Augmentative Communication

The more I work with children utilizing forms of augmentative communication, the more I realize how essential it is that we reinforce their efforts to communicate. Too often while working on having them utilize a specific system or device we may forget to give adequate recognition to the importance of all their communication strategies. Individuals need to be encouraged to use all appropriate systems available to them ranging from no tech, to low tech to high tech. When we introduce higher tech devices, we must always remember to continue to observe their use of no and low tech strategies including vocalizations, gestures, drawing and simple symbol systems.

The PrAACtical AAC Blog has some wonderful articles supporting not only the use of AAC but for also encouraging the use of multimodalities to communicate. What is important is that the student has some means to communicate whenever and wherever they are!




Read More

Language Opportunities in the Kitchen

Cooking and baking offer fabulous opportunities to work on speech and language development with your child. You can ask them to name ingredients (vocabulary expansion), give you directions (expressive language), follow your directions (receptive language), and retell the sequence to making the food item.

The vocabulary can begin at your child’s level and you can expand from there.  Kid’s Cooking offers a tremendous amount of vocabulary that can be introduced while cooking. Words range from “mix, stir and bake” to “al dente, glaze and reconstitute!”

There are several pictorial recipes books which you can use to encourage your children to refer to as they give you verbal directions.

Making Learning Fun

Picture Recipes

A great resource for ideas on how to use cooking and baking to promote speech and language development is Cooking Up Good Speech.

I will definitely be looking at these sites for ideas to share with parents and schools.



Read More

Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. As student do crafts at home or in school there are lots of opportunities to reinforce developing speech sounds. By using vocabulary associated with Valentine’s Day, parents and teachers can naturally highlight developing sounds. These are words commonly found in Valentine Day books and on those cards the children love to send.

V – Valentine, Violet, LoveValentine's

R – red, heart, arrow, rose, care, flower

S – sweet, cinnamon, Saint, kiss

L – love, chocolate, flowers

K – cupid, chocolate, pink, care, kiss

G – hug, gift

Ch – chocolate

Read More

Groundhog Day


Groundhog day is just around the corner. I like to use special days to capture my students’ interest.

Pediastaff has a selection of activities worth trying. There are games for grammar, prepositions, categorization and articulation. Simple but fun!

Four Great Speech-Language Activities for Groundhog Day


Read More

Christmas/Winter Vocabulary




Christmas is just around the corner and with Christmas comes a wealth of vocabulary opportunities.  I like to use Christmas words/pictures to practice speech sounds. With some creativity, I imagine that every sound a child is practicing in therapy could find its way into Christmas conversations. Some common examples:

C/K sounds: candles, candy, Christmas, carols, cold      

G sound: gifts, giving

R sound: wreath, reindeer, red, ribbon

S sound: Santa, season, surprise

S-blends: snow, stockings, snowmen, stars, sleigh

L- lights, letter

Why not talk about the Christmas lights that you see as you drive around town? What colour are the lights? Or, play a game where you count how many wreaths that you see on people’s doors. A game of, “I wrote Santa a letter and I asked for a ________________” could have your child practicing the “s,” the “l,” and the “r” sound as the phrase gets repeated by adding to a growing list.

A number of websites have comprehensive Christmas vocabulary lists. Take a look and see if you can find a way to work these words into your child’s everyday conversation. The excitement of the season may have the effect of encouraging your child to talk about what they are seeing. So many things are out there, that are not there during the rest of the year!

Read More

Halloween Mystery

Halloween definitely lends itself to some creative language activities. With the abundance of Halloween trinkets and favours on store shelves, many activities can be created relatively inexpensively. This year, we have a collection of little Halloween figurines which we have been using in our therapy sessions.

One of our favourite activities is a combination of a riddle and hidden object activity.

For this activity, we describe one of the Halloween characters and hide it in a black container. The student has to identify which character is being described. I like to have a duplicate set of figurines for the student to choose from. If you do not, you can always take a digital photo of the the figurines and allow your student/child to look it over as you make the description. Some possible Halloween characters are ghosts, skeletons, witches, monsters, jack-o-lanterns, spiders, worms, goblins etc. You can make this game as easy or as difficult as you would like by varying the types of characters chosen. The more characters and the more similar they are, the more challenging the game.

Here is an example of a description: “I have the Halloween character that floats through the air, can go through walls, is white and says “Boo.” Again, the complexity of the description can be adapted to meet your student’s/child’s needs. Children will also enjoy taking turns being the person describing. You may need to help them along by asking questions to get more information (e.g. Is your character wearing a hat? What colour is the hat?).

Be creative and enjoy all the language opportunities that Halloween offers!



Read More

Orange Pumpkin, Orange Pumpkin – Repetitive Book



This is a link to a great little book put together by Dina Peters, SLP. She talks about how it can be used to teach colours, practice articulation and practice listening and speaking skills. The book offers an excellent opportunity for students to practice their “s” sounds – “what do you SEE?” or their “l” sounds, “I see a _________ LOOKING at me.”

Orange Pumpkin, Orange Pumpkin – created by Dina Peters, M.Sc. CCC-SLP 


Read More

Halloween Activities

There are so many great books about Halloween and so many activities that you can do with these books.

This week, we will be reading “Big Pumpkin” by Erica Silverman. As we read it, we will increasing our awareness of the structures of our mouth as we imitate sounds found within the story. We also will make up sounds to go with each of the characters in the book.

Another great activity that could be used with this book is sentence imitation. I found this audio version which is “sing song” in nature of the book on Youtube. What fun could be had having your child or students sing the characters’ lines.

This is a great book for demonstrating cooperation and working together.

Read More

Thanksgiving Game



I came across this game which I thought would be perfect in a speech therapy session or even for practice at home.  You could use this game as you would any game with a dice; have your child/student roll the dice and then say one of their target words the number of times indicated on the dice. You could also incorporate their target sound directly into the activity. For example, if your child is practicing the /r/ sound, they could practice their sound in the context of the game by saying, “I am rolling the dice.” If they are practicing the /l/ sound, perhaps the phrase could be “Look, I rolled the # on the dice . You just need to be creative in how you can incorporate practice into a natural game opportunity.

The link to the game is below:

Turkey Game

A site which provides comprehensive word lists by sound is Home Speech Home. This site has a wealth of information on communication development.



Read More

Silly Instructions for Listening Skills

Listening activities take many forms. One fun activity that you can try with your child or students involves filling in missing sounds to complete a word. This skill is important as often entire words and sentences are not heard in the classroom or at home. There is frequently competing noise such as desks moving, fans going, papers shuffling etc. With this noise in the background, children must learn to fill in sounds which they haven’t heard in order to “hear” a message that makes sense.

“Silly Instructions” is a game that involves very little preparation and can be played at home or at school. Simply, assemble a number of objects or have pictures of items displayed on a regular board or even on your classroom Smart board (instructions will need to vary depending on your set up). Explain to the students that you are going to be giving them a direction, but it will sound a bit funny because some of the sounds will be missing. You want them to use their ears and their brains to fill in the missing sounds.

Examples of instructions could be:

Point to the “_ed car” when you want them to point to the “red car”

Put the “pen_il under the table” for ” put the pencil under the table”

Pick up the “_all and the jump on your “left _oot” for “pick up the ball and jump on your left foot”

You could use this activity when playing other games such as “Simon Says.”

Be sure to let your child/student have a turn giving you the “silly instructions.”

Read More