News & Notes

Ten Ideas to Encourage Communication

Children communicate because of motivation and opportunity. So, find out what is motivating and supply the opportunity. You may have to set up a situation or "sabotage" in order to give the child a reason to communicate. Here's some ideas to get you started.

  1. Put a desirable object into a clear container that the child is unable to open. Place the container in front of the child and teach the child to request.
  2. Put an undesirable item on the child’s plate during snack or lunch. Iif the child is unable to reject the item, teach how to reject by pushing the item away or by giving you a "no thanks" card.
  3. Put several items in front of the child and ask, “What do you want?” or “Which one?”. Teach the child how to choose.
  4. Hide something the child needs (utensil during lunch, crayon during a coloring activity, or coat at the end of the day). Teach the child to initiate a request for the item or teach the child to ask, “Where”.
  5. Blow bubbles, then close the container tightly and place it on the table. Wait for the child to ask for more. You can teach the child how to ask by giving you the container or a picture card of "bubbles".
  6. Start a turn-taking gestural game (i.e. hiding behind or under a small blanket) and after several times, pause to see if the child will initiate some type of movement to let you know to continue. If the child wants to continue but does not request, teach the skill.
  7. During snack place a plastic fruit on the child’s plate to see what they will do to protest or get something else. If they don't respond, teach the child how to protest/reject or request a real piece of fruit.
  8. If an older child is writing, give him a pencil that has a broken point and see if he will ask for another one (hide the pencil sharpener).
  9. Unplug the TV (or other appliance that is frequently used) and wait to see what the child will do when it will not turn on. This is a good opportunity to teach the child to get help.
  10. When the child asks for an item, give him something else and see what happens. If the child is unable to protest/reject, this is another opportunity to teach the skill.
More Strategies for "at home" speech, language, or fluency therapy:
1. Ask your child's speech therapist for worksheets/homework ideas targeting your child's goals.
2. If your child is working on articulation sounds, pick a time, each evening, for "speech time". During that 30 minutes to an hour, remind your child to say his/her correct sounds and/or any other speech goal they are working to meet. Play a game or read a story and have conversation, helping them to say the correct sound or use correct language/fluency skills.
3. Cook with your child! This is a great way to stimulate speech and language development. Introduce them to new vocabulary and help them to understand and follow directions.
4. Go to the grocery store with your child! This is another great opportunity to introduce them to new vocabulary and practice speech and language goals.
This is a wonderful resource full of ideas to help increase your child's speech and language: