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How to Incorporate ST goals into OT Activity?

Updated: Jul 4, 2022

In early intervention settings, many clients attending occupational therapy session (OT) in addition to speech therapy (ST). Parents can be quite tired of accomplishing the carryover activities given by different therapists. Due to time constraints, they usually manage to carryout activities by one therapist but not both. Hence, they may feel guilty when they cannot finish the “homework” assigned to them. Today, I would like to share with you about incorporating ST goals into OT activity and you can kill two birds with one stone within a workable time.

Improving Preverbal Skills and Language Understanding in OT Activities

When you are conducting the OT activity (says you are doing jumping on trampoline with your child or walking on the balancing beam), ensure that you are using the interaction-promoting strategies below to promote back-and-forth engagement in interaction:

1. Stay face-to-face and look at his eye level: face-to-face is crucial in engaging your child and helpful in making your child understand your message better. Looking at your child’s eye level constantly when you talk to him will help him to establish better eye contact.

2. Give clear instruction at the length matched to his understanding level: Use simple sentence which your child can understand. Say it once and clearly then follow technique 3 to 6. For example, “let’s jump on the trampoline for 10 times” (accompany with gesture) or “let’s walk to there” (accompany with pointing).

3. Observe and listen to his message: Nonverbal message is as important as verbal message! Remember that every single attempt from your child even as small as a smile carries meaning. He is trying to communicate with you using all means he is capable of. Always try your best to interpret his nonverbal message by matching it to the context.

4. Wait sufficiently for a response: Wait and wait and wait sufficiently is the key success factor to a quality interaction. How long should you wait? There is no specific time recommended, but the key here is to wait for a response from him, either verbally (sound/words) or nonverbally (gesture/smile/body language/pointing to a picture).

5. Give a word to your child immediately after he responds then back to observe, wait, and listen: Once you child responds, always give him a word. You may name the object, comment what is happening or what you are doing, imitate his words, expand his words or sentences, or praise him. You may say “jump” on each jumping attempt and “walk” on every step he walks or add the melody to the words “jump, jump, jump on the trampoline” or you may sing “Walking Walking” song when he walks. At the end, praise him by saying, “you jumped for 10 times, great job!” or “good walking!”. You may expose your child with diverse types of words to increase his vocabulary.

6. Carry-on and keep it fun: Repeat the above steps and keep the exchange on-going in a fun way (like playing a seesaw). Children learn the best in the happy and fun environment and will be doing it repetitively once they have positive experience. Carryon back-and-forth interaction serves as the foundation for two-way conversation.

Get a summary of the language stimulation techniques here.

For more ideas in types of vocabulary to teach and how to apply the interaction-promoting techniques, subscribe to our Webinars-On-Demands titled “Parent-Child Interaction & Language Intervention Techniques” here. Learn the above skills in 30 Days.


Improving Language Expression in OT Activities

Take photos when you are doing the activity with your child. At the end of the day, show him the photos and tell what he has done during the day. Continue using Observe, Wait and Listen and followed by adding one word into his sentence to improve his language expression. Then, again wait expectantly for him to imitate your sentence.

Development of sentence length goes by the sequence below:

Sound ➡️ Word ➡️ Phrases ➡️ Sentence ➡️ Combining Sentences


Wo (approximation to walk) ➡️ Walk ➡️ walk on the beam ➡️ Danny walk on the beam ➡️ Mummy holds my hand and I walk on the beam. Great job!

Remember, children learn the words they want. The desire of learning to speak must arise within. Naturalistic environment like play and routines are the best platform for your child to learn to understand language and speak. What you need to do is just changing the way you talk to the tuned-in style. This slight change will make a significant difference in your child’s interaction and language development. Consult your speech-language therapist to find out more.

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