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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Singing with a Guitar or Other Musical Instrument
A young boy vocalizes as his music therapist sings and plays the guitar.
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.