April 17, 2020

Happy Friday!

We hope everyone is staying healthy and safe at home!  The initial home practice calendar we sent home went only through spring break, so we are attaching another calendar for the last few weeks of the school year.  You can locate it in the resources tab above under APPS.   You can print it out and mark down the days that you do speech/language practice activities.  Remember, short, more frequent practices are best: 5-10 minutes at a time.  Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns, or even if you just want to touch base, and we would be delighted to have a video chat, phone conference, or email exchange with you.  WE MISS YOU ALL!!!

April 2, 2020

SPRING BREAK is next week!  Time to take a break from online learning, relax and de-stress.

But….If you want some low key ideas for working with your child over the break, here are some suggestions, taken from the website of PottstownSchools.org:


Here are some suggested speech activities to try at home after your child has begun therapy:

1. If your child is working on a specific sound, help him/her to become aware of that sound by pointing out things in the environment that contain the sound. You can do this in a number of ways:

a. Go on a “Sound Walk”. Hunt for things in or outside of the house that have the child’s speech sound.

b. Look through magazines for pictures or words that have his/her speech sound.

c. When driving, look for things with the child’s sound.

d. Play 20 questions. Think of a word or object that has the child’s speech sound. Have the child ask questions to figure out what the object is. If that is too difficult, give the child clues and have him/her guess.

2. Once your child can say the sound correctly in words, have him/her practice saying some of those words for you. When that becomes easy, have him/her say them in sentences.

a. Spelling Search- Have the child search his/her spelling list for words that have his/her sound. Say them aloud.

b. Silly Sentences- See who can make up the silliest sentence using one of your child’s speech words.

c. Challenge Sentences- See who can make up the sentence using the most words containing the speech sound.

d. Tongue Twisters- Do you know a tongue twister that has your child’s speech sound? Can you and your child make some up?

3. When your child is able to say his/her speech sound in words and sentences, have him/her begin to practice reading aloud using the sound correctly. For beginning readers, have the child read from his/her reading book or from story books. Try using poems, the Sunday Funnies, Comic Books, cereal boxes, signs, TV guide, video or board game instructions, or anything your child enjoys reading.

4. Begin to encourage your child to use the sound correctly for short periods of time during the day. This is called “carryover”. Can your child carryover good speech every time he/she says his/her sibling’s name? His/Her pet’s name? His/her favorite food?

5. Once your child is able to use good speech for longer periods of time, try these conversational activities.

a. Make a phone call using good speech.

b. Use good speech all during supper.

c. Use good speech in the car on the way to practice, lessons, or school.

d. Use good speech while going over homework.


Games, Ideas, and books to encourage language skills:

Enrich vocabulary with language-based games such as I spy, Guess Who, 20 Questions, Memory, and Apples to Apples.



a. Read a variety of books

b. Label or point to pictures on the page

c. Have your child describe what is happening on each page.

d. Ask various WH questions (who, what, when, where, why, how do you know) about what is happening on the picture page and what may happen next.

e. Sequence or retell the story with beginning, middle, and end

Have fun conversations! For example, at dinner, discuss everything from daily events to what’s in each room of the house. Conversational skills, such as continuation of the topic and turn taking are essential parts of speech and language.

Know your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses. There are many forms of intelligence, including linguistic, kinesthetic [body], musical, artistic, logical, and social. Use your child’s strong areas to help speech and language develop. For example, if you child is gifted musically, let him/her sing a song to practice speech sounds.

Play verbal games, such as:

a. Guess What (Guess what has sharp teeth and orange/black stripes?)
b. Yes or No (“Dogs have 2 feet”, child says “no”)
c. Which One Doesn’t Belong and Why? (“apple, milk, banana”)

d. Categories: “sock, shirt, pants” (child says “clothes”)

e. Categories: Parent says “clothes”, child says “socks, pants, shirts”

f. “Hotter/Colder”: hide something and guide with clues

g. I Spy

h. Play “Simon Says”. Start out by being “Simon”, giving directions like “touch your nose”, “touch the floor”, “clap your hands”, “walk to the door” and work up to harder ones like “touch your knees and clap your hands”, “put a jelly bean under the napkin,” etc. Next, have your child be “Simon” and help him to give the directions if needed.

In early elementary grades K-2

  • Talk with your child frequently
  • Read a variety of books; read often and talk with your child about the story
  • Help your child focus on sound patterns of words such as those found in rhyming games
  • Have your child retell stories and talk about events of the day
  • Talk with your child during daily activities; give directions for your child to follow (e.g., making cookies)
  • Talk about how things are alike and different
  • Give your child reasons and opportunities to write

In later elementary grades 3-5

  • Continue to encourage reading; find reading material that is of interest to your child
  • Encourage your child to form opinions about what he or she hears or reads and relate what is read to experiences
  • Help your child make connections between what is read and heard at school, at home, and in other daily activities
  • Talk aloud as you help your child understand and solve problems encountered in reading material
  • Help your child recognize spelling patterns, such as beginnings and endings of words (e.g., pre- or -ment)
  • Encourage your child to write letters, keep a diary, or write stories

Activities to promote Listening skills

(Taken from What is Auditory Processing? By Susan Bell and The Source for Processing Disorders by Gail J. Richard, PhD (2001))

• Use family trips and errands as a way for children to listen and learn. For example, on a trip to the supermarket, tell your child 3 or 4 items you need, then ask for them to be repeated or brought to you.

 To help with memory, break information into shorter “chunks” or segments, and pause between each segment. For example: “Put on your pajamas (pause), and wash your face (pause). Chunking spoken messages allows children more time to process or absorb the entire message.

• Get children’s attention before you speak to them. Cue them to “tune in” by saying, “Susie, this is important…” or “Ryan, listen carefully-I’m going to tell you what to do.” Vary the attention-getting phrases so the child doesn’t begin to tune them out as well.

 Supplement what you say with something s/he can see, when this is possible. If you’re asking him/her to go to the table and get the backpack, you can also point to the backpack.

 Allow your child “thinking time” before you expect an answer to a question. The typical amount of time we expect between a question and an answer is 2-4 seconds. A rule of thumb is to count to 10 before you help answer a question. This is hard to do, but it’s probably the single most important strategy you can use.

• Feel free to repeat, rephrase or further explain what you’ve said to your child if you think it will help him/her understand (you should still give him plenty of time to respond).

March 25th, 2020

Hello Speech and Language families,

Sunny warm weather is here, and we can finally get outdoors this week!  Here is a fun practice activity that you can do outside:

A Speech/Language Scavenger hunt!

Articulation: Look for 10 things that have your sound, then depending on your practice level, say the words 5 times each, or make up 3 sentences for each word, or make up a funny story using several of the words.  Use your best speech sounds.  You can record it, listen, and see how you did.

Fluency: Find 10 interesting things in your yard.  Depending on your practice level, say the names of each one using easy starts, or say a sentence about each one using turtle talking (smooth, slow rate), or tell how 2 of the items are the same and different using your fluency strategies.


  • Look for items to go with each of these 12 describing words:

               round, sharp, shiny, noisy, tiny, alive, wet, scratchy, tall, smooth, fragile, fragrant

  • Pick 2 items you find outside and tell 2 ways they are alike and 2 ways they are different.
  • Describe something you “spy” with 5 adjectives  (describing words) and see if your partner can guess what it is.
  • Find a rock and hide it in the yard, then give clues to your partner about where to find it.  Use words describing where to look: ex) Next to, in front, beside, behind, across from, near, far, closer.


We hope you are all staying healthy.  Enjoy the pretty weather!

March 20, 2020

Happy Friday!

We made it through our first week of online learning- whew!  We have heard back from families who are feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure what to do with all of the resources provided, and we understand.  As far as speech and language practice, we plan to send you more specific information and activities for your child weekly via email.  The additional resources on the blog can be used for supplemental practice if you wish.

Another question that came up was “How often and how much should we be practicing?” At school, your child’s speech services are broken into longer sessions once or twice a week.  At home, that may not work for your schedule, and in fact, it may be better to break the time up into shorter, more frequent practices of 5-10 minutes daily.  Here is some information from the website “Home Speech Home” about doing these shorter bursts of practice throughout your day.

What Do We Do During Our 5 Minutes?

I’m so glad you asked!

The goal of each 5-minute session will be to get your child to practice the skill correctly as many times as possible.

Imagine shooting for 50-100 repetitions of the same skill.  You may not always get to that but it’s a great goal.

So, if your child is working on saying the “p” sound, you want him to say that sound 50-100 times while you do a quick activity.

Or, if your child is practicing pronouns, you want him to repeat 50-100 sentences that use the pronouns “he” or “she” while doing the activity.

If the skill you’re doing takes a little longer to practice, you can reduce the target number of repetitions.

In order to make this happen, you will need an activity that doesn’t take a lot of time and won’t take away from the goal of the 5 minutes, which is to practice the skill over and over again.

Here are some great ideas of activities you can do while getting your child to practice his skill:

Use a Counter

Go to a sporting goods store and purchase a counter.  This is a small, round object with a single button.  Each time you push the button, the counter goes up by one.

Set a goal for your child (number of repetitions) and tell him to push the button each time he does the skill correctly.  Once he hits the target number, he’s done.

Time him and see if he can beat his old score (but he has to say it correctly for it to count, no rushing through and messing up!).

Bankruptcy Game

Put a bunch of plastic coins in a bag but color one of them red.  After each repetition, you and your child will both pull out one coin.

If anyone pulls out the red coin, they have to put all of their coins back (bankrupt!).

Whoever has the most coins after 5 minutes wins.  (Got this one from www.5minutekids.com , love it!)

Hold Yoga Poses

Look for pictures of yoga poses for kids online.  Have your child choose one and hold it while he does his skill.

See how many repetitions he can get in before he loses the pose.

Trace Lines or Shapes

Draw lines or shapes on a piece of paper.  Then, laminate that page or put it in a plastic sheet protector.

Have your child trace the lines or shapes with a dry erase marker while repeating his skill.  When he’s done, erase and use again next time.

Put Blocks on a Tower

Each time your child practices the skill, give him a block to place atop a tower.  When the tower falls, take the blocks back and start over.

See how tall he can make it before it falls.

Play Hopscotch

Draw a hopscotch track (or other shapes/numbers) on the ground and have your child do the skill once before each jump or move on the track.

Turtle Race

You need at least 2 people for this but you can be the second person if need be.

Have both people sit on their bottoms with their knees up.  Each time your child does the skill, everyone gets to move forward one scoot.

Bottom must stay on the ground, no picking it up and jumping.

Whoever gets the farthest in 5 minutes wins.

Moving Beans or Marbles

Place beans or marbles in a small container.  Get a second similar container.

For each repetition, move one bean or marble to the other container.  When all the beans/marbles are moved, you’re done!

Make Me Jump

Each time your child does the skill, have someone else (you or another adult/child) jump or do another action.

See how many times your child can make that person jump during 5 minutes.


Give your child a pinch of playdough (or a similar substance) for every repetition.  Once your child has all of the playdough, he can play with it.

Tickle Me

Start with your hand on your child’s head or toes.

For each repetition, move slightly closer to his belly.  When you get to his belly, tickle him like crazy.  Then, start over and repeat until the 5 minutes is up.

Go for a Walk

When you are walking somewhere with your child, have him take one step for every repetition.

Try this one when you’re walking to the playground from the car or into the house when you get home.

Stoplight Speech

While you’re sitting at a red stoplight, see how many times your child can do the skill correctly before the light turns green.

Playing Cards

Get a playing card for every repetition.  When your child has all of the playing cards, you can play the game with him.

Blowing Bubbles

Blow bubbles for every 10 repetitions that your child does.


March 17, 2020

Hello Speech and Language families,

We hope you all are doing well and staying healthy.  This is only day 2 of online learning, and we are all getting used to a new way of doing things for the time being.  Each week, we will be connecting with you by updating the blog, uploading more resources in the tabs above, and checking in via email or phone.

At this time with everything going on in the world, trying to balance working from home with keeping kids occupied, being isolated from friends, figuring out online lessons on shared computers, it’s easy to feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed.

In the spirit of spreading some calm, here is a link for some downloadable breathing exercise cards:

8 Fun Breathing Exercises for Kids {Printable}


Take a few minutes with your kids to try some of them, and pick your favorites. If you want to throw in some speech and language activities:

Articulation– After your calm breathing activities, record one of your speech practice activities in a slow, calm voice and listen to it. How did it sound?

Fluency– Talk about your “speech machine” and how belly breathing helps you with smooth talking

Language– Explain to someone else at your house how to do the breathing activity (using only your words, not gestures!)

Breathe easy!  We’re all in this together. Please reach out vie email with any questions or concerns!

Online Learning

Hello Speech and Language students and families!

On the tabs above you will find links to websites for practice of speech and language skills. If you were at school today (Friday, 3/13) your child should have received a packet of information about online learning for speech services.  Below is the letter that went home.  Please let us know if you are unable to locate the packet.

Dear Parents,

As you know, we will be providing online learning for all Cobb County students beginning Monday, March 16th, which includes speech and language services.

You should have a copy of your child’s most recent IEP which contains their individual goals and objectives for communication.  We are providing multiple resources for you to access during this time for continued learning, as well as open communication via email.

Resources include:

-The attached material

-Practice in your child’s speech folder

-Numerous websites, games and activities which address communication skills on our blog

The blog may be accessed via the Cobb County website, Blackwell homepage, faculty and staff, under Laura Wheeler. It can be accessed directly at: http://www.cobblearning.net/blackwellspeech/

In addition, we will be available online via email, Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.- 10:30 a.m. to address any questions or concerns you may have.  The email addresses are:



Attached is a calendar that you can initial each time you practice with your child to send back when school resumes.

Please practice ________ times per week for ________ minutes.

Additional Information:

We know this situation is unprecedented, and we are all working together to provide as much consistency as possible.  We appreciate your flexibility as we navigate this together.  We look forward to seeing your child back at school when the county resumes normal operations.  In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!


Janine Lock, M.Ed, SLP

Laurie Wheeler, M.A., CCC-SLP

March 2020

Hello Blackwell speech students and parents!

Just a reminder that you can find practice activities and websites in the links above under articulation, language, fluency and social language tabs.  Most of you also have some materials for practice and also activities listed on page 2 of your speech folders.

Students: If for any reason the speech schedule is disrupted, please write down in your folder all the speech-language practice activities you complete with an adult, and you will get those points on your reward cards!

2018-2019 Welcome Back!

Welcome back to another year of learning, fun, and improving speech, language and communication skills!

This year the SLPs (Speech-Language Pathologists) serving your school age students at Blackwell are Laurie Wheeler and Janine Lock.

Laurie is beginning her 20th year at Blackwell after working as a clinic and hospital based SLP for 10 years. She serves students at Blackwell and also serves as an Autism Support SLP for the district. She holds a state license and ASHA certification.

Janine has worked at Blackwell for the past 14 years as our preschool SLP, and has transitioned to the school age position this year.  She worked for Cobb County as a supply SLP throughout the county in all age levels for 2 years before coming to Blackwell.  Prior to pursuing her passion in Speech and Language Pathology, Janine had many jobs, including many years in banking, owning 2 restaurants and 2 children’s clothing stores.

The links on this blog contain resources such as articles, helpful websites and apps, and links to practice materials.  We will add new resources periodically, so if you have a specific interest or need, please let us know.

We are both very excited to be working together to serve your students! Please feel free to contact us via email anytime.  We are always happy to address questions and concerns by email, phone or a meeting, and we’re looking forward to a fantastic school year!

Laurie Wheeler     laura.wheeler@cobbk12.org

Janine Lock           janine.lock@cobbk12.org



Welcome Back!

Welcome back, Blackwell Speech and Language families!

Laurie Wheeler and Jamie Hutchinson will be the Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) serving students with communication needs in kindergarten through fifth grade again this year. We are excited to see your students and support them in improving their speech, language, and communication skills! Feel free to take a look around the blog to learn more about your SLPs and find resources to practice communication skills at home.

If you ever have any questions or concerns, you can reach us by email:



We are looking forward to a great school year with your students!

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month!

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) celebrates Better Hearing and Speech Month every May! Communication is the key to connection — take a minute to check out these interesting facts about communication disorders highlighted this month, including noise-induced hearing loss and Autism.