Picture Scenes Speech Therapy and How to Use It at Home

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Therapists often use picture scenes as the backbone for speech therapy.

After all, they are versatile tools that effectively help get kids speaking.

Knowing how picture scenes speech therapy works means you can practice at home to help develop your child’s language skills even further.

As you know, the more your child practices speaking, the better they’ll get.

Hence, it’s crucial that we courage them in all the ways we can.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at what picture scene therapy is, as well as explain how you can engage in the activity at home.

Picture Scenes Speech Therapy: What Is It?

Picture scenes are widely used in speech therapy as children generally love to talk about pictures.

Basically, it targets multiple speech goals at the same time.

Your speech-language practitioner will use picture scenes to encourage various responses from your child by asking questions.

Through this, they can hone in on specific aspects of speech that your child is struggling with.

Picture scenes therapy can be employed to help develop many aspects of your child’s language, such as:

  • Vocabulary
  • Forming sentences and sentence structure
  • Practicing prepositions
  • Practicing verbs and tenses
  • WH questions (who, what, where, which, and why)
  • Following directions
  • Inference (making educated guesses or drawing logical conclusions from evidence)
  • Conversation practice

They are also really easy to use at home as they don’t require any preparation.

In a sense, their versatility means you can engage more than one child at a time.

If you have more than one child at home, you can sit them both down and practice their speech simultaneously.

Then, take it in turn to ask them one question about the picture, making sure you pick one suited to their ability or needs.

It is a popular activity for children of all ages throughout preschool, elementary, middle school, and even high school.

Learning how to use picture scenes in speech therapy will be a skill that you can utilize for many years to come.

How To Use Picture Scenes

The first thing you need to do is find a picture scene to work with.

There are many free picture scenes available online that have been specially developed for learning specific concepts or vocabulary.

These picture scenes are usually very busy so that you have a lot to talk or ask about.

If you don’t have access to a computer or printer, you can make do with pictures you have at home for now.

You could use a picture book, photographs, pictures in magazines, or pictures or paintings you have hanging on the wall at home.

As long as the picture you find has the content you need for your day’s practice, it will do the same job.

Once you’ve found your picture scene, sit down with your child and either ask them questions about the scene or ask them to respond to the scene.

For older children, you can also ask that they initiate conversations about the scene.

Below are some examples of how you can initiate practice and develop specific receptive and expressive language skills.

kid in picture scenes speech therapy

Practicing Receptive Language Skills

Developing your child’s receptive language skills will involve practicing their understanding of language.

These are some examples of things you can say to your child to help practice vocabulary, verbs, directions, colors, and so on.

Vocabulary

  • Point to the ball
  • Touch the sun
  • Point to a bird
  • Point to the girl

Verbs

  • Touch the girl who is swinging
  • Point to something that is flying
  • Touch the person who is walking
  • Point to the one who is playing

Two-Step Directions

  • First, point to the ball and then point to the sun
  • Point to the boy and then point to the girl

Colors

  • Touch something red
  • Point to something green

Negation

  • Point to something that is not round
  • Touch a person that is not wearing a hat

Concepts

  • Point to the big ball
  • Point to the little ball
  • Touch something that is hot (and cold)
  • Point to two things that are the same (or different)
  • Which butterfly is your favorite?

Practicing Expressive Language Skills

Developing your child’s expressive language skills will involve engaging them in practices that encourage them to express themselves through language.

Vocabulary

Point to various pictures within the picture scene and say:

  • What is this?
  • What is that?

Verbs

Point to different people in the picture and ask:

  • What is he doing?
  • What are they doing?

WH Questions

Point to a girl and ask WH questions such as:

  • Who is on the swings?
  • Where is the girl?
  • What is that?
  • Why is she crying?
  • Which bird is bigger?

Colors

Touch different pictures and ask your child:

  • What color is it?
  • What color is the dog?

Sentence Length

Talk about what is happening in the picture and encourage two-, three-, or four-word sentences, such as (“repeat after me…”):

  • Red ball
  • He is happy.
  • There is a dog.
  • There are three dogs.

Yes and No Questions

Point to pictures and ask yes or no questions, such as:

  • Is the girl happy?
  • Is the ball red?

Inference

Ask questions that involve your child having to make logical conclusions from evidence they can see in the picture, such as:

  • Why are the children wearing gloves?
  • Why is the boy crying?
  • Why is the girl happy?

Concepts

Point to an object (or two) and ask:

  • Is it big, or is it little?
  • Is it under, or is it over the table?
  • Is this dog first or this dog last?
  • Are these two pictures the same, or are they different?

Why Use Picture Scenes?

There are lots of reasons everyone should be using picture scenes in their speech therapy practice.

Here’s why we find them so helpful, and why we think you should be using them at home, too:

  • Children generally love to talk about pictures.
  • They are very easy to use as no preparation is required.
  • Picture scenes enable you to target multiple speech goals at one time.
  • You can use them with multiple children working on different levels.

Picture Scenes as Prompts

Practicing picture scenes speech therapy with your child is a fun and easy way to prompt them to start talking or engage them in conversation.

Once you’ve practiced using picture scenes with some of our prompts, we promise that you’ll find it much easier to practice again next time.

Don’t forget to talk to your speech-language practitioner and ask them what they’re working on.

Maybe you can help reinforce their session learning goals at home, or perhaps they will be able to lend you some new picture scenes to use.

Related: PROMPT Speech Therapy

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