Lidcombe Program Talking Practice Ideas – Barrier Games

It’s Therapy Thursday!

Who Knew how useful Barrier Games can be…

This is my first post about therapy ideas for use in Talking Practice Sessions (aka Structured Conversations) in the Lidcombe Program. Feel free to share your ideas here too.  These posts are pitched at Speech Pathologists.  If you are a parent of a child who is working through the Lidcombe Program, be sure to check in with your Speech Pathologist for advice and adaptations that suit your child.  The Lidcombe Program is far from a “cook book approach” to treating early stuttering.

Barrier Games using Lego are useful for slightly ‘older’ children, say 5-6 year olds, when you want to target longer more complex utterances in talking practice but still maintain some structure. The sentences can be crazy long e.g. “put a yellow lego piece with six circles on it in the bottom left hand corner and face it with the short side facing the front and back”. Sometimes I use some cheating gestures to help keep the language a bit tighter. Make sure you have identical pieces of Lego in two containers for each player.


With younger children, use items that don’t require so many adverbial clauses about direction and placement. In the second picture, you can see items that don’t require as much language precision eg, you might say, “put the dinosaur on top of the red cup”. Now you have another use for your duplicate Little Shop Mini Collectables! 


Modelling the desired level of language complexity when you or the parent are having a turn is key to helping the child take their turns using therapeutically relevant stutter free talking. If stuttering occurs, you can flex the language level down a notch using some scaffolding and modelling.
Make sure the parent has several turns during the session so you know they are good to go with their verbal contingencies, their language level and flexibility and how they manage extraneous chatter – if that is an issue. Finally, don’t forget to talk through how to set up a barrier game with what the family has at home.
Have Fun!

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