Early Language DevelopmentFor SLPs and EducatorsSchool Based Speech Therapy

We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Guest Blog Post by Emily Weir author of the blog "TeachNSpeech"

By March 4, 20134 Comments

Happy March! I love this time of year when the season changes from the bitter cold of winter to the warmth of springtime! It somehow makes life just seem better! ahhh…okay, back to the blog…I have a great new guest blog post to share with you this lovely first week of March! It comes to us from Emily Weir, SLP graduate student blogger, who writes the speech therapy blog TeachNSpeech!

Emily shares with us her great ideas for getting our kiddos to talk! When we need to work on language with kids who just don’t want to open up it can be a challenge! Emily has some quick and easy tips to help you get those kids talking so you can work on language skills more easily.  Every SLP should have a few tricks up their sleeve to help encourage communication while making it fun and less intimidating or scary.  Thank you Emily! I love your clever and creative ideas! I know all of us SLPs will be using these tips in our speech therapy programs.  To read more of Emily’s great ideas you can follow her blog over at TeachNSpeech!  Here’s Emily!
We Have Ways of Making You Talk
ThePracticePictureCardsCartoon Wehavewaysofmakingyoutalkpic
Have you ever seen this catchy slogan on a tote bag, bumper sticker or convention shirt?  SLP’s are supposed to be the best at getting kids to chat it up in the speech room.  But sometimes you have kids who are shy or who are in the after lunch/recess slump and won’t make a peep!  How can we get these kids talking?  This post is all about quick ways to elicit language, whether you are working with a fluency client testing conversational speech or you have an artic client who is working on generalization these activities should help get your kids talking!
Conversation Sticks
I keep my conversation sticks handy because they can be used in so many different ways and they are a good way to get to know your clients better.  I have used them in groups working on pragmatics (older kids with ASD), where the child is asked to pick another student in the group to ask the question on the stick. They can target inflection, turn taking, eye contact, appropriate body language, rate of speech and basic conversational skills.  The sky’s really the limit with these sticks.  I made a list of questions to get you started!

  1. What is your favorite pizza topping?
  2. If you could be any animal what would it be and why?
  3. If you could be any super hero who would it be and why?
  4. If you could have any super power what would it by and why?
  5. What scares you the most?
  6. How do you get to school everyday?
  7. Tell me about your favorite movie.
  8. What is the best gift you have ever received?
  9. If you had the ability to fly, where would you travel?
  10. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  11. If you could have anything for breakfast what would you have?
  12. Tell me about your favorite field trip or vacation.
  13. Would you rather be a famous sports player, singer or movie star?
  14. What is your favorite video game and what do you do in it?
  15. What is your favorite restaurant?
  16. What is your favorite kind of candy?
  17. What is your favorite holiday?
  18. What is the best midnight snack?
  19. What fictional character do you wish you could meet?
  20. If you had $100 right now what would you buy?

Conversation Beach Ball
This is the same idea as the conversation sticks, but you write the questions on the beach ball.  The child tosses the ball to a partner or to him/herself and wherever their right thumb lands is the question that they ask.  It is good for kids who need to be a bit more active in therapy and would be great in May or June when we all get antsy for summer!
Chatter Box HD
This FREE app is good for quick conversation starters, but is best for older clients as some of the questions are not really child focused.  Check it out here.

About Emily, author of the blog TeachNSpeech
Emily is in her last semester of graduate school at California State University, Chico studying Speech-Language Pathology.  She is originally from southern California, but has truly enjoyed getting to know the north state.  Emily has always loved working with kids, and she is looking forward to working in a school setting.  One area that Emily would like to continue to learn more about and specialize in is Autism Spectrum Disorder.  You can follow Emily on her blog TeachNSpeech!



  • Kendra Egan says:

    Emily! Great post! This is very helpful and I cant wait to these ideas out! Thanks!

  • These are great ideas! I especially like the conversation beach ball, at this point in the year my students have been cooped up all winter and are especially excited to do activities that involve getting up and moving around.

  • I love that cartoon above! 🙂 That is one sure way to getting you to talk! Anyhow, I like the ideas that you have presented here in your blog post. Making a game out speech therapy is a great way to motivate kids to get them to articulate and express themselves.
    But what do you think about promising a reward as an incentive for encouraging children to successfully complete a speech therapy milestone (in the form of a game of course). For example, the kids who are able to answer all of the questions all win a stuffed animal toy (or something like that).

    • Heather says:

      Hi Morgan,
      So glad you liked the post.
      To answer your questions about offering a stuffed animal as a reward for answering questions I have a couple thoughts.
      First of all, that is going to get very expensive! If you work in a school setting where funds are usually tight, it will have to come out of your pocket. I guess if you think you can afford that, you could offer a reward.
      Second, once they are used to expecting a pretty big toy or reward, to keep them motivated you are most likely going to have to up the ante so to speak! What is next? Stuffed animal, larger toy, DVD, Video Game, etc. etc. It might be hard to keep up that type of reinforcer.
      Third, my personal opinion is keep the “rewards” based on something like attending speech, being positive, working hard, staying focused. Use lots of verbal praise for saying sounds correctly using a reinforcement schedule that will help strengthen their correct responses.
      Does that make sense? let me know your thoughts!

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