So far all of my posts have been parenting related as that is the area where I am really traveling down an unknown path and love sharing my crazy experiences. However, I am also a full-time working mother working outside of the home (all mothers are full-time employees) as a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). And, I must say, I love my job! If I have to leave our ladies during the work week, my place of employment truly could be worse. We have so much fun! Because I am a school-based SLP, I currently work with PreK-5th grade with most of my time being spent with K-5 students with cognitive delays, I often get asked by friends and family members whether or not I would recommend that their child or friend's child or whoeverbe assessed in the area(s) of speech and/or language. I love helping people out; however, it is extremely difficult to make a recommendation without having met a child and when given a list of 1-2 characteristics. Because I would hate to steer someone in the wrong direction (although, if you, as the parent, feel there is a problem you are usually 100% accurate in that assumption), I wanted to share some of my favorite references. I use the references below on an almost daily basis (no way could I ever memorize all of this information) and now here they are for you to refer to as well.
Speech/ Language Milestones References:
This is the perfect place to go to reassure yourself that your child just still be developing their speech sounds if they are a 3-year-old and you are frustrated that you still can't understand them. Children aren't even expected to have the majority of their speech sounds until they are 8 years of age. Still not sure? Keep a list of sounds that your child misses and then you can refer back to this and compare it with your state's chart, before requesting a screening at your child's school. (Note: I practice in Missouri, however, I am sure if you search for your state's Department of Elementary and Special Education website you will find information similar to the chart linked here).
The American Speech Language and Hearing Association is a great resource for all parents and SLPs. The link provided above you to a communication milestones page and under the heading "How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?" you will find communication milestones for ages Birth-5 and under the heading "Communication Development: Kindergarten-5th Grade" you will find communication milestones for kiddos in elementary school. Although I utilize this website a lot, my #1 go-to for language development milestones when I am determining goals for my students is an awesome chart from Mayer-Johnson that is for purchase only and found here: http://www.mayer-johnson.com/speech-and-language-development-chart-third-edition.
Of course there are tons of resources available and I am sure if you ask any SLP they will point you in the direction of their favorite resource, but these are my personal favs!
So, let's say your child has already been identified as having a speech and/or language impairment and you would like to be able to work with them at home. Again, your SLP will absolutely be your best resource and can most likely give you copies or things that they are working on with your child. However, if you are given general things to work on and don't have a clear direction or work best with prepared activities or worksheets, here are a couple of places that I like to go to find specific activities for my own students:
I LOVE referring parents to this website. The woman who runs this blog is an SLP and mother of 4 and, if you go to the heading "free downloads" there are FREE printable word lists for any and all of the sounds that your child might be working on. I frequently go to her page when I need a fresh word list to check that my students are mastering their sound in words and not just doing it on my go-to word lists only. You can also find developmental charts on her site as well.
Here is another one of my favorites! She is also a mommy and SLP. For more word lists just click on the heading "Free Worksheets for Speech Therapy" and you will, again, find the mother load of specific speech sound wordlists.
This is a great place to access free resources for both speech and language. Just head to this website and create an account (it's FREE) and then, on the left side, click on "Free Stuff." It will take you to another screen where you can click on "Handy Handouts." There is a large selection of handouts that are quick, yet informative, reads; you can even use the search bar to find something specific.
Language is such a broad area as it can encompass vocabulary, sentence creation, requesting, formulating and answering questions, sequencing, following directions...and the list goes on and on. However, here are some of my favorite spots to search for activities if I know of the specific goal I am targeting:
Pinterest has been a game-changer at the elementary school level. There is just so much STUFF out there that you can do so much with. The things that people come up with and the ideas on ideas on ideas that spring from those things are endless. Just create a free account and let the search party begin. Type in "Wh- Questions" or "Elementary Sequencing Activity" or "Subjective Pronouns" and you will get tons of posts and links to posts that will meet your specific needs.
Same thing with Teachers Pay Teachers! This website has tons of teacher, therapist, etc. (people who work with your children) created worksheets, activities, packets, etc. You can create an account for FREE again and then search for free and low-priced resources. Don't want to pay? I never do! Just click on "Free" on the left side of the website and it will limit your search to only resources that fit your needs that are free.
This website has a special place in my heart. I learned about this site from a professor in college and, when I first started out as an SLP, I did not have the software to create and print icons for communication books, visual schedules, etc. I remembered when I was told about this website; I was so excited to see the amount of FREE icons that I could use to support some of my students who needed visual supports to get through their school day. Not only are there free picture icons, but there are games that targeting different language areas, flash cards, templates, songs, etc. This is an awesome site to use as an SLP just starting out with limited materials. The possibilities of what can be done with this site's free icons are truly endless.
This is another awesome website that has both speech AND language materials and all of it is FREE, FREE, FREE! Just head on over and click on "Materials Exchange" and select your area of need. Upon selecting your area of need a whole collection of various materials created by teachers and speech-language pathologists will pop up and you can save and/or help yourself to some printing.
There are about a million other helpful websites and resources available, but at least this is a start! Feel free to contact me (info. can be found under "contact us" with any other questions regarding locating speech/ language materials or communication development. Happy chatting!