As you might be aware, the speech pathologists from CommuniKids who are experts and have experience in helping children with speech and language difficulties use a broad spectrum of tools and resources to achieve the speech therapy goals that have been identified. Such is the number and diversity of these it would be impossible to list them all, but one which we do wish to highlight is playing games.

Given that children of all ages, backgrounds, and development levels learn a huge amount when playing games, then it follows that playing games will be a crucial tool in the armoury of resources and teaching tools that a speech pathologist uses with the children under their care.

The form each game takes and how it is played will differ and each child’s needs will be taken into account when their speech pathologist is deciding upon which games will have the greatest positive impact on their speech and language development. A consideration they will make is which type of game is most suitable, and one game type which may be looked at is barrier games.

Barrier Games – What Are They?

Before we go any further we must explain what a barrier game is as we expect many of you have images in your head of your child smashing through a wall of soft bricks. Whilst that might help the child develop some physical attributes, that is not what a barrier game is. Instead, it is a game, or activity, where two people are facing each other across a table or room with a screen between them which means that neither can see what the other person has on their side.

Perhaps the most known example of a barrier game is ‘Battleships’ where each player is trying to guess where the other has positioned their fleet given that they cannot see their opponent’s board. Admittedly, we do not expect a speech pathologist to start playing battleships with a very young child. Instead, a much simpler version or variation of a barrier game would be used.

How Do Barrier Games Help In Speech Pathology?

Barrier games can help a child’s speech and language development in several ways as well as help to eliminate issues they have communicating. Examples of these include:

  • Following instructions – e.g. Place the red car on the yellow square
  • Taking turns – The child has to wait for their turn within the game
  • Expressive language – For both the giving and the receiving of instructions, the child has to either form or understand complete and clear sentences
  • Learning to ask clarification questions – Part of the game could require the child to ask questions which clarify what they must do
  • Learning prepositions – e.g. Place the teddy bear under/on the blanket
  • Learning adjectives – e.g. large/small, blue/green, old/young
  • Developing vocabulary – Learning new words and their meaning

Examples Of Barrier Games

Given the simplicity of what defines a barrier game, they can be created with some simple items and a little bit of imagination. One of the simplest is to use drawing materials to create barrier games. This could include a game where children give instructions to each other to draw something.

Lego or Duplo bricks can take this a stage further where, instead of instructions to draw something, the instructions are to build something using the bricks. Specifics such as colours, shapes, and sizes help with adjectives learning, for example. A memory game is a form of barrier game that is fun and stimulating where the child has to describe a picture they have looked at for just a few seconds or describe objects that are now hidden from view.

Categories: Health