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Talking Points: Seven Speech Strategies

by Laura O'Grady

There are many individuals with speech and hearing challenges. Do you know a non-talker? Are you trying to get them to communicate and feeling a bit frustrated? As a speech therapist, I have compiled a list of seven strategies.

WAIT! This requires patience, but step back and give it some time. Sometimes it is just a matter of someone being tired. Accept that and also consider changing things up. Altering routines quite often prompts language.

SIGN! Signing is a great way to communicate for non-verbal individuals as well as an excellent supplemental tool for increasing communication skills. Studies show signing helps prompt and expand language.

SING! Singing can be easier than speaking for less verbal individuals. Play music and start singing. You may be happily surprised to be part of a sing-along.

PLAY! Sometimes games are a great way to open up the chatter. Simple card games such as “Go Fish” or “Concentration” are fun and easy ways to get language going.

TEXT! Make use of the word-predict option on your phone or tablet. Texting family and friends with whole sentences is a terrific way to model good speech patterns.

HUH?! Confused by what the other person is saying? Ask them to repeat themselves. If they are still not responding or unclear, give them a choice of two options to communicate. Very often they will choose one to get their point across.

READ! READ! READ! Reading aloud independently or listening to books help the communication process.

Remember, language development takes time. Stay Positive!

Laura O'Grady (M.S. CCC-SLP) is a speech-language pathologist in northern California working with individuals with a variety of communication challenges.

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