Toys for Kids who Prefer Visual Input…Therapy Tip of the Week for 11.12.14

Fishin Around

In this Therapy Tip of the Week pediatric speech-language pathologist Laura Mize, M.S., CCC-SLP, begins a 3 part series with tips for using toys with kids who prefer visual input. These are kids who like items that spin or have blinking lights, who are attracted to visual information such as letters and numbers, and who opt to watch DVDs or play with apps on a device rather than play with toys.


Rather than discouraging that visual interest, we can use toys with visual properties to encourage them to develop play skills and play WITH us. The “hook” is this visual piece – or seeing something cool and fun! This older toy is called Fishin’ Around and isn’t in stores right now, but may be found in consignment stores or on eBay.

Initial goals for this activity can include teaching cause and effect, an important cognitive milestone, and learning to complete an entire play routine. Laura discusses why we don’t begin with lots of demands for a child to immediately begin to use words when a child isn’t socially connected during play. You’ll also teach a child to walk through the stages of verbal imitation beginning with imitating gestures and easy play sounds BEFORE we target single words. Move up to requesting with signs and words in the context of fun game after easier goals are met. Laura provides a list of key words to target vocabulary development with this toy for children who are already verbal and need help continuing to expand expressive language skills.

Fishin’ Around is a super activity for targeting goals for young children at many developmental levels, but the truth is, you can use this method with virtually any toy with a visual component in order to initially engage a child’s attention, establish participation, and target early and even higher level receptive and expressive language skills over time. It’s not the toy that’s successful, it’s YOU, the adult using these strategies!

In Laura’s DVD series, she teaches parents and professionals how to apply these strategies by watching video clips of real therapy sessions with toddlers who have speech-language delays and disorders. Her first DVD Teach Me To Talk is particularly helpful for parents. SLPs can now get ASHA credit for this and all of Laura’s DVDs. Find out how here!


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