Red head pic

Red Hat

Title: Red Hat

Author: Lita Judge

Description:  Similar to Lita Judge’s winter story, Red Sled (see review here) a little girl leaves her red hat outside on the clothes line, and many forest animals decide to borrow it for some fun. However, when they return the hat…it isn’t the same.

Goals/ objectives:

  • Early narrative (simple sequence story)
  • Perspective taking
  • Early prediction
  • Emotion/Facial Expression/Body language
  • Vocabulary (forest animals: rabbits, raccoons, bears, porcupine, etc.)
  • Social Pragmatics and Problem Solving
  • Speech Production

Why I like this story: A nice sequel to the Red Sled story, with wonderful illustrations as a mainly “wordless” book.

Ideas for use:

  • Have children be the “teacher” and read it to you. Encourage temporal markers (first, next, then) and expanding on their language. Would be great to incorporate with early learning of story grammar elements (character, settings, initiating event, etc.) and pair with “Braidy” from Mindwingconcepts.
  • A great story to “act out” in a group. Practice the “set up” of the play: assigning roles for the different animals, choosing objects to represent the house, the clothes line, the hat, the forest.
  • Use thinking and speaking bubbles and have kids fill them in. What are the animals and the little girl thinking, saying, etc.
  • A nice story to discuss simple problem solving. What did the girl do when she saw her hat ruined? Could be a nice discussion for staying “calm” when a problem arises, and working together as a team to fix the problem (as she and the animals knit the hat back together).
  • Mainly a wordless book, but lots of opportunity for speech production. For example, I have been using for syllable sequencing kiddos, and making up different sounds the animals make (appropriate for their targets) as they “steal” the hat and play within the forest (i.e. wooogoooo, gaaaaaadeeeee, moooooowaaaa, etc.). You could do this with straight articulation targets too.
  • The illustrations are great for working on simple prediction. What animal will be next? What will happen next?
  • Work on similarities and differenced between the Red Sled and the Red Hat. What is the same? (concept, some animals, same main character, etc.) What’s different (different season, different animals, borrow and use vs. take and destroyed)
  • I myself am not particularly crafty…however it seems a construction paper hat with red yarn and a pom pom could be a nice pairing with this story:) Could incorporate temporal markers throughout the steps, and direction following during the process.

Submitted by Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Me and My Dragon Scared of Halloween

Title: Me and My Dragon: Scared of Halloween

Author and Illustrator:  David Biedrzycki

Age:  preschool, early elementary

Description:  A boy tried to help his pet dragon to not be afraid of Halloween.


  • Perspective taking
  • Body language
  • Early prediction and inferencing
  • Trying new experiences
  • Narrative language
  • Pretend play
  • Trickery
  • Social skills
  • Halloween vocabulary

Why I like this book:  The illustrations are incredible and keep kids engaged. An adorable story with a nice sequence of events for kids to retell and/or act out. There is also an Elvis reference, which I find awesome…I mean why not? :)

Ideas for use:  

  • A great story for labeling emotions and what characters could be thinking. Create a “thinking” bubble and hold over different characters heads to discuss. Point out and act out body language. Pair that with the character facial expression and discuss the context. There are great examples of “trickery” too- the dragon eventually dressed up as a dragon, but adults and kids think it’s a kid dressed as a dragon. A great opportunity for what do people “think” versus what is really happening.

Screenshot 2014-10-07 14.06.42

  • Encourage “detective eyes” to look for “clues” to help kids make inferences and predictions throughout the story. You can use the “remember” + “know” = “guess” framework for inferencing. For example in the first scene help students REMEMBER (see the clues) of the burned cake, small fire, burned clothing, soot on faces, holding fire extinguisher). What do they KNOW about dragons and fire? (they breathe fire, extinguishers are used to put out fires, etc.), helps us GUESS that the dragon accidentally burned down the cake and presents with his fiery breath!
  • Have students act out the story. Someone can be a dragon, the boy in the story and the various other characters (parents, other kids, etc.). Make a visual plan with the sequence to keep kids on task.
  • There are many opportunities for social skill discussions. A concept we work on constantly is “friends don’t make other friends wait.” The dragon has a tough time selecting his candy while trick or treating. The children in line are visibly frustrated. A good opportunity for discussion.
  • Pair with the Zones of Regulation for different emotions are how our body feels. Lots of opportunity for discussion around regulation. The Dragon obviously is “scared” and even “terrified” which can be at different “zones” in this program. Discuss the differences and what tools could help.

Z of R

Screenshot 2014-10-07 14.04.08

  • There are lots of examples of halloween vocabulary including werewolves, zombies, frankenstein, mummies, costumes, etc.
  • There is lots of “subtle” humor throughout the story that can be pointed out if language skills allow for it.

Submitted by:  Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Me and My Dragon

Title:  Me and My Dragon

Author and Illustrator:  David Biedrzycki

Age:  preschool, early elementary

Description:  A boy describes all the things he could do with a dragon and how he would take care of this new and unusual pet.


  • Perspective taking
  • Body language
  • Early prediction
  • Trying new experiences
  • Managing the unexpected
  • Pretend play
  • Trickery

Why I like this book:  Incredible illustrations practically come alive!  Characters on each page, including the dragon, show a wide range of emotions such as happiness, confusion, fear, remorse, concern, curiosity, sneakiness, and surprise.

Ideas for use:  

  • Before reading the book, discuss what kind of unusual pets kids would like and what they would do with them
  • Read the book to tap into the children’s imagination, then talk again about unusual pets and see if they can come up with different suggestions
  • Before turning the page, ask the kids to predict what will happen next
  • Discuss how each child, adult, or dragon is feeling by noting facial expressions and body language.  Have the kids act out different characters while the others guess which character they are mimicking
  • Help preschoolers with regulation and deep breathing by taking deep breaths and blowing when they see the dragon breathe fire
  • Have kids practice impulse control by holding bubble blowers and only blowing when they see the dragon breathe fire
  • Play open-ended dragon games.  Have the kids make up new ways to play with or take care of a pet dragon
  • Create a dragon with craft materials as a group project

Submitted by:  Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L

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arnosky turkey

I’m a Turkey

Title: I’m A Turkey!

Author: Jim Arnosky

Description:  The life of a turkey from his own perspective.


-phonological awareness skills (rhyming)

-why questions (i.e. ups and downs of being a turkey, why must they be careful, etc.)

-Discussion around body language (i.e. discuss how they communicate “without words”)

-perspective taking

Why I like this book: It’s a fun holiday story.

Ideas for use:

-Have children fill in the rhyming words, or generate other words that would rhyme.

-After reading do a game of charades. The story talks about how in a “group” they often “communicate without words”- expand on this. Could act out thanksgiving theme ideas as well (e.g. turkey, dinner, setting table, cooking, etc.)

-Have children make their own thanksgiving poems.

-for older students, discuss the turkey’s perspective vs. the hunter, vs. the farmer, etc.

-For causals have children fill in “why” turkeys have to be careful…because….

Submitted by: Meghan G.Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Being Frank

Title:  Being Frank

Author:  Donna W Earnhardt

Illustrator:  Andrea Castellani

Description:   Frank learns that “being honest” can be tricky business.  A wise grandpa suggests that “more sugar and less pepper” is often the best way to go…


    • Social skills, especially being honest yet kind
    • Emotions
    • Body Language
    • Perspective Taking
    • Inferencing/Predicting
    • Narrative Language

Why I Like This Book:   This book provides a fun and engaging way to discuss a nuanced topic.  I really appreciate the catch phrase, “more sugar less pepper” that is introduced in this book.  Also, the illustrations are fantastic!

Ideas for Use:   

  •  This is a great book to introduce the topic of being honest and kind to kids who may have difficulty with this concept.  There are several scenarios presented which offer opportunities to discuss how the other person might feel and to brainstorm another approach.  The introduction of the catch phrase, “more sugar less pepper” then provides a way for kids to apply this same approach to new situations.
  • In a group setting, this book is wonderful for acting out.  Kids can work on body language and facial expression to relate their emotions, both when their feelings are hurt and then later when they feel validated.
  • This is also a great book for discussing Social Behavior Mapping (Garcia-Winner).  Frank certainly feels much happier when his friends are happy with him because he treated them more kindly..
  • Once kids have the experience of acting out the book and they are familiar with “more sugar less pepper,” have two kids at a time act out a brief scenario.  Include the other kids by having them give a thumbs up if the child is honest and kind and if not, have the audience say, “more sugar less pepper.”
  • This book is also great to use to work on figurative language.  The idea of “more sugar less pepper” can be explored both literally and figuratively.  Then additional idioms can be explored by generating brief scenarios that would incorporate both the literal and figurative meanings.
  • The scenarios in this book are also good for inferencing and predicting.
  • The narrative structure and story retell can be made more fun by using the Story Grammar Marker App from MindwingConcepts.  This app gives kids the chance to be a newscaster and to tell the exciting story of Being Frank.  Kids can even record their “newscast” and share with others over email!

Submitted by:  Karen S Head, MS, CCC-SLP

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Ellen DeGeneres’ App is Great for Social Skills and Language

Ellen Degeneres makes me happy. I’m pretty sure she makes everyone happy. Usually she entertains me at night after work when I watch her show that I DVR. But lately, I’ve been getting to enjoy her during the work day. She created an app called Heads Up that is a speech pathologist’s dream. It’s a lot like the popular traditional speech and language game Headbanz…but it’s on the iPhone/iPad which gives it lots of awesome features. Basically you place the phone, screen facing out, on your forehead. Whoever you are playing with then must describe the given word that is on the screen. If you guess correctly you quickly move the phone forward and back up to your head and a new word appears. If you need to pass because you don’t have a good guess, you move the phone backwards over your head. This is a great feature for many of my students.

There are various categories you can choose from for description, from animals to food. There is a new “kids” deck as well which is obviously filled with kid friendly words (including characters like Runaway Ralph and Zac Efron). The best part about the game is the video recording feature. While you are describing a word…the phone/ipad is recording you. You can watch the video after which is great for a good laugh, as well as an opportunity for some discussion around the child’s performance. (Ellen, can you provide a “pause” button for the video? That would be great for us therapists to breakdown the performance for some teachable moments!). 

I’ve used it with a number of kids for lots of different goals and objectives.

Here are some ideas:

Use in a social group.

  • Great for working together as a team. How many words can you describe and get your team to guess together?
  • It’s a game you CAN’T play alone (like our Bag Game App). Get kids interacting and laughing.
  • Great for body language. Make it more challenging by requiring no words – just body language to describe. This is awesome to watch back and point out on the recorded video. Can kids change their bodies if their friends aren’t getting it? Can they problem solve and think flexibly?
  • Great opportunity for perspective taking from positioning the iPhone/iPad so others can read it, to thinking about saliency (what’s the most important thing) for others to know about something to help them guess
  • Have kids watch the video and give feedback to their friends. Can they give a compliment for what was helpful and/or creative that helped them guess it correctly? What could they have done differently? Can they provide this feedback with appropriate tone of voice and word choices?

Use for individual therapy.

  • Use for description. Pair with the  EET and encourage thorough description. Discuss the importance of starting with the most important/salient information. Especially since this is a timed game
  • Use for generalization of speech production work. Can students use their targeted speech sounds under pressure? At the sentence and discourse levels?
  • Use as a “reward” for completing challenging work within a session. A great language based game to play for fun!

Thanks Ellen for finding another way to make us all happy, even while at work:) 

By Meghan G Graham, MS, CCC-SLP


Your Uniquely Quirky Child at Camp

Today, we are blogging over at  This is the 4th in a series of blog posts about children, temperament and summer camp.

Your child loves computers, video games, or anything mechanical.  He or she would love to stay in the house and play on the iPad or computer all day every day.  It is unnerving and a little (or maybe a lot) scary to see how absorbed your child becomes in these devices.  You plot and plan how to get him or her outside or engaged in physical activity during the school year.  How will you manage a whole summer????  I know…sign him or her up for camp; a nice out door camp with lots of kids who like to swim, do crafts, play sports, and essentially, like being with other kids.  What a great idea!  But then half way through the first week your child says he won’t go back to camp.  Nothing there is interesting.  The other kids are annoying.  Now what?  Of course, this may be an extreme example of what some uniquely quirky kids and families go through (or maybe not) but here are a few tips to help you and your child get through the camp experience.

Photo by: Tim Pierce

Read more here


Your Cautious Child at Camp

Today, we are blogging over at  This is the 2nd in a series of blog posts about children, temperament and summer camp.

The cautious, sensitive, maybe shy and serious temperament can be one of the toughest to manage during these raucous camp days.  Parents want their child to have lots of friends, fun in the sun and go wild at camp but these kids may have another idea or other needs.

Read more here.

Photo by:  jenny818

I am invited to a party

I am Invited to a Party

Title: I Am Invited to a Party!

Author: Mo Willems

Age: Early Elementary/Elementary

Description: Piggie is invited to a party! He asks Elephant for some help because Elephant…he knows parties.


  • Social skills
  • Emotions
  • Body Language
  • Perspective Taking
  • Inferencing/Predicting
  • Narrative Language
  • Written Language

Why I Like This Book: There isn’t an Elephant and Piggie book that kids don’t love, and they all help me to address a number of goals.

Ideas for Use:

• A great story to address reading emotions and body language. The characters are very expressive. Have students identify emotions, act out, etc. Pair with other emotions apps for further understanding and work on emotions such as: ABA Emotions App, Emotionary App, Feel Electric App

  • Have students act out the story. Can they replicate the emotions with their face and body? Video record and have kids self-reflect. Did their bodies and voices match? This is great for a collaborative activity too. Can they work together to act out the story? Negotiate? Plan?
  • Add/cover up thinking/speaking bubbles within the story. Have students generate what characters are thinking and speaking
  • There are lots of opportunities for predicting what might happen next as Piggie and Elephant get ready for various types of parties. What will they need and wear for a pool party? For a fancy party? etc.
  • Good context to discuss party “etiquette.” Pair with Social Behavior Mapping from Social Thinking© What is expected at a party? What is unexpected? Role play situations in individual or group sessions if necessary (i.e. greetings at a party, giving and receiving gifts, playing winning/losing games, etc.).
  • A great story for character descriptions to develop narrative and social skills. Pair with Mindwing Concepts products. Here’s a great post by Sean Sweeney discussing these character descriptions.
  • Working on written language or hand writing? Use this opportunity to have student write invitations to others for a party. There are lots of apps that would provide a context for generating an invitation as well.
  • There is an example of some figurative language as well….a “pun” “We will make a splash” (with attire for the pool party). Good for discussion of this humor as well.

Submitted by: Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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Thank you!

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summer camp

Respecting Your Child’s Temperament at Summer Camp



Today we are blogging over at  Please take a moment to read this first in a series of blog posts about kids, their temperament and summer camp.

Every spring parents ask us about summer camps that would be appropriate for their sons or daughters; camps that embrace neurodiversity.   And every year I tell myself I’m going to search the area for the best camps so I have a great resource list.  But each year I can’t seem to get my act together and regret that I wasn’t able to provide that valuable camp list to parents.

Click here to read more…

Jill Perry MHA M.S. OTR/L