Learning and Sharing

Fun February!



Today, I am sharing some things that I love.  Some are old and some are new but they are all good!




When I am tutoring clients in reading, I rely so much on my training and experience as a speech/language pathologist.  This game has been used and loved for many, many years.

  • Targets

Auditory Discrimination (minimal pairs, word parts, sounds in words)
Auditory Memory (numbers, words, sentences, facts / details in a paragraph)
Auditory Integration (interpretation of directions, listening for key words, following multi-level commands)


This works!

071d713c4cc13629773539a608ea433a  is a fabulous resource for interactive books and ideas.  I used Where is the Heart? this month.  The packet includes a storybook, interactive comprehension activity and a sequencing activity.  Love it!   It does require time and effort to make, so plan ahead!


Gravity Maze is a wonderful incentive for my clients who are working on executive functioning skills.  It is worth working through the “not so fun stuff” to get to this.



Happy Valentine’s Day to You!





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Starting the New Year with Some New Games that Promote Executive Skills



Games of strategy allow us to work on strengthening and teaching executive function skills in a FUN way.  Card games in which children have to track playing cards exercise working memory and promote mental flexibility in the service of planning and strategy. Games that require monitoring and fast responses are great for challenging attention and quick decision-making.

Games involving strategy provide important practice with holding complicated moves in mind, planning many moves ahead, and then adjusting plans—both in response to imagined outcomes and the moves of opponents. With practice, children can develop real skill at games of strategy, while challenging working memory and cognitive flexibility.

Just this morning I worked with a client who struggles to stick with a task and not give up, even though it becomes very challenging.  As he played Towers of HanOink!, an app for executive functioning, he wanted to start over every time that he got stuck.  I encouraged him to play through, persevere, and figure out a solution. 



Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes, while providing players with intense strategic and tactical decisions every turn.



There is only one rule in Blokus, but each player will have to plan ahead and self-monitor.



A twist on the game of Tic Tac Toe, Goblet Gobblers, requires sustained attention and often self-control.

These new (to me and my clients) games are going into rotation this week.  Your clients might find them to be fun and interesting as well.




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Chicken and Noodle Games



My Top Ten reasons why Chicken and Noodle Games are the BEST:
1.   Promotes social coordination.
2.   Allows the player to share fun, pleasurable moments with others.
3.   Provides opportunities to practice referencing another for information, reading the plans of others, impulse control and     self-regulation.
4.   Promotes cognitive and emotional processes, rather than behavior skills.
5.   Everyone playing can scream with laughter and be silly!!
6.   Assists with focus, attention, concentration, and perseverance.
7.   Enhances perceptual motor development.
8.   Fun!
9.   Fun!
10. Fun!




A big thanks to all of you who follow LunchBuddiesPlus!


I learned about Daily Word Ladders during my Orton Gillingham training.  Since then I have added the activity to the plan for each of my reading tutoring clients.  The 10 min. exercises require the client to read clues on each rung of the ladder, then change or rearrange letters to create words until they reach the top.  Clients are analyzing sound-symbol relationships, expanding their vocabulary, and building spelling skills to become better readers.  I choose the grade level workbook depending on the reading level of the client.





Zingo! Word Builder is a fun, confidence building game to get a tutoring session off to a great start.  It is just challenging enough for beginning readers and a confidence boost to more experienced readers.



Working memory is a core executive function.  We use our working memory to hold, process, and manipulate information.  It is an important process for reasoning and the guidance of  decision making and behavior.  I read that working memory is the search engine of the mind.  We use it constantly to perform efficiently and effectively in academic and social settings.  Working memory is necessary for staying focused on a task, blocking out distractions, and keeping us updated and aware of what is going on around us.

I use these exercises with my clients who are building and strengthening executive function skills (they are good for me too!).


When coaching a teenager on how to get organized and learn planning skills, it is important to choose a calendar that will interest them and keep them interested enough to use.  One of my high school aged clients is a runner.  I chose this calendar for him because it is high interest and for each month there are training tips and words of inspiration.



All of my executive skills coaching clients are doodlers!  Doodling can aid memory by expending just enough energy to keep a person focused.  We are learning together about visual note taking.



I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!

My Best,






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Music and Movement



I have always enjoyed adding movement and music to my speech/language therapy sessions.  I started with Dr. Jean many years ago and added Brain Gym  Practicing kid’s yoga poses and yoga stories prior to therapy sessions enhanced focus, self-regulation, and social interactions.






SmartMoves™ is a welcome addition to intervention/coaching/therapy/tutoring as we continue with purposeful movement to stretch our minds and bodies ( The CD’s are great but I wished for a more portable way to use music and movement with my clients as I work with them in their homes, schools, and in study rooms at the public library.  I love it when wishes come true!  I learned about the Me Moves™ app for iPad during the Integrated Listening Systems training.  I like to do a focus sequence before reading tutoring sessions.  Calming + focus sequences are appropriate for executive skills coaching sessions.  The joy sequence is good anytime!


If you haven’t added music and movement to your therapy yet, try some of these.  I think you will like the results.



PS  If you are looking for the MeMoves app in the app store, you will not find it.  Google Me Moves and open up their website.  Click on Guide and you will see instructions for downloading.





How much time do you spend planning each week?  I probably spend more than a few hours each week setting goals, organizing, planning and prioritizing for my therapy and coaching sessions and specialized reading tutoring.  The progress of my clients depends on it.  Today, I wrote reports, created rubrics, put together executive skills workbooks, and printed/laminated/cut out activities for the coming week.  These are some of the tools and activities I’ll be using:

There is always room in the multi sensory reading program for fun activities.  After all the drills, my clients enjoy these games designed to support Orton Gillingham multi sensory reading instruction.


Syllable Patterns



Short vowels

As an Executive Function Skills Coach, I find these fun, humorous sticky note pads helpful in assisting my clients with organizing, planning, prioritizing and juggling multiple tasks.



I am working with some adorable first graders.  These cool activities boost naming and rhyming skills.


Whew, that covers some of my week.  Now for the social learning plans…



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Augmenting speech/language therapy and multi-sensory reading tutoring



Hello October!  I love fall and I cannot believe it is flying by me.  Hopefully, I can get up to the mountains to see some beautiful colors later in the season.

I am always looking for ways to augment my therapy.  Yesterday, I learned about and was trained in Integrated Listening Systems.  iLs will augment the multi-sensory reading tutoring that I do as well as speech and language therapy. I think I will try it out on myself first-at 61 I can use any and all ways to improve brain function!!


Osmo Words is another tool that I use to support speech/language and reading.




My students like this wordplay game.  The language processing required to make “smart guesses” and not act on the first thought that pops into one’s head, helps with impulse control too.

If you read my last post about the props I use with students who are working on impulse control, here is something else that I found to add to my therapy sessions –


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My students identify with Hunter and his special brain.  They like the way he creates a tool to help him learn self-control skills.

Hope you find these helpful.





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Helpful Props and Visuals


A few years ago, I purchased the game Remote Control Impulse Control™ by Franklin Rubinstein, Ph.D., from The game consists of a set of four card games which use remote control symbols to teach three essential skills:

• STOP and redirect behavior.
• REWIND and learn from past mistakes.
• FAST FORWARD and think about consequences.

I really like the concept of using the remote control as a prop during therapy, coaching sessions, and reading tutoring.  The above mentioned game comes with a card stock fold and use remote (which lasts about a minute).  I had an old remote gathering dust so I grabbed it up and put it in my Toolbox.



Several of my clients who are receiving specialized reading tutoring also have ADHD.  When they come to a word that they don’t know, their tendency is to look at the first letter/sound and make a random guess.  That’s when we press “pause” on the remote control and use strategies for decoding and to make a “smart guess”.  Once my clients “get” the concept and understand just how helpful a pause is when reading, the remote can stay in the Toolbox (or setting out on the table as a visual reminder).



I print out a handful of the “Smart Guess” visual and keep them handy in my Toolbox.

Another visual that I made –



I would like to hear from you, Followers, about tools in your Toolbox.  If you find the tools that I share helpful, let me know.  Best wishes for a school year full of flexibility, progress and fun.




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What’s in your Toolbox for the new school year?




This has been a very busy, very different summer for me.  I have seen clients for speech therapy, executive function skills coaching, Orton Gillingham tutoring and in Social Thinking® skills groups, all in the name of Autastic Avenues.  When not seeing clients directly, I have been busy promoting the business.

In addition to all the above, I have been contemplating the “self” in self-regulation and the executive function of the self.  I have been going a bit deeper in my thinking about the strategies that we provide to our kiddos and more importantly how we help them to use the strategies in a time of need.  Are we really teaching our students that the self is the controlling agent and are we as teachers and therapists flexible enough to be proactive and prep them “up front” rather than react  to “putting out the fire” when the meltdown occurs?  Just thinking…

I have been collecting power tools to add to my toolbox.  Here are just a few:

Lauren Brukner is an OT who specializes in sensory integration and self-regulation strategies.  Check out her blog at and her book HOW TO BE A SUPERHERO CALLED SELF-CONTROL!  I love super powers, so introducing my young clients to Self-Control is quite fun.  His job is “getting kids to feel like super self-control experts!”.  This superhero wants to “pass the torch” so that kids can be in control and able to handle frustration, anxiety, sensory issues, anger, and strong emotions.


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I have a 4yr. old client who is very “wiggly”.  The wiggles happen when one has been sitting too long without getting to move enough.  Adults say, “Please control your body” or “Sit still”.  How?  Our superhero shows us how to Push Your Wiggles, Squeeze Your Wiggles, Squash Your Wiggles, and Cocoon.  My client enjoys trying out these super powers.  He also likes yoga.



Yoga4Classrooms® looks great for helping all students, not just those with sensory processing disorder or struggles with self-regulation.  Yoga4Classrooms® “helps children develop the self-awareness to realize how they feel and what they need; unwind and manage their emotions; guides them through movements that optimize their strength, flexibility and balance; demonstrates healthy habits and reminds them to love and forgive themselves”.  Creator, Lisa Flynn, You are singing my song!!



The card deck is full of illustrations to guide conscious breathing (my 4yr old friend likes “Flying Bird Breath”), stretches and postures that provide physical relief from sitting for long periods of time, activities that give opportunities for  kids to stretch and strengthen, loosen up activities that improve mood and dispel stress, and Imagination Vacation, which is a child friendly approach to meditation.

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Learn more at:

Check back for my next post as I continue to share the power tools that I am packing in my toolbox.










School’s Out!


Anyone else feeling exhausted?  What are some of the ways you plan to recharge?  I get a mental and emotional boost when I am near the ocean.  It is kind of like getting back to the source for me.

I recently took a giant leap of faith and resigned from my SLP job in a public school system.  My focus, going forward, will be on building my private practice known as Autastic Avenues.  This blog is very important to me, so I will continue posting and sharing ideas about how we work on social thinking skills PLUS so much more.

Stay tuned!