Categories activities are a way to improve the communication skills of your speech therapy patients. This site provides you with some simple categories activities to use with your patients, as well as tips and tricks on how to make them more effective.
Categories activities are helpful for improving word retrieval and comprehension in your patients. When we struggle to remember words, or when we don’t understand the meaning of a word, it can be extremely frustrating. By using categories activities, you can teach your patients to identify patterns in words and understand how they relate to each other.
Category activities are a great way to provide quick, motivating speech and language practice for kids. They are also great for mixed groups of kids working on different goals.
When we talk about categories, we mean groups of items that all belong to the same group. These groups can be defined based on any number of things: use, function, appearance, material, etc. For example, items in the category “things you would use to eat” would include a fork, spoon and knife.
While it may seem easy to come up with categories and items within categories (and it is!), category activities can actually be quite challenging for some kids with speech and language challenges. For a child who struggles with expressive language (using words), they may not be able to think of the correct items within a category or know how to express those items. A child who struggles with receptive language (understanding words) may have difficulty understanding the category or knowing which items belong in a given category. Kids who struggle with articulation may have difficulty verbalizing the words that name objects in a given category. Finally, children with apraxia of speech may not be able to produce the sounds necessary for saying these words correctly.
Cerebral palsy can cause many different types of speech problems including articulation disorders and fluency disorders. In addition to these specific difficulties with speech, people with cerebral palsy can have problems with swallowing, chewing, and food preparation. Cerebral palsy also makes it difficult for people to produce sounds correctly because of limited muscle control.
Strokes can cause many different types of speech problems as well. Some stroke survivors experience difficulty speaking because they are unable to move their mouth or face muscles correctly. Other stroke survivors experience difficulty speaking because they have lost some or all of their ability to produce sound correctly due to damage to their vocal cords or tongue muscles from the stroke event itself (this is known as “aphonia”). In addition to these specific difficulties with speech production after a stroke, many stroke survivors develop cognitive problems such as decreased awareness and attention span; these cognitive deficits often make it harder for them to understand what others say as well as speak clearly themselves.
Categories activities are a great way to help your clients practice their articulation skills, as well as their expressive language skills. They involve the use of a category word, with the client attempting to list as many items within that category as possible. The clinician can either provide the category, or ask the client to come up with one on his or her own. You can also use this activity to target other speech and language goals, such as using descriptive words, using compound words, using plurals, using past tense verbs, etc.
In speech therapy we use categories for lots of things. It’s great for vocabulary building, it helps with sequencing, it gives kids practice in describing things as well as in organization skills.
For example: let’s say you have a child who is working on verbs. You can start by saying “I’ll name three verbs: run, skip, jump.” Then have the child list three verbs that they know (or ask them to tell you what they did today). Then tell them it’s their turn to go first: You can say something like “I went to the store and I bought some cheese. My daughter ran around the house. What did you do today?” Let them respond until they run out of things to say.