The Therapy Network Ltd team you some general speech therapy activities, which will be useful to facilitate speech and language development. Children develop language through interaction and play. They learn more when they are having fun, so enjoy….
A good communicator needs lots of different skills and each of these may develop at a different rate. This pyramid outlines all the skills needed to be a good communicator. We need to work on foundation skills before we can expect higher level skills.
DEVELOPING EARLY COMMUNICATION SKILLS
It is important to grasp opportunities throughout the day to play but it is also important to set aside a specific time. We call this ‘speech/language time’. This refers to 5-10 minutes every day (or whenever you manage) in which you play with the child without any distractions using only speech and language based activities. Allow Children to choose something to play with and follow his lead.
Aims: These speech therapy activities target auditory memory, linguistic and basic concepts skills.
Objectives: The objective is to build the foundations of linguistic and conceptual knowledge as well processing and memory skills in EAL children and those with a language delay.
Find items, which describe the following basic concepts.
Many, Hard, Soft, Cold, Top, Bottom, Up, Down, Big, Long, short, Full , Empty , Alone, Together, Large, Small, Wet, Dry Same, Different.
Introduce 3-4 words at each session e.g. soft/hard/cold/hot. Ask the children to pass round objects that are soft/hard/cold/warm, so they can get tactile feedback to support their understanding.
Each week change the concepts:
For example, up/down/top/bottom can be used with stairs. Ask the children to fill baskets or boxes for the concepts: full/many/empty, then help the children to discriminate between the 3 boxes by asking them “which is full/empty/shows many etc.”
Towards the end of half term go over them all to see if any are not being recognised.
Communication is reciprocal. In a conversation – one person needs to talk and one person needs to listen. Children learn language by listening to adults talk therefore taking turns gives the adult an opportunity to first model.
Turn-taking speech therapy activities need to be very simple at first.
- Take turns with a simple cause-effect toy.
- Roll a ball to each other
- Take turns with a marble run or ball run. Start with ready steady… go! so an action is anticipated and the child has to wait.
- Take turns to read/look at a page of a book
- Take turns to sing words in a song. Let the child complete a line in a song “twinkle twinkle little… “
Once Children can take turns in games – try to take turns in conversation.
Children learn to respond to music very early. Speech therapy activities containing Action rhymes, songs and play are lovely ways to work on early communication skills while remembering to have fun. Nursery rhymes focus on:
- Joint attention (the child and adult focus on the same thing at the same time)
- Listening to speech sounds (words of songs) as well as non-speech sounds (rhythm of songs, environmental sounds)
- Social skills
- Understanding of words (actions match the words in the songs)
- Using words (filling in words or sounds in songs) and vocal play
When Children knows the word he needs to fill in – leave out a different (unexpected) word or leave out a few words and wait for him to fill them in.
- Children usually enjoy imitating animal sounds or environmental sounds (e.g. aeroplane, car…) so this is a nice way to encourage the use of meaningful ‘words’.
- Show Children pictures of animals or toys. Label the animal then make the sound. These sounds are easier to imitate than words therefore Children may say “cow moo” which is the first step in putting words together. Once he is putting those words together – you can expand your model e.g. ‘big cow moo’.
- Label everything for Children. Rather than saying ‘what’s this?’ give him the name for the thing. Eventually he will start to use the names to comment. You should comment on actions and interesting features too but make sure your language remains very simple.
- Emphasise the key words when you talk (main words which have meaning). You should only use 2-3 words so he does not have too much information to process.
- Offer Children lots of choices which will encourage him to communicate. Always name both items you are offering. e.g. Do you want apple or juice? Hold the 2 items close to your face to encourage eye contact. Once he uses a word to make a choice – expand that word to 2 words e.g. do you want red apple or green apple (NB: when expecting Children to put words together – we need to make sure he knows both words very well)
FOLLOWING 2-3 WORD LEVEL INSTRUCTIONS
Place a number of different objects on the floor (apple, car, blocks, books) and then ask the children in turn to put the “apple in the box”
Think about combining noun+verb (name of item+name of action) e.g. cow jumping, horse drinking or adjective+noun (describing word+name of item) e.g. big cow, brown horse when you are talking to Children during reading sessions
Give each child a chair and then give them instruction e.g. stand in front of the chair/behind etc. Monitor which prepositions are inconsistent and reinforce each week through demonstration.
How to structure the speech therapy activities activities?
- Chose a time of the day when the child is most responsive to structured activities.
- Take 1-2 of the activities above each day and start with engaging the child for 2mins, then give them a reward e.g. driving in cars.
- A typical Speech & language activity plan may look like this:
Monday-turn taking game
Tuesday- basic concepts and prepositions
Thursday-Reading (understanding of who+what doing)
For further speech therapy activities for the classroom see our blog post here http://speechandlanguagetherapy.org.uk/classroom-speech-language-strategies/