About Me

Heather’s Speech Therapy

Heather’s Speech Therapy is a speech therapy blog for speech therapists, parents, speech therapy assistants and other educators.  I love sharing materials and tips that I use in my speech therapy with all of you. I’m so glad you are here! Thank you for following my blog.  I started this blog when I was pregnant with my first daughter, Gianna Joy.  I knew I would be going out on maternity leave from my school speech therapy position so I wanted the families that I serve to have a place to get resources. 

I graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a B.S. in English and a minor in Speech and Hearing Sciences.  I then went on to pursue my M.S. degree in Communicative Disorders and Sciences from California State University, Northridge.  I am ASHA certified and licensed SLP in the state of California.  I also hold my Rehabilitative Services Credential.

My passion for speech therapy has led me to work with all ages ranging from infants (0-3) to adults.  I have worked in many diverse settings including; public, private, and charter schools, SNFs, and private practice.

I have also started my own private practice called, High Sierra Speech!

I’m a Pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom of 3 kids (ages 9, 7, & 5)! I love my family.  They keep me VERY busy! My oldest daughter is a survivor of stage 4 cancer and my miracle girl.  God is our rock and everyday is a gift from Him!

48 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Hi,

    I just came across your site and really appreciate it. My daughter had a fairly significant speech delay and was in therapy for a year from the age of two to three. But, she has always had issues with articulation with a variety of sounds including: th, s, z, and ch in all positions of a word. She seems to be able to make each of the sounds individually and can even say them in words if I coach her.

    I would love to utilize the worksheets you have on your site but I wondered if it matters which sound I start with her on? Meaning, I assume it’s better to start with s for example and get that up to speed and then start on another sound? Any tips you have would be great! And thanks so much for putting these resources online!

    1. Hi Heidi! Thank you so much for your question and I’m so happy to hear your daughter is progressing. Yes, s is a great sound to start with. S is a good one because it also is needed for grammar markers such a plurals. If she can imitate the sound when you model it for her, then she will most likely get those sounds in fairly quickly. If she cannot imitate you, then she will need more instruction on where to place her tongue and how to direct the air flow on the sounds and whether or not a given sound requires the voice. For example, s and z. /S/ is “quiet” no voice is needed and the /Z/ is “noisy” or requires voice. Of the sounds you mentioned, can she correct imitate the sound by itself when you ask her to copy you? How old is she now? Yes, starting with s and z sounds like a good start. Let me know if you have any other questions!
      Thanks,
      Heather

  2. Hello Heather,

    First I want to thank you for a wonderful resource. My students love to play the bingo games for the different seasons and it is a great way to reinforce the concepts, vocabulary and language structures.
    I was printing off the Spring and Easter(Pronoun) Bingo cards and when I went to print off the “D” Card it came up as “D” Card for concepts. I was wondering if there is a “D” card for the Pronoun section that I could print off.
    Thanks,
    Kent

  3. Heather,
    I was curious do you have worksheets for BL words, phrases. My son is currently enrolled in Speech Therapy and we have been using your sight for additional practices. Our therapists states he is progressing very rapidly since we started.

    Please let me know if you have them or can point me in the right direction.

    Thanks,

    1. Hi Paul,
      I don’t have L-blends at the moment, but I will add them soon for you! They are on my list! Thank you and all the best to you and your son! So glad he is progressing well!
      Love,
      Heather

  4. Hi Heather! I am so happy to have found your blog! I have been a practicing SLP for the past 12 years primarily in the public school system working with preschool kids to 5/6th grade. I have had to write SO many bilingual reports because of the diverse population in our area. I’m now your follower!

    1. Hi Nanette!
      So glad you are following my blog! I hope to add more this year! Yes, I’ve had many bilingual students as well! Always good to stay up on best practices with all our unique populations of students! Wishing you all the best! 🙂
      Heather

  5. Hello, I’m a speech therapist Assistant in Orlando, FL. Thanks for taking the time in posting all of these great materials.

  6. Hi! I’m Rachel and I am doing a senior project of Speech Therapy. I can not contact the teacher that I shadowed at the moment. I was wondering if I could email you a couple questions about my presentation because it is in a couple days! Thank you 🙂

  7. Hi I have tried to place an order for the poster on your website however, I am not sure it went through and I submitted twice but do not receive a confirmation. Is there any way to find out or contact you.

    1. Hi Karina!
      That is so strange! No I have not received an order from you! I can send you an invoice to pay then I will ship it to you ASAP! I don’t know why it wouldn’t work. I’m do sorry about that. I get orders all the time do it seems to be working. Email me your contact information and I will email you an invoice!
      heather@heatherspeechtherapy.com
      Thanks!
      Heather

  8. Samantha McDonald

    Hello ma’am. I came across your website from google search. I was wondering if there was a way to contact you to get your opinion on our sons speech development?! He turned 2in May and is just not speaking very much at all! We have contacted ECI in our area but still no word. We would love to get help from you if at all possible?!?!

    1. Hi Samantha! I will email you back asap. Thanks so much for contacting me! It is always a good idea to start speech therapy services as early as possible! It never hurts to get them tested to rule out any speech delay or to get him the help he needs right away. Thanks for your email. Look for a reply coming soon!
      Heather

  9. Hi Heather, I have to say I really enjoy your blog/website. You are definintly one to follow…. Thank you for sharing your insight/experience/talent!

    Looking forward to your upcoming blogs 🙂

  10. Hi Heather , how should I play these bingo cards? There are amazing games for speech therapy

    1. Just cut out the sheet of cards labeled “Bingo game cards” and put them in a stack. You can shuffle them so that they are in random order. Each player gets a game board and a handful of Bingo chips (plastic chips or any type of place marker to eventually cover up each space on their board as they try to get 5 spaces covered up either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally). Have each player take turns selecting a card from the game card pile. They will say the word, find it on their board, then cover it with a game chip or other place marker. The first player to get 5 in a row yells “BINGO!!” And they are the winner. You may want to keep playing and see who gets the next Bingo or until everyone has a Bingo. It really is up to you. I hope this explanation makes sense. I’m sorry I didn’t explain the game when I posted it! 🙂

  11. I just came across your blog after checking out Word to the Wise Speech — love it! And I love Starbucks too (I actually worked at Starbucks for 7 years while I was in college becomming an SLP). Adding your blog to my favorites!

  12. Heather,

    What a great website you have! I stumbled upon it looking for a simple chart for my preschool parents for sound acquistion–you would think after 20 years I would have many to choose from. I love yours. It is evident how invested you are in the field and in helping others. Love your favorite tools section as well. It would be such a great thing to encourage others to leave suggestions of what they use with various age groups, what they target, etc…always helpful to hear from others “in the trenches” especially with budgets being what they are. Here in N.H. resources are tight and I’m a huge fan of consignment shopping for my materials! Thank you! Amy

    1. Hi Amy,
      Yes, totally agree with you on that! It is a whole other world when we are actually the ones “in the trenches” – I use that expression too! My SLP friend Anne and I always say its so different when you are the therapist doing the day to day therapy and faced with making progress, do assessments, meetings, etc.
      I am looking into setting up a forum of sorts for that very reason! It would be so great to chat and exchange ideas or post ideas with other SLPs/educators about what has worked with various age groups/disorders. So glad you found my site helpful!
      Best,
      Heather

  13. Hi Heather! I was wondering if you could give any advice on taking the GRE’s? I’m an undergraduate student and I’m starting to get a little nervous. Any feedback would be great! Thanks!

    1. This is such a late response! I thought I had answered your questions. I’m so sorry, Alesha! I ended up buying a study book. I can’t remember who it was by. Princeton Review maybe? Anyway, they have so many to choose from. I studied that thing a lot! I’d recommended getting a prep book for sure!

  14. Melissa Chapell

    Heather, Could you please fix link to “initial n phrases”? Right now it leads to final n phrase page. Thanks! These worksheets have saved me tons of time!

  15. I am a graduate student studying to be an SLP and your website is wonderful!! Just wanted to say thank-you!

    1. Hi Amanda,
      Thank you! I love getting comments like yours!!
      I’m so glad you like the site!
      Hope your grad program is going well!
      Heather 🙂

  16. Hi Heather! I just found you on Pinterest and I’m excited to look through your websites for ideas to help my son!

    I have a question for you:my son is going to be 5 next month and he is really far behind with his speech. I took him to a speech therapist through the school district and they told me he’s in the 9th percentile. However, they told me there was no need for him to see a therapist and they sent me home with some worksheets. I’m going to check out the worksheets you have posted because the ones they gave me only require ME to read to HIM while he listens and they haven’t been effective.

    My question is actually regarding some dental work he got done recently. He was extremely tongue tied so his dentist clipped it for us. In addition to that, they placed a spacer on the roof of his mouth to help spread out the teeth in his upper jaw. Having a big honking piece of metal in his mouth has made his speech 10 times worse. He’s drooling a ton and he’s just so frustrated that he can’t pronounce his words.

    Is there anything special I should be doing to help him get used to the spacer in his mouth? It’ll be there for another 6 months and it’s killing me to see my son so frustrated with it 🙁

    Thanks for any help you can offer!

    1. Hi Monica,
      I know it can be so frustrating when you are sitting in a meeting and hear that although your son in low, he is not SO low that he qualifies for services based on the eligibility criteria in the schools. Interesting that they clipped his frenulum. That will hopefully improve his tongue mobility. Poor little guy! I’m so sorry he has to have that metal thing in his mouth. I’m sure it is making things even harder for him. Hopefully, as he get used to it (as if that were easy!) he will be able to compensate and eventually figure out how to swallow more easily with a foreign, metal thing in his mouth. As he gets more used to it, that also may help reduce the drooling. I know you said he is having more difficulty with speech now, however, I would not put too much pressure on him to work on his articulation for a little while as he is trying to adjust to the spacer. Once you notice he is more used to it, you could begin working on some easier sounds. If you would like more specific advice regarding sound teaching tips, you can email at heather@heatherspeechtherapy.com with more detailed information regarding the evaluation and recommendations that the school gave you.
      Just give him a little time to adjust and then go from there. I hope this very brief and somewhat vague answer will help you!
      Like I said, feel free to email with more details.

      Heather

      1. I just took a fabulous course from Char Boshart related to some of your questions She has also written a book solely based on the frenulum as well.

  17. Do you have any tips to help with teaching a student who laterally produces s, z, sh, ch, j? I have had success with other students, but we have not made any progress with the techiniques I’ve tried with her. Thank you

    1. Hi Laurel!
      I have been meaning to write a post on correcting a lateral lisp – my experiences have varied with treating this distortion, but I have found success recently using “Speech Buddies”. They are tongue placement tools that allow you to instruct your client or student on where to put their tongue using the “Speech Buddy” tool. I purchased the professional set which includes placement instruments for /r/, /l/, /s/, /ch/, & /sh/. They really are amazing tools.

      Here is a very brief overview of how I start treatment for a lateralized s/z. Begin by teaching the /t/ sound. The child can usually do this easily. Ask them to produce a /t/ sound very quickly which sounds like /t,t,t,t,t,t,t,t,t,t,/, then ask them to hold their /t/ sound to make a very long /t/ sound. By having them prolong the /t/ sound, it ends up (if they can sustain the tongue placement) sounding like a correct /s/ sound.

      Once they can produce a “long t” (really an /s/ sound) successfully, you would then use facilitating contexts (ba-ts, ca-ts) etc. to help this transfer into words, phrases, sentences, etc.

      Asking the student to turn on their voice while saying their “long t” sound, would hopefully help them say a correct, frontalized /z/ sound.

      For the sh, ch, and j sounds….I’ve used various techniques and cues that have worked. One thing you can do is shape /sh/ from /s/ by instructing your client to pull their tongue back while saying /s/. Some programs use straws to help direct the tongue and airflow centrally vs. laterally. I’ve also used a bite block to stabilize the jaw. I’ve tried teaching clients to stabilize the back sides of the tongue (say “eeeeeee” to feel edges of tongue touch upper, back teeth). There are lots of good cues and tongue placement strategies that may work. Have you used any of these?

      Like I said, I am really loving my Speech Buddies. If you have the money, it is a very worth while purchase! My most recent student with a lateral lisp can produce s,z,sh,ch, and j correctly after only a few sessions with the Speech Buddies. We are at the syllable level right now. I have also had great success with /r/ using the Speech Buddies. One of my students had such a distorted /r/ – I tried everything I could think of! Then I decided to order the Speech Buddies tools and in 2 sessions, he had an accurate /er/. He was so excited. It was a great moment!

      I will post more in depth on treating a lateral lisp in the next few weeks. Please feel free to email me with more specifics (i.e. what you have tried so far, any other existing issues your student may have) and I can then give you some better tips.

      heather@heatherspeechtherapy.com

      Heather

  18. Angela Patterson

    Hey Heather,
    My name is Angela and I too am an SLP. I just found your website and plan to browse a bit! I also wanted to share that I also have a daughter named Gianna!! She was born Dec. 31, 2010!
    We have great taste.
    Not looking forward for my school year to start in a couple weeks. I am going to miss my baby girl. But back to work reality!
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    1. Hi Angela!
      So great to hear from you – a fellow SLP and Gianna-mama! 🙂 Yay! Yes, we do have great taste!
      I love being a mom and am trying to prepare myself to be gone everyday again – our first day back to school is August 15th. I can totally relate to what you are feeling. I have lots of SLP friends who are mamas and have to work or choose to work – either way, we all still really miss our babies!
      Enjoy browsing my blog. I hope to hear from you soon!
      Take Care,
      Heather

  19. Kristina Katalina

    Hey Heather,
    I’m in my third year studying Speech Therapy in South Africa and came across your site while hunting down inspiration for a rather difficult client. I started assessing a child who has ASD and acquired CP after an MVA 2 years ago. He has been referred for a voice assessment however I was unable to do much with him as his receptive language is poor. My tutor recommended I do a bit of research but I’m struggling to find decent texts on voice assessment for special needs children. Any advice?

    Thanks for the amazing work you’ve done and all the effort you’ve put into helping others.

    1. Hi Kristina,
      Thanks for your question. South Africa is an amazing place!
      You can do a formal or an informal voice assessment. An informal assessment is usually called a perceptual voice evaluation. Basically, what does the client’s voice “sound” like. You describe the various vocal parameters by noting characteristics of your client’s voice. For example, does it sound hoarse, breathy, harsh? Is the volume loud, weak, or intermittently loud/weak. etc.? There are other factors that you will need to consider for this client with diagnoses of ASD and CP.
      Here is a list of some other voice assessments for kids. I’ve used the Boone Voice Program and really like it.

      Voice Assessment: Children

      Boone Voice Program for Children-Second Edition
      The Voice Index
      Voice Assessment Protocol for Children and Adults (VAP)
      Voice Impact Profile (VIP)

      Heather

  20. Hi, I just graduated high school and plan on majoring in Psychology and was thing about looking into Speech Therapy.Any helpful information or even how you got into it would really be nice. Thanks(:

    1. Congratulations on your graduation! Isn’t it crazy how fast high school goes by? One minute you’re a freshman and the next minute your graduating! Where are you planning on attending college?
      By the way, so glad you asked me this! I love helping students along their journey so if you need any advice, please feel free to email me at heather@heatherspeechtherapy.com. I really didn’t have any mentors already working in the field of speech pathology when I started school, so I want to be available if any students or soon-to-be grad students need someone to talk to about the degree process or the profession itself.

      I love Speech Pathology. I thought I wanted to be an English teacher, but was never 100% sold on the idea. I also wanted to be a neonatal nurse. Still undecided and searching, I stumbled into the Speech and Hearing Sciences advisor’s office on the UCSB campus. She met with me, explained the degree and courses, and I immediately started taking classes. I knew it was the right decision!
      Prior to that day, I was a vaguely familiar with Speech Therapy. My brother had seen a speech therapist in elementary school. My dad was a school principal so he always told me he thought I’d be a good speech therapist! I ended up visiting the speech therapist at his elementary school and really loved the profession. I loved that it was a helping profession, I liked the small group or one-on-one setting, I liked the scientific and diagnostic nature of the field, and I also really liked the wide range of people we can work with! (infants to older adults).
      If you are at all interested in Speech Therapy, find a local Speech Therapist and go visit him/her. I’m sure they would be happy to let you observe them for a little bit to see what it’s like. If you have any other specific questions, please do send an email.
      Best Wishes,
      Heather

  21. Hi Heather! Thanks for commenting! Its great to find sites like yours! Very inspirational. I have already forwarded your blog onto my SLP friends in the graduate program and they love it as well!

    1. Hi Kendra! Your blog is great too! If you or or any other grad students need ANY help or advice, I’m always happy to help you out! We need more mentors in our field! Thanks so much for sharing my site with your friends! I’ll add your blog to my links page!

  22. Hello Heather!

    I wanted to tell you that I just came across your blog and I love it! I am an SLP in Minneapolis, MN. I am a little bit of a blog and Pinterest addict, and spend way too much time surfing around looking for great sites. 🙂 So glad I found yours!

    After checking out many of your posts and history, and you have some really gret ideas. I have been an SLP for 17 years now working with elementary age kids. I am so appreciative of folks sharing knowledge, resources and ideas like you do.

    I also have a blog/website if you would like to check out. I focus mostly on social/emotional communication skills, pragmatics. I was just featured on the ASHAsphere blog as one of the best SLP Blogs A-Z. Lately I have been sharing more and more about technology, apps and promoting other blogs out there. My site has been up for almost 3 years now. I just hit 1,000,000 site visits in early March! 🙂 I added your site to my blogroll right away. I follow probably 40+ speech blogs and probably another 50 teacher & technology blogs – if you want to find more sites – check out my blogroll, it is on the lower right portion of my front page. I am on Pinterest too. A gal can easily lose 6-7 hours without eating, peeing, or tending to one’s children, on Pinterest.

    Anyway, better run 🙂 Check out my site if you get a chance – I would love if you added me to your blogroll – the site is: http://jillkuzma.wordpress.com

    Thanks again for a great sharing site!

    Best wishes….Jill Kuzma

  23. Hi Jill!
    Thank so much for visiting my blog! Please let me know how it is going with your 7 year as you work with him on correcting that lisp. I am very happy to answer any questions you might have along the way. My heart goes out to your son! Kids can be really insensitive sometimes. Let him know that lots of kids say their sounds differently and that there are ways to help correct those differences! It may be hard at first – changing any habit is – but follow the steps I’ve outlined “correcting a frontal lisp” and “the process of articulation therapy” and this should help him improve. Good luck…and yay for homeschooling moms!!
    Heather 🙂

  24. I am a home schooling Mom to 6 children. My 2 older boys had speech issues that “self corrected” as they began to read. My 7yo son has a lisp & was picked on by another child at basketball the other night. This really upset him & he told me he wants to speak right. I found your site very helpful & wanted to say “Thanks!!” I’ll let you know how it goes:).

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