Language Disorders Therapy Guides

Step-by-Step plans for a variety of language skills – Plus, wording for your goals!

What is Task Analysis?

Task analysis is the process of breaking a larger skill down into smaller, sequential steps.  With each step that the child masters, he grows closer to being able to perform the full skill independently.  Tasks analysis is an evidence-based instructional method which has been found especially effective for children who do not respond to regular instruction, which makes it perfect for the children on our case loads.

While the process of task analysis has been studied and backed by research, there aren’t always agreed-upon ways to break down a skill.  Every SLP may have a slightly different method of breaking down skills into step-by-step plans.  What’s important is that the steps are achievable and sequential so that the child sees incremental success on the way to learning a new skill.

The following therapy guides represent our task analysis for each skill.  You’ll also find sample text for your goals.

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Our Step-By-Step Guides:

How to Use:
Click the skill that you’d like to expand.  You’ll find our task analysis of the steps you can follow in therapy to teach that skill.  You’ll also find sample text to include in yoru goal writing.  To get detailed therapy activities for each step below, please join our membership program to get access to the full Therapy Activity Database.

Grammar:

  1. Choose One Pronoun: Start with one pronoun (or maybe two) that you will work on first.
  2. Demonstrate and Label: Student will attend to presentation of the pronoun and hear the pronoun used in a variety of contexts.
  3. Receptive Identification of the Pronoun: Student will demonstrate understanding of pronouns by pointing to a picture as described by the clinician using a specific pronoun.
  4. Using the Pronoun in Single Word/Short Phrase: Student will correctly use the pronoun in a single word or short phrase in response to a question by the clinician.
  5. Using the Pronoun in Sentences: Student will use the pronoun in sentences when describing a picture or scene.
  6. Using the Pronoun in Structured Conversation: Student will correctly use the pronoun in structured conversation tasks, such as when answering open-ended questions.
  7. Using the Pronoun in Unstructured Conversation: Student will correctly use the pronoun in all obligatory contexts (when it should be used) during conversation in a variety of settings.
 
  1. Model: Student will hear the possessive ‘s used in a variety of contexts.
  2. Using the Possessive ‘s in Short Phrases: Student will correctly use the possessive ‘s in a short phrase in response to a question by the clinician.
  3. Using the Possessive ‘s in Sentences: Student will use the possessive ‘s in sentences when describing a picture or scene.
  4. Using the Possessive ‘s in Structured Conversation: Student will correctly use the possessive ‘s in structured conversation tasks, such as when answering open-ended questions.
  5. Using the Possessive ‘s in Unstructured Conversation: Student will correctly use the possessive ‘s in all obligatory contexts (when it should be used) during conversation in a variety of settings.
  1. Choose One Auxiliary Verb: Choose just one auxiliary verb and form to work on at a time
  2. Model Correct Use of the Auxiliary: Demonstrate how the auxiliary verb is used in a variety of contexts
  3. Use the Auxiliary in One Sentence Structure: Pick one simple sentence structure that the client can use to practice the correct use of this auxiliary.
  4. Expand Out the Use of the Auxiliary: Have the client practice using the auxiliary in other sentence structures as well.
  5. Correct Use of Auxiliary in Conversation: Monitor use of the auxiliary during conversation and provide corrections and models as needed.
  1. Provide a Past Tense Event: Provide the student with an event that will allow you to talk about something in the past tense.
  2. Use the Past Tense in Sentences: Ask the child what happened and help him correctly form the past tense to describe it.
  3. Correct Past Tense Use in Conversation: Provide feedback and correction to help the child remember to use the past tense during conversations.
  1. Use the Plural in Phrases: Have the child add the plural -s or change the word to indicate plurality in short phrases.
  2. Use the Plural in Sentences: Ask the child what happened and help him correctly form the past tense to describe it.
  3. Correct Plural Use in Conversation: Provide feedback and correction to help the child remember to use the past tense during conversations.
 

Questions:

  1. Collect an Inventory of Incorrect Question Structures: Determine which types of questions the child is struggling with asking.
  2. Practice Specific Question Structures in Controlled Environment: Have the child imitate and practice using specific types of questions in a controlled setting.
  3. Correct Question Structures in Conversation: Monitor the child during conversation and provide feedback about correct use of the question structures that you have been targeting in therapy.
 
  1. Do You Want It? (Yes): Student will say/indicate “yes” in response to the yes/no question “do you want it” when presented with a desired object/action.
  2. Do You Want It? (No): Student will say/indicate “yes” or “no” in response to the question “do you want it” to indicate a preference when presented with either a desired object/action or an undesired object/action.
  3. Basic Wants and Needs Yes/No Questions: Student will say/indicate “yes” or “no” to answer basic yes/no questions about his/her wants and needs, such as “do you need help” and “are you ready”.
  4. Identification Questions: Student will answer “yes” or “no” when asked “is this a ___” to identify the name of an object/item.
  1. Choose a Type of What Questions to Practice: There are many different types of “what” questions.  Pick one and run with it!
  2. Practice the Question Type in Structured Tasks: Student will answer “what” questions in structured activities in the therapy room.
  3. Practice the Question Type in Unstructured Environments: Student will answer “what” questions as presented in unstructured tasks and in a variety of environments.

Here are some examples of different types of what questions.  I’ve tried to arrange them with the easier types of questions at the top and the harder ones at the bottom, but they don’t need to necessarily be learned or taught in this order.

  • Wants/Needs Questions (What do you want?)
  • Labeling Questions (What’s this)
  • Verb Questions (What are you doing?  What is she doing?)
  • Category Questions (What do you…)
  • Function Questions (What do you do with this?)
  • Time Questions (What time is it?)
  • Hypothetical Questions (What would…)
  1. Choose a Type of What Questions to Practice: There are many different types of “who” questions.  Pick one and run with it!
  2. Practice the Question Type in Structured Tasks: Student will answer “who” questions in structured activities in the therapy room.
  3. Practice the Question Type in Unstructured Environments: Student will answer “who” questions as presented in unstructured tasks and in a variety of environments.

Here are some examples of different types of “who” questions.  I’ve tried to arrange them with the easier types of questions at the top and the harder ones at the bottom, but they don’t need to necessarily be learned or taught in this order.

  • Person Identification Questions (Who is this?)
  • Currently Present Who Questions (Who is __-ing?)
  • Recent Past Who Questions (Who __-ed?)
  • Distant Past Questions (Who __-ed?)
  • Hypothetical Questions (Who puts out fires?)
  1. Choose a Type of What Questions to Practice: There are many different types of “where” questions.  Pick one and run with it!
  2. Practice the Question Type in Structured Tasks: Student will answer “where” questions in structured activities in the therapy room.
  3. Practice the Question Type in Unstructured Environments: Student will answer “where” questions as presented in unstructured tasks and in a variety of environments.

Here are some examples of different types of “where” questions. 

These questions are arranged with the easier types of questions at the top and the harder ones at the bottom.  I suggest you start at the top and teach them in order.  Don’t move onto the next type of “where” question until the child can answer the first type in structured tasks:

  • Where Questions on Self (Where’s Your Nose?)
  • Pointing to Object Questions (Where’s the Ball)?
  • Two Answer Choices Where Questions (Where’s the Cow?)
  • Describing Location of an Object Where Questions (Where’s your Shoe?)
  • Abstract/Hypothetical Where Questions (Where do you Sleep?)
  1. Choose a Type of What Questions to Practice: There are many different types of “when” questions.  Pick one and run with it!
  2. Practice the Question Type in Structured Tasks: Student will answer “when” questions in structured activities in the therapy room.
  3. Practice the Question Type in Unstructured Environments: Student will answer “when” questions as presented in unstructured tasks and in a variety of environments.

Here are some examples of different types of “when” questions. 

I’ve tried to arrange them with the easier types of questions at the top and the harder ones at the bottom, but they don’t need to necessarily be learned or taught in this order.

  • Time of Day When Questions (When do you sleep?)
  • Seasonal When Questions (When does it snow?)
  • Holiday When Questions (When do you go trick-or-treating)
  • Cause and Effect When Questions (When do you eat?)
  1. Choose a Type of What Questions to Practice: There are many different types of “why” questions.  Pick one and run with it!
  2. Practice the Question Type in Structured Tasks: Student will answer “why” questions in structured activities in the therapy room.
  3. Practice the Question Type in Unstructured Environments: Student will answer “why” questions as presented in unstructured tasks and in a variety of environments.

Here are some examples of different types of “why” questions. 

I’ve tried to arrange them with the easier types of questions at the top and the harder ones at the bottom, but they don’t need to necessarily be learned or taught in this order.

  • Why Questions about Things Currently Happening
  • Why Questions about Past Events
  • Hypothetical Why Questions
  1. Choose a Type of What Questions to Practice: There are many different types of “how” questions.  Pick one and run with it!
  2. Practice the Question Type in Structured Tasks: Student will answer “how” questions in structured activities in the therapy room.
  3. Practice the Question Type in Unstructured Environments: Student will answer “how” questions as presented in unstructured tasks and in a variety of environments.

Here are some examples of different types of “how” questions. 

I’ve tried to arrange them with the easier types of questions at the top and the harder ones at the bottom, but they don’t need to necessarily be learned or taught in this order.

  • Quantity How Questions (How Many?)
  • Quality How Questions (How is it?)
  • Extent How Questions (How far?)
  • Procedural How Questions (How Do You?)

Other Language Skills:

  1. Describing a Sequence that is Already Together: When presented with pictures of steps to a sequence (in the correct order), Student will use complete sentences and organizational words like “first, next, then, and last” to describe 3-5 step sequences.
  2. Putting Steps to a Sequence in Order: When presented with picture steps to a common task, Student will place the pictures in the correct order to complete that sequence.
  3. Putting Steps in Order and Then Describing: When presented with picture steps to a common task (not in the correct order), Student will arrange the pictures in the correct order and then use complete sentences and organizational words like “first, next, then, and last” to describe 3-5 step sequences.
  4. Describing Sequences without Pictures: When prompted, Student will describe the steps (in order) to complete a common sequence or task (such as pouring a bowl of cereal) using complete sentences and organizational words like “first, next, then, and last”.
  1. Functional Vocabulary: Student will learn and use common first words functionally to follow directions and communicate basic wants and needs.
  2. Basic Categories Vocabulary: Student will learn basic vocabulary words and understand how to put them into basic categories.
  3. Curriculum-Based Vocabulary: Student will learn words that are based on curriculum units and use those words functionally in the school environment and in school assignments.
  4. Building Vocabulary-Learning Skills: Student will know and use vocabulary-learning skills when approaching unfamiliar words in school work and in daily living activities.
  1. Functional Vocabulary: Student will learn and use common first words functionally to follow directions and communicate basic wants and needs.
  2. Basic Categories Vocabulary: Student will learn basic vocabulary words and understand how to put them into basic categories.
  3. Curriculum-Based Vocabulary: Student will learn words that are based on curriculum units and use those words functionally in the school environment and in school assignments.
  4. Building Vocabulary-Learning Skills: Student will know and use vocabulary-learning skills when approaching unfamiliar words in school work and in daily living activities.

What Do I Do in Therapy?

If you’re still not sure what to do in therapy, don’t worry!  We have more resources for you!  The full Therapy Activity Database (available only to paid members) contains detailed descriptions of what you can do in therapy for each of the steps listed above.  Join today to get all of the therapy ideas, worksheets, and support!