That’s the Ticket!

thats the ticket cover

I came across a packet of tickets at the Dollar Store last week in the teacher section.  They are blank ticket templates for student rewards, but another idea came to mind for me.  Why not use these for reinforcement of social skills that my students are working on, outside of the therapy room?  A dollar for 36 tickets isn’t a bad deal, but over time, it adds up, so I created my own free version and I am happy to share them with you HERE

How can you use these tickets?  I’m glad you asked!  First target a skill, one at a time is PLENTY!  Then meet with the teachers to talk about what the skill looks like (handouts are also a great idea) and give the student’s teachers blank tickets. Once you have teachers on board, prep your students about the tickets and what they mean.

When the teachers/staff see the student using the skill during the day, they can hand them a ticket. This is a fantastic way to collaborate with your gen ed/special ed teachers.  Talk to your special area teachers (P.E., art, music) and include your folks in the cafeteria, library and front office too.  It helps not only the student, but also highlights how other staff are an important part of social language support building wide!  You might see social language support and reinforcement “suddenly” occurring with more than just your student when the people notice how well it works 🙂

The student can then bring the tickets to you and you can decide how to reward them. Whichever reinforcer you decide on needs to have a lot of buy in from the student to work.  For example, I am willing to be “taught” the intricacies of how to play Mine Craft for 10 minutes, if that is what motivates my student!! It doesn’t have to cost anything and it definitely doesn’t have to be candy (althougham highly motivated by chocolate).  A few ideas:

  • If you have more than one student using these, put all the completed tickets in a big jar for a week and draw one name for a special treat such as line leader for the day.
  • Talk to mom and dad to see if the reward can be reinforced at home as well with something like 5 minutes of extra technology time ( again, whatever is of value to the student).  This is a great way to reinforce carryover of the target skill at home too.
  • If the student can earn 4 tickets in a month or generalize the skills successfully across 4 settings, then you might consider a bigger reinforce such as a popcorn party, lunch with a favorite teacher (hint: maybe it’s you!), having their ticket posted in a place of honor in the classroom or being the “special guest reader” with a younger class.
  • Consider using this ticket system as part of your data collection portfolio for the student.  Feedback outside of the therapy room is invaluable!
  • Don’t take away tickets.  Positive reinforcement is crucial!

Don’t be surprised if other teachers start asking you about what you are doing with your student and if you think it might work for their classrooms too.  You can just smile and tell them “That’s the ticket”!

Magically delicious ideas for March…


I am home from school today due to a sparkly and dangerous glaze of ice across north Atlanta!!  It’s hard to believe that Spring is just around the corner with temperatures in the 20s (and below!). As I sip my hot cocoa in my jammies today,  I thought I would share some packets and freebies from TeachersPayTeachers to get ready to tackle social language concepts as we March into the next month!

I created a social language packet with a St. Patrick’s Day theme   HERE   It’s more than 20 pages of figurative language, inferences, point of view and language activities that dovetail with Think Social concepts from Michelle Garcia Winner.

The Peachie Speechie has created this fun idiom activity for the popular Cariboo game HERE   Speech therapy is always more fun with a game, right?

I am loving this social conversation freebie from Nicole Ravettina  HERE  Great idea for homework!

One more freebie from the talented Jenna Rayburn is a cute leprechaun trap activity that aligns nicely with Michelle Garcia Winner’s Unthinkables and Superflex characters   HERE

Stay warm friends and with any luck, we will have springtime temperatures soon!!

The Broke SLP

broke slpWell, it’s January and by now all the school funds for materials or mini-grants are like my Christmas decorations, gone for another year.  However, we have a whole five months of school to go and the winter blahs are upon us.  Gray, dreary days mean it’s time to shake up our lesson plans as both the kids and the therapists get a bit squirrelly (especially when there is no outdoor recess for a week *shudder*).  What to do when the all your shelves hold are the same old, same old staring back at you and even the treasure box is running low on fun?

My wonderful CFs (clinical fellows-first year speech language therapists that I supervise) always inspire me with their creativity!  No one knows better how to stretch a dollar than a new grad.  I watched a lot of great therapy this week with my genius SLP newbies and wanted to share some free ideas to brighten up your therapy.  I am happily surprised when they grab onto the concepts of Social Thinking (Michelle Garcia Winner) for their students with social communication impairments.  This is a paradigm shift for most new grads (I still don’t understand why this is not included coursework in the communication disorders programs, but that is a topic for another day) and most have taken the information and run with it!   One activity I saw was the use of “expected/unexpected” visuals and videos to talk about perceptions and behaviors.  You can download the free therapy ideas with visuals here or from this great website here .

You can extend the ideas using these free printables for jigsaw puzzle pieces   (great for cause/effect activities or contrasting unexpected/expected behaviors) or making your own free game boards with social scenario questions (or using videos) here and here .  One more great free social activity packet from Speech2U  on TPT, has visuals, video links and great descriptions to use, making it a Slam Dunk.

Are you sensing a pattern here?  Free falls right into the sweet spot of our budget-woohoo!

Last but not least, if you have older students or just really want some great insight into our students with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), check out  .  Youtube has many videos by Alex that are worth a few minutes to watch! This is a treasure trove of ideas and understanding of the social world from the point of view of people who have social language impairments.  Alex Plank and friends delve into insightful discussions about dating, work, and what it means to be a person with ASD.  It offers great talking points (and ideas that can work into therapy) for our students in middle, high school and beyond.

What are your favorite freebies for social language therapy?  Don’t be shy, share them here!