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Tips for choosing Functional Articulation Target words for Speech Therapy

As Speech Pathologists, we often hear, “choose functional words” for our speech therapy students - but how do we do that? Here are five tips to consider when choosing your articulation target words for your preschool and school aged students.

1) Remember that what is functional for one student may not be for another: Your list of words may vary from student to student - even if the are working on the same sound! For example, if a child lives in a farming community, farm related words is functional for them! On the other hand, if a child doesn’t live near a farm, or enjoy anything about farms, it might not be the most functional for the child!

2) Choose words that are specific to the child: Pet names, family names, where they live, shows they like, their favourite toys - any words that they use all the time!

3) During conversation or play, write down the words the child is mispronouncing: This is a great way to get a list of words they actually use in everyday conversation!

4) Choose a variety of word types: Choose a variety nouns, verbs, and adjectives. This will help you work the words into everyday conversations and make it easy for carryover.

As always, there is no black and white in Speech Therapy. You can choose a variety of high frequency and functional words mixed with some less common words (especially if the child is also working on vocabulary goals!).

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