The Difference Between a 504 and an IEP: Key Resources

With school quickly approaching, I wanted to share some important resources about 504 plans and IEPs (Individualized Education Plans). As a speech language pathologist, many people ask me these questions and I wanted to share some valuable information on this topic. Why is this important? If your child is struggling in class and with their … [Read more...]

Games that Target Asking Questions

For many children with language delays and disabilities, asking questions can be a challenging. It seems natural to ask questions for children that present with typical speech and language development but for those who struggle, what types of activities can help elicit asking questions? This can be a tricky thing because asking questions usually … [Read more...]

Five Inspirational Picture Books

As a speech language pathologist and parent, I love to use storytelling as an opportunity to initiate meaningful conversations and encourage children to follow their dreams regardless of their disabilities and delays. Children with special needs face many challenges in their lives, and reading inspirational children’s literature can help improve … [Read more...]

Sesame Street and Autism

As a speech language pathologist for over 15 years, I love finding resources for other children to learn about various disabilities. Since I was a graduate student, I always gravitated towards working with individuals with Autism. Learning about Autism has been a fascinating journey and that I continue with throughout my career. The learning never … [Read more...]

Reducing Stress with Contimusic

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Tom and Christine Conti, the founders of Emotion Transitional Music Therapy. As a speech language pathologist who works with children and adults with varying disabilities, I have seen first hand the positive and calming effect of music on my clients, specifically those with Autism. Although Contimusic is … [Read more...]

Picture A Conversation

With the increase in technology, our face to face communication has decreased over time. We are communicating more and more via text messages, email and through social media than we are with face to face communication. As a result, our ability to converse with others and stay attentive to specific topics is becoming more challenging. At times, … [Read more...]

Each Kindness

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson is a powerful book about kindness and regret. This story is told in the first person perspective by a young girl named Chloe and her friends who treat the new girl in class with unkindness. Each Kindness begins with the story of a girl named Maya, a new girl that has joined the class mid year. When Maya enters … [Read more...]

Resources Available for Special Needs Parents

I was recently contacted by Ivan Serrano, a writer specializing in technology and lifestyle. He is from San Jose, California and attended San Francisco State University. He graduated with a double major in English (concentration in Creative Writing) and Journalism (with a concentration in photojournalism). This guest post was written to help … [Read more...]

Gravitybread Presents Kevin Diller and Justin Lowe

I am thrilled to present the interview with Kevin Diller and Justin Lowe, creators of the book, Hello My Name is Octicorn. This book was a huge hit in my house for number of reasons. It was engaging, interesting, funny and can teach an important lesson about being different and accepting others. Hello My Name is Octicorn is an excellent book for … [Read more...]

Hello, My Name is Octicorn

Are you looking for a book that celebrates being different? Hello, My Name is Octicorn by Kevin Diller illustrated by Justin Lowe is a story that takes you the life of Octi (as he likes to be called), a creature that is half unicorn and half octopus. Octi is looking for a friend but is constantly left out because he looks different. He is not like … [Read more...]

The Littlest Inventor

The Littlest Inventor by Mandi C. Mathis is the story of a young boy diagnosed with a Sensory Processing Disorder that struggles with sensory overload when on a shopping trip with his parents. The crowds, noises and visual stimulation are just too much to handle. He grows nervous and feels a need to "fight or flight." Instead of trying to run away, … [Read more...]

El Deafo

El Deafo by Cece Bell is a graphic novel about a girl named Cece who becomes deaf after getting sick as a young child. What was it like for Cece being deaf? Upon learning that Cece was deaf, her parents sent her to a special school for deaf children called The Fisher School. At this school she felt comfortable and secure. "George, Sabrina, Terry, … [Read more...]

Activities That Teach Emotional Cues

Children and adults with varying developmental disabilities and/or social cognitive delays may have difficulty interpreting social and emotional cues. This reduced ability to interpret cues can significantly impact peer relationships and conversation with others. When an individual cannot discern whether a person is upset or happy with their … [Read more...]

Social Thinking and Me: Thinksheets and a Kids Guidebook

  Social Thinking and Me is a two book set written by Linda K. Murphy and Michelle Garcia Winner that helps introduce older elementary and middle school students to Social Thinking. Whether you are just beginning to learn about Social Thinking or have been exposed to it for many years, this resource is invaluable for older students with … [Read more...]

4 Effective Mini Lessons for Students with ADHD

Photo via Pixabay by geralt I am excited to present this guest post written by Joyce Wilson. Joyce is a retired teacher with decades of experience. Today, she is a proud grandmom and mentor to teachers in her local public school system. She and a fellow retired teacher created TeacherSpark.org to share creative ideas and practical resources for … [Read more...]

Parent Resources for Children with ADHD

Do you have a child with ADHD? How about a student with ADHD? I want to share some valuable resources for children with ADHD written by Jim Forgan, PhD, author of the Terrific Teddy Series and Mary Anne Richey, M.Ed. Jim Forgan, PhD is a school psychologist who works with children with varying disabilities, but more specifically those with ADHD and … [Read more...]

Screen Time and how it affects social skills…

Does your child spend too much time on the screen? As a parent, I constantly feel torn with screen time and how to monitor it. What are the effects of too much screen time? I found an interesting study titled Five Days at outdoor education camp without screens improves preteen skills with nonverbal emotion cues published in the journal of … [Read more...]

Social Thinking Conference…product reviews and tips to use at home

  "The concept of being social is a judgement not a test score" (Social Thinking, 2016) This past week, I had the pleasure of attending a one day Social Thinking Conference in Tarrytown, NY. I was excited to hear Michelle Garcia Winner, the founder of Social Thinking discuss Informal Dynamic Social Thinking Assessment and Core … [Read more...]

Social Thinking…product reviews plus a link to attend a conference…

As a speech language pathologist, I treat many children and adults with social cognitive learning challenges. Many individuals with varying diagnoses struggle with pragmatic language skills that impact their ability to build strong relationships with their peers and interact with others in their environment. Diagnoses such as Autism, genetic … [Read more...]

Embracing Feelings with Mindfulness: Two Book Reviews

Anh's Anger by Gail Silver is about a young boy named Anh who becomes angry with his grandfather one day when he is asked to stop playing with his blocks. When he is asked to "put his blocks down" to come to dinner, he angrily knocks down his blocks and tells his grandfather, "Go away! I hate you!" His grandfather tells Anh to go to his room and … [Read more...]

How Katie Got a Voice

Do you want to introduce your child to disabilities? How about educating your children about individuals who are nonverbal? I bought the book, How Katie Got a Voice by Patricia Mervine, MA, CCC-SLP many months ago and really enjoyed it. I have read it to my own children and recently got an opportunity to speak about augmentative and alternative … [Read more...]

Gravitybread presents Sharon Draper

I am honored to present this interview with Sharon Draper, author of Out of my mind, an inspirational and powerful book about a young girl and her journey with communication. To check out my review and links to teacher lessons and resources, click here. What inspired you to write the book, Out of my mind? The simple answer to your question is … [Read more...]

Out of My Mind

"Just because I can't talk, doesn't mean that I have nothing to say". This is one of my favorite quotes that I often share with my graduate students. As a speech language pathologist who specializes in Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is a powerful book that teaches the reader many valuable lessons … [Read more...]

Video Modeling and Individuals with Autism..what the research says…

Do have a specific behavior that you would like to improve with your child? Try video modeling! Research from the last three decades states the benefits of utilizing video modeling for children with Autism. Video modeling is also effective for other varying disorders, specifically those that impact pragmatic and expressive disorders (e.g. ADHD, … [Read more...]

Temple Did It, and I Can, Too! Seven Simple Life Rules

Temple Did it, and I Can, Too! is an inspiration story of a girl named Temple who defeats all odds in spite of her disabilities. Temple Grandin is a successful woman with Autism that inspires people all over the world as an advocate for individuals with autism and their families. The book begins with an explanation of how the story is going to … [Read more...]

Tips to Help a Child with ADHD Excel in School

I'm excited to share this guest post by wellness coach, Vee Cecil. Vee Cecil is a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor. Vee is passionate about studying and sharing her findings in wellness through her recently-launched blog, and you can also connect with her on Twitter. She writes a variety of topics including wellness with … [Read more...]

Turbo and Scott: Raising Awareness of Tuberous Sclerosis

Do you have a child with Tuberous Sclerosis? What is Tuberous Sclerosis (TSC)? According to the website Tuberous-Sclerosis.com, "TSC presents in the form of noncancerous tumors called hamartomas. In children, these tumors can form in most of the major parts of the body, including the brain, skin, eyes, heart, and kidneys. These tumors in the … [Read more...]

My Mouth is a Volcano!

Do you have a child that constantly interrupts you and/or other family members? How about an excessive talker? Children naturally interrupt parents during daily activities, but when your child has special needs with impulsivity,  interrupting conversation can impact their peer relationships with others, including family members. My Mouth is a … [Read more...]

Anxiety in Children and Teens

Do you have a child that is anxious? How about a special needs child with anxiety? I love to share important resources on my blog that can help parents, caregivers, teachers and therapists with specific issues at home. With the new school year just beginning, there can be many different types of anxiety that a parent and child can experience. A new … [Read more...]

Increase Calm and Focus with MeMoves

Are you looking for a quick way to help your child increase their focus and calm their bodies?  In the crazy and busy lives that we live, it's hard to find the time to calm our bodies and focus on one task at a time.  If it is hard for us as adults, it's even more challenging for our children! I have seen many programs that can help a child … [Read more...]

Echolalia: Research and Tips for Parents

I wanted to write an article about echolalia because I think it is something that affects many families of children with special needs. I found an excellent article which I discuss below that can help caregivers elicit more spontaneous speech with their child, specifically during mealtime. What is echolalia? Echolalia is the repetition of … [Read more...]

It’s Hard To Be A Verb!

Do you have a child that struggles to pay attention and stay on task? Does your child fidget often and have a hard time staying still? It's Hard To Be A Verb written by Julia Cook is an excellent book about the daily struggles a child can go through with regards to ADHD. The book combines humor with practical solutions for parents whose … [Read more...]

MimiQ Card Game

Do you have a child with childhood apraxia or speech? Does your child have trouble imitating movements, sounds or facial expressions? Are you looking for a fun and simple game that will help your child work on imitation, following directions and turn taking? Try this game called MimiQ. I bought this game at a toy store a couple of months ago … [Read more...]

Personal Space Camp

Do you have a child that doesn't understand personal space? Many children who are both typical and have special needs struggle with giving others personal space. Many children who have ADHD or any social communication disorder may have difficulty with this concept of personal space and can struggle to learn why others are reacting negatively to him … [Read more...]

Terrific Teddy and bd Mix-Up

Do you have a child who struggles with reading and writing? Does your child have Dyslexia or a language based learning disability? Terrific Teddy and the bd Mix-Up is an excellent book written by Jim Forgan, PhD, who also wrote Terrific Teddy's Excessive Energy. I had the pleasure of interviewing him and got some excellent information that can help … [Read more...]

Gravitybread presents Jim Forgan, PhD

I am happy to present an interview with Jim Forgan, PhD., author of Terrific Teddy's Excessive Energy.  Dr. Jim Forgan is a licensed School Psychologist in Jupiter, Florida which is in Palm Beach County, Florida.  Dr. Forgan has two children and he understands giftedness, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADD/ADHD from the parent and professional … [Read more...]

Sensory Activities at the Table

Do you have a child with Sensory Processing Disorder? Are you looking for some fun sensory activities the table with your child? According to the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, "Sensory processing (sometimes called "sensory integration" or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and … [Read more...]

How Canine-Assisted Reading Can Help Your Child

Do you have a struggling reader at home? Are you a teacher that is looking for a new and creative way to help your students with their reading skills? How about trying to increase your child's confidence in their reading abilities? Check out how Canine Assisted Reading can help your child or student. For this month of Research Tuesday, I wanted … [Read more...]

Superflex takes on One-Sided Sid, Un-Wonderer and the Team of Unthinkables

Do you have a child that struggles with his or her social skills? Does your child have difficulty reading social cues from peers and/or adults? Does your child have trouble having engaging conversations with his or her peers?  If you answered yes to any of these questions,  I highly recommend this book by Social Thinking titled, Superflex takes … [Read more...]

Reading and Intellectual Disabilities: What the research says…..

For this month of Research Tuesday, I wanted to share a research article that discusses reading instruction with children diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability (ID). In my many years as a speech language pathologist, I have seen many children and adults diagnosed with ID who struggle with reading for several different reasons (e.g. never … [Read more...]

Gravitybread presents Elizabeth Sautter

I  am thrilled to present Elizabeth Sautter, co author of Whole Body Listening Larry at School and Whole Body Listening Larry at Home. Elizabeth is a speech language pathologist who is also the co-director/co-owner of Communication Works (cwtherapy.com), a private practice in Oakland, California, offering speech, language, social, and occupational … [Read more...]

10 Ways to Use The Thinkables and Unthinkables Double Deck

Do you want to work on social skills with your child?   This activity is not only for children with special needs, but also excellent for children who are typical. Figuring out social rules is tough and with a parents guidance, it can really help a child.  The  Thinkables & Unthinkables Double Deck is an excellent teaching tool used for … [Read more...]

The Invisible Boy

The Invisible Boy (ages K-2nd Grade) by Trudy Ludwig is a powerful story of a young boy who struggles to fit in and as a result, feels " invisible". The Invisible Boy  is powerful in many ways and can teach a child valuable lessons about treating others with kindness and respect. The symbolism in this book is beautiful and should be a part of any … [Read more...]