For SLPs, Therapy Ideas

Pretending to Understand Unintelligible Children

  1. Thanks for this reminder! My three-year-old is speech delayed, and I often say, “Really?” or “Cool!” when I have no idea what she’s said…so I appreciate the strategies! Thanks!

    • Shannon says:

      Yes! It can be so hard to remember to do but once you do it consistently, I think it really makes a difference! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  2. After three tries, I ask if they can show me or tell me using other words. Sometimes this works, though often it doesn’t, as language may be a component (what other word could be said for pop tart? And describing around it can be tricky, lots of language and more artic problems, comes in a blue box, eat it for breakfast, cherry with icing). When unable to get the message, I encourage practice, “man, this is hard, we need to work harder practicing your sounds, so this can be easier, and next time I will understand you”. For kiddos who experience this a lot, it may be time to use a communication book (Podd or Lamp) to help them use categories and language supports to get their message across.

  3. Karen Hosier says:

    I love this post! I work with phonologically impaired preschoolers. I try my best to figure out what they are saying and try to be honest when I can’t. I have texted parents asking for help if they are talking about something personal! I love when their face lights up when you finally “get it”!. I never really think of sharing this with the parents though….I’m going to add this to my talking points for open house this year. Thanks!

    • Shannon says:

      You’re welcome!! Thanks so much for commenting and I’m so glad you thought it was useful. I totally agree about putting forth extreme effort to understand my unintelligible little ones. LOVE seeing how excited they get when I finally understand! 🙂

  4. Dede Marine says:

    I appreciate this communication train. I had a few students this year who were highly unintelligible. That’s why I’m reading this blog. Want to do better for them and all of your ideas are wonderful. One thing I did was I gave my two students notebooks for drawing. When questioning didn’t help bring clarity to our conversational exchange, I would have them draw a picture. As they filled in what they were talking about, most often the unknown would be revealed. I would leave the notebook in the classroom for the teachers to use as well. So much fun!! For those students who enjoy drawing, this was helpful.

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