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.”


Select your target word. You can begin with all-purpose requesting words like “more” or “please,” but don’t forget about teaching specific words too! In this example, we’ll use cookies. For now, accept any approximation of the word cookie. If that’s too hard for a toddler, default to an easier and more general word like “eat.”


Teach a child to imitate the word using these steps:

  1. Excitedly show him the snack, saying something like, “Look! I have ___! Mmmm!”
  2. Say the word a few more times. “____. Yummy ____!”
  3. Ask the child “Do you want _____? Tell me ____.”
  4. Expectantly wait for him to say the word. Cue him 3 to 5 times as necessary.
  5. As soon as he tries, immediately give him one little piece to eat.
  6. 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 a 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.




Hopefully, these instructions will get you started! I have lots more for you in Let’s Talk About Talking… shipping in limited batches when available.  Order your copy today!









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"I just received Teach Me to Play With You, and it is ALREADY WORKING! WOW!

Girl…my son is 3 years old, and he NEVER asks for something using words. We were playing “Get Your Belly” (from Teach Me to Play WITH You), and after several times, he laughed and screamed "BEWIEEE!!!"  It was a hoot. And I can't believe he said it! I have played with him like this before, but this time I took your advice and acted CRAZY!! I will act like a total lunatic if it will get him to talk to me!  Now I can give him "the look" from across the room, and he will say it. That manual is so amazingly practical, and it is a GODSEND right now! Thank you SO MUCH!”

"I wanted to send you a quick email to say thank you. I started watching your videos/podcasts about 4 months ago. My son has gone from losing words he previously used, only having about 7 words at his 2 year check up in August (assessed at a blended 10 month language level) -- to now having so many words, increased social engagement, following commands, spontaneously requesting things, and naming letters & numbers (not in order) as well as colors. We had our monthly meeting with our SLP through the state infants & toddlers program and it felt like we were just bragging the whole time, but I knew in the back of my head it was because I have been using strategies you taught me.

We still have so much work to do with our sweet boy, but I know in my heart he would not have succeeded without the education you provided. I will continue to read your emails & watch videos as we go along this journey and face challenges, but credit is due to you, Laura.

Thank you so much, endlessly."


"I just want to tell how fortunate I feel to have found your website and you!! I became a special instructor in EI almost a year ago and I started with hardly any applicable training. I felt so lost and confused as how to help the kids I work with learn how to use words and play. Honestly, I didn't even understand the importance of play, although I always played with my kids. But, once I started to watch your podcasts and get some of your manuals I felt a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I could finally teach these kids and their families something of value from a real therapist and based on research!. Thank you so much for seeing the need to help other EI service providers and providing a forum to share your knowledge and years of valuable experience. I'm sure you get a lot of these emails every week if not every day, but I wanted to make I could add to those notes of gratitude!! THANK YOU again!!"


"Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for these emails and your books, I have them all and they have seriously saved and improved my sessions with my kiddos. Huge thank you."


"I was very frustrated with how speech therapy was going for my child. I would take him and drop him off and not hear much of anything from his therapist and teachers other than, "He had a good (or a bad!) day." Your materials were invaluable for us because I learned how to work with him on his speech. I learned how to teach him to talk and play. I learned how to pay attention to his cues and work with him to teach him to communicate. Without it, I have no doubt he still wouldn’t talk."


"Hi! I just wanted to say (from an SLT perspective) how incredibly useful I am finding absolutely all of your articles, blogs and resources - I only discovered your site last month and have just received all your books which I feel I am learning more than on my entire university training course!! But also the way in which you give specific, realistic, fun, encouraging ideas for working with parents is really just fantastic, I only wish I have your site sooner! Thanks so much from the UK! Kind regards."


"I just wanted to reach out to say thank you for making things a little easier to manage for me this year. I made the transition from school SLP to private therapist about a year ago. While the change was welcome, it was a lot, and I was just getting my footing in the clinic when I began teletherapy full time. Your website has been a huge lifeline in helping me work with late talkers and coach their parents in an accessible but effective way, even remotely. I look forward to getting your emails each week. I am floored by the amount of valuable, free information that your website provides, and I’m looking forward to investing in your workbooks soon. A sincere thank you for all you do!"


"You are an inspiration! I am truly grateful for the way you put into words and writing how to do what we do as SLPs. At this time in my 13 years of practicing, I find your encouragement keeps me going. As a single mom, I find it a stretch to buy materials these days and I am so thankful for the freebies you so generously share that help me teach my families. I don’t have much time to put together lists or quick references for parents!! Much gratitude!!"