Speech Language Play

Answering “Wh” questions: Combining Auditory and Visual to Support Learning May 5, 2012

Filed under: Language — speechlanguageplay @ 1:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

Some of my students have difficulty with working memory and receptive language (or auditory processing, or whatever else you may call it) and this makes answering questions based on simple stories and events almost impossible. I find that including visual supports and starting at the simplest parts of a sentence/question can help build up confidence to complete harder tasks.

I put together a simple color-coded board to work on a 3 part “subject—-verb-object—–location” sentences with the “verb-object”  part connected. I find that it sometimes creates a more salient image in students minds to have both the verb and object paired together, because if they are able to recall one it may be a trigger/cue for the other. This helps answer the “what doing?” questions.

What I try to do when using visual is give specific instructions so students can make associations between the visual input they are seeing and the auditory input they are hearing.

This is the hierarchy that I move up and down on depending upon the child’s skills. EACH OF THESE STEPS SHOULD BE REPEATED FOR PRACTICE MANY TIMES UNTIL A STUDENT MAKES THE CONNECTION AND POINTS TO/ANSWERS INDEPENDENTLY. I make it a point reinforce their correct responses by repeating what they say. I praise them with their response as a part of the praise. (“eat the cookie”; “You’re right, you answered what she is doing, she is eating the cooking”)

  1. “When I say ‘WHO’ you point to the yellow and say ‘_persons name/subject_’ “
  2. ” _subject_, WHO did I say? “
  3. “”When I say ‘what is subject doing’  you point to the green and say ‘_verb+object_’ ” *I accept “verb”  or a point to the corresponding correct picture in the response.
  4. ” _verb+object_,  What is the boy/girl doing?”
  5. ” ‘subject verb object‘ , ‘Who is verb objecting?’ “
  6. With the same picture sequence as in step 5, “What is subject doing?”
  7. “When I say ‘WHERE’ you point to the pink and say ‘location‘ “
  8. “location, WHERE?”
  9. Present the “Subject+Location” phrase and ask subsequent questions “who, where? questions.
  10. Present the “Subject, What doing, and Location” phrase with subsequent “What+What doing+Where” questions.
I move the picture cues from the board where they are all stored (using velcro) to the smaller sentence strip which also have velcro. I present the sentences or phrases or words on the sentence strip to help students make a connection with the visual and corresponding auditory input and ask them to point along as I “read” them the sentence. Once students have mastered the task of answering each part individually, I fade the visual cues by covering up the target picture and asking the students to try to remember what is under my hand . By this point,  it’s a game to try to see if they can beat me and remember the answer without the picture.
To download the freebie, click on the picture below, it includes 1) a storage page for all images, 2)pictures for people, places and actions, and 3) a simple color coded sentence strip.

Spring Flowers -Simple Craft for Following Directions May 3, 2012

Filed under: Language — speechlanguageplay @ 8:45 pm
Tags: , , , ,

ImageGoing along with the spring theme, I had a little fun today making spring flowers to decorate my tiny room (which I am very thankful for). I remembered how much fun my students had making snowflakes and the fun discovery that happened when they opened up the folded and cut up piece of paper.

Simple instructions on how to make paper snowflakes

I modified this idea to make simple and very colorful flowers to greet a new season. I printed colorful spring scrapbook pages with images of flowers and bugs and printed them double sided so that when the flower is made you could see the other colors on the reverse side. This activity is great for performing directions (in a specific order) several times, so you can have your students learn the task, review the task, and hopefully by the third or fourth time they can retell the directions back to you.

I helped my students follow directions to fold the paper. For the ones who needed limits on where to cut, I drew lines on their papers, and for others, let them go at it alone. Then poked a green pipe cleaner “stem” through the middle and TADA!!Image


Spring Prepositions and Vocabulary- Dora the Explorer May 2, 2012

I find that my students (whether it be preschool or school-aged) have difficulty using specific language when answering questions. “Where is the doll house? Over there;” “What do you want?  That.”

This is often due to lack of understanding and use of the content of language. Whether it be a lack of vocabulary (the name of an object) or lack of prepositional knowledge, a part of the message our kids are trying to communicate is being omitted.

Over the past few weeks I have been working on vocabulary related to “Spring,” and “Planting/Gardening.”  I find that real like 3D activities help kids relate to better to their world, and try out their language use in a safe and interactive environment.

One activity I have worked on is increasing vocabulary and use/understanding of prepositions.

I have used the free materials available at Nick Jr. :

Coloring Pages (Great for teaching early vocabulary)

Gardening Games (Great for the kids to practice interactive planting with quicker growing times)

And I have put together some simple printables to target both vocabulary and preposition use. Click on the image to view the document in Google Docs.


You can make several copies of which ever level your students are on, laminate, and have the students match the symbol to the picture or the word to the picture, or the picture to the picture.

I also used all the pictures from the boardmaker board above to make larger images that can be printed on sturdy paper (attached velcro, magnetic backing, or even just glue) and used as a barrier game to practice expressive and receptive language. Here is a site that has a really wonderful description of barrier games Playing with Words 365.



Group Therapy April 26, 2012

Filed under: Articulation,Language,Toys — speechlanguageplay @ 9:24 am
Tags: ,

UPDATE!!!! My guest post is up at SpeechBop!

 http://speechbop.com/ Image


Expressive/Receptive idea for a group activity April 18, 2012

In honor of the guest post that will be up on Speech Bop next week, I want to continue talking about a group therapy. My current graduate student and I have been working on perfecting a group activity for a mismatched group with very different goals.

In the group, we have 2 students: the first student has difficulty listening and attending, and the second has difficulty formulating sentences and with word finding.

This activity is simple to put together and helps both students target their goals while working together.

The basic premise is: every student gets the same coloring sheet, and each takes turns giving their peer a direction. The student who has difficulty formulating sentences/finding the correct words, has visual supports and a word bank of sorts, whereas the student who has difficulty attending to the directive needs to listen to the directive and ask for clarification from his peer.

By the end of the session, the students are taking turns, and I as a therapist can take a bit of time to write down session notes.

One difficulty that I have encountered: sometimes students don’t want to color their picture in the way they were directed to by a peer. A solution to this is that the students are making the pictures for each other, so “you have to tell your friend how you want your picture colored, and then you can trade pictures.”

I have created a couple of simple sheets that can be laminates and reused again and again.

This is the basic template: (click on the image to download it)


The color coded columns and blocks help kids put the pictures from the word bank to to corresponding spot in the sentence strip at the top. I would suggest color pictures be put into each column.

I put together a simple spring planting activity with the images put into it the sentence strip page. I copied the pictures from “speaking of speech” http://www.speakingofspeech.com/AugCom_Materials.html which has simple Boardmaker boards sorted by group/category that would cover most early education topics. I also added the corresponding coloring sheets that could be used. I suggest printing 2 copies, cutting out one of the pages into each individual icon, and using Velcro to make this sheet reusable.

Hope this has been helpful! Happy Spring!!! (Or Summer as it has been close to 80 degrees here in NYC the last few days).


Let’s play with trains-Review April 11, 2012

Filed under: Language — speechlanguageplay @ 5:52 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Atech Let’s play with the trains!

This app for iPhone, iPad touch or iPad is a great free beginner app. It has a simple cause and effect interface that no matter where a child touches or draws a train track will appear. once a line or squiggle is drawn, it is soon followed by a variety of trains with really cool train sounds.


Something I like about this app is that it doesn’t have too many options so when using it for a reinforcement activity the kids can take a quick turn without obsessing over specific features.

There are several options that can be controlled:

  • A picture of the scene can be posted on twitter (not sure why this is needed):bird in the lower right hand corner
  • The background can be changed (great for conversations and where the trains are and where they are going):arrows in the lower right hand corner
  • Clearing the tracks to start again:garbage can in the lower right hand corner
  • Pause: bottom right hand corner
  • Info (in app purchases to remove adds, and download all their other apps): “i” in the top left corner

All of these option are tiny on the iPhone/IPod touch, and hard to manipulate by little fingers. However, the Ad on the bottom of the screen  is quite easy to activat


e by little fingers. I would suggest purchasing the app to remove the In App Ads or to turn on airplane mode, so that little fingers don’t access the appstore or twitter.

Overall this is a great app, and a lot of fun for kids 2-6 yrs of age.