• Speech & Language

    Instructor: Mrs. Cotter

Discussion Topics

  • Some Speech/Language Methods & Programs I Use!

    Posted by Lisa Cotter on 1/22/2016 3:09:00 PM

    Things you may hear about in our work together:


    *Use of Speech Homework Folders: During your child’s first session I will give them a speech folder which allows for two-way communication between home and speech class. Students are expected to bring their folders to each session and home weekly for carry-over activities. The folders also hold each child accountable for practicing learned skills between their sessions and teaches independence! Help your child make speedier progress with practice activities at home!


    *Speech Sticker Charts: Inside their folders you will see a sticker sheet. This will be a reward system for all ages based on daily points, which will be awarded for attendance, positive behavior, returning their homework, and extra effort. They may turn in their stickers for the an item in the treasure chest or special attention item (e.g. be the line leader or sit in the teacher’s chair for a session of their choice) when they have accumulated enough. There are NO food related prizes per our schools policy. This is often a huge motivator for the kids to work hard and complete their homework assignments!  


    *Speedy Speech: I have started to incorporate this research based method of therapy into my practice with some of our students who are working on their sound production. It involves small does of individual therapy (about 5 minutes) every day and it is showing big results! These students are making great gains towards their sounds! They are remembering what they’re working on and how to do it with less teacher dependency on a daily basis!

    *EET: EET stands for the Expanding Expression Tool. This is designed as a multi-sensory approach to help improve oral and written language. It helps students become better describers, create bigger sentences, organize their thoughts, and tell a more interesting story. I love this tool because you can use different levels of it with students from kindergarten to high school. It grow with them as a tool in their box they can always apply! For more information on EET visit www.expandingexpression.com


    *Social Thinking: I see many students working on pragmatic (social) language skills. This has been a special interest of mine for many years now and I have been attending ‘Social Thinking’ trainings every year since 2012. I use many tools from the ‘Superflex’ and ‘Social Thinking’ curriculum, created by Michelle Garcia-Winner, to help teach my students to become more effective communicators, to make expected choices, and to become more engaged with their peers. This ultimately helps them to create and maintain relationships by increasing their social attention. It’s a fun and visual way to learn which is highly motivating for many of our students. Since coming to PAE, I along with the school counselors, have been making a school wide initiative to incorporate social language with all of our students. For more information about ‘Social Thinking’ at PAE please refer to our monthly newsletter or visit www.socialthinking.com


    *PECS: PECS stands for the “Picture Exchange Communication System.” I have been trained in this specific protocol which teaches non-verbal children to initiate communication by exchanging pictures or icons for their wants and needs. It is an incredibly successful system that has helped many students to become more active participants in their world and gets their wants and needs met! Research has also shown that use of this system helps to encourage verbal language, not inhibit it! www.pecs.com


    *AAC: AAC stands for Augmentative & Alternative Communication. AAC is a broad term that encompasses communication methods used to supplement or replace verbal speech or writing for those with impairments. This can include programs like PECS, low tech picture boards, and advanced AAC speech output devices. http://praacticalaac.org is a great website for more information and ideas on how to use AAC in your home and community!

    *ARtIC LAB: Articulation RTI is a pilot program I have brought to PAE this year with the first grade students. This program gives those students who are having difficulty with producing some of their sounds an opportunity to get help in short time frame. Please note, this is daily in addition to regularly scheduled RtI, not in place of it. The goal of ARtIC is to provide 20 hours of intervention for students with 1-2 articulation errors with the following sounds: R (as in red, bear), S (as in sun, grass), L (as in lion, bell), CH (as in chess, peach), and SH (as in shell, wish). Other sounds are not targeted in this specific program. Student’s are typically identified by their teacher, and then, with parent permission, screened to see if they’re candidate for this program. Targeting articulation skills is beneficial in helping children produce clear and intelligible speech, which will give them confidence in the classroom and with peers to speak up, share more, and feel comfortable in oral presentations. Please be advised, this is a regular education program and is not part of special education.
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  • What Is Speech & Language

    Posted by Lisa Cotter on 1/22/2016 2:29:00 PM

    What it means to be a speech and language pathologist...People often think of speech therapy as just working on sound production, but it includes so much more! The following are areas in which we can work on with students who may require our services:

    *Articulation: The way we say our sounds. This may include difficulty planning and coordinating the movements needed to make speech sounds.

    *Phonology: The speech patterns we use that are developmental in nature. For example, producing an /r/ as a /w/ (“wed” for ‘red’) is age-appropriate until about 7 years of age. A lisp is not developmental!

    *Fluency and Voice: This may include stuttering, cluttering, quality of voice (such as hoarseness), and the rate of speech in which we speak.

    *Expressive Language: The way in which we use language both verbally and with gestures to communicate. This can include things like vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, narrative skills, and appropriate sentence length. This can also include a child’s ability to express their most basic wants and needs.

    *Receptive Language: The ability to understand spoken language. This includes things like listening comprehension, basic concepts, and following directions.

    *Pragmatic Language: The way in which we use language socially to communication with one another. This can include skills such as body language, understanding facial expressions, eye contact, perspective taking, and conversational turn-taking.  

    *Deafness/Loss of Hearing: Therapy for this can include developing lip-reading, speech, and/or alternative communication systems such as ASL (American Sign Language). We also often monitor hearing equipment such as FM systems in the classroom and hearing aids.

    *Oral Motor Disorders: This typically involves on working on increasing strength and coordination of lip and/or tongue muscles.

    *Swallowing and Feeding: This often involves difficulty chewing and/or swallowing related to your speech muscles. Sensory challenges related to eating are typically addressed by an occupational therapist (OT).
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