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Today, 22nd September 2017, is DLD Awareness day.
DLD, or Developmental Language Disorder is nothing new, but it is the new, internationally agreed term for Specific Language Impairment. But, you may be wondering what is in a name, and why did it need to change?
I've gathered together a range of videos, blog posts and useful information to help you make sense of this new term and to give you ideas of where to go to find out more information.


Why Did it Need to Change?
In Speech and Language Therapy, we have a range of terms which we use to describe children's speech, language and communication difficulties. For a long time, there were a few different terms used to describe difficulties with language skills; sometimes these terms were used interchangeably, despite them not always being the most accurate, and this caused confusion within the field which impacted on research and awareness. In 2016, a group of experts in a range of fields came together to agree a consensus on a term for children with language disorders, and agreed on the term Developmental Language Disorder.

This video of Professor Dorothy Bishop shares more information about this process, as part of the RADLD Campaign.




What is DLD?
As the video explains, DLD, or Developmental Language Disorder, is the new term to be used for language disorders that:
* Cause severe language problems that interfere with communication in everyday life and/or affect educational progress
* Are likely to persist over time rather than spontaneously progress
* Occur in the absence of a specific biomedical condition, such as autism spectrum disorder, a brain injury or Down Syndrome.


Why is There an Awareness Campaign?
As explained above, this communication difficulty is not new, but it has been misunderstood for a long time. The RADLD campaign wants to raise awareness of these three key messages about DLD:
* DLD means that a child (or adult) has difficulties with understanding and/or using language
* DLD is a hidden condition but is surprisingly common (it is estimated that there are 2 to 3 children in every class with DLD)
* Support can make a huge difference to children with DLD.


This video by Eddie and Dyls explains a little bit more about DLD and the campaign:



Where Can I Find Out More?

If you'd like to share this information with colleagues, head over to the NAPLIC website, which has a useful PDF that explains the 3 key facts.

If you're on Twitter, be sure to use the hashtags #DevLangDis and #DLD123 to find tweets and more information all about DLD.

This post by Adoption: The Bear Facts gives some great information from the perspective of an SLT and parent of a child with DLD which is definitely worth a read too!

To see more useful videos like the ones I've included above, head to the RADLD YouTube Channel- full of videos about strategies to support children with DLD



Are you keen on finding out more information? Head over to SpeechBlogUK to read more information about strategies for children with DLD and then follow the blog hop to see even more useful resources all about DLD!



Are you getting involved with the DLD Awareness Day Campaign? Why not save this pin so you can share it with your colleagues.




I really loved using these fun, brightly coloured, patterned stamper pens when I was younger. My sisters and I would make fabulous pictures full of unusual patterns and bright colours using these! Inevitably we'd all fight over our favourite one (hello yellow star, I'm looking at you!) and our mum would insist that we all shared them fairly!  Well, when I saw these at the shop, I knew I HAD to get them to use in my speech therapy sessions!  I was so pleased when the kids shared my joy and excitement when I first got them, and they've proven to be a really simple and inexpensive motivator during our sessions!  Here's a few ways I've used these pens in my therapy sessions...


1) Data Collection
Kids use a stamper pen to keep a tally of their good repetitions! They get to put a stamp on a little piece of paper every time they've done a good sound. It's a super simple and motivating way for them to take their own data!  This works really well in groups sessions too; because they're all keen to use the nice pens, they're more willing to have another go so they can use a stamp! #winwin



2) A Reinforcer
Quite simply, they practise their sounds and then they get to make a pretty picture using these cool stamper pens!  No catch! They don't need to be tracking their trials, they can just go wild and stamp to their hearts content... which is great for those days when you don't really have the desire or inclination time to rebuild Jenga, again.


3) Tracking Contributions in Groups
Whenever I do written work in small groups, I let everyone pick a pen and I make a list of which child has which pen. Then, as we go through the session, whenever they make contributions in the group, we write it down onto the worksheet or big piece of paper, and they put a little stamp next to what they said so I can make a record of it later.  This is useful because we don't need to slow the pace of the session down while I make a note of who said what, and we don't fill the sheet up with their initials.  It also acts as a motivator for them because they like seeing all the different shapes being added, and it helps me quickly see who's contributing most/least, so I know where to direct some more specific questions, to ensure everyone contributes equally.
Here's an example of how I would use that system with one of the worksheets from our Spring Language Activities Pack.



4) Gaining a Speech & Language Sample
You know those kids who are reluctant to do any kind of assessment when you first meet them? They're really shy and don't really want to talk to you?  Well, I've found that these pens are a great way to get a sample of speech sounds in spontaneous speech without any pressure. I reassure them that we don't need to look at pictures if they're not ready, and we can just do some colouring and use my fun pens.  We might decorate their speech folder or their homework log, and I talk about the design I'm making... slowly but surely, they start to make little comments too, like "I want the green tree" or "it's a yellow star!" Boom. Straight away I'm able to gain a language and speech sound sample without any pressure!  If I think I need to hear the sounds again in single words, I use the pens and lead them in, e.g. "look, I've got a pink..." "pate".. "yes, it's a pink face". 


5) Social Skills
These pens are a great tool to use in social skills groups too; you can work on initiating interactions, requesting and turn taking in a slightly more natural situation.  I like to use them with the 'All About Me' bunting craft from our Ice Breakers & Team Building Challenges pack in my small groups. I get kids to decorate the bunting with things that they like and that reflect them. They use these pens (and other craft supplies), and we can target requesting ("Can I have the purple bug please?"), sharing, taking turns ("Can I use the red heart next?"), making appropriate comments ("I like your blue fish") and more!


There are so many great ways to use these pens, and these are just a few of the ways I like to use them.
Did you ever have these pens as a kid, and do you use stamper pens in your therapy sessions? What other ways do you use them? Let me know below!



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A speech therapist friend of mine recently retired; when she was organising her materials and sorting what she wanted to take with her and what she would leave, she very kindly gifted me a big ol' box of speech therapy materials!  I was overjoyed! She was so experienced and had gathered so many amazing materials that I couldn't wait to see what she was donating to me! I was so excited to see all the new games and resources that I could use in my speech therapy sessions! That was, however, until I saw what was actually inside the box! My friend has always had a good sense of humour and needless to say, the resources were anything but new!  We laughed so much that I wanted share some of these fabulous, retro therapy materials with you today!


I'm sure we all use verb pictures and everyday object cards, right?  Check out these wonderful ones circa 1970something!
 I mean- that car?!



Working on everyday objects? How many of your youngsters would recognise that helicopter or that vacuum



Working on social skills? Let's pretend to make a call to our friends on this rotary dial telephone!



 Working on some early vocabulary skills? Your preschoolers will definitely recognise the sweet treats and vehicles here!



OK, How about we play a game from the 1960s while we practise our sounds?
(Disclaimer: I played 'Coppit' as a child and it is actually awesome, but I'm not sure many of my 5 and 6 year olds would agree!!)



It's time to do some assessments... Name the 4 target words in this vocabulary test!



Let's work on some sentence formulation and talk about what we can see happening in this picture...
I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to talk about half of the things happening here! 



These resources really made me chuckle and it made me think about how many of us have other weird and wonderful retro resources stashed away in our speech therapy rooms! I'd love to see what you find while you organise your speech rooms this year!  Share your pictures on Instagram, tag me @thesltscrapbook and use the hashtag #retrospeech, and I'll laugh along with you and share your pics too! 



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Usually we Speech and Language Therapists like love having things organised. We see so many different students throughout the day that it's vital that we can find the things we need straight away, but sometimes it can feel like a real battle keeping everything organised throughout the year!  Also, I don't know about you, but as much as I like having things organised, I don't like having to pay out for fancy and expensive storage units to store my resources in!  Over the years I have worked out some tips and tricks that help me keep my therapy room organised, without breaking the bank!


(Some links to Amazon are included in this post- they're not affiliate links, I don't get anything if you click on them and purchase, I just thought I'd share what I use!)


Tip 1: Keep it Simple. 
I know that it's fun to "theme" a room and decorate it like a zoo or the jungle, and don't get me wrong, it looks incredibly inviting when people do; but I just don't have the time (or inclination) to decorate my room in that way!  It's also really tempting to get big fancy toolboxes and put beautiful labels on, but again, I don't have the time to do that- and I imagine that by the end of the year, that that same toolbox will be just full of scraps of paper and dried up pens!  Organising your speech room shouldn't be over complicated! If it involves too much prep work beforehand, I know full well that I'm not likely to keep up to it (hey, I'm a realist!!).

The main function of my speech room is to be a space to deliver therapy; I see so many children in a day that I need to keep my room free from clutter, so I don't misplace my resources.  I decided to keep the design of my speech therapy room simple and clean! Most of my office supplies are white, and I have a few things that are pink/blue/purple to help add a splash of colour.  My room looks welcoming, yet stylish, and this means I can use the space both for therapy sessions with little kids and for meetings with parents or my coworkers, without it being too over-stimulating or difficult to keep tidy!


Tip 2: Put Things Back in the Right Place!
It sounds obvious, right?..Wrong.  You would not believe the number of times in the past where I thought I knew where something was, but I couldn't find it!!  I've since got into the habit of putting everything back once I've finished using it at the end of a session.  It's one of those habits that we all try to have but it can be so hard to find the motivation to put resources away at the end of a stressful/busy day! Trust me though, your future self will love you for it; especially when you're rushing around last minute and need to grab some resources quickly!

One thing that helps me keep up to putting things away properly is getting the kids to help me tidy away!- most of the time they enjoy being helpful and it teaches them really useful life skills!!

I made these labels using PowerPoint, but white sticky labels will work just as well!!
Also, please excuse the tatty appearance of my files- my office supplies are not just for decoration- #reallifeslp!


Tip 3: Store Similar Materials Together.
I really like to do themed activities in my speech therapy sessions, but sometimes I can feel a little overwhelmed with where I'm supposed to store it all when it's not needed!  Thankfully I came up with a great solution which has really helped me...

After I've printed and made up all of my amazing TpT resources, I will bind the packs of worksheets and store them all in a zipper wallet (shown below) or I put stimulus cards/smaller games etc. in plastic pop wallets.

 All of my no prep summer activity packs get stored into one zip wallet!
This helps reduce the space and keeps them tidied away!


My 'All About Me' resources and my Ice Breaker & Team Building Activities pack get stored together too!

As you can see, the zip wallets are translucent, so I always make sure the front cover of the product (or a resource that shows the general theme of the activities), is visible; this really helps when I'm quickly looking through my stacks of resources for a specific activity!  I store some worksheets in binders and on the shelf too, so I make sure to label the spine so I can see at a glance where the resources are!

I try to arrange my packets together, based on their category (speech, comprehension, memory, etc.) or theme ('spring', 'Valentine's Day' etc.).
If I have a lot of activities in a theme, then the packets get put into clear boxes, like these ones... Clear Plastic Boxes- (Amazon Link). or, white boxes (that I've decorated with washi tape), like these... White Paper Boxes (Amazon Link).  I usually then stack them in a pile, with the current seasonal theme at the top.


Tip 4: Have Useful Things Within Reach!
You know those things you use all the time (glue, scissors, dot markers, pencils etc.), those things need their own storage space! (No, throwing them into your drawer doesn't count!!) 
I bought some really cheap baskets from a local store, and I keep all the bits and bobs I need for therapy sessions in them. Depending on the activity I'm doing, I'll bring one of the baskets over to the desk, so I have everything I need at hand.  Tidying away at the end of the session is really easy and quick too, because we just put the equipment back into the basket, and I put the basket back on the shelf- no need to be going back and forth putting everything away in the right drawer!


These baskets show my arts and craft supplies and dough/crayons etc. But I also have baskets with wind up toys and stickers in too! 


Tip 5: Use what you have!
Finally, the last thing I use all the time as storage in my therapy room, (and these don't cost me anything),  are empty washing powder tubs, jars or ice cream tubs! I wash these out and decorate with them a bit of washi tape and a label (if needed!).  These are perfect for holding pens, lollipop sticks, scissors, glue, game pieces, stimulus cards etc.

These jars were left over from my wedding! I keep them on my desk; they look so cute with the craft sticks in!

Washing powder tubs are great if they've got screw-on or clip-lock lids because they're locked tight and portable! I usually keep therapy cards in them so I can carry them around when I'm in-between settings, and there's no risk of the pieces falling out while I'm driving around!



The storage solutions I use in my therapy room aren't necessarily pretty; but they're quick and easy to implement and they don't cost very much! They help me keep my speech room organised so I'm not wasting time looking for materials when I really should be writing notes or delivering therapy!


I've also seen some other great ideas for helping you keep your speech therapy room and materials nicely organised; if I had more space, I'd definitely do some of these:

This post by Speechy Musings has some great ideas for maximising the space available in a speech room:


As I said above, I store my themed materials in zip wallets or binders, but another great way for organising resources is by monthly boxes! (how cute are these!)

If I had some space for these rails, I would definitely store TpT materials and resources in book bags like this:





This post has recently been updated; it was originally part of a Linky Party by SLP Runner. I've loved showing you the different things I use to keep organised in my speech room.  Be sure to check out the other SLPs that have linked up over on SLP Runner.




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I'm sure we all have those days... the days where we haven't had time to plan for therapy and we have a child (or group) working on speech sounds due any minute. We start frantically searching for some worksheets or games that we can use to fill the session while we practice our sounds.  Well, I'm here today to share a fun, easy and free therapy idea that you can use without any prep, and which you and your students are going to love!.... Speech Sound Scrapbooks!


They're a really easy and engaging activity to do during speech therapy sessions, and most of us have everything we need lying around our therapy rooms, so there's no additional cost either!

What you need:

  • Catalogues/Magazines/Brochures- anything with a range of pictures in (I like using catalogues from department stores because they have so many different things in!)
  • A scrapbook/blank notebook or just blank paper will do!
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Crayons (optional)



Instructions for use:

First, I show the children a store catalogue/brochure or a magazine, (I like to keep a stash of these stored in my therapy room), it might be a toy catalogue, a local department store's catalogue or a magazine/newspaper.  As a group (or a pair if I'm working 1:1) we have a think about what types of things we might find inside these catalogues that contain our speech sounds. So, for example, if we're working on word initial /k/, we make a list of the things we might find, such as curtains, cameras, kettles, cots and cushions!  We then start to look through the catalogue/magazine etc., searching for different things that have our /k/ sound in!  When we find something that has our /k/ sound in (or whatever sound we're working on!) we cut out the item and put it in a pile in the middle of the table.


After we've finished finding all of the items (or sometimes I set a time limit, so say, after 10 minutes of searching), we all stop and have a look at the pile of pictures we've found.  We then practise these words, making sure we use our good speech sounds each time!

Then, we make a speech sound collage; we write the sound we're working on in the middle of the page, and glue on all of the pictures.  We then name the pictures again, and write the words down as a handy label (sometimes I help with this, depending on their literacy levels).


Afterwards, we can play games, such as 'I Spy' and 'What's Missing?' (close your eyes, cover one of the pictures up, and guess which one is covered) to help us practise our sounds in words!

The great thing with these speech sound scrapbooks is that as you continue working on your sounds in different positions in words, or in phrases, or if you start working on new sounds, you can keep adding to your scrapbook! You can keep a record of the things you've worked on in your sessions, and you can keep revisiting it throughout the year to ensure that they're practising and generalising their sounds!


I love using speech sound scrapbooks in my mixed speech sound groups too; I give each child a catalogue and we all work together to think of things with everyone's speech sounds in, for example if Tim is working on /t/ in word final, Zoe is working on /f/ in word initial and Lucy is working on /l/ in word initial, we can all work together to think of different things we might find in the catalogues.  They each then look in their own catalogues for their own sounds, but usually while they're looking for their own items, they see something that their friend can use- suddenly we can tie in life skills and social skills! We can start a conversation ("hey Zoe I've seen fan you can use"), we can learn how to read page numbers ("it's on page 387") and we can share and help each other ("here, have this one, I've cut it out for you").  Perfect


I enjoy setting this activity as easy speech therapy homework too!  I set them a task of making their own speech sound collage; they have to look through another catalogue or magazine at home and come up with a list of items and make a new collage to share in our therapy session the following week!


I find that this activity is so fun and engaging; the kids I work with love doing crafts and fun activities, and I love that I don't have to prep anything!  Is this something you'd use in your therapy sessions? Drop a comment below with how you'd use these in your sessions!

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