This week I would like to talk about my most useful and
prized speech therapy tool: the trusty pacing board! I'm wondering if there are
other therapists out there who love this inexpensive, easy-to-make, always handy, can-carry anywhere, multi-purpose speech therapy device as much as I do?!
I rarely go into any classroom or therapy session without one in some form or
July and August are two of our busiest IEP months at school,
so I am in meetings at least once or twice a week with parents. When I explain
to them some of the strategies we are using in the classroom and ways they can
reinforce speech at home, I often talk about the use of a pacing board and
sentence strips. I demonstrate how to use both and try to have a simple pacing
board available to give them so that they can support these methods in their
Here is a list of the MANY ways I use a pacing board in
- To pace
out multi-syllabic words such as "E-LE-PHANT"
- To pace
out sentences such as "I-WANT-JUICE-PLEASE"
help slow down my fast talkers! I demonstrate for them how to use a pacing
board to slow down their speech and have them imitate my example.
- To help
children who are omitting sounds and words. A pacing board can help show
them that every-sound-should-be-said-when-talking!
expand a child's mean length of utterance (MLU). A pacing board is a great way to help move them from
only one- to two-word utterances to three to four words.
help children take conversational turns when talking with others. Pacing
boards help make speech and language a little more tangible and gives the
child a visual "my turn/your turn" cue.
- And of
course, add pictures and make it into a sentence strip! It's a great way to help
children get their wants and needs met ("I-WANT-MILK" or
"I-PICK-OLD-MACDONALD)." Using this same idea, pacing boards and sentence
strips can also be used to help children with both asking and answering
yes/no and ‘wh' questions.
For those of you who may not be familiar with a pacing
board or might not use one very often, here is an EASY way to make a simple,
inexpensive pacing board:
Simply cut a piece of construction
paper, poster board or cardboard into strips about three inches wide and about eight to 12
inches long. I like to use stickers or Post-It Notes® (I have ones that are
stars and flowers) to make my pacing board dots. Simply run the strips through
a laminator and voila! A low-maintenance and low-cost pacing board you can use
over and over. Simply add velcro to the laminated board and attach sentence
strip pictures to bring your tool to a whole new level.
you have other ways you use the pacing board or
other ways you have made one? Please share your ideas!