Listen While You Work

Life is BUSY!  While it’s fun to read books and play with games and toys in therapy, implementing these activities at home can sometimes seem challenging for families who don’t have a lot of extra time.  If you’re a therapist who does home visits, you may even run into a situation where parents feel they “don’t have time” to participate in your sessions and have to use the time to catch up on chores while you interact with their child.  How can we make this work?


When I coach mentees who are struggling to get parents involved in their home visits, I say, “If you can’t beat them, join them!”  Why not make chores and household activities a part of your session?  It’s a win-win-win: the child learns something new, the parent gets something done, and the family learns how to incorporate AV strategies into their daily routines.


For example:


  • Putting things in/taking them out

  • Comparative -er/ Superlative -est (this sock is smaller, this shirt is bigger)

  • Colors, textures, materials

  • Clothing vocabulary (the child may have shirt, but does he have blouse, t-shirt, polo shirt, etc.?)

  • Possessive -‘s (Mom’s shirt, Dad’s socks, etc.)

  • Plurals (socks, pants, etc.)



  • Clean/dirty

  • Wet/dry

  • /s/ blends: stack, splash, spoon, spill, sponge, etc.

  • Prepositions: put that away under the sink, but that on top of the counter, etc.


Cleaning up toys

  • Identification by attribute (clean up all of the wooden toys, all of the plastic toys, etc.)

  • Auditory-only multi-step directions (put away the cars before you put away the puzzles)

  • Identification by materials: cloth toys, wooden toys, plastic toys, etc.


We can also coach parents to help them realize that even if they don’t feel like they’re “doing therapy,” any interaction with their child is NOT wasted time.  Strategies like parallel talk (talking about what you’re doing) and narration (talking about what the child is doing) can make even the most mundane activity an opportunity to expose your child to new vocabulary and language structures.


Getting stuff done and being great at auditory verbal therapy should not be mutually exclusive propositions for families.

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