17 Ways to Support Students Who Talk Incoherently

Are you looking for ways to support students who talk incoherently? If so, keep reading.

1. If the learner is speaking too rapidly, remind them to slow down. Be sure to give them full attention so they will not feel a need to hurry or compete with others for attention.

2. Draft an agreement with the learner stipulating what behavior is required (e.g., using finished statements or thoughts when speaking) and which reinforcement will be implemented when the agreement has been met.

3. Get the learner to role-play several situations in which speaking well is essential (e.g., during a job interview).

4. Create a list of the attributes that are likely to help a person become an excellent speaker (e.g., takes their time, thinks of what to say before starting, etc.).

5. Develop simple oral reading passages in written form in which phrases are separated by large spaces (indicating “pause”). Get the learner to practice reading the passages aloud.

6. Teach the learner appropriate ways to express displeasure, anger, frustration, etc.

7. Get the learner to keep a list of times and/or situations when they are nervous, anxious, etc., and have more trouble with speech than usual. Help the learner find ways to feel more successful in those situations.

8. On occasions where the learner fails to use complete thoughts (e.g., says, “ball,” and points) elaborate on what they said, (e.g., “So you want to play with the ball?”). This gives a model for more finished statements and thoughts.

9. Get the learner to read simple passages and record them. Get them to listen and underline words or phrases that were omitted, added, substituted, or rearranged.

10. Praise the learner for using finished statements or thoughts when speaking: (a) give the learner a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the learner an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

11. Record a spontaneous monologue given by the learner. Transcribe the learner’s speech from the recording and have the learner listen to what they said. Get the learner to correct errors and practice speaking in more finished statements or thoughts.

12. Create a list of the most common unfinished statements or thoughts the learner uses. Spend time with the learner practicing how to make these statements or thoughts complete.

13. Minimize the emphasis on competition. Competitive learning activities may increase the learner’s anxiety and lessen the learner’s capacity and ability to finish statements or thoughts.

14. Consider using a classroom management app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

15. Consider using an adaptive behavior management app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

16. Consider using Alexa to help the student learn to behave appropriately. Click here to read an article that we wrote on the subject.

17. Click here to learn about six bonus strategies for challenging problem behaviors and mastering classroom management.

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