By Small Talk Speech Pathology

Monday, 9 September 2013

Synonyms and Antonyms + FREE Printables

We've been working on a lot of synonyms and antonyms with our older clients lately to help them to strengthen their verbal and written vocabulary skills.

In our never ending search for new an exciting ways to present similar material, we came across this wonderful website English For Everyone
Here we found amazing free printable synonym and antonym worksheets for grades 1 - 12. 

A synonym is  word that means the same (or almost the same) as another word e.g. big and large.
An antonym is a word that has an opposite meaning e.g. big and small.

Helping your child to understand and use synonyms and antonyms can be a great way to build their receptive and expressive vocabulary skills at any age. Have a look HERE for yourself and have fun learning some new words.

Love Vanessa and Lauren.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Yoga for Children with Special Needs

"I like yoga because it makes my body feel safe."  6 year old with autism
WellBeing Yoga for Children

Here on From The Heart Up we have spoken before about the benefits of yoga for normally developing children, however there is now growing research appearing detailing the benefits of yoga for children with special needs.

Mind Body Green recently published an article outlining 7 major benefits of yoga for children with Autism. Some of these included:

1. Yoga develops motor skills. Kids with autism frequently experience delayed motor development, which can be improved as yoga tones muscles, enhances balance and stability, and develops body awareness and coordination. As motor skills develop, children have a greater sense of their physical self in space and in relation to others, and can improve their gait and stability. 

2. Yoga improves confidence and social skills. Poor coordination often yields low self-esteem as kids may be singled out or teased for not moving or behaving like other children, or not excelling in sports and outdoor activities. By learning self-control and self-calming techniques through yoga, they are likely to grow confidence in interacting with other children and refine their social skills. Learning to work together in a yoga class and playing with partner poses can also increase confidence within group settings.
3. Yoga provides sensory integration. Children with autism often suffer from a highly sensitive nervous system and are easily over stimulated by bright lights, new textures, loud noises, strong tastes and smells. Yoga’s natural setting of dim lights, soft music, smooth mats, and “inside” voices creates a comforting environment largely protected from unknown or aggressive stimuli in which calming down becomes enjoyable. Yoga’s physical poses allow nervous energy to be released from the body in a controlled manner, also leading to a calming sensation. Less stimulation means less uncontrollable behavior, outbursts and repetitive nervous movements.
- Click HERE for the full article.

A growing number of yoga teachers, parents and carers alike are taking to YouTube to document their success stories using Yoga to help children with Autism and other developmental difficulties. 

HERE  a school in Florida has turned to yoga to help children with autism. The results are not only amazing but inspiring as well.

HERE yoga teacher Sonia Sumar is shown working with a young boy with Autism.

Yoga for the Special Child is a wonderful website filled with advice, information, articles and programs to assist children with an array of special needs from Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Autism and ADHD. 

The National Autism Resources website also offers many resources from DVD's to flashcards to assist the use of yoga with children with special needs. 

Interestingly, there is a growing trend to combine traditional therapeutic techniques for childhood development, such as Speech Pathology with Yoga.
HERE a Chicago based Speech Language Pathologist discusses the benefits she has achieved through the combination of Yoga and her Speech Pathology training. HERE you can watch a short clip outlining some tips for incorporating yogic techniques into speech therapy.

* Yoga Precautions for Children

Children tend to have looser joints and great enthusiasm. As a result, they may be unaware when they are stretching beyond what is safe. Parents without yoga backgrounds who are interested in incorporating yoga for their child with special needs should always seek proper guidance and instruction.

Read more here or click here for more 
safety tips.

With Love,
Lauren and Vanessa


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Thursday, 18 April 2013

FREE Language Games/Activities/Ideas for Teenagers

We have been fortunate enough to find more wonderful language therapy ideas specifically for teenagers - thanks to Robyn Wellman who is a speech pathologist based in New Mexico.

Please visit Robyn's site at for more therapy ideas with topics including articulation, language, fluency and central auditory processing disorder.  

Here is an excerpt from Robyn's website:  

Activities for Inclusion
Syntax & Morphology

  • Sentence Scramble: Make a list of about 30 sentences containing clauses, phrases, after, before, passive voice, emphatic verbs, etc. Some examples:
  • He fixed the roof after it leaked.
  • We ate dinner after we went to the movie.
  • I fed the dog before I took him for a walk.
  • The boy was followed by the girl.
  • The boy gave the girl an ice cream.
  • Didn't you put the book up?
  • Use index cards to make scrambled sentences. Using the first sentence example, you would write "he fixed" on one card, "the roof" on another, "after" on another, "it" on a card, "leaked" on the last. This particular sentence makes about 4 possible sentences, (the roof leaked after he fixed it, he fixed the roof after it leaked, after the roof leaked he fixed it, after he fixed the roof, it leaked,)so on the bottom corner of one of the cards, write a small '4.' I paper clip each 'set' of cards that belong together. Once you have a bunch of these sets, 30 or so, you can place them in a manila envelope. On your day of inclusion, split your kids into groups of 3. Give each group about 5 sets of sentence scrambles. Each group must get the same number of possible sentences. I do it this way: First, I pass out a set of cards that makes 2 possible sentences to each group of kids. Second, I pass out sets of cards that make 4 possible sentences, etc. Then I instruct each group they will need one piece of paper and one pen per group. Each group unscrambles the sentences and writes down all possible sentences. If you want to add an element of competitiveness, you can give points to the group that gets the highest percentage correct.
Figurative language
  • Idioms Bingo: I use this in inclusion high school classrooms. I group the students in groups of 2 or 3 and pass out idioms or figures of speech on index cards, 1 idiom/card, to each group. I give each group about 5 cards. Then I give the definition for one of them and each group goes through their cards to see if they have the right idiom. The group that has the correct idiom gives me their card. The first to rid themselves of all their idiom cards, gets the "Bingo."
Use the following ideas to publish a teen magazine. Teen magazine sites can be found online and some I use can be accessed by clicking on this link.... Teen Mag Links
  • Write a Why-Me Story: Have your students write a story about their most mortifying moment.
  • Write a So-bad story: Have your students write a story about something "so bad" that they have done.
  • Teen Quiz: Your students can answer a teen quiz from a magazine or an online magazine. This is a motivating activity for students that need experience answering questions.
  • Movie Star Interview: Have a student or group of students write questions they'd like to ask their favorite movie star. Have them then assume that stars character and answer the questions.
  • Preparing for the Real World: Have students write an article detailing the steps in sequence for such events as preparing for the prom, job searching, studying for finals, etc.
  • Teen Fiction: Also available in teen magazines are works of fiction written by teenagers. Have students read these stories to meet goals such as paraphrasing, re-telling events, detailing characters, etc. The material should be more motivating and usually easier to read. Also, after reading a short story by a teen, have them write their own short stories.
  • 10 Tips Article: Have your teens read an article typically found in teen magazines, such as "Ten Types of Guys to Avoid" and then have them write their own. Some ideas may include: dealing with his phone dysfunction, handling a flirtatous boyfriend or girlfriend, dating disasters, get him/her to notice you, finding the right guy/girl for you, ways to blow a date, things guys/girls don't want to hear.
  • Mom Disasters: Help your students write a story about how Mom totally embarrassed them, spoiled thier fun, etc.
  • Pro-Con Column: Select a topic for a pair of students to write opposing columns for. Keep topics concrete for students with learning and language disorders. Topics, such as the death penalty, may be too abstract and too far removed from their lives. Use topics such as the dress code, lunch menu, jocks-- good or evil?, best superhero, prom royalty, summer vs winter break, etc.
  • After your articles are written and typed up, have students then make up a table of contents and lay-out the magazine. Artistic students can illustrate for stories and articles and design the cover.
Thank you to Robyn for sharing her clinical knowledge and expertise!

Monday, 15 April 2013

FREE therapy ideas for adolescents

We discovered this wonderful site during our search of the world wide web for different therapy ideas for teenagers.  At Small Talk Speech Pathology, we have started working with a few older clients for communication therapy and thought it would be good to get a fresh approach on how to incorporate appropriate language content and themes into our sessions.  

Please check out this site as Karen (a super experienced SLP based in Arizona) has much knowledge and wisdom to share regarding this population.  In addition to numerous tricks and tips, she has shared a list of over 30 therapy activities that target a broad base of language skills.

Karen lists the materials/resources required, skills targeted and also provides instructions. 
Here is an example: 

Funny Headlines & Newspaper Clippings  (Activity)
Materials/Resources: Amusing and poorly written headlines and newspaper clippings are a source of comedy on the Tonight Show and on the Internet.  Within a classroom  or therapy setting, headlines/clippings can be used to help students identify ambiguous language, syntax, and mechanical errors.  Students also utilize inferential and reasoning abilities to discover the original semantic intent of the headline or clipping. For school appropriate headlines, please refer to the corresponding page for a list that can be used as part of this activity.   

Skills Targeted:   *Ambiguity *Syntax *Writing Mechanics/Error Identification *Semantics *Vocabulary *Reasoning *Inference 

 Instruction: 1. Introduce the headline or clipping to the student(s) by stating that the headline has errors. 2. Provide clues for the students as to whether the errors are related to semantics, syntax, or mechanics and adapt to the academic level of the student(s). 3. Have the student(s) read the headline or clipping aloud to assist in identifying the error. 4. If the error is semantic, have the student(s) state the double meaning of the headline. 5. This activity can be done as a group or individually.

Here is a sample of some of the humorous headlines from her list:*Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers *If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile 
*Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures 
*Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges 
*Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge 
*Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half 
And there's more!  Please check out this wonderful website and share with other speechies who may be interested.

Thank you Karen!

Click here at to access Karen's site and resources.  


What is dyslexia?

The first step in getting help with dyslexia is to identify it.
When can dyslexia be identified?
Dyslexia will normally become apparent during the early years of schooling, when a child shows an unexplained difficulty in reading despite having all the skills, such as intelligence and verbal ability, which are necessary to read. Even though dyslexia can become apparent in the early years many children are not identified and an evaluation may not be done until adulthood.
How does an unidentified child cope with dyslexia at school?
Many unidentified children develop coping strategies both positive and negative, which can disguise dyslexia. Most children with dyslexia have to work much harder than their peers to remember and apply classroom information. Some children with dyslexia pretend to be less intelligent than they actually are,this is a negative coping strategy.
Research on dyslexia Identification:
The earlier a child with dyslexia is identified the sooner that child can be directed to effective instruction for their specific need. A child identified earlier with correct treatment can be brought up to grade level without the extra burden of the secondary effects setting in, which can include;low self esteem,frustration, loss of motivation for learning,social and emotional issues including attentional difficulties.
What you can do:
Learn about the common characteristics of dyslexia, trust your gut feelings and do something about it.Effective screening for dyslexia will tell you a lot about the type of teaching your child requires, it is not just a label. Dyslexia is an informative description which allows educational treatment to be tailored to the unique differences that an individual with dyslexia has.If you feel that your child is displaying symptoms of dyslexia, do not listen if someone says, "They will grow out of it" or "All children progress at their own rate". No one grows out of dyslexia and time is valuable when it comes to dyslexia and a child's postive self esteem. See "Could it be dyslexia" for common characteristics.
Schools have a responsibility- let's work together
The ADA offers its members information on the best practices for the identification of dyslexia/reading difficulties. The ADA work within a system which encourages a partnership between ADA services and the school. Please do not spend loads of dollars on any external report/s which offer no evidence based educational treatment.Remember there are no quick fixes for literacy difficulties and the earlier a child is identified the better! Contact ADA, so that we can work with you and your child's school first.
Courtesy of the Dyslexia association

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Cupcake frenzy! Free printable activities - all deliciously cupcake themed!

At Small Talk Speech Pathology, there has been a cupcake frenzy!  We personally love cupcakes however, our clients appear to love them even more.  All of our little clients are mad for anything to do with cupcakes at the moment.  We have been making cupcakes out of play doh, colouring in cupcakes, stacking different cupcakes onto a stand, pretending to sell cupcakes, drawing and decorating cupcakes and the list goes on!  Here are some wonderful resources we have discovered along our cupcake journey!

Play doh cupcakes are a delightful way to incorporate pretend play and language
Click here to view 
Courtesy of

Free printable "Build a cupcake" resource
Click here to view
Courtesy of Volume25 Blog

Free printable "Cupcake board game that contains 24 why questions"
Click here to view
Courtesy of

Free cupcake clipart for any use
Click here to view
Courtesy of

Free printable birthday cupcake pattern
Click here to view
Courtesy of

Have fun and make cupcakes!
Vanessa & Lauren