Speech Pathology News: Semantic Organisation

In the last two weeks the speech pathology team have begun doing some detailed assessment of children who are leaving us at the end of the year. We have also taken some time to review the language goals in preparation for I.E.P. reviews and establishing goals for the next block. One of the areas we typically focus on during intervention is semantic organisation. Semantic organisation is about the relationship between words, sentences and meaning. Semantic organisation skills include being able to:

  • Label and name objects and actions
  • Identify associations between words e.g. knife/fork go together because we eat with them
  • Describe items by colour, shape, size and function
  • Describe how items are the same and different
  • Sort items into groups
  • Understand opposites and synonyms
  • Know words with multiple meanings e.g. blew/blue
  • Give definitions for words

At home you can support your child’s semantic skills by involving them in activities around the home like cooking, preparing meals, doing the washing, setting the table and gardening. As you do these tasks talk about the objects you use and what they do, what they are made from and what group they belong to. For example, “We need to set the table. We will need knives to cut our food and forks to hold it. A knife and fork go together because we use them for eating. Knives and forks go in a group called cutlery.” How much information you provide will depend on your child’s skill and interest. As children learn more about the items needed you can turn tasks into a game by giving them clues for the items needed and then your child can find and name the items. For example, “Find some cutlery we use for cutting” (knife). The key to building the skills is lots of repetition of the activities and the words so your child becomes very familiar with them.