Tips for Language Expansion During Thanksgiving Break

“There are not enough hours in the day.” 

“Add this to my list of things to take care of tomorrow.” 

“Another meeting?” 

During the school year, there are often times when I think to myself, "My plate is full." This Thanksgiving season, I challenge you and myself to think differently. Are you busy? Absolutely. Is there a moment for you to catch your breath in between therapy sessions? Maybe not. What are you filling your plate with this season? Is it heaps of expectations that will drive you to burnout? Did you add a side of working overtime to meet the needs of your students? At times, I have served myself a similar portion. 

Today, I ask that you scoop off what you can to pile a heaping spoon of gratitude in place of deadlines. I ask that you renew your mind by recalling what drew you to this position in your life. The protein, the meat if you will, of your job is to create successful humans so they may be good citizens of planet Earth. There are a lot of details and behind-the-scenes work. However, I ask that you consider the gift you have been given and take another look at your plate. Does it overflow with the remarkable students who have finally achieved their goals this semester? Can you carve the work/life balance to suit your diet? Are you left feeling satisfied with your portion? 

As a “thank you” for all that you do, I want to take something off your plate. Here are some of my tips and tricks for younger students and those with significant speech and language delays. Pass the plate to parents before your students go on break, so they may return ready to continue with speech therapy. 


Activities to Elicit Speech at Home
Naming a choice/pointing
Place toys just out of your
child’s reach
Prompt: “What do you want?”
Directions Hold your child’s hands and
move them up and down as
you say “up” and “down,” “up”
and “down.”
Pause before you say the
next direction to prompt your
child to say it first.
Commands Have containers with snacks
to prompt your child to say "open."
Model the word “open.”
Do not open until they say or attempt to verbalize "open."
More play  Use a toy, book, or game to
and pause the activity to
prompt your child to say or
sign “more.”
Provide a model for signing
or saying “more.”
Bubbles “Ready, set, pop pop pop!” Use your finger to pop
bubbles and say “pop” each
Cars “Ready set,” pause for your
child to say “go” then release
the car.
Keep practicing until your
child imitates the word “go.”
Peekaboo As you pop into view, say
"peeka- ____" and wait for
your child to say "boo."
Use different objects or your
hands to hide behind.
Animals Practice animal sounds Bee (buzz), dog (woof woof),
cow (moo), duck (quack
quack), lion (roar), snake
(ssss), etc.
Questions/Choices Use questions with choices to
help your child name a
"Do you want milk or juice?"
Instead of, "do you want a
drink?" (which would result in
a head nod).
Songs Use songs with repetition.  "Wheels on the Bus" or "If
You are Happy and You
Know It, Clap Your Hands"


Responding to Your Child’s Speech at Home
Repeat/Model Repeat your child's word to
show you understand. Model
the correct pronunciation.

Ex: "Nake."

"A big sssssnake."

Expand Expand your child’s
communication by two or
three words.
Ex: Your child says, "car".
You say, "blue car, fast car, mommy's car." Your child says, "shoe." You
say, "shoe on, two shoes,
dirty shoes."
Model for Imitation Your child uses incorrect
speech, respond with the
correct model.
Ex: Your child says, "uh
dide." You say, "Oh, you want to go outside? Let's go."


Everyday Strategies to Use at Home
Self Talk Talk about what you are
doing. It’s as easy as that!
"Mommy is cooking. Let's add
water. Stir, stir."
“I am turning the water on.”
Parallel Talk Talk about what your child is
"You are playing with the
truck. Vroom vroom. You
moved it by the yellow truck."


Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!


Author: Brittany Stanford, M.A. CCC-SLP

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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