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Guest Blog: A Myriad of Materials - featured November 22, 2010

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copyright 2010, ITeach2Talk. Reprinted with the permission of the author as appeared on her blog site

As any speech-language pathologist ad SLP student knows, materials that we use for therapy can be quite costly. During my online adventures traveling through the world of speech therapy resources, I have gathered a collection of ideas to share with you to help you in acquiring free and low-cost materials for your materials library.

Many free or low-cost communication and literacy apps and podcasts are available for download from iTunes© – which is also a free download in itself. Hooked on Phonics® and Sesame Street® video podcasts are of extremely high quality and are all completely free. The beauty of video podcasts is that you do not need a separate device such as an iPad® or iPod Touch® to view them. They are fully viewable through the iTunes program on any computer with a high-speed internet connection.

Dollar Tree® stores have a book section that carries quality phonics and reading books and flash cards with popular characters such as Barbie©, Disney®, Spider Man®, and Sesame Street®. They also offer products including award certificates, motivational stickers, ribbons, die cuts, and designer computer paper…and absolutely EVERYTHING in the store is only $1.00! Grab a cart when you go.

eBay© sellers offer new and used therapy materials at a discount from well-known companies such as Linguisystems©, Super Duper®/Webber®, and the like. There are a great many deals to be found here. Some of the sellers are SLPs like yourselves who have cleaned out their therapy closet and some are simply people who have come across the items and are trying to unload them. Either reason equals a deal for you.

Google© Images can be used to locate particular images that you have in mind by performing a simple search. Most of the images are actual photos and you can print and laminate them singly or as social/sequencing story boards. Also, simply do a web search on Google© for “free speech therapy materials” and then buckle your seatbelt for the results!

Favorite standby (and newly arrived!) resources for SLPs such as Handy Handouts®, Super Duper®, Home Speech Home©, Linguisystems©, and Speech Therapy Ideas© offer free printables, activities, and samples on their web pages.

Social networking is so much more than keeping in touch with friends and long-lost classmates. I have learned so much by following those currently involved in the SLP field. Follow or friend app developers such as Smarty Ears© and Moms With Apps© in order to gain access to promotions for free or discounted apps. Companies such as Pearson©, Super Duper®, and Handy Handouts® offer free downloads via social networks, also. When you read an article of interest to you, search for the author’s or subject’s name or company and connect with them. Check your networks daily, or you may miss out on a really great deal! It doesn’t take long and the rewards are worth the little amount of time you will spend.

Buy yourself a large-capacity external memory hard drive to keep your therapy files on for easy access and transport. Your computer’s memory will thank you for not bogging it down with the enormous amount of information that you will collect.

Goodwill© retail stores, yard sales, flea markets, family members, friends, and yourself are great resource for toys and games. My daughter is four years old and I look through the toys and games that she has outgrown to see if they can be used for therapy before giving them away.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope that reading through it has started your creative juices flowing. I am CONSTANTLY thinking of different ways to obtain and use materials. It was difficult at first to train my mind to see potential in some of the items I came across, but now it is second nature. No matter where I go, I am always scouting for them. I will be well-stocked by the time I become a bona fide speech-language pathologist!

Tags: Article SLP Newsletter 26 November 2010