If you’re the kind of person who likes detailed step-by-step instructions, along with an explanation for why you’re doing something, you’re going to LOVE my brand new therapy manual Let’s Talk About Talking. It’s filled with the rationale AND short cuts so that you can get excellent results with minimal effort. You’ll find the best of both worlds for treating toddlers with language delays. Here’s a sample page:
Teach Me To Imitate Words with SNACKS!
In this activity, a late talker learns to imitate words to ask for something to eat.
How to Play and What to Say:
Pick your bite-sized snack. Pour them into a bowl so that you maintain full control of the snack and offer a child one at a time. Small pieces allow for lots of repetition and practice so that a child learns the word. Options are goldfish or other kinds of crackers, bite-sized cookies, fruit snacks, or any other “treat.”
Teach a child to imitate the word using these steps:
- Excitedly show him the snack, saying something like, “Look! I have ___! Mmmm!”
- Say the word a few more times. “____. Yummy ____!”
- Ask the child “Do you want _____? Tell me ____.”
- Expectantly wait for him to say the word. Cue him 3 to 5 times as necessary.
- As soon as he tries, immediately give him one little piece to eat.
- When he wants another bite, repeat the entire process.
If he doesn’t try to say the word, model a word that’s easier, or back up and cue a sign. When imitating words is a brand new skill and still hard for a child, give him the snack anyway, even if he doesn’t say the target word. We want to keep him motivated to try.
Here’s how this activity looks in real life:
Hold up a cookie. Enthusiastically say, “Look! I have cookie. Want to eat? Tell me cookie.”
If a child seems unaware or uninterested, eat the cookie yourself and act like it’s the best food you’ve ever tasted! Or give him one little piece to pique his interest. Repeat your prompt again. Say something like, “Mmmm! Cookie! It’s so good! Do you want a cookie? Tell me cookie.” Look expectantly and wait a few seconds to see if he will imitate you.
If he doesn’t, say the word “cookie” a few more times, or go ahead and change your target to an easier word you think he can say, like “eat,” or another word you’ve heard him say. As soon as he tries, immediately give him one little piece of the cookie. As he’s eating the cookie, continue to say things like, “Mmmmm… cookie. It’s so good! Cookie!”
When he wants another piece, begin the process again. Use this method to teach other words.