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Talking With Pictures

Why do the Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) use pictures to communicate with my child?  SLPs at Pediatric Therapy Center often incorporate pictures when working with patients.  Parents often wonder “Why are you asking my child to point and use pictures when the goal is to make my child TALK?”


Sentence strips (or picture communication) can be a beneficial way to encourage verbal communication.  Single pictures and sentence strips containing multiple pictures can be seen throughout PTC.  Here are a few ways in which we use these pictures:

• The pictures visually prompt or remind the child of the word(s) they are trying to say. This helps the person they are communicating with better understand their message.

• Pointing to a sentence strip (e.g. “I want ___”) helps the child slow their rate of speech.  Often times slowing their rate of speech significantly improves the clarity of their speech, helping the child sound more intelligible.

• Picture cues can help children lengthen their sentences; visual cues are helpful in teaching kids to use a 2-3 word phrase vs. a single word.

• Sometimes children get stuck with the phrases “I want ___”. Picture communication is helpful for children to expand their vocabulary and language skills by learning a variety of words and phrases: “I eat __”, “I see ___”, “I drink___”, “I found___”, “I pick___”, “I hear ____”.

• Repeated practice of targeted articulation sounds (sounds the child is practicing and trying to improve) e.g.  “I found ___“ can be used to target /f/ sounds in phrases or “I pick ___” can be used to target /k/ sounds in phrases.


SLPs at PTC use picture communication as one of several means to encourage expressive language growth for our patients.  Picture communication cards  can be found all around PTC to encourage our patients to comment, request, and greet.  Be sure to speak with one of our speech-language pathologists if you want additional information about augmentative/alternative forms of communication.

Britt Krizmanich, M-SLP, CCC
Speech Language Pathologist

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