happy Better Hearing and Speech Month! This post has been sort of percolating for a while and with Better Hearing and Speech Month’s focus on early intervention and the recent influx of new grads it seems relevant.

Recently, while speaking with many of my SLP friends on twitter, some expressed distress that articulation norms are so often misunderstood or misused. I wanted to write a post about it a few weeks ago and prudence dictated I wait until I wasn’t quite so…frustrated.

Then, a couple days ago, I had the distinct pleasure of reading a post on the way language milestones are often misunderstood. That post, from Teach me to Talk, is available here. I have to say, I honestly hadn’t considered how language milestones are interpreted…but it’s absolutely true they are misunderstood or maybe ignored much the way articulation norms are misused.

But it really drove home how we tend to view milestones or normative charts not as how they were meant to be used – but how they best work in our favor. Continue reading