These communication temptations were adapted from Warren & Yoder (1998) to facilitate a child’s need to communicate in a variety of contexts. For example, the goals of the following exercises are to convey emotion, initiate conversation, make requests, make comments and ask questions.
Making Requests & Asking Questions:
- Withholding food/toys: Eat a desirable food and wait to give to your child until he makes a request (e.g. “more”) and/or give him/her the desirable food in small quantities (e.g. sip of juice, bite of a cracker) so that he/she is motivated to ask for more. The same strategy works during play. For example, give the child one block at a time when building a tower, blow one bubble at a time and close the jar, blow up a balloon and deflate it, etc. and wait to give “more” until the child requests.
- Initiate a familiar game, play it until the child expresses joy, then pause. Allow the child time to make a request for more. If the child does not respond, look expectantly at the child and ask, “What do you want?” For example, if you are rolling a ball back and forth,
prompt the child to produce “ball” or “more ball”.
- Put a desirable object in view, but out of reach (e.g. on a nearby shelf, table or holding a toy out of reach). Prompt your child to “use his/her words” to request a toy.
- Pay less attention than usual to the child (e.g. back away or turn your back during an ongoing game). Wait for the child to elicit your attention.
- Place a desired toy in a clear container with an airtight lid (or a container the child cannot open). Give the container and wait. Prompt the child to ask for the desired toy.
Making Comments and Conveying Emotion:
- Give the child the run of the room for a few minutes- allow him/her time to direct your attention to something the child finds interesting.
- Roll a ball back and forth for several turns, then substitute for a different object (e.g. toy car). The goal is for the child to make a comment about the switch in toys. Consider how an adult responds to something unexpected!
- Bring the child a new toy or initiate a silly or unusual event (e.g. wear a clown nose). Wait for the child to react (including gestures, facial expressions, etc.).
- Place a toy that makes noise in an opaque bag. Shake the bag and hold it up to the child. Wait for the child to comment (e.g. “Whoa!”) or make a request (e.g. “open,” or “open bag”).
- Put the child’s hand in a cold, wet, or sticky substance (e.g. water, pudding, paste, play-doh). Wait for the child to comment on the sensory qualities (e.g. hot, cold, sticky, wet, etc).
Warren, S., & Yoder, D. (1998). Facilitating the transition from pre-intentional communication to intentional communication. In Paul, (2007) Language Disorders form Infancy through Adolescence (p.248)