Hi friends!

We are already half way into January and school is back in full force.  Two nine weeks to go until SUMMER!

My friend, Whitney, over at Let's Talk with Whitney SLP has inspired me to follow her blog post about 12 Books in 12 Months: A Year of Books for Moms & Teacher-preneurs .  I love to read and I'll be honest -- I have purchased more books than I am able to read in a year.  BUT - I love setting goals too, so I have picked out some books that will fit with my word of the year this year to share with you.

I have become a huge advocate of self-care.  One of my self-care activities is reading.  Oh, how I love to hygge up and read! Some of my choices are spiritual, some fiction, some parenting, some inspirational.  I tried to mix it up a bit.  These don't include my teacher-preneur book picks -- look for those in the next post! All of these (and their affiliate links) are listed below for you!

January: The Invisible War by Chip Ingram
February: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
March: Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup
April: Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris
May: Endangered Minds by Jane M. Healy
June: Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace by Dave Burchett
July: 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney
August: Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber
September: Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
October: The Entitlement Trap by Richard & Linda Eyre
November: The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
December: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

If I can get through all of these in their respective months, I will have made a big dent in my TO READ list! And while I love reading, we all know that life has a tendency to get in the way and snatch our self-care time.  If I sit down to read, I often fall asleep, especially if I am trying to read before bed.  So, I will be keeping the book of the month in my tote, school bag, car, wherever I go so that I will always have my reading material when I'm waiting at dance, the dentist, the doctor, or in line somewhere.  I also have a subscription to Audible, which is helpful for audiobooks while I am driving.  I have really enjoyed that lately, especially on car trips because I can't read in the car (motion sick!!!).

Do you have books that are always in your reading rotation? These are my well worn, tried and true favorites.  Also pictured are the devotionals that I will be exploring with my daughters and my study Bible.

For my eight-year-old daughter:
Jesus Today Devotions for Kids by Sarah Young
Brave Girls 365-Day Devotional
For my eleven-year-old daughter:
10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know by Kari Kampakis 
The One Year Be-Tween You and God: Devotions for Girls (One Year Book) by Sandra Byrd

My deep, hardcore study Bible (I would love to share about this with you):
Chronological Life Application Study Bible

My tried and true favs that are in constant rotation:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Like Whitney, I will be reviewing each one in my Instastories (saved to highlights) -- do you follow me on Insta? That's where I share -- not so much on Facebook.  Follow me at @potionswithkaren -- I'm really looking forward to sharing there this year. Also, are you signed up on Goodreads? Follow me over there for book reviews and to see my reading lists!

What are you reading with us? Let's use the hashtag #slpbooksmart this year for connecting with each other!

Hey everyone!

School and therapy are in full swing in Alabama.  It's still 800 degrees outside, but it's "Fall" in my mind! I can't wait for pumpkin everything and cooler weather.

After taking a long break, we are ready to begin creating and blogging again.  I have created a google form that I would LOVE for you to take just a minute to fill out.  This will give me some great info about what YOU need and want to hear about.  Also, you will get an exclusive FREEBIE for completing it!

Time to hustle!


Have you ever asked yourself, "What makes me a GREAT SLP?".  I have! I want to connect with my students, their parents, and their teachers on a level that makes a difference in that child's life.   So, how can I do that exactly?  Is there some kind of magic potion? 😉 I don't know the answer to that, but as I have been thinking about this, a few thoughts have come to mind.

First, when working with children, often the initial rapport you establish is essential to your therapy program.  I like to start therapy out with the absolute most awesome activities I have.  The younger the child, the more interactive and engaging the activity.  The child typically focuses on the activity as the whole point to being there, but we all know that the activity is just the portal to the goal.

Second, one way I have tried to increase engagement with children and their families is to send home a preference survey.  This little letter typically includes a little intro about myself and an explanation about what I am looking for on the survey.  Mostly, it's just the children's preferences for activities (coloring, art, painting, swinging, etc), food (include any allergies), and what motivates them.  I love getting these back and gearing therapy toward preferred activities and topics.

The third thought was definitely the most reflective one.  I feel like a therapist who treats a child as more than their disability and instills lessons in the children that extend beyond speech therapy is invaluable.  Additionally, an SLP who can provide comfort to a parent and provide them with a positive outlook for their child when the positive outlook is hard to find is a person that I want to learn from.  This is where I want to be! I don't have any experience with counseling, so I would love to hear from those of you out there who do have experience in this area in working with parents.

So, let me hear from you.  I would really love it!

My first post in the Auditory Verbal Strategies series is about Acoustic Highlighting.  In basic terms, acoustic highlighting is giving auditory emphasis to a certain acoustic characteristic of a message.  As a child learns to listen, the goal is to progress towards a more normal, less highlighted mode of communication.

Some examples include*:

MORE AUDIBLE                                              LESS AUDIBLE
(for a beginning child)                                        (for a child who is listening well)

No background noise                                          Increased background noise
6" from hearing aid or CI                                   Increased distance from hearing aid or CI
Simpler language with shorter phrases               Complex sentences
Vowel variation, rhythm and syllable                 Less varied acoustic contrast (minimal pairs, similar
    contrast                                                                        rhythm)
Emphasis on key words                                       No emphasis on key words
Emphasis on words not accentuated                   No emphasis
 (prepositions, articles, verb tenses, pronouns)
Word position (key word) in sentence - end        Middle, beginning
Closed set (choices, context known)                    Open set (no choices, context unknown)
Slightly slower rate                                              Normal rate
Increased pitch variation and rhythm                   Normal rhythm
    (sing what you say)
Clearer enunciation (use of "clear" speech)        Less clear and/or unfamiliar voice
Increased repetition                                             No repetition

*Based on Judith I. Smiser

Having reached the goal of less highlighting, remember that there are noisy environments where acoustic highlighting might continue to be necessary.  This is the same as those with normal hearing.

Another form of acoustic highlighting is Motherese/Parentese.   This is speech that is used by parents/caregivers when talking with young children/babies to help make speech more audible to them.  Cutesy speech! Most people do this instinctively with babies.  It is important to remember that children who are recently aided need to hear this type of speech just the same as babies who are just learning to listen do.

So, now that we know what Auditory-Verbal is, we should talk about some of the principles behind this method of therapy.  Listening for Life has a great article summarizing this, and I will be using some of their references here.

The philosophy of Auditory-Verbal Therapy (AVT) is for deaf and hard of hearing children to grow up in a regular learning environment, enabling them to become independent, participating, and contributing citizens in the mainstream society. (Stith)

What I have noticed is the main difference between traditional speech therapy and AVT is that AVT is  a parent-centered approach.  The parents are directly involved and essential to the maximum progress with this therapy approach.  AVT incorporates hearing (access to sound), listening goals, expressive and receptive language goals, articulation goals, cognitive goals, and social goals.  All of which are taught to the parent to duplicate outside of the therapy room.

Some of the principles listed on Listening for Life are:

  • "Detect hearing impairment as early as possible through screening programs, ideally in the newborn nursery and throughout childhood
  • Pursue prompt and aggressive audiological management and maintenance of appropriate aids (hearing aids, cochlear implants, etc.)
  • Guide, counsel, and support parents and caregivers as the primary models for spoken language development and to help them understand the impact of deafness and hearing impairment on the entire family.
  • Help children integrate listening into their development of communication and social skills.
  • Help children monitory their own voices and the voices of others in order to enhance the intelligibility of their own speech.
  • Use the developmental patterns of listening, language, speech, and cognition to stimulate natural communication.
  • Continuously assess and evaluate children's development and, through diagnostic intervention, modify the program when needed.
  • Provide support services to facilitate children's educational and social inclusion in regular education classes."
- From the Auditory Verbal Position Statement

I truly find this approach to therapy fascinating and rewarding.  There is so much to learn! I will forever be learning how to help my little listeners.  I should take a moment to say that I am also interesting in learning how to improve auditory skills in children who sign.  While I am a true listening and spoken language advocate, I do recognize the very personal decision made by our parents to choose the path that is best for their own child.  I want to support the children and families in whatever they choose and provide the best possible therapy I can.   ASHA had a very interesting article in the Leader this past month regarding supporting auditory skills in children who sign.  Look for a review of that article in a future post!

Now that I've covered what AVT is and some (SOME) of the principles, next will be some techniques you can implement into your everyday therapy for children who are hearing impaired.

Also, what topics would you like to see discussed here? I'm open!  In the meantime, here are some terms that you can become familiar with on our journey.  Once again, these are all on the Listening for Life website.

  • "Learning to Listen Sounds- The list of sounds that are used to represent objects. For instance, "aaah" represents an airplane and "moo" represents a cow. They are used with the beginning listener.
  • Ling 6 Sound Test- A test of listening that is done periodically throughout the day where the child which requires the child to respond to 6 sounds (ah, oo, ee, sh, s, and m) presented auditorally. The child completes an action or imitates the sound when heard. These sounds represent the sounds across the frequency range for speech.
  • Modeling- The verbal-visual demonstration of what you want the child to do, especially for imitation purposes. For instance, if you wanted the child to drop a block in a box upon hearing a sound, you the parent would model this for the child.
  • Suprasegmentals- The way in which we use vocal qualities such as stress, duration, pitch, and volume, to relay the meaning being said. Intonation. It is with these intonation/suprasegmental changes in our speech that we are able to make a question or a statement with the same words, ( i.e. You're going to the beach? Or You're going to the beach.)
  • Critical Elements- The parts of a message that contain the critical information in regard to comprehension of the message (i.e. Pick up the blue circle after the red square. This sequence has 5 critical elements)
  • Residual Hearing- The amount of hearing an individual has at various frequencies without his/her hearing aid/cochlear implant.
  • Hearing Age- The length of time the child has been receiving auditory input. (i.e. a 3 year old child who was born deaf, and received her cochlear implant at 2 years of age, as a hearing age of 1 year.)
  • Motherese - Speech used by parents/caregivers in talking with young children to help them in learning language.
  • Acoustic Highlighting- Techniques that can be used to make speech easier to hear.
  • The Hand Cue- is covering of the mouth (by hands, a toy, book, picture, etc.) during speaking when the child is looking directly at the face of the speaker."

In my own words, Auditory-Verbal Therapy is a technique used by SLPs, Audiologists, and Deaf Educators to encourage children who are hearing impaired to use listening and spoken language as their primary means of communication.

Why do we need it? 95% of children born deaf/HH have hearing parents who DO NOT know sign language.  Of these, only 2% of parents learn sign language well enough to communicate beyond a basic level.  Children enter school with a HUGE gap between their chronological age and their language age.  They start out from the beginning trying to learn to read a language they do not know well. (Beth Walker 2010)

What is the solution? It is always the parent's choice as to which pathway they want for their child - spoken language, total communication, combination.  With early identification and new hearing technology, there can absolutely be growth in the auditory portions of the brain even for children who are profoundly deaf.    However, there is no "quick fix".  Technological and medical devices only give children access to hearing - USE of this hearing depends on the therapy that they receive once they have been given this hearing potential. (Beth Walker 2010)

This therapy is extremely interesting to me and something I have worked to learn as much as possible about.  In my next post, we will explore Auditory-Verbal Principles.

Post any questions in the comments!

Hello and welcome to Speech Potion No. 8!

A little intro - my name is Karen and I am a Speech-Language Pathologist of 16 years.  I have been working with children for the past 14 years.  Starting in 2009, I began coursework in Auditory-Verbal Therapy for children with hearing loss.  Since that time, I have accrued over 200 hours of training.  I love working with children and specializing in working with children with hearing loss.

For those of you who followed me over at The Speech Umbrella, the reason I switched to this blog is because I do have a specialty area and wanted to make that a primary area of focus.  Also, I have noticed that not a lot of materials exist specifically for hearing impaired services.  Or, there are great language resources, but many SLPs don't understand how to implement them for hearing impaired students.  This is where I hope to help!  So, please, if you ever have ANY questions regarding services, goals, therapy techniques, materials, or anything at all, I would love to share what I have learned!

Speaking of materials, I am hoping to create some great resources for hearing impaired speech therapy!  I will continue to have my best sellers for other speech/language areas in my TpT store.  My new materials will focus on listening skills, sound awareness, speech babble, assessment, vocabulary, auditory-verbal strategies, combination sign language/spoken language materials, and lesson planning.

I began this blog to educate, bring awareness, and provide resources for SLPs, teachers, parents, and anyone who wants to help children with hearing loss learn to listen and speak! I chose the name of my blog as a take off of the song "Love Potion No. 9" - the No. 8 represents the 8th cranial nerve, which is the auditory nerve.

I hope you will check out the links in the top left corner and follow me on social media and Teachers Pay Teachers.

Thanks for joining me!!
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