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Expanding Sentences and Vocabulary

I love my expanding non-traditional Picture Exchange therapy! I love it when I get to work with my life skills kiddos on adding descriptive words to toys that they already enjoy. And then even adding play too!

I use activities like this when students need visuals in order to speak more than 1-2 words.

I break the process into several levels depending on skills of the students:

  • I want dinosaur.
  • I want (small/big) dinosaur.
  • I want (color) dinosaur.
  • I want (small/big) (color) dinosaur.
I want small red dinosaur.

After the student has put together the sentence and pointed to each picture (and verbalized if they are able), I give them at least 2 choices of dinosaurs, one of which matches the requirements that they set out, and one of which does not. For some students I am able to hand them the entire basket and have them find the correct dinosaur.

This process expands expressive vocabulary and helps me to know if the child understood what they were asking for when putting together the sentence.

I hate the prep work of making all the pictures, laminating, and velcroing. Eventually, however, maybe I’ll have enough tubs of toys and pictures of the toys/attributes that I can just whip them out at a moment’s notice!

Do you have a favorite way to expand vocabulary for low level language children? And…anyone have some free time this summer to create tubs of toys and PECS pictures???

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  1. Love it! I also need spend some time upping my ATTRIBUTE icons!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I put their favorite snack food in different sized, colored and shaped plastic containers/boxes. The plastic allows the student to see the food item inside the container.

  3. Shelley W says:

    This is such a great activity to practice multiple concepts (size, shape, color, etc) and expanding expressive language. This is a great task for my middle school life skills students AND my language students who prefer short, simplified comments. Thanks for the therapy idea!

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