Summer 2021 Continuing Education Opportunities for SLPs

I hope that we spend most of this summer relaxing, but it is a great time to earn some CEUs or build up knowledge in an area of growth. Here is a list of current summer 2021 continuing education opportunities for SLPs.

AAC in the Cloud

AAC in the Cloud is a massive free online conference focused on spreading the knowledge of best practices in AAC so families, teaching staff, practitioners and AAC users themselves can learn and improve. AAC in the Cloud just concluded on June 24, 2021, but all of the sessions are available hosted through YouTube. Best of all, past AAC in the Cloud conference sessions are also available.

Click here to check out the AAC in the Cloud schedule.

From Speech to Print: The Role of the SLP for Literacy – Free Course from

As SLPs, we often question our role for students with literacy issues including dyslexia. Each domain of language plays a vital role to move from speaking and listening to reading and writing. This session concentrates on morphology, phonology, and syntax. Evidence-based practices and specific strategies are provided that link speaking and listening with reading and writing.

This webinar is available for .1 ASHA CEU with ASHA reporting included. Click here to check it out.

If you are not a member already you can take one free course on using promo code 1FREECourse.

Presence Learning

Building Better Readers Through Early Collaborative Partnerships is a one-hour webinar available on-demand on Presence Learning.

Description: Progress in creating literate learners is the cornerstone of education and a high-stakes yardstick by which academic performance is measured. Silos of school-based services are how we’ve traditionally helped students with special needs who are at-risk for reading failure. But now, there’s a new collaborative and results-oriented approach: parents and educators working together to provide individual early reading experiences that develop literacy skills for every learner. During this webinar, we’ll explore why, how, and what we read in shared reading interactions with young children and how to develop critical foundation skills for reading success. You’ll see examples of books, techniques, and practical ways to help young learners succeed.

Click here to check it out.

Leaders Project

The Leaders Project offers self-study courses for 0.5 ASHA CEUs. Current topic offerings include Grammar Fundamentals for a Pluralistic Society, Differential Diagnosis in Preschool Evaluations: A Case Study, Disorder, Difference, or Gap?: A School-Age Disability Evaluation, Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate EI Evaluations, and Evaluation and Treatment of Speech Impairments Due to Cleft Palate.

Check them out here.

Pearson Assessments

Check out the webinars available by Pearson to help improve your assessment skills. Click here to check it out.

Ethical Decision-Making: A Public Health Emergency and Unprecedented Challenges by Theresa H. Rodgers, MA, CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow

Course Description: Response to the COVID-19 pandemic evolved rapidly with the public health emergency forcing speech-language pathologists to change the very manner in which services are delivered. Regulatory agencies and professional organizations provided needed guidance including information on changes to long-standing professional practice standards precipitated by the pandemic. Personal protective equipment (PPE), billing and reimbursement, informed consent, supervision, telepractice, confidentiality, and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) compliance are some of the topics which presented dilemmas and potentially ethical challenges for speech-language pathology professionals. This session will highlight information on these topics including scenarios that will be analyzed and deliberated by participants.

Available for .1 ASHA CEU. Click here to check it out.

Power Up SLP Literacy Conference August 5-6, 2021

The Lavi Institute is offering 1.4 live ASHA CEUs or 14 professional development hours sharing the latest EBP clinical tools from the field’s leading experts in literacy. The conference videos are available to watch for free. To receive ASHA reporting you would need to sign up for the Lavi Institute CEU Hub ($125/year), which includes 40 additional pre-recorded webinars available for ASHA CEU Reporting.

Check the conference out here.

SLP Summit July 26 – 29, 2021

Free practical continuing education delivered by SLPs. SLP Summit offers 8 one-hour webinars available live or on-demand for a limited time. The specific webinar lineup has not yet been announced, but the following topics were listed on the website: caseload management, stuttering, family-centered intervention, dynamic assessment, service delivery, AAC, anti-ableist practice, narrative intervention. The webinars are available for free with certificates. ASHA reporting is usually available for an affordable price.

Click here to sign up for updates as more information is released.

Unbelievable Deal: Unlimited CEUs with ASHA Reporting from

If you need to get a lot of high-quality CEUs with ASHA reporting this summer, make sure you check out has over 1148.5 hours of courses with new live and interactive courses being added weekly. Enjoy automatic CEU reporting and a huge variety of courses presented in different formats for a super reasonable yearly cost.

Check out all that has to offer by clicking here.

Let me know if you check out any of these CEU opportunities! Thanks for reading!

Read with Me PD: Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Synopsis: “Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others). In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose-and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action in a unique book that will change how we think and transform how we live.”

The big focus of Drive is that all people are born curious, intrinsically motivated, and in desire of autonomy. It is the focus on extrinsic rewards that turns us into mice in a maze just seeking out that cube of cheese.

Below are my biggest takeaways as a pediatric SLP from Drive by Daniel H. Pink. If you see something interesting, please check this book out for much more information and specific research studies from which this information is derived.

Extrinsic Motivation: “if, then” reward systems

When an extrinsic reward is offered before a task has even begun, the task is immediately perceived as undesirable. Perceiving a task as undesirable before even attempting it takes away the autonomy of possibly finding joy, interest, or challenge in the task. If you are primed to view the task as undesirable, you are unlikely to meaningfully engage in the activity in the first place and you are less likely to pursue additional opportunities to engage in the task.

Lepper et. al (1973) conducted a study on preschool-age children, who demonstrated a personal preference for drawing. The children were divided into three groups. Group one was promised a reward after the study, group two was given a surprise reward after the study, and group three had no rewards mentioned. All children were asked to draw a picture and then given their reward or not depending on which group they were assigned. The children were then watched over several weeks to see how much they would continue to pursue opportunities to draw. The results of the study indicated that those children promised a reward showed a significant decrease in intrinsic motivation to pursue opportunities to draw. They actually chose to draw half as many times as they did prior to the study.

Several research studies demonstrated that offers of extrinsic reward narrowed the person’s focus, which negatively impacted their productivity, creativity, flexible thinking, and problem solving abilities. Offered a reward, the person simply rushes to reach the end result for the reward, which decreases their opportunity for long term learning and minimizes carryover of skills.

Intrinsic Motivation: “Now that” reward systems

“Now that” rewards are basically naturalistic consequences and specific positive feedback that follow completion of a task. “Now that we finished retelling the story, let’s pick out a new book.” “Now that you finished saying that word, I noticed you kept trying when it was difficult to place your tongue in the correct position to make the /r/ sound.”

In the Lepper et. al (1973) study referenced above, the children who were randomly given a reward after they finished drawing or who were given no reward showed no significant changes to their level of intrinsic motivation.

For “now that” rewards to be successful, they should arise naturally after the task has been completed. The consequence should be something that would naturally follow, like a break or a special interest, rather than a piece of candy or a small trinket. Specific feedback can also serve as a natural consequence. Feedback is most beneficial when it provides specific information about what the child did successfully. (For more information on providing specific feedback, check out this post!)

Have you read Drive by Daniel H. Pink? What were your takeaways?

Thanks for reading!

Evidence-based Decor Decisions

Are highly decorated classrooms distracting?

Several researchers (Fisher et al. 2014 & Rodrigues & Pandeirada 2018) have found that children are more easily distracted in highly-decorated environments resulting in poorer learning opportunities and achievement. If you spent a few minutes with a young child in a toy store, this should make perfect sense to you. 

Imuta and Scarf (2014) published a response to the Fisher et al. study citing several other research articles analyzing the development of visual attention in children and the impact of the classroom environment on learning potential.

Imuta and Scarf first remind the reader that many psychological studies involving children rely on the developmental cognitive strategy of attending to and preferring novel stimuli. Therefore, their first rebuttal to research indicating highly-decorated classrooms as a distraction to learning is the habituation effect. Basically, when children first enter your learning space, they may be overloaded by colorful displays, but overtime, they will adjust, and the decorations will have a transient impact on their attention.

The authors further cite additional research that has found carefully curated classroom decorations, such as visuals made by students and educational references, can serve to support our students. They recommend keeping classroom decorations the same and in the same spot to take advantage of habituation and support student access to the visuals.

Image of speech therapy bulletin board featuring A Perfect Blend Teaching Interactive Language Bulletin Board
My speech therapy room’s bulletin board featuring Perfect Blend Teaching’s Interactive Language Bulletin Board set available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

What environmental factors impact student attention and learning?

Barrett et al. (2013) took a holistic approach looking at several environmental factors and their impact on student learning. Seven factors were identified to best predict student progress: light, temperature, air quality, ownership, flexibility, complexity, and color.

As SLPs, we are often lucky to have a dedicated space, nevermind one with optimal lighting, temperature, and air quality. Those factors are generally outside of our control. Though if you are trying to make the case to get out of your broom closet, there is research available to support your argument.

What we do have control over is the individualization and stimulation level of our therapy spaces. Here are a few summary points from the findings of this article:

  • Visual displays created by the children established a sense of ownership, which was significantly correlated with optimal learning outcomes.
  • The flexibility and comfortability of classroom furniture were correlated with optimal learning outcomes.
  • Younger students exhibited better learning engagement with varied, defined learning zones, while older students performed better with consistent, dedicated learning zones.
  • Students performed best in rooms with light or white walls with a feature wall or well organized colorful displays.
  • Students of all ages performed best in places with an intermediate level of visual complexity.
Image of my speech therapy classroom

Special Considerations

“The visual appearance of the classroom can be conceptualized as a nonverbal statement about the teacher who has structured this learning environment.”

Weinstein & Woofolk (1981)

Cheryan et al. (2014) investigated the impact of classroom decor on student achievement. Here are the most important findings:

  • Multiple research studies indicated that decor decisions favoring the majority (examples: Christian religious displays, images of only white students, pictures of diverse students filling only stereotypical roles) directly impacted the educational performance of female students, Black, Indigenous, and students of color, and students of minority religious groups.
  • The research indicated that small changes to classroom decor improved learning outcomes for all students and helped reduce racial and gender achievement gaps.

Whether they acknowledge it or not, our students notice the objects, pictures, and decor decisions in our classrooms.  Therefore, we should be careful not to feature objects that acknowledge only high-status or majority groups or make students from historically underrepresented groups feel excluded. The authors urge you to keep in mind that the objects and decor added to your space to reflect students belonging to minority groups and cultures should be carefully curated in an effort not to constrain students to limited, stereotypical roles.

“[Our decor choices] signal to students whether they will be valued and encouraged within the classroom.”

Cheryan et al. (2014)

Considerations for Teaching During the COVID-Pandemic

The authors of Designing Classrooms to Maximize Student Achievement (Cheryan et al. 2014) reported that the same evidence-based practices, summarized above, for in-person classrooms apply to virtual classrooms. So, if you will be using a Bitmoji classroom this fall consider the level of visual stimuli, incorporating student ideas, representation of all students, and defining your learning zones.


Thanks for reading!


Barrett, P., Zhang, Y., Moffat, J., & Kobbacy, K. (2013). A holistic, multi-level analysis identifying the impact of classroom design on pupils’ learning. Building and environment59, 678-689.

Cheryan, S., Ziegler, S. A., Plaut, V. C., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2014). Designing classrooms to maximize student achievement. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences1(1), 4-12.

Fisher, A. V., Godwin, K. E., & Seltman, H. (2014). Visual environment, attention allocation, and learning in young children: When too much of a good thing may be bad. Psychological science25(7), 1362-1370.

Imuta, K., & Scarf, D. (2014). When too much of a novel thing may be what’s “bad”: commentary on Fisher, Godwin, and Seltman (2014). Frontiers in psychology5, 1444.

Rodrigues, P. F., & Pandeirada, J. N. (2018). When visual stimulation of the surrounding environment affects children’s cognitive performance. Journal of experimental child psychology176, 140-149.

Read With Me PD: The Power of Our Words (Part 4)

Read With Me PD: The Power of Our Words Blog Reflection Series

This month, I am reading The Power of Our Words: Teacher Language That Helps Children Learn by Paula Denton, EdD. This text is recommended reading, as part of the Responsive Classroom Model to teaching. I am reading and reflecting on this book as an SLP working with early elementary-aged children.

General Guidelines for Teacher Language: 

1. Be Direct.

2. Convey Faith in Students’ Abilities and Intentions.

3. Focus on Actions, Not Abstractions.

4. Keep It Brief.

5. Know When to Be Silent.

Denton, P. (2018). The power of our words: Teacher language that helps children learn. Turners Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children.

The author of the Power of Our Words speaks of conveying faith in students’ abilities and intentions through the language that you use. This made me think of the concept of presuming competence, which is a common theme in the field of special education. When you are focusing on identifying and addressing areas of weakness, it can be easy to fall into the trap of promoting learned helplessness and taking a weakness-based approach. Presuming competence creates a noticeable difference in student engagement.

If we are practicing the teacher language outlined in The Power of Our Words, we have already established clear expectations in our classrooms by being direct and focusing on action. We have also created a foundation of trust with our students by being genuine listeners. Now, it is time to presume competence. Our students are capable, and they need to believe that we view them as capable. Presuming competence means trusting that students can rise to our expectations, given small supports, which is where the concepts of reminding language and redirecting language come into play. 

Reminding Language

Reminding language places ownership of classroom expectations on the student. It prompts them to remember the expectations for themselves. The school adjustment counselors in my current district recommend using reminding language to help students learn to self-regulate their anxieties. Children with anxiety may struggle with continuously asking questions to get reassurance that the answer and expectations have not changed. Using reminding language helps the students learn to reassure themselves. 

Reminding language is asked as a question in a neutral, direct tone. For example, “Tell me how we will walk back into your classroom when speech is all done?” Reminding language is only effective in calm situations, and when you follow up to see that the students’ actions reflect the answers they just provided. 

Redirecting Language

Redirecting language is brief, specific statements that immediately stop and change the direction of a students’ behavior. When you redirect, you want to directly, but discreetly call on the particular student and explicitly label the wanted behavior. For example, “Ben, freeze. We use safe hands at circle time.”  

Naming a consequence in your redirecting statements implies that we do not expect the student to follow through with our expectations. When children feel like they are not capable, they manifest that belief. Using threats and consequences emphasizes our capacity as an authoritative figure with the power to get students into trouble, rather than focusing on the students power over their actions. Furthermore, consequences, turn fixing mistakes into punishments rather than opportunities to learn and grow (Denton, 2018 p. 27). 

Managing Your Anger

“[Anger teaches] children to either comply with or rebel against [your] will rather than teaching them self-control.”

(Denton, 2018 p. 121)

Working in the schools is difficult. Spending hours on end with children, while extremely rewarding, is exhausting. We all get frustrated. We all feel anger. How we handle our anger matters because it sets the tone of our relationships with our students. Using reminding language, consistently and early, while the problems are still small, can help prevent situations that provoke anger. 

Having a take a break chair available for students, when you need a minute to decide how to proceed, can be an important preventative measure. I have a comfy papasan chair with tons of fun pillows and a stool to place your feet on in the corner of my speech therapy room. At the beginning of the year, I explain that this is our take a break chair. We take time to discuss the purpose of the chair, which is to help us calm down and return to being ready to learn. We also discuss how we get access to the chair, which is either I have told you to take a break in it, or you have calmly and respectfully requested a break in the chair.

One time, I asked a student to take a break and rejoin our lesson when he was ready to use kind words towards the other students. He fell asleep within seconds. Sometimes, taking a break helps you see the real problem. For this student, the problem was being cranky from not sleeping the night before.

I highly recommend reading The Power of Our Words for yourself! It includes concrete examples of what to say and when to say it, as well as more in-depth information about each of the general guidelines and types of teacher language. It also includes steps to begin practicing teacher language with your students.

It can be hard starting our with changing your language. I made this The Power of Our Words Reference Sheet, which I keep on my therapy clipboard, to help me remember the changes I am trying to implement.


Denton, P. (2018). The power of our words: Teacher language that helps children learn. Turners Falls, MA: Northeast Foundation for Children.

Thanks for reading!