Puppets can be used in so many different ways in speech therapy. Here are 3 different ways I use them to teach and connect with children!
Puppets are incredibly versatile! If they are motivating for a child, I will use them to target almost any goal – prepositions, verbs, demonstrate following directions, and many more. And while puppets may seem like a tool for young children only, I’ve been surprised at how well they have worked with school-aged children by helping build rapport or addressing difficult things you may not want to bring direct attention to. Keep in mind you can use not just puppets, but any stuffed or favorite toys (e.g. angry birds, Mario/Luigi, Pokemon, Minecraft, princess dolls, cars).
Here are 3 unique ways to use puppets in speech therapy:
– Selective mutism/shy children: Puppets have helped me connect with children who are reluctant to talk and play. Talking to a child via a puppet, or giving them a puppet to communicate (pointing, nodding, talking) with can be less intimidating for them. I have even had children bring their favorite stuffed toy to our session and I will talk to the toy instead of directly to the child (e.g. “Minnie Mouse, where is the lion?”).
– Stuttering: I use puppets to give examples of fluent versus disfluent speech, and then I have the child identify the type of speech themselves and teach the puppet strategies for fluent speech. Another strategy is allowing them to talk vicariously through a puppet, which may take pressure off of them and help reduce disfluent speech.
– Social skills: Using puppets to act out social situations can be a good way to teach pragmatics without negatively singling out the child’s social skills. Demonstrate good and poor social behaviors and interactions, and have them use a puppet as well to role play and practice social routines!
How do you use puppets in speech therapy?
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