Yes and No are among the most powerful and meaningful words within the English language. Without these words, expressing a preference, agreement or refusal would be impossible. In the world of speech therapy, there is so much that can be accomplished simply by playing with the words yes and no.
For individuals with speech or language disorders, or other conditions that affect their communication, focusing on the mastery of the words yes and no is of paramount importance. All people, regardless of their abilities, should have the ability to express confirmation, consent, rejection, or disagreement.
Speech therapy is a vitally important resource when it comes to helping anyone who is struggling to communicate effectively. Speech therapy focuses on developing speech, language, and communication skills, and boosting confidence and independence. Getting started with speech therapy with Great Speech is quick and easy. Get started by scheduling your free introductory call today!
Why Are Yes and No Questions Important in Speech Therapy?
Yes or No questions are commonly targeted during speech therapy sessions. This is because once an individual possesses the ability to appropriately respond to yes or no questions, it is possible to communicate with the child in more complex ways. The ability to respond and express preference or disagreement is essential when it comes to reducing the frustration that is caused by the child’s inability to express their wants, thoughts, feelings, and needs.
In some cases, Speech and Language pathologists may target yes or no questions regarding general knowledge. Personal questions, however, are often a much more meaningful way to connect and elicit a response. When the therapist asks the individual about themselves, it in turn gives the individual a powerful voice and the opportunity to talk about things that interests and is important to them. Communicating personal preferences can be highly motivating, empowering, and a great functional opportunity to express themselves. Getting started with speech therapy is as simple as scheduling your free introductory call today!
What Are Good Yes and No Questions?
The best yes and no questions for speech therapy are:
- Are Questions
- Can Questions
- Do / Does Questions
- If Questions
- Is Questions
One of the best things about using yes and no questions during speech therapy is that these activities allow the therapist to build upon previously attained skills, becoming more complex and challenging as therapy progresses. It is important to make sure that each step is mastered before moving on to the next step. This can mean taking lots of time on each step and repeating the questions/activity until it has been mastered.
- Do You Want It? (Yes)
Show the child an item that they are fond of, such as a beloved toy or delicious snack. Then ask the child, “Do you want this?” If the child demonstrates that they do want the object (maybe by reaching for it or repeating the name of the object,) model the word “yes” for the child to repeat. You can encourage the child to nod their head or say the word yes. As the child improves at this activity, you can try nodding your head instead of saying the word, yes to prompt them.
- Do You Want It? (No)
Once you have moved through the above activity and the child is consistently able to answer yes, you should move on to working on their ability to respond “no.” Try engaging in a fun activity with the child, such as blowing bubbles. Then offer them something completely uninteresting, such as a scrunched-up tissue. Ask them “Do you want the tissue?” then model “no” just as you did in the previous exercise. Try saying “no, no paper” and then switch back to the enjoyable activity “Do you want to blow bubbles?”
Once you’ve practiced prompting the child to say “no”, work on getting them to answer “no” without being prompted. If the child is still responding “yes” to the undesirable object, put the object in their hand. They may then appear confused because it actually wasn’t something they wanted. When they discard it or hand it back to you, say “no, no tissue” and return to offering the preferred object.
- Questions About Their Basic Wants and Needs
Once the child is consistently answering yes and no to simple “do you want” questions. From there you can move on to slightly more complicated questions such as “Do you need help?” “Are you hungry?” “Are you ready?” and “Can I have…?”
- Identification Questions
Once the child is able to successfully answer questions about their basic wants and needs, you can progress onto asking questions about the names of objects. When you do this activity, show the child a photo of an object and ask them “Is this a ….?” Make sure you use the right name of the object in some instances, and then try saying the wrong name and see how the child reacts and responds. If necessary, you can help the child by prompting them with yes or no.
- Mixed Questions
By this point, the child is likely able to answer yes or no appropriately when asked simple questions. You can now try asking them simple yes or no questions throughout the day, and wait for them to respond without prompting. If your child is struggling to answer these questions, you may want to go back to step 1 and start the process again.
How Does Speech Therapy Work?
Speech therapy for children works by first identifying the child’s areas of difficulty, arriving at a diagnosis if necessary, identifying the child’s communication goals, and designing a unique treatment plan. The use of Yes and No questions is a highly effective technique that is frequently used in speech therapy. These questions help to improve listening and comprehension skills, practice conversation skills and empower the child to use their voice. At Great Speech, we have a network of more than 50 qualified and experienced speech and language pathologists. This means that connecting your child with a therapist who is perfectly matched to help them improve their skills and meet their goals is simple and easy. Get your child started on the path to improved communication skills by scheduling your free introductory call today!