20 Great TpT Products Just for L and L Blends

March 22, 2017

I have curated 20 great TpT products just for L and L blends.  Who can't use new activities when working on artic?  But before I share those, here are a few things from me :)

Articulation Workbook for L

L Cards for Articulation

20 Great Products From Your Favorite Sellers: some are FREE some are paid!

Word Level "L" Worksheets

Articulation L and L Blends Baseball Game

Ladybug Articulation Craftivity L Free

"L" Sound Roll a Dice Games Free

Everything You Need Articulation L and L Blends

Articulation L Blends for Speech Therapy

Articulation License Plate Flash Cards 

Articulation Sight Words L and L Blends

Speech Therapy Comprehensive L Blends

Free Easter Themed L and L Blends

Emergent Readers Targeting L and L Blends

L Blends Flip Books

Articulation L Words and Sentences

Articulation Isolation to Conversation L Bundle

Packing L and L Blends Bundle Game

In A Pickle: L

Just Add L

Snapping L Sound

Candy Craze Articulation; L

Spring Articulation Color By Symbol L FREE

Check them out and add some fun to your therapy!

My Best Tips for Eliciting the L Sound

March 20, 2017

The L sound is usually so easy to correct. It's the "singing sound  la-la-la-la-la." Kids can pick up and imitate that so easily, right? For the most part, but it never fails one kid will come along who just cannot get the correct position. What do you do for that child?  Today I will share my best tips on how to elicit /l/.

TIP #1: Jaw Stability and Segmentation

The child must have good stability of the jaw and must be able to segment the articulators. He should be able to hold his mouth open and lift his tongue tip up to the alveolar ridge without any jaw movement. All movement should be from the tongue and independent of the jaw. There should be no lip movement either.

While I am not going to get into the oral motor debate regarding NSOME (Non Speech Oral Motor Exercises), I am going to say that the exercises that I have used have been very beneficial in teaching the child how to achieve jaw stability and segmentation. Once those skills were learned then regular articulation therapy could begin. I would even go so far as to say that taking the time to ensure the child had good jaw stability and could segment his articulators decreased the amount of time spent in therapy working on the /l/ sound. When it comes to articulation therapy, i think we are all guilty of rushing into production and not spending enough time preparing the child for speech.

Personally, I am a fan of the bite blocks from Talk Tools and Sara Johnson's procedure for teaching jaw stability and tongue tip elevation.  Pam Marshalla has techniques for this as well.  Just remember oral motor exercises are not the goal of therapy and you should not be writing objectives/benchmarks for this as a goal on the IEP. Your goal is /l/ in isolation.  The exercises are to facilitate correct production.

TIP #2: Tongue Tip Elevation

Once you have established good jaw stability and segmentation you can begin to work on tongue tip elevation.  For some kids this is not a problem now that they have learned to separate the tongue ad jaw, but for others they need a little more help.  A very effective way to do this is to use Cheerios or Fruit Loops cereal.  Actually any cereal with that shape will work.  The idea is that the child will hold the cereal up to the alveolar ridge using the tip of his tongue to achieve correct tongue placement. Full instructions for this technique can be found in the Talk Tools manual.  For me to share that here would be a copyright infringement so I will simply tell you where you can find that information, although I had been doing that technique for years before it was published by Mrs. Johnson. 

TIP#3 Shape from Interdental /l/

If other techniques aren't working for you, you might want to try this. Have the child place his tongue between his teeth touching the upper lip.  From there you shape by gradually moving the tongue back to behind the teeth.  (Upper lip->bottom edge of upper teeth->backside of upper teeth-> then alveolar ridge.)

TIP #4 Smile

A quick remedy to eliminate lip rounding or w/l, when they are at the syllable or word level, is to tell them to smile broadly when saying the stimulus.  Important: Choose your stimulus syllables and words carefully here as you do not want to choose words in which the lip rounding is needed to say the word.  (Example avoid the long O  and oo.) You will be setting the child up for failure if you do.  Good vowels to use would be "lay Lee and lie. You want to avoid Lou and low because the vowel will cause lip rounding and that is what you are trying to teach them to not do.  I would also avoid words that end in lip sounds as you do not want them to use their lips at this point in therapy. Good words to begin with are lake, late, lazy, etc. You can use the word line but not lime because lime uses the lips. You can use the word leak but not leaf.  I'm sure you are following what I am talking about ;)

Once they can say these words with sufficient accuracy you can the introduce all the other initial /l/ words.

TIP #5 Dark /l/ (final /l/)

When I was in college 100 year ago we were taught there were two sounds for /l/.  There was a "light" /l/ and a "dark /l/.  I actually do not know if is still taught this way or not but will share this with you because I have found it handy when teaching the final /l/.

The light /l/ is your initial and medial sound /l/ or the la-la-la kind of /l/.  The dark /l/ is the final /l/ and has more of an "uhl" sound to it.  In the area of the country where I am from the final /l/ is often dropped from words. Pool is pronounced poo and school is pronounced schoo.  Although it is a regionalism, I take the time to teach it correctly. That's just me being anal.

The easiest way to get the final /l/ is to do this:

1. Have the child say "ah" or "uh" and continue to voice it. Say it for as long as they can keep it going.

2. Next, as they say "ah" have them slowly move the tongue tip up to the alveolar ridge for the /l/.

3. At this point it should sound like "ahl" or "uhl" depending on which vowel you were using.

4. Now tell them to freeze the tongue in that position (tongue tip up) as they stop the sound. it is important that the tongue stay up in position after the sound has ended to eliminate them saying "luh" at the end of the word. This will eliminate them saying "balluh" for ball.

5. Once they can do this successfully on several words you can usually move right along with tradition articulation therapy.

i also use hand cueing for when to stop the sound. I say the sound with them as they are learning and gradually fade my voice so that only they are saying it.

I can not remember where I learned this technique but do want to make it clear that this is not my original idea.  However, Pam Marshalla teaches it this way too, so I probably learned it from her. 
That website is https://pammarshalla.com/  

TIP #6: Clusters

For students who insert the schwa sound between the consonant clusters of pl, bl, etc., (puhlay for play or buhlue for blue) a quick trick is to simply tell them to say both sounds at once. I tell them to get their tongue ready for L and hold it and then put their lips together and say it at the same time.  It may take a few tries but they seem to understand what they are supposed to be doing this way. 

I hope you have found a tip or two that will make your therapy less frustrating!

Guest Post on Social Language by Heidi Britz

March 13, 2017

I am over the moon excited that Heidi Britz is guest blogging for us today on Social Language.  It is one of the areas that I feel very inadequate in and I thought I'd ask her how and where one gets started when we get a student with these needs on our caseload. So Heidi, thank you and take it away!

Hi, I’m Heidi Britz, the SLP in SmartmouthSLP. I have been in the field for over twenty years and wouldn’t have chosen any other job!  I am a school based speech language pathologist with a passion for social language. I drank the *Social Thinking ® Kool-Aid ten years ago and never looked back!  I develop teaching and therapy materials for my fellow SLPs in my school district, and for my students.


This is a question that I get often with from my CFs (clinical fellows, new SLP grads). Social language therapy (and evaluation) often feel a little nebulous. SLPs grasp the big concept of social skills but breaking it down into therapy goals and interventions is a bit trickier, like nailing jell-o to the wall. This area is my wheelhouse and my heart goes out to my students who struggle to figure out the social world. I have also observed that many new grads are
coming into their first job without a lot of information about social language development and therapy, and are often confused about where to start. In response to this growing population of students, the CFs that I supervise, and my fellow SLPs that I collaborate with, I have developed a whole TPT store of social language materials (you can visit HERE)!

I work in a large county school system of over 200 SLPs. We see students from PreK through adulthood in our Community-Based Instruction programs. I am one of five lead SLPs for our county and we collaborate on streamlining processes and paperwork for our fellow SLPs. One of the big areas I spearheaded was developing social language checklists, identifying RTI interventions and creating rubrics for the county. Good referrals are the
first step, but what does that look like? The RTI process has been slippery slope for social language because it's so deeply embedded with behavior. Our social language checklist is broken down into four areas: work habits, social skills, social awareness and perspective taking. This is given to the parents, teachers and if the student is old enough, to them to complete. It is not unusual for the parent's checklist to look very different from the teachers, considering the social demands at home are often a lot less than at school. Once we find a target area (and determine that it is not a behavior using more observation data, behavior
checklist and discussion with the team), then we align a rubric to collect the RTI data with specific strategies in each tier. You can find my version of this RTI packet HERE .

Once we get to testing, I truly believe it is best practice to assess using standard and nonstandard assessments. Standardized scores are not going to give you the whole picture for students with social skills deficits. This testing is appropriate for students who have theory of mind and solid language foundations, not our more significantly impaired students with autism (another post for another day). I like using some tests from the Comprehensive
Assessment of Spoken Language ( CASL) including Inferences, Meaning from Context, and Nonliteral Language. The Pragmatic Judgment test gives me insight into the surface or rote social skills of the student. Many of my high functioning students with ASD ace this test, but still have significant social deficits in the more subtle and complex social competencies (like negotiating, working in groups with peers, and understanding sarcasm). I also use the Social Language Development Test (SLDT, both Elementary and Adolescent) for more
standardized pieces of higher level social skills. I really like the informal social language assessments from Super Power Speech, Speech Paths (I love her parent/teacher handouts that explain social language concepts beautifully!) and Nicole Allison's TPT storesThe Double Interview from Social Thinking ® is a very insightful informal tool as well that looks at the subtleties of social cognition, and this article describes the assessment process. I love using the Think Social® book to develop my social language goals for my students
too, as it makes them measurable and easy to understand for the team. Side note: If your goals are so technical or jargon-filled that only you understand them, you need to change them. Why? More parent and teacher friendly terms are crucial because it should not only be the SLP implementing and measuring progress on these goals.

Now, what about setting yourself up for success once you have your goals in place? I have some ideas that might help! I created this social skills group planner HERE to get you organized and off to a great start with tons of forms, data collection and lesson outlines for your groups. I also have this social language self-assessment product for elementary students, and the adults in their environments, to rate their progress across social skill concepts in common school settings. Feedback on how the student thinks they are doing, as compared to others who are observing them on the same skills across the same settings, is great information (and data collection)! As far as therapy materials, it is important to have a road map in mind as to what concepts to address first and remember that you are teaching skills one baby step at a time with lots of practice and visual modeling. One of my best selling products, Is That Sarcasm? teaches an often intangible skill by breaking down the steps to support understanding. We have to understand the why of a social concept before we can begin to apply it, so I add related social videos (you can check out my social video board on Pinterest and pin away) and lots of opportunities to practice with different people and across settings. Remember, Social language therapy is a crock pot not a microwave!

 You can find Heidi here:

 *If you don’t know what Social Thinking is, check it out at: www.socialthinking.com

My Best Tips and Techniques to Use When Working With a Lateral Lisp

March 6, 2017

Most of you seasoned therapists know and use the techniques that I am going to share, so I apologize if you are disappointed that there’s nothing new for you. However, those who have less experience under their belts and feel frustrated with the lateral lisp will appreciate these “pearls of wisdom.”

What is a Lateral Lisp?

According to Carolyn Bowen, “Lateral lisps are not found in typical speech development. The tongue position for a lateral lisp is very close to the normal position for /l/ and the sound is made with the air-flow directed over the sides of the tongue. Because of the way it sounds, this sort of lisp is sometimes referred to as a 'slushy ess' or a 'slushy lisp.’ A lateral lisp often sounds 'wet' or 'spitty.'

Unlike interdental and dentalized lisps, lateral lisps are not characteristic of normal development. An SLP assessment is indicated for anyone with a lateral lisp.” (direct quote from her website) Since a lateral lisp is not developmental, you do not delay therapy until the child is older. You would address it as soon as it is identified according to Dr. Lonnie Harris.

Treatment Techniques

As the old adage goes, there is more than one way to skin a cat and I’m going to share some proven strategies and even some unorthodox methods that have worked for me. Yeah, I’ve always been a rebel of a therapist.

The number one best tip I can give you is to go to Carolyn Bowen’s website and wander through her personal gold mine for lots of great information. I’ll make it simple for you and put a link here that will take you straight to her techniques for Lisps: 

I do, however, want to summarize what you will find there. Besides defining the four different types of lisps, she also reviews the Traditional Approach to Articulation Therapy clearly defining each step in the process. Along with the steps for traditional therapy you will find links to the Butterfly Procedure and Imagery and the Butterfly Position. 

It is this Butterfly Procedure to which I want to draw your attention. Basically, you can achieve correct tongue positioning for /s/ by approaching it from /ts/. She provides very detailed directions for using this technique in 10 easy steps. She will direct you from beginning to the final, end product of having that good /s/ in words, at which time she transfers you to traditional articulation therapy.

Years ago Jane Folk published a book called Straight Speech: a lisp treatment program (1992) which taught /s/ from the “ts.” It was a wonderful book that provided all the word lists and practice materials for using this treatment approach. Unfortunately, it is out of print, and difficult to find.  At one time it was still available from The Speech Bin, but that division of School Specialty has been eliminated.  However, you may wish to contact them to see if you can still get a copy of the book via the Abilitations division. 
You may wish to also keep an eye out from older SLPs who are retiring and selling their books.

An unorthodox approach we have used successfully is to convert that lateral lisp into a frontal lisp and then correct the frontal lisp. Crazy? Definitely, but it works! You aren’t really going to do a complete conversion from lateral to frontal because the idea is to teach /s/ from voiceless /th/. If you do try this strategy, I caution you to not tell the child that you are working on /s/, as just the thought causes the tongue to go to the lateral position. Tell them you are going to work on /th/. In session one, practice /th/ in isolation. For session two, practice /th/ with the teeth closed. DO NOT say anything about /s/ at this point! This is crucial. For the third session, the child should be saying /th/ with closed teeth (which in reality should be the perfect /s/). If the child is doing the /s/ correctly at this point, then at the end of this 3rd session you tell them that they have been doing the /s/ sound correctly!! They will look at you in total disbelief and you will say, that is how you say /s/. If they revert back to a lateral at this point remind them to think /th/ to get the tongue back into position. After that, you should be able to follow the normal therapy sequence.

Another great tip is Pam Marshalla’s book, Frontal Lisp, Lateral Lisp. She wrote an entire book on the lateral and frontal lisps, which includes how to diagnose direction of airflow, treatment techniques, how to combine articulation and oral motor therapy, and much more. This would make a great resource for your personal library.

I was always successful with one or the other of these techniques, so give them a try!

25 FUN Therapy Resources Just for S

March 1, 2017

This is a follow-up to My 6 Best Tips for Eliciting the S Sound post.  I hope you found a tip or two to try if you are having difficulty getting a good /s/ sound.

Several people commented that they really liked the round of materials that I did last week for the R sound, so I thought I'd do the same for the S.  These products are from SLPs just like you who have little shops on the TpT website.

I have some basic materials to use if you are just starting out or need to refresh what you have:



And here are 25 /S/ products that cover everything from start to carry-over. Everything you need for a good variety of materials! 

Look through here because there are some freebies tucked into the list!

























That's it folks!  I hope you saw something you'd like to try in this list.