The Power of a Talking Stick
hildren with autism/ASD either don't talk at all or their mouths seem to be on lifetime batteries and they don't know when to catch a breath. I've known both types. I've dealt with both the non-verbal and the non-stop vocal in therapy. I've talked to parents of both the locked mouth
and the motor mouth.
Both types are frustrating in the clinical and in the home environments.
Have I got a solution for you
My Talking Stick is:
- Crosses environments
- Works with children with ASD as well as in other speech/language groups
- Helps children take turns
- Helps children listen
- Helps with manners
- Helps with interactions
- Helps with eye contact
- Helps with response time (verbal delays)
- Helps with children who are non-verbal
- Helps with children who are too verbal
- Helps children maintain the topic of the conversation
- Helps children be a part of the conversation
- Helps children if your goal is to name categories
- Helps children if your goal is to sequence
The Talking Stick is:
FUN ~ LIVELY ~ INTERACTIVE ~ A GREAT WAY TO START A SESSION ~ AN EASY STRATEGY TO PASS ALONG TO PARENTS AND CLASSROOM TEACHERS ~ FUN TO MAKE (make several at a time so that you can pass them along to others - they're cheap and promise to reap a lot of good will and ideas)
Here's how you make ‘em:
- go to a lumber company such as Lowes or Home Depot
- get a 2 or 3 inch round dowel rod (any length depending on how many you plan to make)
- saw the dowel in 7 or 8 inch lengths
- sand the ends (you can spray paint them if you want to)
- this is important - let the child help decorate the Talking Stick (the child needs to have input) you can glue eyes on the ends or put face stickers. Just leave the center of the rod open so that it can be passed easily from person to person.
- this is important too - call it a Talking Stick. The child/children might even want to call it "George the Talking Stick" and that's fine, but they need to know its exact purpose.
Here's what you do with ‘em:
- Whoever is holding the Talking Stick is the one who gets to talk
- For the "too verbal" child - limit the utterances to one or two and then he/she must pass it on
- For the "non-verbal" child who might not speak - they are still given the Talking Stick to learn turn taking, passing it on, encourage vowels, single word utterances but do not apply pressure and certainly do not ask questions (unless you are using a yes/no board that the child can use to answer)
- Children with autism have delays in their responses ~ make an easy but fast paced response mode by naming categories and passing the Talking Stick quickly among peers and yourself (Always include yourself and when explaining to parents - they are included as well - around the dinner table is the best time for the family)
Look at the list above and see all of the skills that the Talking Stick can do for the SLP and his/her clients. I'm sure you have more ideas. Share - Share - Share.
"Speech pathologists make good things happen."