Thursday, March 10, 2016

Therapy Tip: Using Junk Mail

Welcome to Therapy Thursday! This is the day that I give a therapy idea based upon my experience as a speech-language pathologist and a mother of a child with special needs.

Today's tip is: Turning Junk Mail into Language Activities

If you are like me, you frequently get store mailers, magazines, and catalogs in the mail. Most of them I don't even look at or want. It is easy to use these unwanted materials into language targets.

Prep Work:
1. Collect all your unwanted junk mail.
2. Find pictures that correspond to your language target. Because I work with toddlers, I do all the searching for pictures and cutting of pictures myself prior to seeing the child.
3. Choose what you are going to put the pictures on. I generally use construction paper, old scrapbook paper, paper plates, or poster board.
4. You'll need glue or tape to secure the pictures onto the paper.

Therapy Targets:
1. Actions: Choose pictures of people doing various things (reading, swimming). As the child chooses an action picture, have them say what the person in the picture is doing. I generally listen to make sure that they say -ing endings on the actions (swimming).

2. Food vocabulary: There are always plenty of grocery store ads to find pictures of foods to discuss. For my toddlers, I generally choose common foods they might be exposed to and have them glue them on a paper plate. For older children, you can break it down into vegetables or fruits.

3. Sound targets: If you have a child working on a specific sound for articulation, these pictures can be used too. This takes a bit more digging and searching through pictures for certain sounds. For example, if a child is working on /b/, then I would find pictures like boat, bus, book, or bug. The child would practice these words while gluing them on.

4. Phrases: Staple a few sheets of paper together to create a book. I pick a phrase to write on every page such as "I like ________." The child then glues a picture on the line provided. I generally have a handful of pictures for the child to select from. I like creating these phrase books because the parents then have a good tool to use at home later.

5. Pronouns: Look for pictures of people and now you can target pronouns like he/she. Sometimes, instead of making this into a collage, I turn this into a book as well so the child can use the pronoun in a sentence for practice later.

6. General Vocabulary: This is the one I target most often in my work with toddlers. I pick pictures of basic words like ball, eat, drink, etc.

Come back next Thursday for another idea!

This information is for educational purposes and not intended as therapeutic advice.

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