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Encouraging Vocalization Using an Active Learning Approach

While Active Learning is known for focusing on the development of fine and gross motor skills, there are also many ways to promote increased vocalization in children who are non-verbal.  It's always a good idea to begin by collaborating with the child's Speech Language Pathologist and/or Occupational Therapist to discuss which goals may be the biggest priority.

Echo Bucket

An Echo Bucket is a metal bucket that is suspended upside down above a child.  Holes can be drilled around the rim to attach small objects.  The metal bucket amplifies a child's vocalizations and placing the child on a Resonance Board under the Echo Bucket provides even greater feedback.  Learn more.
                                 Child lying on a Resonance Board under an echo bucket

Echo Buckets are available for purchase through LilliWorks, or you can make your own with our instructions in PDF or Word format.

If a metal bucket is not available, you can also use a plastic bucket and hang it from a mop or broom handle or yardstick placed between two chairs.  Secure the pole with duct tape or twine to help keep it in place. 
                               Plastic bucket hanging from broom handle  

Echo Games

An adult can also engage in vocal play with a child using a bucket or another vessel that echoes, as in this video from the Penrickton Center for Blind Children.  In this type of vocal play, the adult follows the child and imitates the sounds the child is making.

                              Child and adult with heads near gathering drum  

Using a Metal Bowl

If the child is quite small or a bucket is not available, a metal bowl can also be a fun way to play an echo game, as in the video below.

                                Child with face in metal bucket with adult sitting nearby

Vocalizing with a Microphone

Using a microphone to amplify the sounds a child makes is another strategy to promote vocalization.  In the video below, the child is lying on a large drum, which provides additional auditory feedback, in much the same way that a Resonance Board does.

                             Child lying on a large drum next to a microphone

Using Tubes or Pipes 

Tubes and pipes also amplify the voice and can be an interesting way to experiment with one's voice, either alone or with someone else.  This video shows an older girl in vocal play with a music therapist.
                          Adult and girl with metal tubes by their mouths

Singing with a Guitar or Other Musical Instrument

A young boy vocalizes as his music therapist sings and plays the guitar.
                            a young boy reaching towards guitar

Saying "More"

In the video below, an occupational therapist introduces the word “more” during an activity with a young boy. He isn’t required to say the word, but has repeated opportunities to do so. 
                           Young child holds cup out to adult
Watch our recorded webinars!
Are you interested in learning more about Oral Motor activities?  Watch our recorded webinar to get more ideas!

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Using an Active Learning Approach with Infant and Toddlers

This 2-hour presentation by Kate Hurst and Charlotte Cushman will focus on the principles of Dr. Lilli Nielsen’s Active Learning approach, with special emphasis on its use in early intervention. We will begin by exploring Active Learning Principles, and then look at specific materials and activities that can be done in the home environment. We will also look at the Active Learning Space website and discuss how it can be used to support families and practitioners.

This event is co-sponsored by The Western Regional Early Intervention Conference (WREIC) and the TSBVI Coffee Hour.
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Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Perkins School for the Blind
Penrickton Center for Blind Children

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