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Communication Temptation Tasks for Late Talkers

Having a child who is considered to be a late talker can be difficult and confronting for us as parents. Sometimes there is a physical or cognitive issue that causes the delay, however, there are also a lot of children that have no underlying conditions but are late talkers. These children are usually around 18 months to 3 years and communication temptation tasks can help provide incentives to get your child to talk.

What are the Goals of Communication Temptation Tasks?

  1. Increase your child’s desire to communicate
  2. Make communication fun
  3. Establish the power of communication. That is, when we use words our needs and wants are met more easily
  4. Increase spontaneous use of language

Examples Of Communication Temptation Tasks

  1. Eat a desired food or play with a preferred toy in front of your child without offering any to him/her. Give only a small amount when the request is made, to prompt repeated requests.
  2. Offer a non-preferred food item to elicit a protest.
  3. Offer two alternatives for food, drink or toys to play with and wait for them to try and say a word (even an approximation) before giving the object.
  4. Activate a wind-up toy, let it stop working and then hand it to your child for a reaction.
  5. Open a jar of bubbles, blow bubbles, then close the jar tightly and give the closed jar to your child.
  6. Initiate a social game with your child (e.g. tickles, tossing up in the air, etc.) until they express pleasure, then stop the game and wait.
  7. Blow up a balloon and slowly deflate it. Hand the deflated balloon to your child or hold the deflated balloon up to your mouth and wait for a response.
  8. Start putting a puzzle together but keep a piece, so that there is one missing at the end.
  9. Select an object that your child desires and place it in a container, to get them to ask for it.
  10. Set up for painting or a craft activity without glue or paints.
  11. Tell your child they can go outside to play, but leave the door locked.
  12. Put a familiar toy together the wrong way (e.g. put the arm in the location for Mr. Potato Head’s hat.)
  13. When swinging in the playground, give your child a few pushes. Then hold the swing and wait.
  14. Sing a favourite song, rhyme or verse and pause mid song or just before the end of each line. Wait and see if your child can fill in the blanks.

Ref: Kylie Catania, Therapy Focus Inc.

It is important to praise your child for any attempt they make at communicating, even if it is just a sound rather than a word. You want to encourage them to speak. The more excited you get by their attempts, the more willing most children will be to try to talk.

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