Thursday, April 16, 2015

Try This Word-Finding Demonstration

Need a great in-service activity to get teachers or parents talking about speech and language disorders? 

Have you wished you could help teachers and parents understand what it might be like to have word-finding difficulty or to struggle to formulate thoughts and sentences? Why some children need more time to respond, and need extra support?
Slide 2

Recently, I read a query on Facebook from an SLP who was planning to provide an inservice to her school's staff. She wanted to help them better understand the struggles that students with speech and language disorders experience. I remembered this exercise:

Disclaimer:  Most people experience slow and less accurate retrieval with the demonstration, which is really interesting and a great discussion-starter. However, I am not claiming that this exercise will truly simulate an expressive language disorder. To find specific, researched-based information on language and other communication disorders, please visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) at

Try this demonstration 

Try it with parents or at a staff meeting to help adults think about how it might feel to struggle with word-retrieval. 


1. Name the colors in each word on slide 1 (below) as quickly as you can. Don’t read the words, just name colors.
Slide 1

2. Now name the colors in each word on slide 2 (above) as quickly as you can. Don’t read the words, just name colors. 

How it made you feel? 

Did you struggle? Did you make mistakes? Was it frustrating? Would it be helpful if you could go more slowly and be given extra time to complete the task? 

If you would like to share this exercise. you may print these images by right clicking and saving as a picture before printing. Please give credit to Speech Sprouts. 

 The slide below contains the instructions.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are. Do you know of other good demonstrations or exercises to share? 

Free for you from Speech Sprouts. Click the Picture!

Head over and download this freebie from my store. It includes a teacher handout with
ten tips. Please leave sweet feedback if you do!


  1. Great demo! For children who struggle with pronunciation, I will often have the parents do this demonstration where they have to substitute "th" for all "s" sounds. I have them have a conversation. Later I take them through the artic hierarchy. Parents usually come out with a better understanding of how hard it can be to change how we say sounds and get a little taste of how therapy works.

  2. I love that idea Collette, I'm definitely going to try it!