By: Jessica DeLing
“I’m Thinking of Something….”
Word retrieval, or automatic naming, affects one’s ability to efficiently retrieve words from stored vocabulary banks. It incorporates the execution of a series of operations quickly and repeatedly. Some children demonstrate difficulty accessing the system in which word knowledge is stored to isolate the exact words appropriate to express a specific thought. In other words, a person with word retrieval deficits knows and understands a particular word but has difficulty retrieving it to use in his/her own speech. Communication may break down due to difficulty with retrieving a word, and, in turn, expressing a thought with fluidity. Testing of word retrieval involves evaluating the semantic organization and the strategies a child utilizes to associate and name members of a sematic class rapidly and efficiently. Formal testing is required to diagnosis word retrieval deficits, and an individualized therapy program will target word retrieval skills.
Here are some ways to help a child improve word retrieval skills in the home setting:
- Slow your rate of speech to allow extra processing time
- Read with your child to increase vocabulary skills
- Talk about an object’s attributes, including size, shape, category, function, location, parts, etc.
- Offer a phonemic cue to help your child retrieve a known word (i.e., It starts with “m.”)
- Define words for your child so he/she understands the meanings of unfamiliar words.
- Play family games that target word retrieval, such as Pictionary, Outburst, Scattergories, and Tapple 10.
- Participate in exercises, such as
Sentence completion activities:
- We eat ___
- We sleep in a ___
- We cut with ___
- We ride in a ___
- We drink ___
- We read a ___
- We throw the ___
- We watch ___
- We wash our ___
Expanding categories: Listing 3-5 items per category
- Pizza toppings
- Things that open
- Breakfast foods
- Zoo animals
- Things in the sky
- Red, blue, green, orange
- Lions, tigers, monkeys, elephants
- Pretzels, popcorn, crackers, cookies
Completing action-agent questions
- What sleeps?
- What flies?
- What roars?
- What bites?
Naming antonyms or synonyms for words
Listing things to complete a task
- Planting a flower
- Getting ready for bed
- Peanut butter and ___
- A pair of ___
- Close the door
Providing a word from a definition
- An animal that lives at the zoo and has a long neck
- A yellow fruit that you peel to eat
- Something you wear on your hands to keep warm when it’s cold outside
Excluding words from categories: Which word does not belong?
- Ice, lemonade, water, tea
- Square, purple, rectangle, octagon
- Cookie, spaghetti, cake, brownie
Defining words with multiple meanings