Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Speech Therapy Activity Ideas

Speech impediments or disorders occur in many different forms. They can be caused by a physical problem that was either present at birth or due to a later injury. Spasmodic dysphonia, aphasia and apraxia are examples of speech disorders caused by injury. Speech disorders that are mental manifest as a difficulty in articulation such as lisping, cluttering and omitting certain letters. Speech disorders vary in terms of severity; however, they can be improved with certain activities.


Flashcards are useful for those who have problems articulating certain words. Going through each word individually and slowly on a flashcard can help the speaker pronounce the word correctly. The speaker can focus on sounding out the word when it appears out of the context of regular speech. As the speaker improves, flip through the flashcards more quickly and ask the speaker to say all the words correctly as quickly as possible.

Instrumental Activites

Some speech disorders stem from weak mouth muscles. To help with this, instruct the patient to blow on a flute or a harmonica. Blowing up balloons is also an effective alternative. These activities will exercise the mouth muscles and strengthen them.

Syllable Practice

Tackling a whole word at once can be difficult. For some speech therapy patients, it is easier to focus on the individual syllables. This exercise is especially useful for those who have difficulty with articulation. For those with a lisp, for example, choose syllables that contain the letter "S" and repeat the sound. As the patient begins to improve, help him use the syllables in the context of a sentence.

Songs and Tongue Twisters

Using songs and tongue twisters helps speech therapists and patients spot mistakes. Singing a song is an engaging alternative to endless repetition of sounds. Tongue twisters, since they are made up of similar-sounding words, help patients to differentiate sounds. Use tongue twisters such as "she sells sea shells" and "the blue bluebird blinks," for example. Begin by saying the tongue twister slowly, making sure to get every word correct. As the patient improves, increase the speed. Try practicing for 10 minutes daily. Songs are good for children -- especially nursery songs or songs that they are already familiar with. Performing a song with movement is beneficial as it links physical actions to certain words or sounds. It also makes the activity more enjoyable for children.

"Take a Peek" Game

Games are a good way to take the pressure off practicing words. For "Take a Peek," have the person with the speech disorder look through a cardboard paper towel tube and focus in on certain objects around the room. Have the person say the object that he is looking at in a sentence. For example, the speaker might say "I see a ____." Looking through the tube eliminates all of the clutter in the room and allows the person to focus on one object.

Coin Toss

For this activity, an egg carton and pennies are needed. This game can be played with single or multiple players. Set the egg carton on to the floor and have the players stand 1 foot to 4 feet away. Assign a point value to each hole in the egg carton. Make the holes furthest away from the players worth the most points. Reward each player a penny every time he correctly pronounces a word. The player then tosses the pennies into the egg carton, aiming for a hole with the most points. Award a small prize to the player with the most points.

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