Therapy Ideas

Having fun with Instagram

I have always been “snap happy”. I’ve been a picture person since I was young! Having a baby has sent that into overdrive. Like, 50-100 photos on an average day isn’t rare. One of my requirements  for my phone is that it has a GREAT camera. So many friends were getting blurry photos with their iPhones and other smartphones, I knew it would just drive me crazy. And, because my photos are taken on my phone, they are uploaded to Intagram and FB from my phone. Instagram offers a little “fun”, but I wanted to do a LOT more with my photos. I began searching and playing. Since I started doing more with my photos, a TON of people have asked me what apps I use. I figured it would be easier to direct them here than continue to retype my answers again and again.

NOTE: I am an Android user. Some of the apps are available on both Android and iOS, and I’ll try to note when it is. But keep in mind, I have never used the iOS versions of these apps!


“Labels” are the colored strips with text. They often look like something that has come out of a real label maker or text written on masking tape, washi tape, etc. I am picky with these, I don’t like it to look “junky”. Some of my favorite apps are…

labelbox Labelbox

  • 15 different labels
  • Ability to undo – but only to clear EVERYTHING you’ve done, and you have to
    shake your phone. (which, quite frankly, leaves you looking ridiculous in

  • [Available
    on iOS]


  • I couldn’t even begin to count the number of tapes
  • Divided by colors, then patterns (you scroll for miles)
  • All are semi see-though – meant to look like Japanese Washi Tape
  • [Available
    on iOS]


This is the trick to putting a bunch of related photos into one image for sharing via social media. I prefer ones that create square collages. Then I can quickly plug it into Instagram, which then shoots it out to Facebook and Twitter. I’ve tried quite a few, but it really comes down to two for me.


  • Super clean and quick
  • All the frames are divided by number of images
  • Can change the thickness and color of the frame around the collage
  • You can save to your gallery or send it straight to another app (Instagram,
    Facebook, editors, etc)
  • For iOS Check Out: Fuzel
photogridPhoto Grid
    • Some cool collage options (not all square/rectangle)
    • Funky borders available as well (patterns, etc)
    • Add text right in the app
    • [Available
      on iOS]
  • Editors

    Sometimes you want to do just a bit MORE. Maybe add some clip art, some “chalk drawing-like” text or images. A photo needs “touch-up” or even “blacked out” . Maybe even some silly arrows or talking bubbles? That’s when I go to my editor for the extra “ooph”. Now, I have a LOT of editors, and I use them all for different things. But I have a few I use more frequently for “common” edits or even more specialized features …


     Beautiful Mess

    • This one is a great one for cutesy borders, fonts, clips art, etc. It’s
      become my go-to and probably yours friends’ too!

    • It also lets you create images without a picture – use a blank background or
      one of the many patterns available!
    • [Available on iOS]
    • A little chalk-like clip art in the library
    • Some great fonts – sometimes I’ll leave my labels plank and add text from
      this app!

    • You can add stickers, frames, borders, layer photos, masks, draw and other

    • Also, create from scratch a brand new image!
    • [Available
      on iOS]
  • realbokehReal Bokeh
    • This adds a little “magical aura” to your images – it looks like light

    • It also lets you pick shapes, colors and placement!
    • [Available
      on iOS]
  • Examples

    Here are some examples of these apps in use!

    Used: PicArt

    label: labelbox
    Used: LabelBox

    collage: photo frames
    Used: PhotoFrame

    heart lights: real brokeh
    Used: Real Bokeh

    clipart: picsart
    Used: PicsArt

    Used: Beautiful Mess

    Happy Editing!

    – Tara, the Speechy Keen SLP

    Weekly Planning Part One: The Set-Up

    Weekly Planning Part One: The Set-Up |

    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 #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

    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

    Minecraft Gingerbread Houses: Week 2

    Minecraft Gingerbread Houses - Week 2! |

    This week we continued to work on our Gingerbread house. My husband has begun complaining that my office smells like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory with the completion of my chocolate bar “landscape”. This week we addressed: problem solving, planning, flexibility, more executive functioning and brainstorming.

    Progress and Problem Solving

    We first checked in on each other’s “landscapes” to see how we’d done with our goal for the week. We also discussed unexpected problems that arose. The main issue we both were running into was adhesive. Have you ever tried to use royal icing to make candy stick together? Those cake shows make it look much easier than it is. My client was stuck on how to fix this. Particularly because he was stuck on “edible” answers. I had the answer, but really wanted him to reach it on his own. So we put on our “future glasses”[Sarah Ward] to talk about our plans for the houses once finished. Once we’d both agreed that we would NOT be eating our gingerbread houses, he was able to brainstorm “non-edible” options. Our conclusion? Tacky Glue!

    Brainstorming and Flexibility

    When we first began this project, we’d “warmed-up” by brainstorming everything Minecraft and organizing it visually (see here). So, we had already practiced brainstorming once. Now we needed to brainstorm candies to use for the next step – the siding. We’d decided ahead of time that we were going with “bricks”. So we used Google Image to look through pictures of red candy. We went down a few rabbit trails until we made our choice – can’t wait to show you next week! My client became a little “stuck” the “mortar” you see between bricks. He wanted to dye icing grey and filling in the spaces between the candies. Oy! After some talk on time limits and flexibility, he decided to eliminate it from our plan and just use “bricks”. *phew*

    Shopping List

    Because my client had no prior knowledge about some of our choices today, a written shopping list was fraught with danger. Have you been in the candy aisle? Completely overwhelming, even when you know what you are looking for! With executive functioning delays, it can often be difficult to remember what something looks like when transitioning from a 2D picture to a 3D object. This means my client would most likely ended up trying to read EVERY package. Which also means mom probably would lose patience, step in, grab the package and the learning moment would have fallen to the wayside. So, for our shopping list this week, we copied pictures from the web and created a “visual shopping list”. This took less than 5 minutes and helped my client “keep a “mental picture” of what he was searching for.

    Personal Note

    My client did not have his project finished before group tonight. That resulted in a HUGE meltdown on his part, which I was able to view via webcam. As much as my heart broke for him, it was good for me to see so we could discuss why this happened. I really appreciate his parent’s honesty in saying “It was completely my fault. I dropped the ball and didn’t support his executive functioning skills.” I’m putting together a webinar soon for parents and executive functioning as I’ve discovered a lot of them need help supporting their child. Stay tuned for more information soon!

    Here is a picture of the progress:



    Join us next week for more lessons and another step closer to our finished gingerbread house!

    – Tara Roehl, SpeechyKeenSLP

    Thanksgiving Comic

    thanksgiving comic

    Seeing as today is the day before Thanksgiving, it always feels better to work that into therapy somehow. So, when this comic came up on my Facebook feed, I quickly saved it to use in my sessions today!

    The Goal

    I love using comics in therapy. There are so many areas comics can address in therapy! Today’s session focused on social cognition and executive functioning.The client’s I used this with have difficulty:

    • Describing facial expressing when given a picture with contextual cues but blocked out facial features.
    • Figuring out the emotions of everyone in a scene based on contextual cues
    • Making connections between what they see as expected/unexpected and how that can help them make social inferences
    • Seeing organization in a space – most of them see “chaos” in pictures and the real world
    • Problem Solving within the areas of Executive Functioning and Social Cognition


    Our Session
    • Social Cognition
      • I covered the face of the mother, working with my client to “put yourself in her shoes” and “read the clues”. We talked about how she was stirring with her feet, how many pots were on the stove, etc.
      • We used Social Thinking’s™ “Expected/Unexpected” language to talk about mom’s actions
      • We used Mindwing Concepts™ Story Grammar Marker to talk about the important clues in the room (Who, Setting, Kickoff, Feelings, Plan). We then made “Smart Guesses” (Social Thinking™) to predict what would happen and fill in the rest of our Story Grammar Marker.
      • We then had to draw the important clues we thought we might see on mom’s face to know how she was feeling. They had to describe her face to me, and I attempted to draw it. (Funny side note: When I asked one of my clients why they thought I covered her face, he whispered “because she’s drinking something?”)
    • Executive Functioning
      • We looked at the kitchen space and had to figure out if mom had “Getting Ready, Doing, and Done” (GRDD/Sarah Ward) spaces (Hint: She does!)
      • We discussed the “TIME”  – was this a fast moment or a slow moment for mom?
      • We pretended we’d been hired to be her “GRDD” consultants – how could we help mom? The conclusion was that she was “too zoomed out”! Her “GRDD” Plan was too general. Instead, we needed to “zoom in” and make a “GRDD” for the Turkey, the mashed potatoes …. (this also showed me how many clients didn’t categorize Thanksgiving foods! I got all types of wacky guesses as to what was on the stove!)

    Here is a pdf from one of the lessons – to give you a “picture”. We worked together on this document during our session, using screen sharing!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    – Tara Roehl, the Speechy Keen SLP

    Minecraft Gingerbread Houses: Week 1

    Minecraft Gingerbread Houses: Week 1 | via

    This week we’ve begun our Minecraft gingerbread houses! This activity addresses a lot of therapy goals. Especially one of my favorites – executive functioning. All of my therapy is now via telepractice, so it requires extra planning/executive functioning skills to make sure we are ready on BOTH sides of webcam.

    Our Kits

    For this activity, I bought gingerbread house kits and had my clients gingerbreadhouse_kitbuy some as well. This cuts out on a lot of the “cooking”, which is quite difficult (but not impossible!) via telepractice. Most kits include similar products, but making sure everyone has the same kit helps with clients who struggle with “flexibility”. I buy mine at the end of each season from Michaels – because they are a chain, I can have my clients pick up the same ones at their local store!

    Getting Ready, Doing, Done (GRDD)

    We use Sarah Ward’s GRDD framework to prepare for our sessions. We fill out a table together via screen share – always beginning with the “DONE”. We GRDDneed a mental picture of the finished product before we begin making a “GETTING READY” list! We also create a visual of the “DONE” so we can make sure we are all “seeing” the same things in our brains! Then we make our “GETTING READY” list – which often now includes a shopping list as well!

    Setting a Goal

    We set a “DOING” goal for each week. But many individuals with Executive weeklycalendarFunctioning Delays struggle with “weekly goals”. This type of “general” goal doesn’t give them an actual timeline. We break our “weekly” goal” into daily goals, and put them on a calendar. When you do this, you see there are a LOT of little goals going into that weekly goal. A few we included were: grocery shopping for items, asking mom where our “waiting spot” is for the house in progress and covering the house after each step with plastic wrap!

    Tech Support

    When doing this via webcam, it’s helpful for me to have two webcams. I useHP-Elite-Webcam the one built into my laptop for my face, but have another one I can aim at the desk. This has helped with looking at items in our kits, planning a layout on our cardboard “base” and even discussing how to apply the icing!

    Personal Note

    We decided to start this week with our “landscape”. We chose a “snow” scene, seeing as it is winter currently. We searched Google Images and found this minecraft__wonderful_snow_by_arriii-d4m72d4image as our “inspiration”. We’re going to try to make our landscapes using chocolate bars and icing. I love that my client picked chocolate bars. They are square, similar to the pixilated look of the game!

    Tune in next week for our progress and more examples of how we worked on our therapy goals!

    – Tara Roehl, the Speechy Keen SLP

    Gingerbread Image Source