Pesty Pronouns

There are many topics from last year that I did not have the time to write about. My objective for 2014 is to cover those things while also mixing in Jake’s current speech and food allergy issues/solutions. The primary focus of this blog will continue to be apraxia.

If you subscribe to my blog via email and typically do not visit my actual website, I invite you to check out my new blog look! This December marked the two year anniversary of Jake’s Journey and I thought it was time to give myself a makeover.

At this point, you can expect bi-monthly posts from me, which will typically air on Thursdays. My #1 priority in 2014 is to heal or at least improve Jake’s food allergies and this endeavor is very time-consuming and emotionally exhausting. However, I really enjoy learning about apraxia and writing is an intellectual retreat for me when I’m surrounded by food drama. I look forward to sharing a new year with my apraxia friends!

Pronouns are a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for some time now. For those of you who are new to apraxia or if all those grammar terms you learned in school run together, I am talking about using the following words correctly: he, she, his, her, me, mine, I, they, we.

Jake first started pronoun work at the end of 2012 and he mastered this concept in 2013 after about 6-7 months of speech therapy.

Obviously, the first step in teaching pronouns is to explain the difference between these words …

Boy = He and Girl = She

Here is the first pronoun activity our SLP used in speech therapy …

Source: "Vocabulary & Syntax Roundup" book by Super Duper

Source: “Vocabulary & Syntax Roundup” book by Super Duper

Jake and I went through these flash cards on a regular basis most nights for a couple of weeks. After a bit, he could fly through these cards and I got really excited. He caught on so quick! It’s time to move on! Right?

Wrong.

I soon realized that while flash cards were a great introduction to this skill, the problem with cards of any kind, is that some kids are great visual memorizers. This is the case with Jake. If presented with a different set of cards, pictures, or spontaneous conversation, he struggled to remember the correct words. Also, I really think Jake understood the concept of he/she when it was explained to him, but his brain just couldn’t hold onto it. Five minutes later the skill was lost. It would take much work to build and strengthen that brain pathway!

I loved that our SLP had enough creativity to come up with new activities each week while continuing to drill the same concepts. I think so many kids get bored with the repetitiveness that apraxia requires and it takes a special SLP to be able to think of multiple ways to essentially do the same thing.

When we went to our week intensive session with Lynn Carahaly at Foundations Developmental House in May of 2013, we also worked on pronouns. The following is an activity that Jake did there, which he really enjoyed …

The SLP used flash cards along with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.

potato heads

She placed a card in front of one of the potato heads. Jake was working on 2-3 syllable words at the time, so I will use the flash card “parachute” as an example. The dialog then went something like this:

  •  SLP: Who are we giving the parachute to? The boy or the girl?
  • Jake: The boy.
  • SLP: So, who has the parachute?
  • Jake: He has the parachute.
  • SLP takes it one step further: So, is it his or hers?
  • Jake: The parachute is his.

Here are a few other ideas (with links included) that you may find helpful:

  • Introducing pronouns to a child who does not have many words - You Tube video (I found this video via Google. This is not my child, but I loved the idea of teaching this skill by playing picnic.)
  • Give appropriate feedback to correct mistakes.
  • Create your own hand cues. We had cues for “me” and “I” and used them to correct Jake’s mistakes. “Me” was palm to chest & mouth in the “m” position versus pointing to our chest or pointing to eye for “I”.
  • Using “I and Me” Fun Deck iPad app or cards by Super Duper
  • He She Pronouns: 5 Steps To Teach Them” by Speech and Language Kids blog. Love this informative article! Also love that this SLP has a few free downloadable speech activities for you to do at home with your child.

How about you guys? What was pronoun development like for your child with apraxia? Are you stuck at this phase? Any speech therapists out there that can lend any advice?

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4 thoughts on “Pesty Pronouns

  1. This is such a timely post for us. Yesterday, our therapist asked me to work on pronouns this week at home. My son is using some, but not all. She wanted me to just work it into or daily conversations. I really love the Mr. Potato Head idea though and think I will try that. Seems a bit more fun than constantly saying “I want… or My toy etc. over and over.

  2. We are working on pronouns right now. My son can say them if prompted, but we are working to get him to say them without being prompted. Our therapist just asked me to try to get him to say them through out the day as the situation presents itself until it becomes second nature. I haven’t tried the Potato head game yet, I’d bet he would enjoy it and probably would be more successful.

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