Try This Tuesday #18: Speech Game — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Try This Tuesday #18: Speech Game

by Trish


Try This Tuesday

This week, Rickismom from beneath the wings shares a fun way to emphasize the use and meaning of pronouns through a game.

by Rickismom

I want to present an easy, very useful game to teach the words “I”, “YOU”, “WE”, and “THEY”. These words are confusing, due to the fact that the terms are relative to the situation and who the speaker is. They are not words you can match to an object.

The idea for this game is not mine. It is Libby Kumin’s idea. If you have a child with Down syndrome and do not recognize the name, check out her books at Woodbine House. They are worth every cent!!! The drawings below I made to show and explain Dr. Kumin’s idea.


You, the special needs child, and one or two friends. A ball.


  • Have the children (and you) throw the ball one to the other.
  • Whoever has the ball says “I have the ball.”
  • In addition, you, the facilitator, tell the child with special needs “They” / “We” / “You” have the ball (see pictures below).

When you (the facilitator) have the ball:

When you (the facilitator) have the ball

When another child has the ball:

When another student has the ball

When two other children have the ball together:

When two other students have the ball

When the special needs child has the ball:

When the special needs child has the ball

Have fun!

Please join in and share the creative solutions YOU have found to your own challenges, or feel free to post your own challenge for input from others. For more details on how to participate, click here.

Trish can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Friday in addition to hosting Try This Tuesday. You can also find Trish at her blog, Another Piece of the Puzzle.

Email Author    |    Website About Trish

Married for over 16 years and mom of a six year old son with autism, I spend most of my time as my Little Guy's case manager/advocate/ cheerleader/everything else.

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1 Maddy November 18, 2008 at 12:08 am

For some reason I thought it was nearly Wednesday which is a little worrying!

Anyway, that sounds like a great idea although I think we’d have better luck with bean bags rather than a ball. Then there’s the difficulty over he/she, but practice makes perfect as they say.

2 Cale November 18, 2008 at 12:32 am

This sounds like a really good plan. I had such a problem with pronouns as a child (I replaced every pronoun with you). A game like this may have helped.

3 Amazing_Grace November 18, 2008 at 8:09 am

My son had a very hard time in elementary school so I would hide a little “Love Note” in his lunchbox every day to let him know how special he was to me. It really brightened up his day and he looked forward to them each and every day.

I posted at my blog links to where you can print out “Love Notes” for free and also ideas and suggestions for all ages. 🙂

4 LauraJ November 18, 2008 at 8:40 am

Living in a single parent household with one child I am having a hard time teaching this concept to my boy. Then it dawned on me, what I if I used a bean bag to play this game and used stuffed animals as the THEY SHE and HE. Aha….

5 Trish November 18, 2008 at 11:19 am

Thank you so much to Rickismom for sharing this great idea and her helpful drawings! I like the idea of using bean bags and I also really like using stuffed animals to play along. My son always enjoys interacting with his stuffed animals and I can even get a whole conversation out of him when I talk through them. 🙂

6 Jenny November 18, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Great idea! I’ll remember this for when we start to work on pronouns!

7 Rickismom November 18, 2008 at 6:22 pm

Yes, I agree that beanbags makes a lot of sense.

8 LauraJ November 18, 2008 at 7:32 pm

As I was making some beanbags(Little squares of fabric sewn around with a little hole, then turn inside out and stuffed with rice) earlier this evening it dawned on me that perhaps the stuffed animals idea might not catch on because they aren’t gender specific. So I thought how about photos of relatives. The faciliator or parent could give the bean bag to say “uncle Joe” and say HE has the bean bag. Or Aunt Jane , SHE has the beanbag and if you had a picture of a few cousins that could be the THEY have the bean bag.

9 Danette November 19, 2008 at 12:42 am

Great idea! I’m with Maddy, I think bean bags would work better for us (the stress and coordination of having to throw and catch the ball would distract my sons from actually focusing on the pronouns).

My twins had a hard time with pronouns for a very long time, especially mixing up “he” and “she.” I always had to ask when they told me about people at school, b/c they would often say “he” when talking about a girl, and vice versa. It took a LONG time but most of the time they get those right now. Every now and then they still mix them up but when they do, they can usually correct themselves now.

Bitty isn’t using pronouns yet, but I’ll keep this in mind for when he does.

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