Category: Organized SLP

Test Kit Organization for the SLP

Let’s face it, SLP friends.  You get a testing kit (that costs buckets of $$$)… and it comes in a cardboard box?  Is that really the best the assessment company could do-cardboard box that rips with each use.  Before you know you are chasing that stinkin’ bouncy ball from the PLS kit around your room or worse…down the hall…or retrieving it from under the client’s couch!  I have no idea what’s under my couch.  Why do I want to look under other people’s couches?  Ya feel me?  The PLS struggle is real!

Test KIt Organization for the SLP

As a traveling therapist, there’s no easy way to carry all that testing crap from your office to your car to the client’s house back to your car and back into the office.  Before that box breaks, you can NEVER get all the manipulatives back in there they came.  It’s like the SLP version of Tetris. I tried a small bag-didn’t work.  I tried a big bag-couldn’t find all those darn blocks that fall to the bottom!  Oh, and don’t get me started on those crayons that melted to the side of one bag!  So then as I was wandering through the aisles of my local Marshall’s, it hit me!

Those adorable rolling cooler bags (that I had no purpose for before) would make a great PLS bag!!  It’s big enough to fit everything that comes in that ugly, broken down cardboard box.  I can quickly zip it to keep little hands out.  The inside is completely cleanable in case those giant crayons decided to melt in the 105 degree Texas sun.  Plus it has a cute pattern that has some pink in it! (No, I am not “sold” on everything pink.  Glitter maybe.  But not pink.)  My bag has a small zipper section on the front for stickers, pens and those wind up toys (that I like to keep hidden!)

So I bought that bag (a whole $20) and it has worked like a dream.  I can wheel it into houses or carry it if needed.  Everything is where I can find quickly-got to love those awkward transitions in the PLS from the toys to the book then back to the toys.  It has room for a pocket folder that holds my consents and background history forms.  Everything I need to conduct a PLS testing session is there!  When I am done, I place it all back in the bag, zip it up and roll of into the sunset!

Test KIt Organization for SLPs
It’s small and I can still fit my other things for therapy in the back of my car.

While this is not the exact one I have, here is one that I found on Amazon that is pretty close!  Another option besides this cooler bag is a small suitcase/scrapbook/computer bag on wheels.  Make sure it opens/zips from the top.

Rolling Test Kit for SLPs

What works for you?  Feel free to share in the comments!!

See more on my organization tips here!


Setting Up Thematic Speech Therapy: Part 4

You’ve gotten through the hard parts of setting up a thematic unit for speech therapy out of the way. Now, comes the easy part! I like to add supplemental activities to my sessions. Quick little 5 minute activities that can be used at the end of a session. Soemtimes, they are seen as a reward. Other times, just a little extra practice.

Thematic Speech Therapy

Sensory Bins For Speech Therapy

Sensory bins are great to use as a lesson or at the end of a session!  I like to use them as articulation reinforcement at the end of a session.  Kids see them a “game” or  a reward while I can still get in some work before our session is over.  Other times, a sensory bin is our main activity!  Some of my favorite sensory bins was during our snow theme.  I had 3 different bins that addressed varying speech and language tasks.  Big hit in our speech therapy sessions!!  Since I travel from client to client, mini sensory bins are great for me!  You can see my mini sensory bin that I used during our spring theme.

I used this sensory bin during spider week. Clients had to find the spiders and sort them!

Apps for Speech Therapy

Before each theme, I search the app store for apps that go with my theme.  Sometimes, I find great ones…sometimes not so much.  Some of my favorites were during our Halloween theme!  I wrote an entire blog post on my favorites (Psssst go check it out.  There’s a freebie!)  If I don’t find an app I like for my theme, it’s ok.   Not a big deal!  I can make an interactive book or game to take it’s place.

Games for Speech Therapy

Ok, I view games as supplemental but it still can be the main activity if you choose.  I used to ALWAYS do a game the second session of the week.  Then I got away from doing that.  Now we do a craft, quick game, an app or a sensory bin.  I change it up.  Depending on the game, it may not cover all your needs.  I work with a lot of young preschool and toddlers.  Games are not always appropriate for them.  One of my favorite games to use with my school age kids is “Hoppers.”  It is a problem solving game that taps into that critical thinking area.  It was our game during the frog theme.  Another simple “game” you can make is Feed the Frog.  I used it with my young preschoolers all the way up to 1st grade age.  Kids see it as a game but you can still get tons of targets addressed in 5 minutes!

Toys and Puzzles in Speech Therapy

Melissa and Doug have great puzzles and toys that could be used in your speech therapy sessions.  My little guys love those last 5-7 minutes of therapy when I pull out a toy or puzzle!  You can shop Amazon for great toys or watch your local HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Ross and Marshalls!  That’s where most of my Melissa and Doug products come from.  Use them in your sessions and you’ll get tons of spontaneous language as well as time to work on carryover for artic!

Ok that’s it!  The last of our series in planning a thematic speech therapy session!  It’s summer time so use this time to work on getting your themes together.  Start small.  Pick one month and make ONE week’s worth of activities for it.  Start easy too.  Pick a week with a holiday!  You can do this!!!

Miss the other posts?

Part 3: Prepping Activities

Part 2: Choosing a Book

Part 1: Choosing a Theme

Setting Up Thematic Speech Therapy: Part 3

You have your theme picked out and your books are ready for speech therapy…Now what?

Thematic Speech Therapy

Easy!  Review your clients’ goals.  If you have a large caseload (ahem…school based SLPs!), this could take a little bit of time.  If you are in private practice or home health, it may not take you as long.  Make notes of what you need to address.  Who needs to work on /k/ sounds?  Who needs practice with irregular past tense verbs?  Jot it all down!

Plan A for Speech Therapy

If you are the creative type, make your own therapy materials!  Take advantage if you have access to a die cut machine (man, I miss having one of those!), you can do TONS with it!  Make your own worksheets on the computer.  You artsy folks can draw some of your own stuff.  I am NOT artsy so I use a lot of clipart…like A LOT!

Plan B for Speech Therapy

Ok so let’s say you are not the crazy creative kind.  Or maybe you are pressed for time…said no SLP ever, right?!

Shop Teachers Pay Teachers! (Click here to shop mine!)  This is really the easiest way to prep for your thematic speech therapy sessions.  Type in what your are looking like “ice cream speech therapy activities” and BOOM!  Your prayers have been answered!  There are so many great creators out there.  Even if you are the creative type, you can still shop materials.  Who wants to recreate the wheel?

Take an afternoon and look through your shelves of materials.  That’s how I started my themed units.  I took worksheets and cut & glue activities from my Super Duper books.  Make a copy of each page that fits your theme.  Then keep them all together in a file folder, binder or organize your themes like I did!  (Click here for that post!)

Craft Time in Speech Therapy!

I like to do “work” the first session of the week and craft the second session of the week.  So to finish up planning your thematic session, come up  with a craft!  Sometimes, I use the same craft throughout the week.  Other times, I may have 2-3 different crafts for the different populations I see.  The best place to get an idea is Pinterest!  I find great ideas for crafts there.  Many times, I will find one that I like but it needs to be adapted…so I adapt it!  You can check out any of my theme reviews to see my crafts.  Since I travel to each of my clients, I like to keep craft materials to a minimum.

Now you are ready to begin your thematic sessions!  If you missed the first 2 parts of this series you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  There’s one more part of the series coming soon!

Setting Up Thematic Speech Therapy: Part 2

Now that you’ve chosen a theme, you need to start preparing your speech therapy materials.  I start with books.  I try to pick several different books to cover age ranges, attention span and language targets.  Sometimes, it is easy.  But sometimes it’s not!  The book you choose sets the tone for your speech therapy sessions.  I like to design activities or craft projects around the book-not necessarily the theme.

Don’t Settle On Just One Book for Speech Therapy

Like I said earlier, pick several books.  I usually have one for my preschool clients, one for school age clients and maybe one for my toddlers, clients with Autism or short attention spans, or articulation clients.  At any given time, there are at least 2-3 books in my theme bin.  You can look at my speech therapy theme review about snow to see how and why I chose so many books!

Snow Books for Speech Therapy        Snow Books for Speech Therapy     Snow Books for Speech Therapy

Textures for Little Guys

“Touchy feely” books are great for toddlers, young preschool kids as well as kiddos with Autism or Down’s Syndrome.  It keeps them engaged as well as gives a concrete meaning to an otherwise abstract idea.  I chose a large dinosaur book that had assorted textures…you can read about it here!  Usborne Books and More publishes a set of books called “That’s Not My…” Each book has a variety of textures and bright colors.  You can read why I recommend them for speech therapy here!

Dinosaur Book for Speech Therapy

Make Visuals To Go With The Book

The “Old Lady” books work great with visuals!  I like to have a playdough smash mat and a jar of playdough when I read her books.  As we read, the kids can smash a piece of playdough on the item she swallowed.  The visuals are also great for countdown books like “Five Little Ladybugs.”

Ladybug book for speech therapy

Check Your Language Targets

What are your clients’ goals?  Choose books that go along with those.  Need work with describing?  I used “Big Bugs Pop Up Book” during my bug unit and “The Wide Mouthed Frog” during the frog unit.  Need help with manners?  I liked “What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night” or any Curious George book!  Use the book to discuss what should have happened or the better choices that could have been made by the characters.  Got kiddos that need to work on using “she?”  The “Old Lady” books are a perfect choice!

The bottom line is choose books that are engaging and enjoyable.  If the kids like the book, they’ll get great stuff from the therapy session.  If won’t even feel like you are working very hard!

Missed Part 1?

Part 3: Prepping Activities

Setting Up Thematic Speech Therapy: Part 1

For Better Speech and Hearing Month, I wanted to write a short series of posts that would better help you conduct your speech therapy sessions.  Themed sessions are kind of my “thing.”  The kids know it, the parents know it, even my family knows it!  When I first started in the field, I would have other therapists (as well as teachers) ask me about my themes.  “Why do you do themes?”  “How do you decide on a theme?” are just a couple of the questions I would get.  I will be honest, I do themes because it’s fun and never boring!  It gives the kiddos a context for new vocabulary and concepts, just as if they were in science class. At times, many of my themes go along with classroom lessons.  Now that I am a private therapist, I don’t really worry about school curriculum..

That second question is an easy one.  It’s what this first part of the blog series is about.  How do you decide on a theme for speech therapy?

Speech Therapy Planning


This is an easy start.  Halloween, Christmas, National Cookie Day, Cinco de Mayo…it doesn’t matter.  Just pick a holiday!  If it’s October, you have Halloween, Columbus Day, Fire Safety Week, National Pizza Month, go with one.  Think about what you could do with that theme.  How could you use pizza to address the language clients on your caseload?  What’s a fun way you could drill artic during fire safety week?  If you are uncomfortable with setting up a theme, holidays are the best place to start.  You can see my post about pizza here!

Student Interests

Go with what your caseload is into.  Star Wars, Legos, and Princesses are all themes that could be used again and again.  If you go with a cartoon series or video game, realize that it might be fun that first year.  But most kids may have outgrown it by the second year.  I did a Toy Story theme when Toy Story 3 came out.  I haven’t used it again!


If you are in a school system, piggy back off the curriculum.  During spring time, plants and bugs are popular curriculum units.  The added bonus to using curriculum in speech therapy is that you get to target vocabulary that will help the student in the classroom.  So get with a teacher and talk about lesson plans.  It just takes a few minutes to discuss what’s coming up on the lesson plans.  Then start brainstorming how you will use it in therapy!  My theme of bugs originated from this idea!  You can find the theme review here!


This will actually be addressed next week but sometimes things need  to work backwards to work!  A book might be your inspiration for a theme.  The “Pinkalicious” books inspired my June themes for girls.  I took each book and device activities for each one.  The girls love it!!!

Now get a sheet of paper out and start making your list of themes!  If you need some help, grab my monthly themes calendar from my TpT store!  It has the themes I like to use throughout the year!

Part Two: Choosing A Book

Part 3: Prepping Activities