Conversation starters and prompts are a versatile tool to teach a variety of skills in regards to speech therapy, autism, and your classroom! Get a question list to use and download a freebie.
Have you ever gotten into the rut of using the same questions over and over again that you can think of off the top of your head? It can be tricky to provide more insightful conversation starters for your students to answer – especially the older ones! I know what it feels like to desperately need GREAT questions to use with my students in sessions.
I have found it 100% necessary to have questions available on hand to promote meaningful conversation – then I don’t need to come up with them on a whim AND I can use them for so many therapy targets (speech, language, social goals) with a wide range of students.
USE CONVERSATION STARTERS FOR:
• social skills groups
• individual sessions working in pragmatic language
• asking follow up questions and turn-taking in conversation
• answering wh questions
• sentence formulation
• articulation carryover at the sentence and conversation levels
• ice breaker questions for new students
Students with autism or pragmatic language needs have a more difficult time initiating and maintaining conversations. Using conversation starters can help them while working on necessary skills such as answering and asking questions, body language, turn-taking in conversations, and other nuances of social interactions.
Using them in articulation or fluency intervention is helpful when testing and working on sounds and strategies in carryover.
Having a set of ice breaker questions can be a lifesaver when working with new students, especially if you have to prepare a quick first session with little prep time. After getting to know your students with these questions, you can easily incorporate explaining why they come to speech therapy and discuss their speech goals.
Some students will enjoy answering questions, hearing your answer, and even asking students questions. Others will need a bit more of a motivator to participate.
Younger students: Provide a reinforcer or fun game, such as a ball popper, pop up pirate, or bingo chips and a wand. Have them answer a question and then get a turn to use the ball popper, pull a sword out of the barrel, or earn a bingo chip.
Older students: Have your students write questions for each other. This works on initiating conversations and thinking of good questions to ask while still in a structured environment. I like to provide some context, for example, “pretend you are going to a party on Friday night – think of 3 good questions you can ask while talking to others.” It’s fun to see what your students come up with!
- What is your favorite thing to do after school? Why?
- How old are you? What did you do for your last birthday?
- What do you like to do on the weekend?
- What is your favorite season? Why?
- Who do you live with?
- What is your favorite game to play with your friends? Why?
- What family member are you closest with?
- What do you think makes a good friend?
- It is your first day at a new school and you don’t know anyone. What would you do?
- Do you prefer group projects or working by yourself? Why?
- What do you think is a good way to make a friend at school?
- Do you enjoy going to school most days? Why or why not?
- What would you do if the person next to you on the bus kept kicking you?
- Have you ever given in to peer pressure? When?
- When is a time you have felt empathy for someone?
- What would you do if you realized you had been mean to someone?
- Would you rather go to the zoo or the aquarium? Why?
- Would you rather the weather be very hot or very cold? Why?
- Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible? Why?
- Would you rather be able to control water or fire? Why?
Print the above questions or use them in a “no print” format on your device with this free download!
These downloads include 100 questions each – elementary edition and teen edition. There are 5 different category topics that are labeled and color-coded: about me, family & friends, school, social, would you rather. Use on your computer or tablet as a no prep and no print option!
How do you use conversation starters in speech therapy or your classroom? Let me know below!