Since it’s Father’s Day, in honor of all the heroic dads out there, we are talking about comic books! Many parents like to read them with their kiddos and a variety of language skills can be practiced while perusing comics. For some of the tasks below, reading the story isn’t even necessary!
If you are not reading the story and simply perusing the pictures, try asking some of our simple questions. If you and your kiddo are reading the story, our complex questions will delve more into their comprehension of the plot. Either way, when posing our suggested questions, first see if your child can answer. If they are having difficulty, try repeating the question again to let them process what is being asked. If this is not enough support, you can provide 2-3 verbal choices. If they still need assistance, you can provide a visual cue by pointing towards the picture answer on the page. Here are some suggested questions:
Where are they?
Who is that?
Where is ___________? (Insert character or any vocabulary word)
What is _________ doing? (Insert character name)
Who is wearing a purple cape? (Or any other color combined with item of clothing)
What is the story mostly about?
Who is the main character?
Where does the story take place?/What is the setting?
Who is the villain?
What is the problem or conflict in the story?
What is the solution to the problem?
What three words can describe the hero?
What three words can describe the villain?
What will happen next? Why?
How does ____________ feel here? How can you tell? (Insert character name)
What do you like about the story?
What do you dislike about the story?
Just looking at the pictures can be fun! If your kiddo is not into reading the story, simply exploring the illustrations is fine! You can still test their receptive language skills by asking them to point to different items or characters. Based on your child’s language level, you can provide one-step or multi-step directives. Here are some examples of both:
Find someone with a blue cape.
Turn the page.
First point to Superman, and then point to Lois Lane.
Before you close the book, find Thor.
Comics have many illustrations on a page. Children often require practice listening to complex sentences and ensuring they comprehend all the parts presented. Select one picture and describe it. Your child will have to scan the page to find the correct one that has all the components mentioned. (i.e. This picture has a woman falling off a building and Superman is about to catch her.)
Many children with ASD have difficulty identifying the emotions of others. Illustrators draw such vivid pictures in comics and this creates a great opportunity to discuss the features of faces portraying different feelings. Here are some sample discussion questions:
Who looks angry?
How do we know ______ is angry?
Superman has red eyes. Do real people get red eyes when they are mad?
How do you know this character is scared?
What else tells us that someone is sad?
What are your favorite comics to read with kiddos? Comment below!
With summer here, it’s a great time to talk about sand play. If used properly, you can build more than just castles. It is possible to develop a variety of language skills through play with sand. It is also highly motivating for kids because this activity involves an enjoyable sensory component. Whether you are playing with kinetic sand and that is great for molding, sand in a bin, or the stuff that makes up a beach, you can use our SLP suggestions. This post is divided into two sections. One is for kiddos with emergent language skills and the other is for children working towards expanding their language skills. Scroll to the section that applies to your specific kiddo’s needs.
Emergent Language Skills
(This refers to children who do not consistently verbalize, or communicate using 1-2 word utterances.)
How you use the sand is less relevant than how you use the communication opportunities it presents. It doesn’t matter if you choose to dig a hole and bury something, introduce sand toys, scoop it with shovels, or simply let your child explore the sand with their hands. What you should plan to do is comment on the events during play. Model a variety of 1-3 word utterances combining the target vocabulary below. Praise your child whenever they imitate your utterances or produce their own.
Core Words: want/need, do, more, done, go, on, in, put, again, no, help, see, big, small, I, you, it, me
Nouns: Sand, shovel, fish, bucket, spoon, cup, bowl, hole (or any other toys introduced)
Extra verbs: dig, scoop, build
I want sand
I need help
I dig more
Do it again
Dig hole again
Put sand in
Cup in sand
Help me shovel
I see sand
Put it in
Expanded Language Skills
(This refers to children who speak in sentences but need to build vocabulary and narrative skills.)
Build a castle and target specific vocabulary: If you want to introduce some more advanced words, try building a sand castle using our suggestions below.
Dig a hole and practice narrative skills: As we have said before, the best way to build story telling skills is to expose your kiddo to narratives frequently. Besides reading stories, you can explain what you are doing on a daily basis. Model the use of sequential words (i.e. first, next, then, last). This can be done with any task. Here’s our example as it relates to digging a hole and burying a person: (This could be tweaked for burying a smaller item too!)
"I’m going to bury your body in the sand. Don’t worry your head stays out! First, I’ll use a shovel to dig a small hole. Then, I’ll make it deeper. Next, I’ll make it wider. Then, you jump in. Put your body in a comfortable position . Then, I’ll cover your legs and arms with sand!"
Where do you prefer to play with sand? The beach? A bin? Looking for SLP suggestions for a specific sand task? Comment below!
Want to work on improving your child’s language skills this summer? Get ready to CHALK up your success to this activity! With the warm weather here, it’s time to have a talk about sidewalk chalk! A complex lesson plan isn’t needed to build language skills. As you will see, a simple $1 pack of chalk can go a long way!
As we’ve done before, we’ll provide some ideas for stimulating language with this activity, but we’ll be breaking up the post into two separate sections: Ideas for kiddos with emerging language skills, and ideas for expanding language and vocabulary. Scroll to the section that best applies to the skills you would like to target.
This is for kiddos not speaking consistently, or communicating using 1-2 word utterances.
Core Vocabulary: want, more, like, no, put, on, help
Describing words: (These will depend on the chalk colors or pictures you draw.) Some of ours were: big, small, pink, blue, purple, yellow, green, messy, neat, clean,
Nouns: chalk, any labels for pictures you draw (Some of ours were balloons, flowers.)
While using the chalk to make pictures, the idea is to comment on the events taking place. You could discuss the picture you make, your child’s drawings, or even any other things happening in the area. Combine the target words above to form 1-3 word utterances. These are easier to imitate than longer complex sentences. Here are some examples:
I want chalk
No more blue
Put on purple
More small flowers
I want more
I want help
This is for kiddos using sentences who need help responding to questions, building vocabulary, or using narratives.
1. Practice responding to questions. See the pictures we shared? Creating chalk art to add your body for photos, presents many languages opportunities. First, we searched Pinterest to select some pictures we wanted to try to recreate. You can search "Chalk art" or "Chalk pictures." While you’re selecting pictures, drawing, and taking photos, you can pose many types of questions. If your kiddo has difficulty responding, model some appropriate responses, or you can provide choices. Here are some examples:
What should we draw?
Who will take the picture?
Who will pose for the picture?
How should you position your body for the shot?
What do you like about this photo?
Where should we draw the picture?
Which one is your favorite?
What could we do differently?
How should I start the picture?
2. Practice telling a narrative. The best way to build story telling skills is to expose your kiddo to narratives frequently. Besides reading stories, you can explain what you are doing on a daily basis. Model the use of sequential words (i.e. first, next, then, last). This can be done with any picture you draw. Here’s our example:
I’m going to make the balloon picture. First, I’ll use the white chalk to make the balloon strings. Then, I’ll use green, yellow, purple, and blue chalk sticks to create different balloons. Next, you have to lay down. Position your body to make it look like you are floating. Then, I’ll take the picture!
3. Select specific vocabulary to teach and use a mural to introduce the words. Work together to create a large themed scene. Based on the type of mural you make, you can select a bunch of related vocabulary. Here are some theme suggestions:
Space: Planets, solar system, stars, constellations, astronauts, rocket ship
Ocean: sea weed, coral reef, octopus, shark, whale, school of fish, crustaceans (or crab if that word is too hard), sting ray,