Posted on 1 Comment

Addressing Critical Thinking Skills via Picture Books in Therapy

Critical thinking are a set of skills children need to make good independent decisions.  Critical thinking abilities involve children analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating information in order to recognize patterns, distinguish right from wrong, offer opinions, anticipate reactions to their actions, compare scenarios to choose favorable outcomes, as well as consider a variety of solutions to the same problem.

Even for typically developing children critical thinking can at times be a bit of a challenge and needs to be nurtured and encouraged through a variety of ways. However, for language impaired children, critical thinking skills hierarchy needs to be explicitly addressed in therapy sessions in order to improve these children’s independent decision-making abilities.

Teaching critical thinking skills to language impaired students is no easy feat especially considering the “seriousness” of the subject matter.  One fun way I like to address critical thinking skills is through picture books utilizing the framework outlined in Bloom’s Taxonomy: Cognitive  Domain which encompasses the following categories: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Prior to story reading ask the children to flip through the pictures and ask them questions regarding what the story might be about and what could be some potential story problems based on provided pictures.

During story reading actively question the child to ensure that they are not just passive story listeners (e.g., “Why do you think…?). Begin with basic story recall of characters, events, and outcomes (knowledge). Here asking simple -wh- questions will do the trick. Then move on to checking on what the child has done with the knowledge by asking him/her to identify main ideas of the stories as well as associate, compare, contrast and classify information (comprehension).

As you are reading the story as students to compare and contrast different characters as well as different story situations.  Children can also critically compare different (satirical) story versions of popular tales like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.

Involve children in active story discussion and analysis by asking questions the answers to which are not directly found in the story (e.g., Who else do you know who also…?; Why do you think the ___did that?) Ask the student to identify each characters motives.  When looking at a particular problem in the story ask the student how they would solve a similar real-life problem (application).

Have them weigh in pros and cons of the characters choices. Make a ridiculous statement about a story or character and have the students argue with you and explain constructively why they disagree with it. It will teach them how to find weaknesses in someone else’s reasoning. Ask the children to synthesize the presented story by generalizing it to relate to another story or an episode from their daily life.

Consider covering up story ending to have the students create their own creative alternate story conclusions. Do a shared story reading in group therapy sessions and then have a debate (e.g, Who is your favorite character and why?) in which each child has to provide appropriate rationale in order to successfully defend their point of view.

Teaching children critical thinking skills is an integral part of therapy since children need to use their language skills effectively in order to make informed decisions and function appropriately in social and academic settings.

Looking for suggestions on the hierarchy of addressing analogical problem skills then grab this one page FREEBIE I created entitled “Teaching Hierarchy of Problem Solving Skills to Children with Learning Disabilities” from my online store HERE.

So how are you teaching critical thinking skills in therapy?

Helpful Resources:

Posted on 4 Comments

Birthday Giveaway Day Sixteen: Halloween Safety Packet

halloween safetyIt’s DAY 16 of my Birthday Month Giveaways and I am raffling off a giveaway by Happily SLP entitled: “Halloween Safety & Problem Solving: Elementary, Middle School and High School

This packet contains problem solving as well as social safety situations pertinent to trick-o-treating on Halloween. Scenarios include: emergencies, expressing feelings, perspective taking and flexible thinking.

Packet Contents:

  • Halloween Social Scenario Cards for Elementary Students
  • Halloween Blank Character Cards
  • Thinking Through Problems Chart
  • Social Scenario and Problem Solving Cards for Middle and High School Students
  • Blank Spider Web Cards
  • Colored Halloween Dominoes
  • Black & White Halloween Dominoes

This packet is great for students of different ages and has much needed materials for both middle school and high school students which are accompanied by age-level scenarios and graphics.

You can find this product in Happily SLP  TPT store by clicking  HERE or you can enter my one day giveaway for a chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted on 6 Comments

Birthday Giveaway Day Eleven: Language Logic

school language logicOn DAY 11 of my Birthday Month Giveaways I am raffling off a giveaway by SLPrunner, which is a  ”Language Logic” activity pack for school. It targets the following skills:

  • Problem Solving
  • Critical Thinking
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Executive Functions
  • Sequencing
  • Negative Questions
  • Identification of Salient Details

All activities include school themes full of colorful graphics and focus on:

  • Schedule arranging
  • Guess what’s in the backpack?
  • What field trip each grade is going on?
  • Find your snack

They are great for helping children develop critical-thinking and executive function skills important for social and academic success.

You can find this product in SLPrunner, TPT store by clicking HERE  or you can enter my one day giveaway for a chance to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted on Leave a comment

Birthday Month Extravaganza: Week Two Giveaway Lineup

Birthday GraphicIn case you haven’t read my previous post on this topic, my birthday is in October so I decided that it will be fun to give away one product every day of the month (well almost). My SLP colleague bloggers and TPT sellers thought the same, so they donated many exciting materials and products for me to give away all throughout the month of October.

Every 7 days I will be posting a schedule of giveaway products as a jpeg with embedded pdf file containing links to the donor’s blog and product being given away so you’ll know in advance which giveaway you’d like to enter.

Below is a WEEK TWO lineup. Take a look at the posted schedule and decide whether you want to enter a few giveaways or all of them, it’s really up to you!   Each giveaway will last only one day so you better keep up because if you blink you’ll miss it!

bd week 2

Posted on 1 Comment

What parents need to know about speech-language assessment of older internationally adopted children

This post is based on Elleseff, T (2013) Changing Trends in International Adoption: Implications for Speech-Language Pathologists. Perspectives on Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders, 3: 45-53

Changing Trends in International Adoption:

In recent years the changing trends in international adoption revealed a shift in international adoption demographics which includes more preschool and school-aged children being sent for adoption vs. infants and toddlers (Selman, 2012a; 2010) as well as a significant increase in special needs adoptions from Eastern European countries as well as from China (Selman, 2010; 2012a). Continue reading What parents need to know about speech-language assessment of older internationally adopted children

Posted on Leave a comment

Improving Social Skills of Language Impaired Children

social kids

Many children on our caseloads have social pragmatic language goals aimed at improving their social emotional functioning in a variety of settings.  In therapy we often target our clients ability to engage in interpersonal negotiations, interpret ambiguous facial expressions, as well as appropriately relate to peers.

However, oftentimes finding appropriate and relevant real-life photos is a challenge for busy clinicians. That is why I created the “Social Pragmatic Language Activity Pack“.

This 30 page social pragmatic photo/question set is intended for children ages 6 and older. It is organized in a hierarchy of complexity ranging from basic social scenarios to more abstract and socially ambiguous situations.  Some photos contain additional short stories with questions that focus on auditory memory, processing, and comprehension.

There are on average 10-20 questions per each photo, and each photo takes up one page.  While some scenarios may be suitable for younger children, most are suitable for children ages 8-9 and older. Select scenarios containing abstract concepts may be suitable only for upper elementary or middle school aged students.   These sets are suitable for both individual therapy sessions as well as group work. Depending on the student’s abilities and extent of deficits, one set (one page) may take up to 30 minutes to complete.

Areas covered by the questions:

  1. Recognizing Emotional Reactions
  2. Explaining Facial Expressions
  3. Making Predictions
  4. Making Inferences (re: people, locations, thoughts, feelings, and actions)
  5. Multiple Interpretations (of actions and settings)
  6. Interpersonal Negotiations
  7. Sympathy/Empathy
  8. Peer Relatedness (Support)
  9. Interpreting Ambiguous Situations
  10. Problem Solving
  11. Determining Solutions
  12. Determining Causes
  13. Determining Perspectives
  14. Social Judgment
  15. Safety Rules

So don’t delay and grab your set today. You can find it HERE in my online store.

Posted on Leave a comment

New Product: Speech Language Assessment of Older Internationally Adopted Children

IAToday  I am very excited to introduce to you my brand new product which has been long in the making.  “Speech Language Assessment of Older Internationally Adopted Children”. In the past I have written a number of articles and blog posts as well as done a number of  presentations on related topics. I finally decided that it’s a great time to put it all together and created this 65 slide presentation which succinctly explains how to assess speech language abilities of older Internationally Adopted (IA) Children.

Presentation Summary

—Institutionalization affects every child’s speech-language development. Signs of delay can be obvious or obscure; show immediately or years later. This presentation will review the latest literature regarding the language abilities of post-institutionalized children adopted at older ages. It will discuss language development of older children post-adoption, explain the difference between conversational and cognitive language competencies, offer pre-adoption recommendations, address select pre-assessment preparations as well as to provide recommendations on best assessment practices for these children. Continue reading New Product: Speech Language Assessment of Older Internationally Adopted Children
Posted on 1 Comment

Hurray for Book Companions: What will the pig want next?

Is there anything more fun then literature based speech language intervention?

Rhetorical question of course, but seriously how much fun is it?  Even the simplest books are jam-packed with a variety of language concepts, “wh” questions, target vocabulary, prepositions of location, and much, much more.

Of course, it’s always a bonus when I manage to create or obtain a book companion as a complement to the story, so the clients benefit the most from the activity.  I also find book companions particularly useful when it comes to passing out the homework activities to the parents, many of whom require a little guidance regarding how to work at home with their children in order to increase carryover and ultimately reduce the child’s overall time in therapy. This is why I jumped at the opportunity to review one of Denise’s (Speech Language Pirates Blog) several book companions: “If you give a Pig a Pancake.” Continue reading Hurray for Book Companions: What will the pig want next?

Posted on 3 Comments

It’s all about RtI!

Today I am excited to review one of the latest products from Busy Bee Speech “Common Core Standards-Based RtI Packet for Language“.

So what is RtI or Response to Intervention?

Developed as an alternative to the ability–achievement “discrepancy model,” which requires children to show a discrepancy between their IQ and standardized tests/grades, RtI is a method of academic intervention aimed to provide early, systematic assistance to children who are having difficulty learning in order to prevent academic failure via the provision of early school based intervention, frequent progress measurement, and increasingly intensive research-based instructional interventions for children who continue to have difficulty learning.

In contrast to a number of schools in my state (New Jersey), RTI or Response to Intervention is currently not utilized in my unique setting (outpatient specialized school in a psychiatric hospital). Continue reading It’s all about RtI!

Posted on 2 Comments

SPEECH LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT CHECKLIST FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN

Today I am excited to tell you about another product in my assessment referral series: SPEECH LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT CHECKLIST FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN 

I created this 9 page guide to assist speech language pathologists in the decision making process of how to select assessment instruments and prioritize assessment for preschool children. In doing that you are eliminating the administration of irrelevant tests and focusing on the administration of instruments directly targeting the areas of difficulty that the child presents with. Continue reading SPEECH LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT CHECKLIST FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN