End of the School Year Reflections

May 18, 2019 12:00 am Published by

As I finish my 39th year as a school SLP, I wanted to share some thoughts. First, just like at the end of every school year, I always have mixed feelings. There were a lot of my students who made excellent progress. One preschooler went from being severely unintelligible to being dismissed with 100% intelligibility and ready for kindergarten. There were some kids that made minimal progress. I always wonder what I can do better for those kids that don’t progress much and sometimes I come up with some ideas.

Along with new ideas, I also realized that kindness goes a long way. I have a pair of kindergarten twins who at the beginning of the year would say, “Me no wa do thi/I don’t want to do this. After months of work, they were both pretty much the same as when they walked in through the door for the first time. These kids were easy to dislike as they have severe attention issues and are pretty non-cooperative. Getting them to come to my speech room was about a 50/50 proposition and when they refused, my strategy was not to get mad. I had worked out an agreement with their mother so I would call her and then tell the students that they were going to lose some privilege when they got home which is no fun for anyone so let’s come to speech next time. I was determined to like them and showed them that. My new idea came one day after feeling frustrated by their lack of progress. I took photos of their heads with my iPhone (which intrigued them), and made multiple copies on the copier, cut them out and pasted them onto He/She picture cards (e.g. He is riding the bike. She is washing the dog.) They now became “I am riding the bike. I am washing the dog.” We also did lots of final consonant work again in sentences “The cap is nice. The cup is nice. The map is nice.” Or ” I want the cap. I want the cup. I want the map.” I praised them frequently, “Wow, you said “The cup is nice. That’s perfect! You used to say, “The cu i nie” and their faces would light up with pride. I have not had any resistance from them for the last couple of months.

Finding motivators really helps. For one autistic student, he gets to push a tally counter when he gives a correct answer and he really likes that. For another student working on /r/, using flavored tongue depressors has helped her attitude greatly. And for a third student with a significant speech sound disorder, listening to him tell me things after we finish our work is really important to him.

So I still like what I’m doing and will be going for 40 years beginning in August!

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Upcoming presentations will be a couple of beginning of the year presentations for school districts and the week of October 7-11 will be a series of workshops in Florida (specific dates have not been determined yet.).

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

Looking for professional development for your school district or organization? Contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

Enjoying Therapy

January 14, 2019 12:00 am Published by

One of the things I’ve noticed about my therapy this year is that I’m really enjoying it. I’m officially retired and only working two days a week with a small caseload. Why shouldn’t I be enjoying it?

But to get to the point, I’m having a good relationship with my students-showing interest in them, being patient, joking with them, praising them when they do something well and treating them with respect. And they are making progress. As a result, I have no discipline issues.

One of my 3rd grade students used to come into my room with that “deer in the headlights” look. It turns out he has severe apraxia and is difficult to understand. He’s worked hard and has become much more intelligible. I’ve given him lots of praise (which he eats up) and he works hard at home doing his exercises.

Another student, an 8th grader, could not read when he came in at the beginning of the year and was extremely belligerent when he came to therapy. We worked on his phonemic awareness skills which were around the kindergarten level when we started. After a couple of months, he’s like a different kid. He’s probably reading at a 3rd grade level now (also getting RSP services daily) and his attitude is great.

I know some of you reading this are saying that my caseload is enormous, and I don’t have time for anything. However, if you treat kids with dignity and respect, help them improve and enjoy your interactions with them, it can change everything!

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Upcoming presentations are February 7 and 8 in Phoenix, AZ and April 26 in Elk Grove, CA. I’m also scheduling an advanced SATPAC workshop in Elk Grove either April 25 or 27 for people who are already SATPAC users. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

Looking for professional development for your school district or organization? Contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

Self Care

November 15, 2018 12:00 am Published by

I had a really busy month in October going to Amsterdam, then doing a 2-day presentation in Wiesbaden, Germany for OSACS. This is a group of American SLPs working in schools in Europe servicing the children of US military families. My wife and I did more touring in Germany. I came back, went back to work and made up the days I missed. Being huge Red Sox fans, my son and I had to go to a World Series game in Los Angeles driving there and back home the same day (4 hours each way).

The next day, I had a fever and this continued for 11 days until I went to the Urgent Care and found out I had pneumonia. Looking back, I realized that 1) I’m not as young as I used to be to get away with that kind of lifestyle; and 2) I need to be more thoughtful and intentional about what my limits are.

So because I tried to do everything, I’ve now missed 3 weeks at my school. Instead of helping my students with their speech and language issues, I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping and experiencing general lethargy.

The moral of this story is that I realize I need to take care of myself if I’m going to be any good for helping others! I hope this might help you as you contemplate your schedule in the future!

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Upcoming presentations are February 7 or 8 in Phoenix, AZ. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

Looking for professional development for your school district or organization? Contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

Correct Placement and Systematic Therapy

August 25, 2018 12:00 am Published by

I returned to school this past week starting in a new rural district in Central California. My school is a small pre-K to 8th grade school. When I met my students for the first time, I was dismayed to see some of the older kids who still had frontal lisps, lateral lisps and no /r/ sounds.

I had kind of a bad feeling beforehand seeing the materials of the previous therapist which included the articulation decks for each sound. I will explain later.

None of these kids had a clue what the correct placement should be for their various errors. This leads into some important points:
Students need to have correct placement and know what their correct placement is before they can say their sounds correctly;
They need to practice their correct placement in a coarticulatory context, so they will transfer quickly into conversational speech;
“Words” ideally should be non-words, so they can have minimal changes from word to word in order to develop the correct motor pattern for the error sound;
These non-words should be practiced thousands of times to make sure that the correct placement is solid.

So, I spent our first sessions developing correct placement using various techniques and infant tongue depressors for placement and stabilization. When some of the kids got it, we used non-words like BEETSEET for a frontal or lateral lisp which facilitate correct placement and is a coarticulatory context. We then practiced making minimal changes from word to word (BEETSEET, MITSEET, WEITSEET, etc.) to develop this correct motor pattern. Using an articulation deck and pulling words out at random without any rhyme or reason, is not going to develop the correct motor pattern. And finally, over the coming weeks, my students will be practicing these non-words over and over until their placement pattern is solid and then move into real phrases, sentences and conversation.

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Upcoming presentations are September 24 in Fremont, CA and September 25 in Elk Grove, CA. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/

I am also planning to do a live 6 hr. webinar (two 3 hr. evenings for CEUs in December. Keep watching the website: https://satpac.com/ and details will be in upcoming newsletters.

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

Looking for professional development for your school district or organization? Contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

Checking In

July 14, 2018 12:00 am Published by

I hope you are having a relaxing and/or productive (take your pick) summer. I’m having a little of both with some family trips, hanging around the house as well as preparing for fall workshops and updating my presentations.

Coming up, I’m doing an ASHA event on Remediating the /r/ and /s/ Sounds (https://www.asha.org/events/live/08-08-2018-remediating-r-and-s/).It is August 8 at 4:00 Pacific Time and lasts 2 hours. You will have the opportunity to win 2 SATPACs and if you participate, you will be able to purchase SATPAC for $100 instead of the normal $199.

I also have two California workshops coming up–September 24 in Fremont and September 25 in Elk Grove. The following month I’m doing a two-day workshop in Germany and more upcoming but not scheduled yet. I’m considering workshops in February in Florida which I’ve never done before. If your area or school district might be interested, please let me know.

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

Looking for professional development for your school district or organization? Contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

Difficult /r/ Kids

March 17, 2018 12:00 am Published by

I find remediating the /r/ sound to be extremely satisfying because it is typically the last sound learned and the hardest. I have a good grasp of what to do and when to do it and have had lots of success remediating most /r/ sounds in 7 ½ hours of therapy or less.

I use 3 infant tongue depressors taped together which function as bite blocks to stabilize the jaw and then a single infant tongue depressor situated under the tongue for proper placement.

I typically have the student say EE-EE-EERGA or EERSHA as these are facilitating contexts and the EE keeps the tongue wide and flat producing the back or bunched /r/. This achieves palatal constriction with the lateral margins of the tongue contacting the back molars. The ‘A’ sound at the end of EERGA or EERSHA facilitates pharyngeal constriction. Both of these constrictions are necessary for /r/. Typically I can get a good /r/ sound in the first session using these techniques.

However, sometimes my students balk at the whole idea of sticks in their mouths. Right now I’m working with a student who doesn’t like the sticks and doesn’t follow my directions. After about a month of frustration, I decided to work on successive approximations with this student. I started with the stabilization sticks, had him smile and say EE. We did sets of 50 repetitions of EE for a couple of weeks and that was all he needed to do. We then went to EEGA without the /r/ sound which he again could do. Meanwhile, he was getting used to stabilizing his jaw and experiencing success with what I was asking him to do. I then had him put the placement stick under his tongue and had him say EE-EE-EEGA (again without the /r/) and having him push the tongue back on the final EE. And then, I had him do EE-EE-EERGA. At that point I would show him occasionally how the placement stick needed to aggressively push the tongue back. He is still not consistent yet but he can make a good /r/ sound now.
(NOTE: This is just the beginning of my method. If you would like to see more, I have a free CEU presentation on the SATPAC website: https://satpac.com/ ).

Some kids object to the taste of the sticks in their mouths so I’ve used vanilla extract, chocolate or a sour fruit spray to mask the taste and this has worked.

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Upcoming workshops: April 12 and April 13 (sold out) in Elk Grove, CA and April 27-28 in So. Cal. Details at https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

Looking for professional development for your school district or organization? Contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

RtI Tier 3 for Articulation (Readers Comments)

February 24, 2018 12:00 am Published by

I asked for RTI comments from you and got a variety. Here they are:

I use Rti for articulation when a student is referred with a single sound error and is responsive to placement during screening. I usually treat for 8 weeks one time a week, adding them into an existing group or starting a new slot when available. I have had success with this model (sometime an extension on 8 weeks to 12 or 16 weeks), where the student remediates the articulation without entering special education. …


In my district we are not allowed to see kids at the elementary level unless that are on an IEP…


I have been doing RtI with articulation and phonology kids for the past 15 years. Up until 2 years ago, I used real words, but after taking the SATPAC training, I switched to your method. I typically put kindergarteners and first graders into RtI and see them for 5 minutes up to 4 times a week with the help of my speech assistant. I’ve had great results for k,g, l and s blends (errors are corrected within a semester, some in one quarter…


I reluctantly started providing RtI last year for students with artic errors who did not or would not qualify, but clearly needed help. I actually see the kids before school even starts. Parents and teachers agreed that they would walk in the door and come straight to my room for literally 5 minutes, 1-2 times per week. I have been truly amazed with the results! It has been especially effective for the younger students and I can’t believe how quickly change began to occur. I know I am keeping them out of special education and supporting reading development in the process…


What happened to the need for an evaluation prior to starting speech therapy with a background history, standardized test, oral motor exam, hearing screening? Why are children qualified for RTI speech therapy with only a screening, and then calling it “informal” speech therapy? Aren’t we taking away the professionalism of our field when we do this? …
I believe that RTI was developed to cut down on special education expenses, which were deemed to be too high. Now speech therapist have 8-10 children added to their caseloads, which they do not get credit for, on top of already high numbers. So this is the norm we have come to accept, basically increased work to cut down on costs at the federal and state levels. If one is writing goals and keeping data, it takes up just as much time as if they were on caseload…For me, RTI for speech therapy denigrates our profession.


Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Upcoming workshops: April 13 in Elk Grove, CA and April 27-28 in So. Cal. Details at https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/

I will be doing a 2-day workshop in Germany in October and there are some other tentative workshops set up in the next several months.

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

Looking for professional development for your school district or organization? Contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

RtI Tier 3 for Articulation

January 20, 2018 12:00 am Published by

My definition of Tier 3 intervention is that students work with me but are not enrolled in special education. The purpose is to see if they respond positively to the direct intervention that I provide. If they do, they are not referred for special education services. If they don’t, they are. I have found through the years, that almost all students I see respond positively and never go into the special education system.

Almost all of the information that I have seen given by SLPs involving RtI involves language issues. From my perspective, articulation/phonology should play a primary role in RtI. There are a ton of kids (particularly in kindergarten and preschool) who need help with fronting, s-clusters and the like. At the ASHA Convention, I went to a session that stated that the research shows a strong correlation between reading deficits and articulation/phonology deficits. Thus, they stated how important it is to remediate speech errors as early as possible.

I also realize there are problems inherent with RtI such as high caseloads that leave no time to do it, students moving to another school where the SLP isn’t offering RtI, no billing/payments for services, getting more schools/students added to your caseload because your enrolled caseload is low (due to working with RtI kids), etc.

Currently I’m doing a study with RtI articulation/phonology students. I work 2 days a week (I retired in 2011), have a caseload of about 20 and an additional 11 RtI kids (with 3 already remediated so I’m now working with 8). The older 3rd grade kids are mostly /s/ and /r/ issues and the kindergartners run the gamut from fronting, consonant cluster reduction/deletion to final consonant deletion. They are seen once a week individually for 10-15 minutes and are all making progress (i.e. they are responding to my intervention).

I’m curious to hear your thoughts and what your experience has been with RtI for articulation/phonology (steve@satpac.com).

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Upcoming workshops: Phoenix Feb.1 and 2. April 13 in Elk Grove, CA and April 27-28 in So. Cal. Details at https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

Looking for professional development for your school district or organization? Contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

January 1, 2018 12:00 am Published by

Happy New Year to you and your families. I hope this next year that we continue to make the world a better place through helping our students and clients improve their communication skills which tends to make them happier, more self-confident and more productive members of our society.

I received an email suggesting that I share with you where the SATPAC profits go. In case you were unaware, 100% of SATPAC sale profits are donated and this year I targeted homelessness and food insecurity.
The vast majority of the money went to 3 groups:

Alchemist CDC

Alchemist Community Development Corporation (CDC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Sacramento area residents in their efforts to create vibrant, equitable, healthy and diverse communities. They recently received a USDA Grant to work on the feasibility of a commercial kitchen where local cooks could come and produce their food for commercial sale. http://alchemistcdc.org/

Square One Villages

In Eugene, Oregon, Gib Hayes and his dog Sadie were among the first to receive keys to a tiny home at Emerald Village on December 23rd. The home was designed and built by Arbor South Architecture and a crew of dedicated volunteers. Dubbed “Gib’s Digs,” this tiny home comes in at 236 square feet-complete with a full bath, kitchenette, sleeping nook, and storage loft.

Prior to this, Gib was living in an unheated RV without plumbing. At age 75, his modest social security check was not enough to afford even the most basic apartment rental. But now for just $350 a month, Gib can afford a permanent place to call home at Emerald Village. This monthly fee covers utilities, maintenance and operating costs, as well as membership share in the housing cooperative that the resident can take with them if and when they decide to move out. https://www.squareonevillages.org/

Dakota EcoGarden

The goal of the Eco Village Project is to provide safe, sanitary, uplifting and dignified housing for the homeless in an environmentally sustainable manner and to provide a holistic environment that gives the mental, emotional and physical tools necessary to escape the endless cycle of homelessness. Completely funded through private donations, the Dakota EcoGarden has been a positive response to Fresno’s history of cruel and illegal treatment of the homeless. https://ecovillagefresno.org/

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Upcoming workshops: Phoenix Feb.1 and 2. Tentatively scheduled: April 13 in Elk Grove, CA and April 27-28 in So. Cal. More details later at https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: https://satpac.com/workshops/webinar

Looking for professional development for your school district or organization? Contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

SATPAC NEWS

October 1, 2017 12:00 am Published by

Every couple of years, SATPAC has a big special. The time is now! Instead of $199, SATPAC will be 1/3 off or $133. This includes the program as well as a .6 hr. ASHA CEU webinar on the SATPAC Program and Approach which can be used for CEUs or just for reference. This special will be good for October and November. To receive this special, use the coupon code 1/3 Off .

I begin my fall workshops in October going to Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Sacramento/Elk Grove and Palo Alto/Los Altos as well as 2 presentations at the ASHA Convention. Check this link for the specifics:
https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/

I got 2 unsolicited emails this week from SATPAC users. Here they are:

#1

I used your program throughout the day and it worked perfectly! I have an 8 year old boy with a lateral lisp that my director and I can not fix ! Today with your program the little boy and I were able to achieve success using cvvcvvc ( beetseet, etc….) He was very proud of himself and I was so happy for him!

Thank you for developing this fantastic program and I feel fortunate that I was able to learn from you…thank you… , (more…)