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.

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).