Like most SLPs, I have found myself suddenly having to provide online speech and language therapy due to COVID-19.
We have all been thrown into learning this new area of our already multifaceted field. Boom cards, interactive pdfs, and screen sharing - oh my!
My first couple weeks of doing teletherapy, I dabbled around in all of the above. My initial thought was... "Well surely I can't just keep using my same toys and therapy materials. How strange would that be! The kids will just be sad that they cannot play with them as well". Turns out I was WRONG!
My clients participated more and worked harder when I did exactly what we normally did in therapy rather than introducing all these fancy new gadgets.
I was so excited when I came to the realization that I could still use my go-to mini objects in my online therapy sessions. I know there are many fellow mini-object-lovers out there so I wanted to share some of the ways I have been incorporating them into my therapy session.
1. Use a clicker along with the mini object
My students are just as motivated by the clicker through the screen as they are in person.
I chose the object representing my target and had my student practice their word ten times while I clicked the clicker for each correct production. In between every 10 trials, I let them take a couple turns playing a game from toytheater.com.
2. Put objects into a bag
Kids love mystery bags and boxes. You can use mystery bags to work on several different speech and language targets. If your child is working on requesting or MLU, you can hold the bag up to the camera and have them request for you to open it. Screen share a sentence frame visual if needed.
Once they request for you to open the bag, you can pull an object out and hold it up to the camera. Prompt the child to provide whatever the target is... stating function, stating category, describing the object, making a comment, asking a question, providing a synonym..etc. If your child is working on speech, you can put objects containing the target speech sound into the bag.
To make this activity more interactive, you can tell the parent to have the child collect a few items or toys into a grocery bag before the session starts. This will allow you to target turn taking and model correct responses as your child shows you their objects. This will also allow you to work on following directions, spatial concepts, and pronouns.
3. Use sentence frames along with the objects
I love to use my sentence frames from this product: https://www.speechtreeco.com/collections/digital-downloads/products/digital-companion
To do this activity, I will hold up the sentence frames to the camera and let the child choose one (giving the child choices throughout the session will give them a sense of control and keep them more engaged). Then, I choose an object and use it to fill in the sentence frame. For example, the sentence frame says, "I put ___ on my pizza". The objects I have are a pig and popcorn. We put each on the pizza while the child practices the /p/ sound. Make it fun by talking about if it is yummy or yucky! Work together to think of other yummy or yucky things you might find on a pizza.
4. Get the child moving
Place a small object in your hand. Have the child perform gross motor actions to work towards getting your hand open. Great for following directions or working on verbs. You can also modify this activity to work on speech. For example, if you are working on the "sh" sound - you can have the child practice the word "shake" 5 times then shake and wiggle their body until your hand opens. Change the verb depending on the sound (e.g., J-jump, L-laugh, S blends - Stomp/squirm/squat, D - dance, etc.).
5. Work on auditory discrimination
Help the child practice hearing the differences between two sounds by holding up and labeling various objects. For example, if the child is working on determining if their voice is "on" or "of", you can hold up different objects starting with the /f/ and /v/ sound (fish, foot, phone, van, vegetable, etc.). You can also screen share a simple visual and have the child use the stamp tool to mark which they heard.
6. Work on asking questions or describing
Hold an object in your hand and describe it to your student. The student can guess what it is that you have in your hand. Then, the student can have a turn by describing something that they are looking at in their house. You can also use this activity to work on asking questions by doing a "Headbanz" sort of activity. For example, you can put an object in your hand and encourage the student to ask you questions about what it might be. Screen share whatever describing visual is needed for this activity.
I hope you find this useful! How are you using mini objects in therapy?!
If you are in need of mini objects, check out these options below:
Objects sorted by syllable shapes:
Objects sorted by speech sound:
Objects sorted by phonological process:
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