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5 Ways to Use... Bubbles

Bubbles are probably the most popular and most used toy in my therapy bag. I don't think I have met a child yet who doesn't enjoy bubbles, in fact I have met many adult's who also get excited when bubbles are blown. Here are 5 ways in which I use bubbles during therapy sessions to support the development of communication skills.

1. Encouraging Eye Contact

When working with a child who is reluctant to give eye contact when interacting and making request but who is highly motivated by bubbled, you can use this activity to encourage them to look at/towards you to get more bubbles. Do this by pausing before blowing the bubbles and waiting for them to look at you. You may initially need to hold the bubbles close to your face or eye to get them to look at you rather than the bubbles, but as they get to understand they must look to you to get more bubbles you can slowly move them away.

2. Vocalisations

Similarly to encouraging eye contact you can use bubbles to promote vocalisations when the child you are working with is highly motivated by them. As above you can pause before blowing bubbles, possibly modelling a word (e.g. 'blow'), and waiting for them to vocalise to communicate they want you to blow more bubbles. This will facilitate functional and communicative use of vocalisations.

3. Requesting

Children are more likely to request something they are motivated to get, such as bubbles if this is something they really enjoy. Between blowing bubbles each time you can pause, or put the lid back on the bubbles, and encourage them to request these each time. You can support them to use there preferred communication method - verbal, sign, photos, gesture - to request more.

4. Making Choices

I often have more than one pot of bubbles in my therapy bag and often use these to extend a child's ability to make choices. For example I will offer them two different coloured pots or a big and a small pot which will encourage them to extend their choice making to include this attribute. For example, rather than simply asking for "bubbles" they will need to use a colour or size label to choose their preferred one; e.g. "blue", "big", "small bubbles", "pink bubbles".

5. Language Modelling

We use a lot of concrete, simple language when playing with bubbles with our children so this can be a great opportunity to model and teach new words and utterances. This may include; "open", "more", "blow", "pop", "more bubbles", "big bubbles", "lots of bubbles", "bubbled popping".

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