Digital Divide

June 12, 2020 12:00 am Published by

At the end of last year, I wrote my reflections on the year. I finished it with:

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

Needless to say, this year has been like no other in the last 40 years. When schools shut down in California in March, it became very clear that my school district had a big problem. I work for a district that has one Preschool through 8th grade school in a low SES primarily farm worker town about 30 minutes from my city.

What happened with my district is particularly relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement happening in our country. According to the Pew Research Center in a survey conducted last year, Black and Hispanic adults are significantly less likely to own a computer or have high speed internet in their homes.

In my district, the plan was to switch to online learning or sending packets of work home on a weekly basis. It turns out that virtually none of my families had the internet so until 3 or 4 weeks ago, my therapy involved sending papers home to practice and calling and/or texting parents to check in with them. It turned out that some parents didn’t take calls and didn’t have their phones set up for messages. Others didn’t respond. It was difficult to know if my students were doing anything speech or language related.

Then about 3-4 weeks ago, some hot spots were set up so students would have internet access and Chromebooks and tablets were sent home. At this point, other problems surfaced. Many students were incapable of checking their emails and clicking on the link for our meetings. Many parents had no clue how to do anything on the computer. Parents were told they could get set up by going to the school and getting help but not all of them did that.

For the students I could work with, the internet that we used was adequate but not the best. A big problem was that many of these kids come from large families and the students did not have a quiet place to work with me. It was not uncommon to have younger siblings making lots of noise, parents cooking and talking, radios going in the background, etc.

On the plus side, it was nice to reconnect with my students and give them some feedback about their speech/language issues. By our last session, I felt like with consistent sessions, my students would make progress.

I couldn’t help but contrast my experience with higher SES families where students have their own rooms, a quiet place to work as well as their own computers and excellent internet connectivity.

So while many problems exist related to the digital divide, I believe an important step that we as a nation should take for our students since we don’t know how long Covid-19 is going to be around, would be to have universal high speed internet available for all families in our country as part of public education. As education moves more and more online, all students need to have equal access to education.

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

Contact steve@satpac.com if you are interested in me presenting webinars for your school district or organization.

Free Live Webinar

April 4, 2020 12:00 am Published by

Now seemed like the perfect time to do a live webinar. Here are the details:

The SATPAC Approach: An Effective and Efficient Way to Remediate Speech Sound Disorders

A Free Live Webinar (limited to the first 1000 registrations) .6 ASHA CEUs

A recording of the free webinar will follow (also for .6 ASHA CEUs)

April 22 and 23 (4 PM – 7 PM Pacific each night, 5 PM – 8 PM Mountain, 6 PM – 9 PM Central and 7 PM -10 PM Eastern)

Presented by: 2011 ASHF Award Winner – Stephen Sacks, M.A., CCC-SLP

Description: As SLPs and SLPAs, we spend a lot of time remediating speech sound disorders and particularly the /r/ and /s/ sounds. Come learn how to use the SATPAC Approach to systematically remediate the 7 most common errors (/r/, /s,z/, /l/, /k,g/, /sh/, /ch,j/ and /th,TH/).

The SATPAC Approach incorporates conversation-like activities into the earliest phases of therapy (normal rate, natural prosody and coarticulation) along with other best practices (facilitating contexts, the use of nonwords and many repetitions) to quickly, efficiently and systematically remediate speech sound disorders.

Four recent peer-reviewed studies using these techniques with the /s/ and /r/ sounds showed that most students were remediated in 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours of therapy time for /s/ and 7 1/2 hours for /r/ (compared to ASHA NOMS data of 18-20 hours to move 1 step on their scale). Remediation of phonological processes, case studies and research will be included with hands-on opportunities to try out these new techniques.

Registration and/or Information for the workshops:
https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/free-webinar/

Email: steve@satpac.com
Website: www.satpac.com

And one of the most powerful statements about SATPAC comes from SATPAC users who have reviewed the program on the ASHA Online Buyers Guide: http://buyersguide.asha.org/Listing/Company/SLP_-_School_Related_Products/Articulation__Phonology/462024

And finally, comments made by participants in recent workshops:

– Great workshop!

– This workshop is awesome and came highly recommended by a colleague.

– This is super useful and all SLPs/SLPAs should know these effective strategies.

– Great workshop and I can’t wait to see my /r/ and /s/ kids.

– This program (SATPAC) has the potential to change how I remediate sound disorders.

– Loved this course! You are a very dynamic speaker with clear instructions.

– I feel like I can go back to school on Monday and start using these techniques and start making some progress. Yay!

– Excellent presentation.

– It was a great conference! Thank you.

– Excellent information! I feel that I can apply this information and these techniques to my caseload next week. You have given me a new outlook on articulation-and I’m excited to work on /r/ now.

– Great day of learning!

– One of the best courses I have taken in a long time.

– Thank you for your contributions to our field. So many of our students spend way too long in Speech Therapy for artic. errors.

– The information will be so useful to me with my clients. I can’t wait to try and use the program on my artic. kids. Info was very clear and practical.

– I enjoyed the whole thing-I was engaged from beginning to end. Thanks so much!

– Great conference! I can’t wait to use the SATPAC Program with my students.

– You are a great presenter!!

– Thank you for a great day of learning!

– This course was truly amazing. After twenty years in the field, I found that Steve presents information in a clear, concise way but it’s all game changing for my current skill set. He encourages a consistent analysis that probes errors more accurately, providing a process of therapy that clear surpasses many methods I’ve learned to date. He provides insight into methods that work across all settings: including the group and time constraints found in the school-based practice.

– In school, we learn all about speech disorders, delays, etc. We learn of course, developmental milestones, and a lot of anatomy, but nothing is mentioned about how to treat kids with speech/language issues. I basically graduated with no experience in providing therapy. The kids don’t want to know the extreme details about why they have a hard time-they want you to help them. Now I have some amazing tools under my belt to do that. I had speech in elementary school for a frontal lisp and the only thing I remember about it was my sticker book. I loved everything you had to say, teach and share. I also love your outlook on working with the kids-keeping a positive attitude and building a good rapport. I feel like they get overlooked so often, but it’s so important. Thank you so much!

Uncertainty

March 21, 2020 12:00 am Published by

Like so many of you, my life has changed dramatically the past couple of weeks. I’m basically not working and not going out. I tend to do well with routine, and it has been disrupted. A large part of my purpose in life for the last 40 years has been helping children with their speech and language problems and this has stopped. From the reading I’m doing, it doesn’t sound like COVID-19 at is going to end quickly in the U.S.

So, what to do? I’ve found a couple of things helpful. First, if you have the means, donate to your local Food Bank and/or other local organizations that are dealing with this crisis. While I have been inconvenienced, many people’s lives have been devastated and they need immediate help. Second, I’ve been sharing information that I think is helpful with family and friends which also keeps me connected with people in my life. My religious community is still working to make the world a better place.

Professionally, I’m thinking about what would be helpful with SATPAC. Even though most of us are not actively working with others, I decided to sell the program for half price ($100) for the immediate future. If you have been thinking about getting the program, now would be a good opportunity to play around with it so when therapy does resume, you could hit the ground running. For those of you who don’t know, I answer all SATPAC and articulation remediation questions typically within a day so you can email me if you have any questions. To purchase the program, go to this link: (https://satpac.com/purchase/) and use the coupon code SATPAC Half Price

I’m also thinking about doing a low-cost 6-hour webinar over 2 days talking about the SATPAC Program and Approach that I’ve found so successful over the last 25 years. This will probably be near the end of April as I’m assuming, we will not be going back to work after Spring break.

Wishing you all the best and, most of all, take care!

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

I’m doing less private workshops recently and more professional development presentations to school districts. If your district is interested, contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

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

Are Transfer and Generalization the Responsibility of SLPs?

February 16, 2020 12:00 am Published by

A School Psychologist recently shared with me an interaction he had with his school SLP. She was dismissing a student who had the /r/ sound in therapy but wasn’t using it in conversation. Her rationale was that he knows how to make the sound and it’s his responsibility to use it.

This always gets me agitated when I hear this as I think it is lazy and irresponsible on the part of the SLP. Thinking more kindly, it probably wasn’t taught in their professional training and it should have been. Transferring and generalizing speech sounds takes work, skill and knowledge and is part of the therapy process.

Using the SATPAC Approach, I begin transfer with phrases that are part of the SATPAC Program and have a prevocalic and postvocalic target sound in each phrase abutting all the various possible consonant combinations. The student is given a tally counter and has to push the button whenever he says the target sound. When I first began doing this, I was shocked by how often my students did not know when they were saying their target sound. Using this technique gets them to consistently self-monitor which is necessary at first for transfer. As they get the hang of it, the rate speeds up to a normal conversational rate which should be your goal. Often the student who has learned a speech sound, does not have the motor skill to be using that sound in conversation at a normal rate. This takes time and practice. The student is given a tally counter to take home and to use with homework.

From there we go to short sentences again monitoring with the tally counter. We do longer sentences then short stories. I use the S-CAT stories by Secord and Shine which have entertaining drawings to go along with the stories. Finally, if necessary, we work on conversation. At all of these levels, the student is using a tally counter to monitor their speech and is using the tally counter at home as part of their weekly homework.

If the student is not remediated, we continue by using their classroom reading texts and discussing their stories with the student continuing to self-monitor with the tally counter and then self-monitor without it.

When they are dismissed, I will do stability checks usually after 1 month and 3 months to make sure that they have not slipped back. If they have not, they have finished therapy.

All those steps might be necessary to get to conversational competence and are part of our responsibility as SLPs!

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

P.S. In case you didn’t read January’s newsletter, that’s my granddaughter Abby in the picture.

I’m doing less private workshops recently and more professional development presentations to school districts. If your district is interested, contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

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

Repetitions

January 25, 2020 12:00 am Published by

One of the critical elements in the SATPAC Program is having lots and lots of repetitions. While this may seem tedious, it is so important for changing the incorrect motor pattern of our students’ speech to a correct one. Think of how many times they have said their error sound incorrectly in their lives and we have to change all of that.

What made me think of this is a significant event that is happening in my life. My wife and I are watching our 9-month old granddaughter Abby during the workday Monday through Friday. (And my wife does it all on Tuesday and Wednesday when I’m at work). Watching Abby develop is really fascinating and it makes me wonder why I wasn’t paying attention to this when my infant kids were growing up (perhaps fatigue?). Anyway, as she is learning to crawl, walk, eat with a spoon, speak, etc., I see her doing the same movements over and over. Many things she figures out by herself like crawling but other things we reinforce. Using a spoon, for example, I will guide her hand into her mouth holding the spoon in a horizontal position. When she says “Da”, we repeat it and show her by our enthusiasm that what she said was a good thing. And we do that over and over as she does it over and over.

I’m not asking her to say “Da” 100 times counting on a tally counter like I do with my students (more typically BEETSEET or EERGA) but it is kind of the same idea!

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

I’m doing less private workshops recently and more professional development presentations to school districts. If your district is interested, contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

However, I will be doing an advanced SATPAC workshop in Phoenix Feb. 6 (https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/advanced-workshop/) and a regular workshop there Feb. 7 ( 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

A Lesson Learned

December 6, 2019 12:00 am Published by

I had an experience last year that I’m not proud of but turned out to be a good lesson for me. I was working with a preschooler that the mom brought in after school. One day she did not have her babysitter, so she brought his younger 3-year-old brother. If you’ve ever seen the movie based on the life of Helen Keller (The Miracle Worker), his behavior reminded me of her before she understood about communication. The mom had to hold him restrained and he grunted and cried the whole time.

The following week, I talked to the mom about getting him into a program at the county for kids with severe issues. She agreed and I made the referral. In the meantime, it turned out he had an IEP for autism, a cognitive deficit and other issues and was supposed to receive speech/language services and attend the regular preschool on our campus which did not seem appropriate. I waited for him to get into the county program because I wanted no part of this kid and I thought it would happen quickly. When it became apparent that there was no timetable for a kid to get into the county program, I started working with him thinking it was going to be a disaster.

In our first session, I found a couple of toys that he was interested in and did some behavior modification using the toys as a reward. Meanwhile, he had an excellent behavior specialist working with him at home and we collaborated with some speech/language activities. His language skills developed to the point where he could communicate and as a result was nothing like the kid I saw initially. After a short time, he was able to do a 20-25-minute session and stay on task!

He got into the county program and after a few months was reassessed. He did not have autism and his cognitive skills were much higher than previously thought so he was returned to my school.

Next week I start to work with him again and I have a new, improved attitude! The lesson for me was to keep an open mind and give kids a chance-particularly when they are preschoolers as testing and first impressions at that age might not be quite accurate to what their true potential is.

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

I’m doing less private workshops recently and more professional development presentations to school districts. If your district is interested, contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

However, I will be doing an advanced SATPAC workshop in Phoenix Feb. 6 (https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/advanced-workshop/) and a regular workshop there Feb. 7 (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

Update

October 11, 2019 12:00 am Published by

The reason I haven’t written a newsletter in a while is that I haven’t had much to share.

Here are some recent happenings:

    • I’m back at my preschool – 8th grade school for my 40th year as an SLP. I completed a 2-year RtI study with articulation students seeing them all individually for 15 minutes once a week. The preliminary look at the results show excellent progress with almost all the kids. I hope to have this as a journal article sometime in the future.
    • I did my first podcast for the Speech Link with Char Boshart.
    • I did an Advanced SATPAC 6-hour webinar for SATPAC users that took place on 3 afternoon/evenings in July. It is now up on the SATPAC website as a recorded webinar: https://satpac.com/sacks-workshops/advanced-webinar-2-2/

Pam Marshalla passed away in 2015 while working on her most important and biggest project. Her daughter Shanti has spent the last 4 years finishing it up and is soon to be released. It is The Marshalla Guide-A Topical Anthology of Speech Movement Techniques for Motor Speech Disorders & Articulation Deficits. I’ve been fortunate to get a pre-released version and have learned a lot. At almost 500 pages, it is a remarkable book.

Hope you are having a good year whatever your work setting is!

Stephen Sacks
SATPAC Speech

I’m doing less private workshops recently and more professional development presentations to school districts. If your district is interested, contact me steve@satpac.com for details.

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

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.