One of my fellow cohort-mates sent out a Facebook plea the other day asking for topic suggestions to elicit lots of language from a client during her upcoming eval session. Based on his file, he was 13 yrs old, coming in for a voice/artic eval (I know…odd combo), and his interests ranged from “I dunno” to “whatever.” To all you male SLPs out there (yes, all 8 of you), maybe you have a secret arsenal of conversation topics to get boys in this age range spouting off language. For the rest of us though, this is a dreaded demographic for eliciting lots of connected speech for later analysis. My friend’s post was met with a myriad of responses…some truly helpful and others downright hilarious!
Although she generated a handful of decent suggestions from the wonderful world of social networking, we all tossed out some ideas later that day in our computer lab. I thought I would share some of the good ones from that conversation in case you are ever stuck trying to think of fun ways to elicit lots of language from a client this age!
- Client versus Wild: Have 2 baskets/hats/jars: in one you have pieces of paper listing out common tools, household items, survival items, and the occasional funny wildcard. In the other you have pieces of paper with possible survival settings on them (i.e. post-zombie invasion New York, deserted island, volcanic mountain mid-eruption, etc.). You tell the client they can choose 3 slips of paper from the “items” jar and one slip of paper from the “settings” jar. Based on their setting and their available items, they have to tell you how they would use those 3 items to survive in their selected setting. I have no doubt that boy and girls in this age range would be excited about this game!
- Quote Detective: if you have any inkling of the client’s favorite book or series, this idea might be a big hit. You open the book to any old page and read off part of a paragraph or scene (from that page). It’s the client’s job to describe to you what has happened just before this in the book and what will happen right after it in the book. You’ll get lots of language and they’ll get in the competitive spirit of being tested on a favorite read!
- How-To Guide: Bring up a popular video game in conversation and claim that you really like to play it. BUT, when you go to describe it to the client, describe it incorrectly (I would be verrrrrry good at this!). I can pretty much guarantee they’ll be chomping at the bit to correct you (which will give you lots of complex language…we hope).