Tag Archives: Communication

Activity Inspiration: Backpack, Backpack

31 Aug

I like to use the simple “Backpack” theme song from Dora the Explorer during the first few weeks of school, which many kids already know and LOVE to sing along with. It has some great /b, p, k/ sounds, plus early pronouns in the lyrics like /me, my, I, you/ for kiddos practicing speech and communication goals. This activity is also helpful for students working on labeling or requisite learning skills such as independently packing and unpacking their backpacks. If possible, we use our actual backpacks and label the items inside as we take them out or put them away.

For music therapists on the go, here’s a simple backpack visual you can download for free…so all you need to do is laminate and add Velcro. We sing the backpack chorus, then make a drumroll on our legs (or a drum) while saying, “Let’s see what’s inside!” When the drumroll stops, encourage your student to pull out and item and label it. Bonus points if they can tell you one way they use the item during their school day!

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Candy Cane, Candy Cane

22 Dec

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 5.54.33 PMMerry Christmas week!  Today I’m sharing a bonus song my kids have been singing all month to work on speech, engagement and attention goals. No matter what holiday you celebrate, there’s definitely one universal love shared by kids everywhere…and that, my friends, is CANDY.

I wrote this little song and whipped up some visuals (DOWNLOAD FOR FREE!) to go along. It has lots of different speech sounds [m, k, ch, g, b, oh, l], opportunities for vocalization and room for kids to add their own sounds or favorite candy. We like to hold the candy canes while we sing, take pretend bites (key word: pretend) and rub our tummies at the end. Enjoy! And maybe treat yo’self to a candy cane at lunch today. 🙂

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4 [Super Fun] Holiday Songs for Speech Goals

16 Dec

This year, I discovered a few silly songs…that have absolutely no real lyrics. BOOM! Many of my kiddos are working on speech/communication goals, so I love that these are basically just scat sounds—great for encouraging clients to experiment with different vowel and consonant combinations. Whip up a little choice board, pull out your microphone and get ready to vocalize!

1. Minion Holiday Song (Minions)

 Who doesn’t love these little guys? You get extra cool points for showing the video. Because…MINIONS!

2. Carol of the Mehs (Glove and Boots)

This one is perfect for that bilabial “m” sound—plus, it’s awesome. We’ll also turn the recording off and sing it on a bunch of different sounds.

3. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Pentatonix)

In order to show everyone how hip you are, you have to have a Pentatonix song on your holiday playlist. This one is my favorite because it’s a good conversation starter—sometimes, we’ll listen to the instrumental recording, then this one, and compare. Also fun for movement!

4. Jingle Bells (Singing Dogs)

Don’t judge me for listening to singing dogs. SERIOUSLY. DON’T. It cracks me up (maybe a little too much), but it also makes my clients giggle—especially the animal lovers. It’s really fun to try singing Jingle Bells with other animal sounds, too.

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3 Resources I’m Loving: iPad Apps

25 Jul

In my summer blog series, 3 Resources I’m Loving, I’m sharing my favorite 3 resources at the moment for different purposes! Check out my last post about Music & Relaxation.

One of the most important tools I carry around with me as a traveling music therapist is my iPad. I use it for a variety of purposes: documentation, scheduling, recording, pulling up youtube videos, fun apps for clients to earn…you name it, and I probably use my iPad for it! Below are three apps I’ve been using a lot this summer to work on goals ranging from communication and choice making to social skills and following directions.

photo (1) 1. Bla Bla Bla. Price: FREE!

This app is TOTALLY AWESOME for communication goals! Bla Bla Bla is a sound reactive app that uses the microphone on your iPad to control images on screen. Users can select a fun face from the menu, which will begin move as they vocalize. If it’s a soft sound, the face will move a little bit, but it really goes bonkers as you get louder. It’s fun demonstrating for clients and watching as they realize that the only way to move the face on screen is to vocalize. I’ve seen kiddos shake it, touch it, etc…but it’s really exciting when they start to make the connection and begin to use their voice.

photo (4)2. Beamz. Price: FREE!

This app is for all your cool kids and teens who dream about becoming a DJ. *Insert Dubstep Music Here*. The Beamz library contains tons of songs in different genres (anything from HipHop to Bluegrass) with corresponding sound effects that can be played simply by swiping purple lines on the screen. No matter what sound you hit, it’s guaranteed to sound great and go with the music. You can even record your song and listen back to it! I’ve used this app for social skills (turn taking, following directions, imitation), communication and emotional expression.

photo (3)3. Real Guitar. Price: $0.99 (WORTH IT)

I loooove using this app in sessions because it’s appropriate for all ages, has a high-quality sound and is really easy to use. Real Guitar allows you to select desired chords, put them in whatever order you want and pick a strumming or fingerpicking pattern. Clients can play along with you (or you can follow their lead) or you could even play along with preferred recorded music. This is awesome for clients working on fine motor skills—I have them point their index finger and practice strumming on both the iPad and my actual guitar.

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