February 8

How I Target Topic Maintenance In Speech


I have a few kids on my caseload that are working on maintaining the topic of conversation.  Using a ball in speech has really helped my students understand the concept. It’s crazy to think of how many uses a simple ball has in therapy! Read on to find out how I use this one simple object to help children understand how to keep the conversation going.

First, choose a ball!

Luckily I had a small basketball on hand for my student who is a basketball fan, so that made the activity that much more fun! It can be any kind of ball, but I prefer it to be about the size of the child’s hands.

Next, choose a topic!

My topic for this particular student was pizza.  When he had the ball, he told me what kind of pizza he liked and then passed the ball to me.  The whole idea behind the ball is that whoever is holding the ball speaks.  As soon as the person is done talking, it is passed to the other person.

Keep the conversation going by asking & answering questions!

When my student gave me the ball, I was hoping he would ask me what kind of pizza I liked in order to keep the conversation going.  It took some prompting, but eventually he spontaneously asked me some good questions and made a few comments.  Not only are asking and answering questions important skills to keep the conversation going but they are also important social skills to possess!

How do you target topic maintenance with your students? I’d love to hear your ideas!


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