Day 24: Tip #2 – Packing Up!

Tips for packing and prepping for convention! | Read this post and more by @speechykeenslp over on the blog at https://www.speechykeenslp.com/blogI am the queen of packing my suitcase for maximum capacity. I always teeter on the edge of that 50 lbs limit! But I know I’ll be bringing a lot home with me, so I have to be super smart about how I pack up my suitcase for ASHA. Here are some tips I’ll be following…


Roll and Stuff!

I roll all my “casual” clothes! This removes any extra “air” and makes
them as compacts as possible! This gives me room for bigger things!

Bonus: Stuff your shoes with your “unmentionables”, socks, etc.
The inside of a shoe is such wasted space in a bag!



Air Packed for Liftoff!

I take smaller clothing items (scarves, tank tops, etc) and put them
in a small ziplock. I push out all the air and create mini “packs”!

Bonus: Use the ziplocks for repacking items, or for bringing home
spillable items you collected on your trip!



Leave Room for Goodies!

Pack as little as possible, so you have plenty of room to bring home
some ASHA Swag! Does your airline allow you two bags? Do it!

Bonus: I plan on packing a smaller suitcase, then placing it inside
a larger one and checking it! Less to haul there, more room to haul
goodies back home to Colorado!


How are you packing your bag for convention?

– Tara, the Speechy Keen SLP

Day 14: Schedule Set and Exhibit Hall

Come take a peek at my set schedule, as well as booths I don't want to miss in the exhibit hall! | This post and more by @speechykeenslp on the blog https://www.speechykeenslp.com

Well, I can confidently say that my schedule is “tentatively” done! Click here if you’d like to see where I’ll be during convention. (download the PDF here)

I also took some time to look through the exhibit hall lists. There are just too many great sessions to hit. I strongly encourage you to note the hours of the exhibit hall and give yourself plenty of time to browse. “Plenty” can be pretty relative, so here are some tips based on what you are looking for:

  • Looking for a job?
    If you are on the hunt for a job, be sure to hit up the exhibit hall early on Thursday. Many places will be setting up an interview schedule and you will want to get your name on it. There are individual places of employment, as well as contracting agencies… so explore all of your options! 1-2 hours
  • Looking for materials?
    Make a list before you leave of items you are wanting. Some of the major therapy companies will be there with some great deals! Some will even ship your order home. It’s ok to write down general items needed such as, “Materials for working with client X”. You may find the perfect answer! ~3 hours
  • Brand New!
    Are you a student or brand new SLP? Many of the booths are more than willing to explain and demonstrate their product. You can learn a lot from this hands-on experience. So get in there, touch, feel, pick-up, play! ~2 hours
  • Freebies!
    Personally, I’m over taking a bag of free goodies home. But, if you are excited for all those extras, be sure to hit the floor early and fast! Grab a free giant yellow Super Duper bag (they are bright but useful!) and hit up all the good stuff before they’re gone – which is usually by the end of day one! ~1 hour
  • Just Browsing…
    You could spend half your time at convention browsing. There are so many great things to see and try! Throw your name in a few hats for some great prizes (don’t forget your stickers!) and grab some coupon codes for products you want to think about. Don’t rush yourself, you may miss something great! ~3 hours

Some great booths I plan to hit up include…

Booth No. & Name Why
1381 – Dynamic Resources Great products from a great company! Skills Based Assessment of Core Communication Standards and Building Better Readers are from their professional side, while their children’s book series is fun and hits many therapeutic targets! (and I’m totally biased, as Dr. R is THE reason I’m an SLP today!)
851 – YappGuru Ever search the app store and can’t decide if an app will be a hit or miss? Wish you had some other SLPs to ask? Your wish is YappGuru’s command – they’ve created a great site where SLPs review apps… you may even see a familiar face! *wink wink*
1337 — Lessonpix Not only am I huge fan of this site, I am a huge fan of the owners too! I use their site for clients and my own toddler – be sure to tell Bill that Tara sent you!
1234 — PediaStaff Even if you aren’t looking for a job, these people are just amazing! Heidi is the sweetest, and they are just a great resource to have. Plus, they always have some useful goodies to give away.
1635 — MindWing Concepts If you’ve never met Braidy, you are missing out! I love this whole line of products for my social cognition and executive functioning clients. And the owner is so sweet! I always stick my head in to see what is new this year!
1325 – Super Duper Stop here first and get an obnoxious yellow bag to tote around all your good stuff. Stash it in your room for the rest of the weekend, because you’ll need the extra bag to take home all your convention goodies. There are also some great deals on their products, and a lot of the time they offer free shipping with a minimum order!
1365 3D SLP A subscription box for SLPs? Awesome! Go check out the great products they are partnering with – I hear some of my favorites will be included soon.
859 – ASHA Store I always try to grab some ASHA gear while I’m at the convention. A jacket, shirt and even a business card holder (I use it as my wallet year round!). I am proud to be an ASHA member, so I love to show that pride in what I wear!
353 ADVANCE-Healthcare Network A nice little magazine, but that’s not what I stop here for – it’s the clothes! They have a ton of gear stamped with “SPEECH-LANGAUGE PATHOLOGIST”. Every year I have to see what’s new and grab some new gear!

Check out the guide yourself to pick some stops you just can’t miss! 

I am also getting ready to purchase a lot of diagnostic tests, so I’ll be hitting up a lot of the test publishers to ask them some tough questions! And no one should miss the Scarf King – his table is usually picked over by the final day, so get your scarves early…

What booths are you looking forward to seeing?

– Tara, the Speechy Keen SLP


Tara Roehl owns and operates a private telepractice clinic in Colorado focusing on social cognition, executive functioning and the use of technology in therapy. Previously she has worked in Illinois, California, Rwanda and the Philippines in both public schools and private practices.

Be sure to hear Tara during her four presentations at ASHA ‘14!

  • Session 1115: Camp Confidence: From Zero to Hero
    [Thursday 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm]
    This presentation will address current bully/shame cultures and introduce participants to therapy techniques for building self-confidence in students dealing with speech and language delays while addressing their therapeutic goals using active and engaging activities including games, iPad apps, and life skill tasks.
  • Session 1212: iPad to iPlay 2.0: Teaching Play Through Apps for Preschoolers
    [Thursday 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm]
    This presentation will introduce participants to popular tablet gaming apps and creative adaptations to improve active participation in therapeutic activities for the development of problem-solving, speech and language development, interactive play, pragmatics, executive functioning skills and behavior modification. Applicable for preschoolers and adaptable for older clients.
  • Session 1441: Get Out of That Box! Four Creative Mold-Breaking Models of Private Practice
    [Friday 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm]
    This presentation will introduce participants to four unique models of private practice. Four clinicians will share their history, mission, and their unique service models. This session will encourage participants to develop professional resilience and shift service-delivery patterns as we face healthcare reform and other trends that affect reimbursement.
  • Session 1768: iPad to iPlay 2.0: Teaching Play Through Apps for Elementary Through Middle School
    [Saturday 2:30 – 3:30]
    This presentation will introduce participants to popular tablet gaming apps and creative adaptations to improve active participation in therapeutic activities for the development of problem-solving, speech and language development, interactive play, pragmatics, executive functioning skills, and behavior modification. Applicable for elementary to middle school clients

Day 13: Saturday at ASHA ‘14

Daily Picks: Saturday at #ASHA14! Come see what sessions are on my schedule this year at convention | Read this post and more by @speechykeenslp at https://www.speechykeenslp.com/blog

It’s the final day of convention – you are exhausted, your brain is about to explode with new information and yet you wish we had at least one more day before returning to reality. Don’t let exhaustion rob you from this final day of experiences! You’re almost done!

My Sessions
My final talk is today – and the second installment of “iPad to iPlay”.

  • Session 1768: iPad to iPlay 2.0: Teaching Play Through Apps for Elementary Through Middle School
    [Saturday 2:30 – 3:30]
    This is part 2 to my talk from Thursday – and I have packed a LOT of apps into this talk! We’ll cover eight apps and at least three activities per app that you can use as soon as you go back to the “real world”. It’s a good mix of table top activities and gross motor activities to keep your clients engaged and learning.

More Sessions

The final day, so bittersweet! Also one of the busiest days, so be sure to get to sessions early if you think they will be popular!

  • Session 1609: Standing Up to Ridicule: Using Social Language Concepts With Students Who Are Bullied, Bystanders, & Tormentors
    [Saturday 8:00 am – 10:00 am]
    Bullying is at the heart of my “camp confidence” talk and something my students deal with daily. My research on the topic has shown that most schools are doing it wrong.  I look for talks that compliment my passions and give me the opportunity to make connections with similarly minded therapists.
  • Session 1705 : Top 20 Telepractice Techniques & Materials: Bridging Table-Top Skills With Telepractice Competencies to Engage Clients
    [Saturday 1:00pm – 2:00pm]
    My clinic is 100% telepractice currently. This means that, while I am interested in this topic, I am also very experienced. Most of the sessions on this topic this year leave me feeling “eh, I know all about that…” This one has me tentatively excited for some new application ideas. If you are “hopeful” about a topic, GO! But be sure to pick a back-up if it disappoints.

Set your priorities!

When you begin setting your schedule, set which sessions are your
#1, #2 and #3 choice – they all start to blend together by the end.

During Convention, I change the color of the cell for sessions I attended.
This makes it easier to remember session information when entering my CEUs.

What session are you looking forward to most on Saturday?

Tomorrow I’ll GIVE you my completed Google schedule, and talk about some booths I plan on hitting in the exhibit hall!

– Tara, the Speechy Keen 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

#ASHA13–Prepping Your iPad

prep your ipad

Last Friday night I had a great conversation with a fellow SLP in Canada who will be attending #ASHA13. The conversation naturally turned to the iPad, and what apps I use during the convention. I decided to blog about my favorites and how I prep my iPad for the big weekend!


(click app images to go to the iTunes store)

image iAnnontate: I love this app for writing on my PDFs. Now ASHA is no longer having speakers post their presentations, but 3 page “handouts” were due Monday! Sometimes they are good to reference during the talk!


Notability: This is my preferred note taking app. I create a section for ASHA13 and then file my notes from each session under that heading. It allows typing, writing, highlighting, audio recording, stickies, figures, taking a photo and placing it in the note… all while in a very easy to use format! image
audiomemo Audio Memos: I am an auditory learner. I need to hear something a few times over to really let it sink in and impact my therapy. I prefer the PAID version of Audio Memos for doing just that! I especially like that you can pause and resume while recording. I name each recording the session’s title for quick access. Then I listen to it again when my brain has “refreshed” – usually January *smile*
RedLaser: I have found many retailers like to use QR codes. And many of the retailers have barcodes on their products. Although this is an iPhone app, I prefer it as my QR and barcode reader because it keeps a “history”. This is great for two reasons – it creates an almost “shopping list” by saving product info AND saves the link – if you don’t have internet access this is great for checking the details later! RedLaser-App-Logo


Clean off your iPad. Clear off images, videos, recordings, files. Give yourself plenty of room for all the files you will be creating during the conference. You want your iPad responding quickly! Back-it up using iCloud or  by hooking it to your computer. If you have questions about how to do that, you can go here.

Though, you may want to leave a few pictures of your therapy room, views of where you are from and your family (human or furry) – to show off, of course!


Be sure to get your iPad completely updated. Make sure you’ve done the latest iOS updates and that all of your apps are up-to-date. It will ensure your iPad will keep working throughout the convention. There is nothing worse than a partial update rendering your iPad useless during that one amazing speaker you find. You’ll never forgive yourself!


Do you have client sensitive information on your iPad? I would strongly encourage you to clear it off your iPad and store it safely on your computer or elsewhere. This can be therapy notes, videos showing client faces, photos, e-mails with private medical information, etc. If you choose not to take this information off your iPad, I strong encourage you lock it down. Set the PIN and erase any “remembered” passwords. Heaven forbid your iPad disappears at ASHA – you just might have a HIPAA violation on your hands!

– Tara Roehl, SpeechyKeen SLP

#ASHA13 – Creating Your Schedule

**Note: This is an edit from last year’s post, with some updates!

As the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention nears, many SLPs and Audiologists are scrambling to create their schedules. There is a variety of ways to peruse the talks – the pocket planner, the on-line scheduler and/or picking up the convention book upon arrival. But many of us have the same problem – too many sessions we want to go to at the SAME time. And no one wants to eliminate all of the options, because often we end up in a boring or irrelevant session and need a second option. Taking all of this into consideration can make creating a schedule quite the headache! Last year I decided to go “digital” with my schedule and use my Google Docs to create a schedule that is easy to manipulate and accessible from anywhere on the convention floor. It worked PERFECTLY!

In case you are interested in giving it a try, here is how I set-up my schedule:

Click image for larger view


First, I created a “Spreadsheet” in my Google Drive account. I named it #ASHA13 in reference to this year’s twitter hashtag for the conference.

Click image for larger view


The following are key aspects of how I set up the spreadsheet:

  • A: I set up my time table from 7am – 10pm in half hour increments. I chose these hours to indicate when I expect to be getting up/grabbing breakfast (for any breakfast meet-ups I schedule) and when I *hope* to be in bed. I give myself time slots around the convention hours because of all the social events surrounding the convention itself.
  • B: I like to give myself PLENTY of options for time slots. So I have given myself a few columns to line up the different talks that strike my fancy.
  • C: In the final column I have put the exhibit hall hours – not only for my own reference, but also because I am planning to visit all of my friends like Pedistaff, Lessonpix, and SmartyEars!
  • D: I then created a page for each day of my trip (from Wednesday when I arrive until Sunday when I fly out), copied and then pasted this template on each page. I was then ready to begin creating my schedule!

Click image for larger view


Here is an example of my Thursday schedule from last year. I opted put the full name of each session I want to attend. I’ve learned in years past that abbreviations just frustrate me when I am part way through the day and can’t remember EXACTLY what the session is going to be about. Making the font smaller ensures that it doesn’t mess up my spacing/formatting too much. I also put the room number AND the session number. I put in the session number so that, when it comes time to submit my CEUs, I have them all in one place!

I hope this gives you some ideas when it comes to scheduling your time at ASHA, let me know if you use this idea or have another one! I’d love to hear about it!

– Tara Roehl, SpeechyKeen SLP

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Sensory Gyms

A new gym has opened up in New York which has the google-verse buzzing. The gym, WeeZee, has been started in Chappaqua, New York by Louise Weadock-Rowe. Louise is a Child Psychiatric Nurse. Her biography on the WeeZee website states she was part of the team at John’s Hopkins which first identified signs and symptoms of the most severe form of Sensory Integration Disorder – Autism. Her daughter being diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder for “Autistic-like behaviors” opened her eyes to the needs of children with sensory issues. Once she began going to therapy appointments with her daughter, she began to realize the benefit of sensory desensitization and turned her home into a sensory “fun zone”. What Louise began in her home for her own daughter, has now become a place for all children. And her daughter is on the team as an intern!

What Is All This “Sensory” Talk?

Sensory Processing Disorder (formerly Sensory Integration Disorder) is estimated to affect anywhere between 1 in 20  or 1 in 6 children. This disorder impacts the way an individual’s nervous system translates sensations into motor and behavioral responses. This results in a “traffic jam” of sensory processing, resulting in ‘clumsiness’, academic difficulties, behavioral problems, depression, anxiety and more. Occupational therapists often work directly with creating a “sensory diet” for children with SPD, to stimulate them appropriately for their integration difficulties.ᵃ  Often an OT will co-treat with an SLP to desensitize a student to prepare them for a better learning situation through increased focus and attention. The theory is that by decreasing their sensory “overload” (through exposure to sensory based activities), individuals can instead focus on the academic and/or therapeutic lessons. Research into the area of Sensory Integration and the therapy is still growing. According to the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association‘s publications, it’s ability to impact speech, language and academics continues to need further clinical research.ᵇ A great checklist for parents and educators can be found on the Sensory Smarts website, along with the following list of common signs (with additional details and examples):

  1. Out-of-proportion reactions to touch, sounds, sights, movement, tastes or smells
  2. Motor-skills and body awareness difficulties
  3. Oral motor and feeding problems
  4. Poor attention and focus: often “tunes out” or “acts up”
  5. Uncomfortable/easily over stimulated in group settings
  6. Difficulty with self-confidence and independence


What’s So Great About A Gym?

WeeZee (or similar facilities) isn’t a gym in the “normal” terms. The goal isn’t to exercise muscles, instead the goal is to exercise senses. By “exercising” all five senses plus proprioception, the theory is that you can help children increase awareness of their surrounding, respond to their environment and desensitize them to stimuli. WeeZee provides a variety of sensory stimulating environments including large swings, fiber optic rooms, headphones, a rainforest room and more. And they provide a “Zen” room for parents to relax in while observing their child via video cameras set up throughout the facilities. Every child is given a “Personal Sensory Profile” and can be in the center with others wither in a 1:6 ratio or down to a 1:1 “buddy” when they enter the gym. The professions there encourages social interaction and accompany them throughout the sensory environment. WeeZee also believes “it take a village” – having OTs, PTs, SLPs, and more as a resource for parents and leasing space to professionals to work from their location!  Here’s a sneak peak of their facility … 


I’m hoping great places like this crop up all over – it is such a needed resource for families. Until then, hopefully this will give you some ideas how to work with your child/client who needs sensory support. Some resources for more information include:


– SpeechyKeenSLP



[a] http://www.sinetwork.org
[b] Griffer, Mona R. Is Sensory Integration Effective for Children With Language-Learning Disorders?: A Critical Review of the Evidence Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch 1999 30: 393-400 [http://lshss.asha.org/cgi/reprint/30/4/393]
WeeZee Logo: from weezeeworld.com
“Sensing” photo by: Snowpea&Bokchoi via Flickr
“Gym” photo by: Kapungo via Flickr

Meet Heckerty

Heckerty is a witch who just can’t seem to get things right… she flies her broomstick backwards and jumbles up the words to her spells. But in the end, she still wants friends. Will you be her friend? …. even if she turned her face green?


Last week I was given a free download code for Heckerty. I had never heard of it before, nor did I know any of the background (check the website out for the amazing history!). It came through the pipeline thanks to my connections with Hacking Autism. So I downloaded it and gave it a try – and by give it a try I meant really went through the whole thing, reserving judgement till the end. Although it wasn’t an app designed for children with Autism, a lot of success stories were coming to the company from families with children impacted by Autism. Last night Allen and Jan (the voice of “Heckerty”) called me to talk to me about their plans for Heckerty and to hear what I had thought about the app. I don’t want to get into too much of my own opinion, that will be a future post. Also, I would hate to taint your thoughts because ….


They have provided me with a few free download codes! That’s right – we need YOU to be the reviewers here. There are some easy steps to redeem your copy of Meet Heckerty…

  1. Send me an e-mail requesting a code: admin at speechykeenslp dot com
    Let me know if you’re a teacher, therapist, parent etc!
  2. *IF* there are any codes left, I will e-mail it to you!
    NOTE: Codes expire tomorrow night, so redeem as soon as possible! 
  3. If you are an educational professional, please review here (preferred) or e-mail thoughts/comments.
    Parents, please leave a comment here on the blog or e-mail reviews to the address above!

Only 10 codes – good luck!

– SpeechyKeenSLP

Maker Faire 2012


It’s that time again! Anyone who knows me personally knows I am a HUGE Maker Faire fan. Not only am I somewhat of a creative person myself (*coughcoughGEEKcoughcough*), I also get so many great therapy ideas from the innovation presented there. A giant light bright for students with fine motor difficulty? Real R2D2s to interact with and a great opportunity for practicing your pragmatic skills and language skills? Tesla coils to… oh ,heck. Those are just plain cool! And the “makers” are there with their creations, ready to answer questions and demonstrate their work. So many of my clients are inventors and “tinkerers” themselves – taking apart the toaster, rewiring the desktop … and Maker Faire is a great place for them to have their curiosity encouraged and have new ideas ignited. There is a great blog post on the Maker Faire website about eductors’ views of Maker Faire – be sure to read it!

This year I’ll be videoing, tweeting and blogging the entire weekend – with my focus being the impact of creativity and innovation on therapeutic interventions. So stay tuned for some great ideas from the geniuses at Maker Faire! And guess what – you now have an opportunity to go as well …



Now for some great news – tickets! That’s right – General Electric is one of this year’s sponsors of Maker Faire and they are looking to encourage teachers to attend this year. They have offered a few free tickets to my fellow Bay Area teachers/therapists/students. Leave me a comment here or on twitter (@speechykeenslp) if you’re planning on coming and I’ll let you know if we have any tickets remaining – then tweet a picture of you and you’re ticket so we can thank General Electric!!


– SpeechyKeenSLP