About Speechy Keen Speech Therapy

Tara Roehl is a private practice Speech-Language Pathologist based in the Boulder, CO area. Find out more about Tara Roehl and her private practice by clicking the button below.

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Popular Post: Angry Birds

Popular Post: Angry Birds

"Today a student brought the stuffed toys into group to show the others. One of the other boys quickly identified the characters and the two of them talked and laughed. What they failed to notice was the third group mate, who clearly had no experience with Angry Birds. A lesson was born …"
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Popular Post: Double-Lock Rule

Popular Post: Double-Lock Rule

"Making sure your client files are secure is never something to be taken lightly. No matter how small or large your practice may be, making sure they are protected also protects you..."
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Popular Post: Pinterest

Popular Post: Pinterest

"What if I told you that I had found a resource with unlimited activities, games and crafts for use in your therapy? What if I said this resource could also connect you to some of the latest research, creative SLPs like yourself and even additional resource libraries..."
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Popular Post: Diversity

Popular Post: Diversity

Diversity isn’t just ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Let's talk about neurodiversity.
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Day 5: Get Carded!

ASHA ‘14 Convention: A How-To Guide


Oh the people you’ll meet! The convention of people with the same passion as you, but all adding a different flavor to the mixing bowl. You’ll meet students, CFs, brand new SLPs and those who’ve been around the block a few times. You’ll meet the famous and the unknown, the one’s at the top and the ones who are on their way up! The long of the short?


The best way to make connections with people is to exchange a business card. The age-old “card swap” is still in full swing. So go get yourself a business card today! If you work for someone else (a school, hospital, etc), I’d highly encourage you to get a business card for YOU as well as carrying your employer’s card. Your personal ones doesn’t need to have a business name on it – just a professional looking e-mail address, your number, name and credentials. This will help you network as yourself and as your employer as the situation dictates.

You don’t have to spend a pretty penny on cards, you can actually get a lot for free. But you need to get that order in soon! You’ll end up paying a ton to “rush” if you wait too long. Be sure to google the company name + “coupon” and take advantage of some deals out there.

Some fun places to get cards:

  • Moo Cards: The quality of paper on these cards is amazing, the options are outstanding and you can even change up the shape! I personally love the minis, but may be trying square next! They cost a bit more, but they definitely have a wow factor.
  • VistaPrint: The range of pricing options make this a very affordable option! And the coupons available out there mean you could get a whole batch for just the cost of shipping!
  • Zazzle: Another site adding some pizzazz to the everyday business card. Rounded edge, minis… they are adding options to add some fun to your pockets!

Where are you getting your cards from for convention?

– Tara, the Speechy Keen SLP

Day 4: Additional Accessories

ASHA ‘14 Convention: A How-To Guide


I’m all about making my life easier at convention. I want to get the most out of each day, so any sort of hassle takes away from the experience. I take all my notes digitally, as well as live tweet every session I attend. Up until last year, I had a phone with a keyboard and could out tweet anyone. Well, the era of the keyboard phones has passed, so I upgraded to an S4. I was in total panic about trying to tweet from a touchscreen. I started looking at ways to minimize this problem, and fell in love with this beauty…


Why I love it:

  • This Anker keyboard connects via bluetooth, so I can type to my phone or my tablet device.
  • The battery life is amazing, I bet it could last me the whole weekend of convention if I forgot to charge it!
  • They keys have a little resistance, so you get the tactile feedback when pressing a key.
  • The keys are higher than the edge of the keyboard (not so with many iPad keyboards) – so my hands can hangover when moving back and forth across the keys.
  • It’s super thin – so it takes up almost NO space in my convention bag!
  • It charges via micro USB – same as my Android phone, battery pack… no extra cords!
  • It costs $30… wow!


I also like to add this beauty to my Amazon order…


If I’m lucky enough to have a surface to prop up my device, it is rarely big enough for my iPad’s case stand. This tiny gem let’s me set it to any angle, prop up my tablet or device and then type away without it falling. I’ve even propped it on a seat next to me or on the floor, with my keyboard on my lap! It’s great for on the flight to convention, during sessions, at lunch or breaks when I can find a seat… I use this ALL the time. It is even great on the kitchen counter when I need to read a recipe or watch a show on Netflix while doing the dishes!

Neither of these are as critical as your battery pack and power strip purchase. But they will make your life so much easier during convention – and afterwards as well!

– Tara, the Speechy Keen SLP

Day 3: Don’t Die! (or: How to make friends and stay charged!)

ASHA ‘14 Convention: A How-To Guide

Don't Die! | Part of the ASHA '14 Convention: A How-To Guide! Something else you may want to order for the convention - it's sure to make you friends and keep your devices powered up!


Yesterday you read about the battery chargers us techie ASHA alumni have come to love. But today I have an additional suggestion for keeping powered up (and making a few friends!) when you do have access to an outlet!

Sometimes you hit the jackpot – a seat, in a great session, right next to an outlet! Even if you have your charger on you, don’t miss this opportunity! Plug in your battery charger and a few devices to make sure you stay charged through the night!

But wait… you are about the break a few social rules if you take over that whole outlet. Or, heaven forbid, someone has beat you to both outlets! Now what?

This is where the Monster “Outlets to Go” Power Strip comes in handy! It is compact, so it stashes into your convention bag easily. And it has FOUR outlets (two on each side). And Amazon sells it for only $11.12!



So saunter up to the outlet hogger, flash a winning smile and sweetly ask “can we share?” while you show them your power strip. Instant genius status!

And it doesn’t just help on the convention floor! Have you ever tried to dig around in a hotel room to find enough outlets, only to end up with half of your devices charging in the bathroom? This will be a hotel life-saver as well!

But wait! Don’t order YET! I still have a few more things you’ll want to include on that order… come back tomorrow to see!

– Tara, the Speechy Keen SLP

Day 2: POWER UP!

ASHA ‘14 Convention: A How-To Guide

Power Up! | Part of the "ASHA 14 Convention: A How-To Guide" Series! Here is a surefire way to keep all of your devices alive and kicking throughout the long days (and nights) at the convention! #asha14 #slpeeps

**This is a repost from the past few years, with a few updates! **

Power can be hard to come by in a convention center. Not every room will have an outlet along the wall. And even if it does, there is not promise you’ll get a seat nearby. But your devices will be your lifeline at the convention! Contests sent out via twitter will win you free things. Lunch and dinner plans will also be sent out via twitter, facebook or text. Taking notes on a device will be great, as well as snapping pictures of important information! So, what do you do when it’s only noon and all of your devices are already dying? Pull out your battery pack!

Three years ago, before ASHA ‘11, I posted a quick video about why I love the iGo for days when I need my devices to last all day. I used my iGo for ASHA ’11, as well as for trips, long days of work and more. when I upgraded my phone, it stopped charging my devices. It could keep them from dying but the battery never increased and, once my iGo was dead, my device continues to go dead. So a few years ago I began researching what I needed in a battery. I found two key elements I needed to watch out for..

Two Key Elements:

mAh - A measure of a battery’s total capacity. The higher the number (ex. 600 mAh, 1,500 mAh) the more charge a battery can hold and usually, the longer a battery will last under a certain load.[source]

Amps - A measure of electric current flow. One ampere (amp) will flow when one volt is applied across a resistance of one ohm. [source]

As it turns out, my iGo only put out ~ half an amp through the USB ports. For newer phones, this is NOT enough to actually charge. Many of the newer phones require at least 2 amps to actually charge. Some research on the best sellers over at Amazon shows some definite leaders…


Sneak Peak:
New Trent
IMP120D iCarrier
12,000 mAh
2Amp/1Amp Dual Ports
jackery Jackery®
Giant +
12,000 mAh
2.1Amp/1Amp Dual Ports
anker Anker®
2nd Gen Astro E4
13,00 mAh
1 port: Up to 3 amps

After much consideration a few years ago,  I purchased the New Trent and LOVE it. I actually own two, and BOTH will be coming with to ASHA with me this year. Someone is always asking to borrow a charge from me, so now I’ll have more than enough to go around.

Amazon lists it’s charging power as Apple iPad >120% battery life – Apple iphone 5:> 600% battery life  – Smartphones (andriod): >600% battery life. I strongly recommend getting one with TWO ports for charging. Either share that spare port with a friend or charge two devices at once.

The Jackery ® has my attention … but only because it comes in orange…

Wait to place that order! You may want to also purchase a few more items I’ll mention this week…

Will you be bringing an external battery to stay charged up and connected at ASHA? Which one do you like?

– Tara, Speechy Keen SLP

The ASHA Convention ‘14: A How-To Guide

ASHA Convention '14: A How-To Guide | Tips for thriving at this year's ASHA Convention in Orlando!

It’s hard to believe we are officially 30 days from the start of The American Speech-Language and Hearing Associations annual convention in Orlando, Florida! Every year I try to gather the best tips, information, insider knowledge and overall encouragement for people headed to the Convention. I’ve only missed 2 years since graduate school – so I have quite a few conventions under my belt. I hope you find this helpful!

Today I’m going to give you a quick overview of what the rest of the month will look like. Do you have burning questions you are hoping I’ll answer? Tweet me at @speechykeenslp, or shoot me an e-mail at tara@speechykeenslp.com, and I will try to work it into the series!

Week 1: Problem Solving Purchases

[October 20-26]

Having made the mistake once, I’ve learned my lesson. My shopping list goes out the very first week to give everyone time to get their orders in! This week I will be telling you about all of the lifesaving purchases that help me make the most of ASHA14. These are fine tuned, tried and true purchases that will not only make the Convention run smoother for you, but will be useful after convention too!

Week 2: Set Your Schedule!

[October 27- November 2]

That ASHA Planner can be completely overwhelming! The on-line program planning? Even more so! How do you pick a good session? How do  you set up your schedule? How much time do you need for the exhibit hall? Should you attend short courses, technical sessions or posters? I’ll answer all of these questions and more! I’ll be sharing my free planning template and you’ll even get a peek into my schedule for the convention!

Week 3: What to Wear Where!

[November 3 – November 9]

As if choosing an outfit each day wasn’t difficult enough. a conference can take it to the next level of stress. Your outfit can change drastically day-to-day depending on your plans. I’ll walk you through what is expected and unexpected to wear in a variety of convention settings, as well as some SLP trends that are popping up all over social media!

Week 4: Pack and Prep!

[November 10-16]

As we are in the final days of the ASHA14 countdown, I’ll help you pack your suitcases for your grand getaway! We’ll talk about those necessities, what to leave at home and how to make sure you have everything you need for your arrival. We’ll also talk about packing your bag for each day of the convention!

The Final Days!

[November 17-19]

Just three days left until ASHA14 begins! These final days we’ll chat about how to network, where meet other likeminded SLPs and have you walking into the Orange County Convention Center ready to take on this years Convention! 2

I can’t wait to share with you… let’s get ready for convention!

- Tara, the Speechy Keen SLP

Weekly Planning Part One: The Set-Up

Weekly Planning Part One: The Set-Up | http://www.speechykeenslp.com

Last week I posted about  how to print on sticky notes. In that post I mentioned how sticky notes can help with time management and planning. I received some wonderful feedback from that post and I decided to give you some examples of how I help my clients do weekly planning using those printed sticky notes!

The first step is the “set-up” – creating our “Days of the Week” papers. I print out 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper with the day of the week printed at the top. Important: each day of the week is on a different colored sheet of paper. This is the beginning of a color coded system for my clients, so we pick the colors VERY specifically. It really is whatever makes since to each client, so I have to keep a note in my file as to what color system each client uses. TIP: if you are short on colors for printer paper, you can print on construction paper. Just make sure to carefully trim it down to 81/2 x 11 and feed it in one piece at a time.

Next I laminate these sheets. I do this for two reasons: durability and to create a work surface.These sheets will be getting a LOT of use, so laminating means they will hold up and not have to be recreated over and over again. It also creates a good surface for the sticky notes to adhere to each week without coating them in paper residue – you’ll see why this is important in the upcoming posts. Did you know laminating creates a dry erase surface as well? (hint hint)

BTW, This is my favorite laminator!

Tune in next week for the next post in this series …

- Tara, the Speechy Keen SLP

Printing Sticky Notes

As Featured On: PediaStaff Tip Of The Week

Disclaimer: I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of clients who avoid writing like the plague. And that isn’t even an over dramatization. There is so much anxiety around it for so many of my students. Whether is sensory, motor planning, task initiation … they all have a valid reason for their dislike. I’m a firm believer in “picking your Alamo”, and writing just is not one of them for me. I may make a few OTs angry at me with this post but I’m going to say it: I let my clients avoid writing. Heck, I even help them! Here’s why: I get a very short amount of time with them each week (40 minutes). I am NOT going to spend 20 of it convincing them to START writing. There are different topics that take a priority for us. Not better, not worse. Just different. Ok, now that is out of the way…


Did you know you can print on sticky notes? This is a great alternative for the messy writer or the client with dysgraphia, sensory difficulties, motor plannign delays... I even do it for myself now! | found on http://www.speechykeenslp.com/blog #slpeeps #specialed #stickynote

I love sticky notes. No really. I REALLY love sticky notes. In college I would write down every task I had to complete for the whole semester on individual sticky notes and surround my computer monitor with them. There was nothing more relieving than ripping off that sticky note and tossing it across the room into the trash can.

Sticky notes are a big help for my middle school clients as well. Many of them have trouble with time management, which translates to “task management” and “week management” as well! We began by printing of sheets of paper with the days of the week at the top, laminated them, and put them up somewhere prominent. Then each week we go through their upcoming tasks and break them down into manageable steps. This is where I would normally have them write them out on a sticky note. But I’ve found a work around! Technology to the rescue!

While cruising around Pinterest I came across a tutorial on printing sticky notes. SURELY it couldn’t be THAT easy …. right?! Nope, it was even EASIER than I thought! So, I created my own little template which you can download:

Click her eto download a free template for printing on sitcky notes with your students! | Found on http://www.speechykeenslp.com/blog

Now the printing part may be a bit of a learning curve but guess what – that turned into a GREAT lesson too! Problem solving, interpreting symbols, drafts before the final project …

Enjoy your sticky notes!

- Tara, the SpeechyKeen SLP

Pinterest Tip: Name that image!

Pinterest Tip: Name that image! | by SpeechyKeenSLP http://www.speechykeenslp.com/blog/pinterest-tip-name-that-image

This post is a follow up to questions I have received since this article on The ASHA Leader Blog.

Pinterest: Name that image! | by SpeechyKeenSLP http://www.speechykeenslp.com/blog/pinterest-tip-name-that-image

Did you know that you can have a say when it comes to the pins from your site? And do you realize that so many people don’t take that advantage? It always makes me groan when I see a site is missing out on that great opportunity! Are you making this common mistake?

What is it …

When you upload an image into your blog or on your webpage, you are able to set parameters. I am already assuming you have them watermarked, after my last post. Settings one typically uses include size, links, location and more. The one most people don’t take advantage of is “alt image tags”. I could get all technical on you, but let’s keep it straight and to the point …

Alt Image Tags name your pin!

When you “pin” something from a webpage, you are able to enter a description. As the webpage/blog owner, you can pre-set the description by setting your Alt Image Tag. People are often “lazy pinners”. This means that if there is already a description, they often won’t change it! Can you see how great this could be for driving traffic?

How to do it …

If you have a WordPress blog, you have the option on every image to enter an Alt Image Tag …

Pinterest Tip: Name that image! | by SpeechyKeenSLP http://www.speechykeenslp.com/blog/pinterest-tip-name-that-image

If you are coding your own site, you can insert it into your image code:

Pinterest Tip: Name that image! | by SpeechyKeenSLP http://www.speechykeenslp.com/blog/pinterest-tip-name-that-image

In Blogger you can hover over an image, go to “properties” and change it there. Here is a good tutorial.

What to say…

Now you know how to set your Alt Image Tag, but do you know what to write to pull in those people from Pinterest? Here are some great starting points to consider when writing your description …

  • Be wordy!
    You have 500 words, and the most re-pinned often have 200-300 words in the description.
  • Keywords are important!
    Think about the words people will “search” for when they are looking for what you have to offer. But don’t “keyword stuff”, which is when people just write out a bunch of keywords in “list form”. Stick those keywords into a winning paragraph and you’re on the right track!
  • Balancing Act
    Be sure your description has readability, relatability and reaction creation! You want it to be easy to read, you want to speak to your target audience and you want to make people click that link. So before you type, think. Are you pinning this for clients, co-workers, parents, professionals? Write to them!
  • Hashtags
    Just like on Twitter, and more recently Facebook, Pinterest allows for hashtags. Do some searching and find a few hashtags that relate to your content. You can even create your own for your content/branding. But try to keep hashtags to 3 or less, otherwise you look “spammy”.
  • Link Back
    Always include your full webpage address in the description. This helps people find their way back to you. Be sure to link to the specific content page, and not just your website overall. When people follow a pin, they want to be taken directly to the image they were looking at on Pinterest! And don’t “shorten” those, Pinterest often sees those as “spam”.

Do you have more questions? Leave a comment or find me on Pinterest or Twitter! I’m happy to answer!

– Tara, the SpeechyKeen SLP

Minecraft Gingerbread Houses: Wrap Up!

Due to a lot of scheduling craziness, it took us a few extra weeks to wrap up our gingerbread houses. Thank goodness we weren’t planning on eating them!

One particular student really loves making “Stop Animation” movies for YouTube. So, we did a “Getting Ready, Doing, Done” to plan out a Minecraft Film that shows you his house (with a little flair for the dramatic). He’s quite proud of it – as am I! His executive functioning skills skyrocketed throughout the gingerbread building process.

With his parents’ permission, may I present to you his film…

Remember, gingerbread houses aren’t JUST for the holidays! And they can be a fun way to work on those therapy goals with a little “gamification” thrown in. Happy building!

- Tara Roehl, the Speechy Keen SLP

Pinterest Tip: Watermarking Images

Pinterest Tips: Watermark Images! Come see how to make sure people know how to find their way back to you on pinterest! www.speechykeensl...

I recently wrote an article for the ASHA Leader all about Pinterest. Quite a few questions arose. One that concerns a lot of people is the use of their copyrighted material. People see their copyrighted images all over Pinterest and become worried that their hard work is being stolen. Let me address those concerns here!

Are people stealing them?  Possibly.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I would hope and wish they are saving your excellent resources for later use. Remember, “pinning” something isn’t stealing something. All a pin or board is, in essence, is a peak into someone’s “bookmarks” or “favorites”. Most people pinning are simply saving that idea for later!

Are the giving you credit? Maybe.

That responsibility is split 50/50. Half of the responsibility is yours! Keep reading to see what you can do to make sure you get the credit you deserve!

Are people who “re-pin” aware of where that resource is from? Again, Maybe!

Same as above – unless you’ve taken steps to make sure your name is ALWAYS attached to your materials, they might not know how to find you and your amazing resources!


The number one thing you can do to make sure people can find you, is to watermark your images! This means putting your name/website ON your images/resources. People will always know who created it and where to go to find more information if you have it watermarked. Here are some examples of watermarking…

To Me It's a Necessary Evil, Here's Whywatermark02measuringpoints

You can watermark all over an image (#1), making it useless to someone “stealing” it. But this also makes it difficult for people to USE. You can also watermark your name/website across the middle of a image (#2). This might obscure your information some, but it keeps people from “cropping” it out. Or you can “watermark” by placing your name/website in a corner. This gives people the ability to find you without obscuring your image (#3).

How Do I Watermark?

My favorite FREE on-line resource is PicMonkey. Here is a quick tutorial so you can go get those images watermarked TODAY!


So, how important is this all? VERY!

80% of what is on Pinterest is repinned – it’s important your name stays connected to your materials! Pinterest can drive some serious traffic to your site – so make sure they can find you!

Tune in next week for more Pinterest Tips and check out my article in the ASHA Leader!

- Tara, {the} SpeechyKeenSLP

P.S. The “Gingerbread House” project is still in full swing! Due to deaths and illnesses in my family, therapy has been done while on the road since Christmas. Needless to say, the gingerbread house did not come with me – so we’re continuing that project when I get home!