Speech Pathology News: Vocabulary

Vocabulary includes all the words we understand and the words we use when we talk. Children with language difficulties can find it hard to learn new words. They need lots of opportunities to hear new words before they can use them. Having a good vocabulary is also important for reading comprehension. Try some of these activities to help build your child’s vocabulary.


Name objects you use around the home and talk about what they are used for. Try and repeat the words lots of times.

  We use a hairbrush to brush your hair. The hairbrush makes your hair shiny. Put the hairbrush in your room so you can find it.”

Ask your child to name objects and actions for things you talked about on Monday.

  Simple question: “What is this?” (Holding the hairbrush)

More complex: “What do we use to brush our hair?”


Talk about actions as you or your child does them.

   “I am spreading the butter on the bread. Then I will spread the jam. I like bread spread with butter and jam.”

Go for a walk in the garden, in the park or along the beach. Talk about what things look like or feel like.

  “This bark is very rough. It is a rough bark. The rough bark has fallen off the tree”

Explain the meaning of one or two words in books you read to your child.

  “Hush was invisible. That means they couldn’t see her.”

Speech Pathology News: Following Instructions

Being able to follow an instruction is important for learning both inside and outside the classroom. Children can have difficulty following instructions for lots of reasons. For example, they may have difficulty focusing their attention, they may have difficulty understanding the words in an instruction, they may have difficulty remembering everything that was said. Try the strategies below to help.

Expectation Instruction Example How to help


  • Get your child’s attention before giving an instruction.
(Name) Look at me. (Wait for eye contact) Bring me your… Go to them. Get down to their level. Repeat the instruction.

Instruction length

  • Try giving 2 step instructions
Bring me your lunch box and then get ready for soccer. Break it down. Make it shorter

Get your lunchbox. (Wait for your child to respond.) Bring it to me (Wait for a response) Get ready for soccer.


Language of instructions

  • Try using instructions with “but not”
Go and get a jumper but not your red one. Rephrase the question

Get your blue or green jumper.


Language of instructions

  • Try using instructions with before and after.

Put your bag away before you go and play

You can go to the park after we finish our lunch

More challenging:

Before you go and play put your bag away.

After we finish our lunch you can go to the park


Put your bag away. Then go and play.


Eat your lunch first. Then we will go to the park.


Language of instructions

  • Try giving instructions using “If…”
If you want chocolate cake wash your hands.

If you want a story find a book.


Do you want chocolate cake? (Yes) Then go and wash your hands.


Speech Pathology News: Routines

Currently, your child is learning lots of new routines for their classroom. A routine is a series of steps we follow to complete daily tasks such as getting dressed, brushing teeth, having a bath.

Helping your child with a routine for packing their school bag is a great way to support your child with sequencing, working memory, using specific vocabulary. Try these activities to support your child with routines, language skills and developing independence:

MONDAY Have your child help you pack the school bag by passing the objects to the child and commenting as you do it. For example: “First, we put the lunch box in.”  “Next we put the drink bottle in. Then we put the hat in. Finally we put….”
TUESDAY Ask your child to put the first 2 things in their bag. “Put your lunch box and drink bottle in your bag”. You might need to support them to remember the other things they need. Give lots of encouragement.
WEDNESDAY Ask your child to put 3 or 4 items in their school bag. “Put your lunch box and drink bottle in your bag. Then put your hat and book in.” Give lots of encouragement for listening and remembering.
THURSDAY Ask your child to pack their bag on their own. Then go through the items together to check everything is there. Help your child put in any missed items. Give lots of encouragement for being independent and remembering.
FRIDAY Ask your child to pack their bag and then tell you what they have put in. Support them if they miss a step. Continue to use praise and encouragement for remembering and for being independent.