Children Who Will Talk in Structured Activities but Not in Unstructured

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Try Structured Activities in Unstructured Locations:

  • If the child won’t talk in the classroom but will in the speech room, try doing some of your speech activities in the classroom near where she will spend some of her unstructured time.  This may work if the child isn’t talking for psychological reasons (feels anxious about speaking in the classroom).

Gradually Decrease the Structure of your Structured Activities:

  • Start with the structured activities that you normally use in your speech room and gradually decrease the amount of structure, prompting, and cueing you use.  Add more play elements or add more people so the structure isn’t quite as predictable.

Do an Unstructured Activity in a Structured Way:

  • Take an unstructured activity like free play and create some rules and structure that will allow the child to be more comfortable in that situation.  For example, give the child 3 different scripts that she can say when playing house.  Have her practice each script beforehand and then provide her visual reminders of what they are so that when she’s not speaking during play, you can give her options of what to say