Guest Blog: Broken Cell Phones Get Students Talking in Speech Therapy
By: Erik X. Raj, CCC-SLP
Copyright 2011. Reprinted with the express permission of the author as it appeared on his blog Artic Brain
I’ll be the first to admit it: I am addicted to my cell phone just as much as the next person. Those pocket sized machines help us to talk with family, text message friends, surf the web, and so much more, but what do we do when our beloved cell phone bites the dust? Most people simply throw the broken device away in the trash. Well, I am here to tell you to save that lifeless cell phone because I guarantee it can bring some liveliness into your next speech therapy session. Don’t believe me?! Well, all you have to do is use your imagination and call someone famous!
Magic cell phone!
Inform your student that the broken cell phone you have is actually a MAGIC cell phone that can call ANYONE in the entire world! Ask them to call one of their favorite movie stars, rock stars, or anyone on television. Remind them to use appropriate social language (introduce yourself, be polite, etc.). This is a great activity that encourages verbalization from all students in a very natural and non-intrusive way (yippie!).
Ask your student to name who their chosen famous person is. What does the person look like? Where is the person from? What movies is the person in? What songs does the person sing? All of these questions help the child to practice describing a person who is not immediately in the classroom. At times, this can be really tricky for children enrolled in speech therapy. Feel free to jump on the internet to look up the biography of the famous person if your student gets stuck (thank goodness for Google!).
If your student is working on articulation, it is amazingly easy to incorporate this activity to meet his/her pronunciation goals and objectives. Push your students to use as many target sound-specific words as possible while conversing with the famous person “on the other line.” Let the student know that you spoke with the famous person before hand and he/she will be listening very closely for any misarticulations (better bring that “A” game!).
There are just SO many different directions that one can take this specific speech therapy idea.
- Are you trying to promoting turn-taking skills? You can with this activity!
- Are you trying to work on pronouns such as you, I, me, and yours? This activity has you covered!
- How about working on proper volume and increasing your student’s loudness? Oh, this is the perfect activity for you because if the person on the other end of the phone can’t hear you, he/she just might hang up!
So who do you think your students are going to want to call? Who would you want to call? How on Earth did we ever survive without cell phones before? It would be fantastic to hear from you. Please let me know if you gave this broken cell phone idea a go. Have a great speech therapy session!
Our Featured Guest Blogger: Erik X. Raj
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Erik X. Raj is an innovative speech-language pathologist who has provided direct patient care to pediatric, adolescent, and adult clients who exhibit a broad spectrum of communication difficulties. He currently works for the Hamilton Township School District in New Jersey where he administers diagnostics and provides therapy to school-aged students with speech, language, voice, and fluency disorders.
In addition, Erik is the author of the award-winning children’s book, “One Seashell, Two Seashell, Flap, Flap, Flap,” and the founder of ArticBrain, LLC, a speech therapy product development company. With all of his original creations, it is Erik’s mission to provide each youngster with a positive experience that inspires a passion for learning and helps to build competence, confidence, and courage to pursue his or her dreams.