Speech and Language

Promote language skills in toddlers using fun Bluebee Pals!

By | Speech and Language | No Comments

What is cute, educational, and a great model for your child? A Bluebee Pal! Bluebee Pals are an easy to use Bluetooth stuffed animal that connects to your devices. At Granite Bay Speech, we understand that every child has a preferred mode of learning. Some children prefer learning visually, verbally, or physically. When our therapists use a Bluebee Pal, your child will be stimulated visually, verbally and physically. Visually, and verbally your child will watch and hear multiple models of their targeted goal through the therapist and the Bluebee Pal. Our Bluebee Pal is soft and durable, perfect for your ‘hands on’ learner! Your child is encouraged to be hands on with this therapy tool. Studies have shown that children have a higher success rate for imitation when given multiple models. We connect our Bluebee Pal to cutting-edge speech-language therapy applications providing an attention-grabbing model in conjunction with therapist models. At Granite Bay Speech, we promote communication skills using the most effective therapy techniques and technology! Call us to learn more about all the exciting methods and tools available for you to use with your child!


Smart Palate

By | Promotions, Speech and Language | No Comments

SmartPalate System

 kim giana smart palate

At Granite Bay Speech, we provide our clients with the most advanced technology in speech therapy!

The SmartPalate System shows the students exactly where their tongue is supposed to touch their palate when producing different speech sounds. This biofeedback system consists of a customized acrylic mouthpiece with sensors that capture tongue-to-palate contact (the SmartPalate) and a software program.  Immediate feedback is provided to all users matching their tongue placement to the articulation patterns for their target sounds. These “tongue targets” allow speech therapy students to quickly produce sounds they have previously struggled with by simply positioning their tongue to light up the corresponding contact points for that sound. The SmartPalate assists the student to repeat sounds accurately time and time again with instant feedback that empowers the students to make even the most fine-tune adjustments on their own.

The SmartPalate quickly corrects articulation errors where the tongue makes contact with the roof of the mouth. These sounds include the most commonly treated sounds:  /r, s, l, sh, ch, k/ and among others.

The SmartPalate technology has been successfully used with many populations including individuals with oral motor disorders, phonological disorders, cleft palate, Down syndrome, Apraxia, Dysarthria, and speech disorders caused by stroke or traumatic brain injuries.

Contact us for more information at 916.797.3307 or



Improve Your Child’s Spelling!

By | Back to School, Speech and Language | No Comments

spell better app

Tired of seeing your child get frustrated when trying to spell? 

The “Spell Better” app is designed to help reluctant and struggling spellers get started on their journey of story telling and writing. Over time the app will not only help improve your child’s confidence, but also will  improve communication skills, grammar and spelling. The app offers a dyslexic and phonetic spell checker. It includes an option for word prediction as well as auto completion. There is even an integrated English dictionary, word highlighting and text-to speech capabilities. If that isn’t enough, Spell Better also allows the user to insert picture and rich text formatting.

A close friend of Granite Bay Speech says, “My brother has high functioning autism, and recently bought an i-Pad. His written expression has always been very limited. The i-Pad has given him for the first time in his life a desire to want to write! He (I must give him full credit as he discovered it first!) found an app called Spell Better. It has a lite version, and the full version is only $19.99. It’s similar to the full keyboard with word predictor that Proloquo2go has, with a few things that I actually like better. All of the letters and fonts are larger-sized, and fewer word choices pop up, so that word-selection is easier to make.   After the word is typed or selected, the individual can also hear the word being spoken. You can transfer the text to a document or email. My brother loves it!!


As well as common spelling errors, Spell Better will also help with…

  • Phonetic spelling erorrs (preshiusprecious, peturspictures)
  • Real-word spelling errors (peace → piece).
  • Word boundary errors (verynicevery nice)
  • Letter reversal and transposal
  • Skipped and repeated letters (probleyprobably)
  • Homophone substitutions
  • Missing or substituted vowels (“Ths is rly amzng” → “This is really amazing”)
  • Incorrectly conjugated irregular verbs (throwedthrew).

Spell Better will take this sentence:

I throwed the dall to my cuzin and wnt imside to ahve a peace ofcake.

And correct it to:

I threw the ball to my cousin and went inside to have a piece of cake.

Spell Better is FREE TO TRY! You can explore all core features including the word prediction, spell correction, and even text-to-speech in the free version. However, you need to upgrade in order to export your documents from Spell Better and to create new notes and save or delete older ones.

Benefits of upgrading to Spell Better Premium: $19.99

  • Ability to create new notes (a “+” button will appear at the top right).
  • Ability to export your notes by Email, PDF, printing, copying, Messages, opening in other apps (e.g. Pages), and more.
  • Priority Support.

The Spell Better app is one of many we recommend at Granite Bay Speech. For a complete listing of the apps we endorse, grouped by functional category, please see our website at :

If you have any speech, language, learning, communication or dyslexia related question, please feel free to contact us.

We are here to help!

Kindergarten Readiness

By | Back to School, Speech and Language | No Comments

Kindergarten… Are they ready? Transitioning into kindergarten is a big step, for the child and the parent. Whether your little one is coming from a public preschool, a private one or a home-based preschool program, the decision has to be made. As you make the transition to kindergarten, there are some basic skills that you’ll need to work on together before the big day arrives. Another thing you’ll need to consider as a parent is, “Will my child be able to keep up with the Kindergarten Common Core Standards?”

Kinder Common Core standards encompass the development of receptive and expressive language. It looks at basic oral communication skills, such as, forming a complete sentence to share information and ideas clearly. Students describe people, places, things, and events. The CCSS focus on peer-to-peer conversations with multiple exchanges through asking and answering. They need to know social rules, such as listening to others and taking turns speaking. Students in kindergarten are expected to identify and sort common words into basic categories (e.g., colors, shapes, foods). Students also use both general and specific language to describe events and common objects, which they do in both speaking and writing. They are required to understand one- and two-step oral directions and carry out the directions.

Here are a few tips on how you can prepare your soon-to-be kindergartener:
By the time your child is ready to begin kindergarten, he should be able to recite the alphabet with few problems and be able to recognize letters independently. These skills make up the foundation of reading and writing, and are emphasized heavily in most curricula. Tips: Read to your child at least 30 minutes a day. Make learning fun by marching around the house singing the alphabet or find items around the house that begin with each letter.

Shapes and Colors
Having a basic understanding of shapes and colors is one of the primary building blocks of cognitive development. Tips: Label common household items by its shape, color, or both. You can also have your little one help you sort laundry by color.

Social Skills and Behavior
If your child has never attended daycare, was not enrolled in a center-based group preschool, and doesn’t have siblings, he may not interact with other kids enough to gain the social skills he’ll need to navigate kindergarten. Helping your child to understand about behavior, manners and the importance of being nice is an essential task. Tips: Playing board games help your kiddo understand turn taking, sharing, and/or following directions.

You can refer to our 5-Year Checklist as a guide on what your child should be doing. Contact us for a consultation or evaluation. With Kindergarten sign-ups fast approaching, you want to be sure your child is ready!

Back To School

By | Back to School, Speech and Language | No Comments

back to school


As the start of school draws near and back to school commercials frequent your television, it’s time to develop your new back to school game plan. Lazy summer days are gone, and juggling homework, music lessons, sports, and social lives are back. At Granite Bay Speech, we want to help you have a smooth back to school transition and provide you with some tips on how to ensure the start of a great school year.

Add contact information for the school office and teachers to your smart phone and computer.
Before the first day of school check your school’s website or call the office for any important information. Obtain back-to-school checklists, important phone numbers, and e-mails such as the principal’s office number, the nurse’s office, and their teacher.

Establish school bedtime and morning routines one week before school starts.
Start a consistent routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day a week before schools starts. Sleep is essential for learning and you don’t want your child snoozing at his desk!

Eat protein rather than carbs/sugar.
Be sure to provide protein for breakfast to avoid the sugar rush. This will help your child pay attention all morning. Add proteins to your child’s lunches and snacks; protein provides consistent energy versus carbohydrate and sugar snacks.

Calm the nerves.
If your child is nervous about starting a new school year, remind them that the other students are nervous too. Remind them about their favorite school subjects or activities; friends, lunch and recess always seem to be at the top of most students’ list! If your child is starting a new school, try to attend all orientations available. If you are new to the area, walk around the school campus to help your child become familiar with the location of the bathrooms, the office and their classroom. If your child is nervous, volunteer to help his or her teacher decorate the room before the first day of school. Your teacher will appreciate it! In addition, Back to School nights are a great way for you to learn more about how you can support your child at home.

Another great way to calm the nerves and help your child prepare to go back to school is to read some books. Here are a few of our favorites:
It’s Time for School, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
The Night Before Kindergarten and The Night Before 1st Grade by Natasha Wing
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Berenstain Bears Go to School, by Jan Berenstain

Establish a place at home to gather backpacks and homework.
Make sure their backpack is filled with the essentials and leave it in an obvious place the night before school. Develop a routine for after school activities and homework.

Agree on a homework schedule.
Try to establish a set time frame for them to do their homework every day. Allow your child to sit in a chair, beanbag or on their bed as long as they are comfortable. Children are individuals and need individual accommodations. One of my children loved to read with the TV or music on and as long as she completed her homework, it was fine with us. Another child needed the room completely quiet and free of distractions so we accommodated her and made sure she had a clutter free desk and ear plugs. Set a timer and encourage your child to get up and stretch or run in place every 10-20 minutes to maintain maximum attention.

Have resources available to support learning.
Use reference cards or reminders to follow the step by step process for completing a task, (“first do __then do__”). Supplement with speech and language services if you feel you or your child needs tips or customized solutions for less stressful learning. We are only a phone call away when you have questions. Be sure to consult our wonderful website. We have spent thousands of hours organizing and reviewing the best resources to support families. Why spend time going from site to site when we have it all organized for you?

Have a great school year!

NSSLHA Conference: (Culture Communication & Collaboration)

By | Promotions, Speech and Language, Stuttering | No Comments


Granite Bay Speech’s own Nancy Barcal is a highlighted speaker at this years NSSLHA Conference!

NSSLHA is excited to announce our 11th annual conference; Culture, Communication & Collaboration on February 21, 2015. The conference will be held at:

University Union, Hinde Auditorium 
University of California, Sacramento
6000 J Street
Sacramento CA


Saturday, February 21, 2015 from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM (PST)

Nancy has over 30 years of experience working with stuttering and cluttering. She has been recognized locally, nationally and internationally for her high level of expertise. She provides you with techniques and technology based on cutting edge research.

Stuttering therapy has improved tremendously over the past ten years. Nancy’s GraniteBaySpeech therapy center has changed with the technology and improvements to bring you the 21st century therapy to an age old stuttering or cluttering challenge.

You may purchase tickets at:
Our speech team looks forward to seeing you there!


NSSLHA Officers

Time Ordered Agenda for CCC- Culture, Communication, Collaboration

7:00-7:50 am Registration and Breakfast

7:50-8:00 am Welcome
o Kelly Charest NSSLHA President
o Robert Pieretti, Ph.D., CCC-SLP Chairman, Dept. SLP&A at CSUS

8-9:30 am Breakout Session I- Stuttering and Cluttering: Identification, Treatment and Technology’
Nancy Barcal, M.A. CCC-SLP Director, Granite Bay Speech
o Referral Recommendations for Stuttering and Cluttering
o Therapy Techniques including Video Samples
o Use of Technology and Apps to facilitate best outcomes in stuttering treatment

9:30-9:40 am Break

9:40-10:40 am Breakout Session II- Evaluation and Eligibility Determination for English Learners
Maret Wilson, M.A. CCC-SLP
o Facts and Figures
o Understanding Bilingualism
o Professional Responsibility
o Evaluation Methods

10:40-10:50 am Break

10:50-11:50 am Breakout Session III- C-CHAT Center
Laura Turner, M.A. CCC-A, M.Ed.
o Newborn hearing screening
o Communication options for children with hearing loss
o Listening and spoken language as a communication option
o Services at the CCHAT Center Sacramento
ü Role of audiologist
ü Role of the SLP
ü Role of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher
o Appropriate expectations
o Understanding of the Listening Hierarchy
o Red flags
o Current research

12-1:00 pm Lunch Break

1:10-2:10 pm Breakout Session IV- NeuroService Alliance: Providing services for the community through
interprofessional experiential learning
Darla Hagge, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
o Greetings and introduction
o Current and future healthcare directions
ü Medicare
ü WHO: community-based services and alternative service delivery models
o Social and medical models
o Policies: LPAA, Joint Commission, ASHA Scope of Practice
o Experiential Learning, definition
o NeuroService Alliance: Current programs
o Student Learning Outcomes
o Current and Future Research
o Questions

2:10-2:20 pm Break

2:20-3:20 pm Breakout Session V- Apple Panel on Apps
o Speakers and Agenda TBA

3:20-3:30pm Break

3:30-5:00pm Breakout Session VI- Teaching Resiliency and Teamwork through Interprofessional Education
Nassrine Noureddine RN, MSN, Ed.D; Darla Hagge Ph.D., CCC-SLP;
William Ofstad Pharm.D., BCPS, CDE; Debra Brady DNP, RN, CNS
o Greetings and introduction
o IPEC and Resiliency: Definition, purpose, historical context
o Collaboration: Nursing, SLP, and Pharmacy
o Teaching Pedagogies: Didactic, Simulation, Group-based learning
o Student Learning Outcomes
o Current and Future Research
o Questions
5-5:30pm Conclusion and Raffle


Overwhelmed With Apps!

By | Back to School, Social Skills, Speech and Language | No Comments

So many apps, so little time! We know that iPads and iPhones are all the craze right now with children and adults. Which apps are worth the money? Which apps are appropriate for my child? If you need help, look no further than our website! We have spent hours searching and evaluating apps and have saved the best ones for you! You can easily find recommended apps on a single apps page located under resources on our website. The apps are organized into categories. Do you need to work on vocabulary development, grammar or social language skills? Do you want to learn how to pronounce English words or how to improve your fluency or speaking skills?

If so, we have the app for you!

The best way to use an app with your child is to work together, side by side. Pause every couple of items and make sure your child is comprehending the material. Enhance understanding by using objects your child can touch like blocks, balls or Legos. Instruct your child to tap on separate blocks as they sound out words on the app. Teach your child to understand concepts like big/small, above/below by moving an object above a block or comparing block sizes. Children learn best by seeing and touching real objects and then transferring this to a touch screen or picture. It’s best not to rely on apps to teach your child new concepts that are best learned through multi sensory experiences. Imagine trying to teach a child what sour or sweet means when they haven’t experienced the concept first! Most apps motivate children to practice activities once they have a basic understanding of a concept; just don’t expect apps to teach your child new concepts independently!

One last tip-save money! Try out the free lite version of an app or try the app in our office before you buy. Ask us for advice; we are always happy to help!

Below is a small sample of apps you’ll find on our extensive app resource page:


Artic ‘S’ Photos Fun Deck $3.99

Super Duper Inc.

This app has 56 full-color photo flash cards (plus audio of each card’s text) from the Artic Photos ‘S’ Fun Deck and Artic Quickies Reproducible Photo Fun Sheets. It allows you to use the app in portrait or landscape orientation. Track correct and incorrect responses for an unlimited number of players, and receive feedback for incorrect and/or correct responses. Select the cards you want students to see, and have your students practice their ‘S’ sound in the initial, medial, and final position of words.

Artic ‘R’ Photos Fun Deck $3.99

Super Duper Inc.

This app has 56 full-color photo flash cards (plus audio of each card’s text) from the Artic Photos ‘R’ Fun Deck and Artic Quickies Reproducible Photo Fun Sheets. It allows you to use the app in portrait or landscape orientation. Track correct and incorrect responses for an unlimited number of players, and receive feedback for incorrect and/or correct responses. Select the cards you want students to see, and have your students practice their ‘R’ sound in the initial, medial, and final position of words.


Language Adventures Quiz Game Show  $1.99

Grades 1-3

This exciting game is designed like a TV game show and works on writing skills, punctuations, parts of speech, and more!



Irregular Verbs Fun Deck  FREE

Super Duper Inc.

This app provides fill-in-the-blank sentences for the user to choose either the present tense or irregular past tense version of the verb. An illustration is provided and answers are scored and saved.


Listening and Following Directions

Hearbuilder Following Directions   FREE

Super Duper Inc.

This app gives users an opportunity to practice their listening and direction following skills at the toy factory. The levels get increasingly more difficult: basic directions, sequential directions, quantitative and spatial directions, temporal directions, and conditional directions.



Sound Sorting Beginning Sounds  $.99


This app allows the user to match words with the same beginning sound. A ball with a picture on it drops down and the user must match it to the correct category of words.


Social Skills

The Social Express   FREE

The Language Express

Users work with animated characters Emma and Zach as they navigate the social world. Users are presented with real-life situations in which they can identify their emotions and choose a coping strategy or respond to the situation. This app also works on predicting outcomes and taking other people’s point of view.


Stuttering/ Cluttering

Pacesetter   $8.99

Aptus Speech and Language Therapy

This app allows users to select a reading passage and an adjustable rate of speech. It then highlights which word/syllable is to be said. This helps those who have imprecise articulation, speech rate, cluttering, or stuttering.





Welcome Our Newest Member – Kimberli Hyzdu

By | Community Events, Promotions, Speech and Language | No Comments

We are happy to announce the addition of a wonderful new therapist – Kimberli Hyzdu, (pronounced HI-Z-DO).
(To make it easy to remember the pronunciation pretend you’re saying hi to someone, add a Z sound and then say do).

Kimberli is a registered Speech-Language Pathology Assistant and has been working in the field since 2011. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Speech – Language Pathology and Audiology – from California State University of Sacramento.

Immediately after graduation, she began the Speech- Language Pathology Assistant program. She has experience in a wide variety of speech, language, and hearing disorders. She has successfully worked with all of the following:

– Autism Spectrum
– Asperger’s
– Apraxia
– Articulation
– Attention Deficit
– Auditory Processing
– Developmental Delays
– Neurogenic Disorders
– Sensory / Social and Behavioral challenges

Kimberli has also had 4 years of education in American Sign Language and enjoys incorporating it into therapy as needed.

She truly enjoys working with both adults and children and is compassionate, skilled, and dedicated to our field.
Kimberli has acquired specialized skills working with the early intervention population, (0-3). Her use of creative activities keeps the little ones engaged and learning naturally through play.

She provides excellent carryover activities for parents to easily transfer skills to the home. She is equally skilled working with youth and adults using individualized programs with proven therapeutic outcomes. Kimberli is passionate about helping individuals with communication difficulties by providing life-improving speech services to them with personal warmth, and professionalism.

Kimberli will be joining us October 6, 2014!

Be sure to say hello to Kimberli Hyzdu!

SpeechBuddies with Granite Bay Speech!

By | Back to School, Promotions, Speech and Language | No Comments

Nancy Barcal is one of the first Licensed Speech-Language Pathologists to be featured on Speech Buddies Connect. Nancy has been using the speech buddy tools since 2010 to speed progress in therapy and save families money.

Speech Buddies are a set of revolutionary tools to help children overcome speech difficulties. By teaching correct tongue positioning for the five most difficult sounds – R, S, L, CH, and SH – children learn and feel how to correct a problem sound. Speech Buddies were designed by a team of expert speech-language pathologists and engineers from MIT & Columbia Universities.

Check out the Speech Buddy site below to read more about their helpful tools: