Carryover at the Restaurant

Here is one way to go about carryover for ordering food:

• The numbers below are a rough scale estimate of how difficult each task is. For example, we know that talking at the same time that other people are talking is usually the easiest, so, “choral speech” is #1.

• Some places, such as the speech therapy room, are easy places to focus on speech goals. There are few fluency disrupters, little time pressure, and sensitive listeners at speech therapy. Other places have more time pressure, insensitive listeners or more difficult language demands. The ratings should be changed to reflect individual speech experiences. Then, beginning with the easiest choices, one can design carryover homework.

• The adult helper should prepare the child for each assignment. The adult talks about what will happen and rehearses the homework with the child.

• The adult is also responsible for resisting time pressure. To do this, the adult adds lots of pause time into the conversation, trying to make these delays as natural as possible. For example, when a waitress asks, “Can I help you?” the adult could say a friendly “uuuumm” while making it look like he/she needs just a few more seconds to decide what to order. Pauses like this deliberately slow down the pace of the conversation so that the child who stutters feels less time pressure. Then, a secret signal to the child indicates its time to talk. For example, after a few seconds, the adult might look at the child, smile and nod. After this special nod, the child and adult together look at the waitress and say their rehearsed lines.


#1. Choral Speech: The child and one or more others say the same words at the same time. For example, together they say, “I want a small ice cream cone, please.” Because the purpose here is to be successful at ordering something to eat, everyone doing this has to agree to order the same thing. Maybe the only person willing to help out is a parent who doesn’t mind getting the same ice cream as the child just so that the child can complete this homework assignment! If no one is willing to order the same thing as the child, then, immediately after ordering, the helper can change his/her mind and say, “Oh wait, I want a large ice cream.” This may also mean spending a few extra dollars for speech practice. An adult helper may not really want to order anything, but orders just to help the child have a successful speech experience.

#2. Choral Speech & fill-in-the-rest-of-the-sentence: The child and one or more others say the same beginning words of a sentence only. Then, child finishes the sentence alone. For example, the child and other(s) might say together, “I want a…” and then, the adult pauses naturally as if trying to decide while the child says all by himself “… small vanilla.”

#3. Changing the sentence: Use strategy #2 or #3 and say something different. For example, if you spent a week saying “I want a…”, then spend the next week saying “Do you have…? Of course, you may already know that the restaurant has what you are asking about. That doesn’t matter because what you are really doing is speech practice. If you are successful with saying “Do you have…?” for a week, trying using a different sentence each day of the following week. Note: you will be doing a lot of ordering so that you can do a lot of speech practice, so you might want to order something inexpensive!

#4. Imitated speech: The adult helper models the sentence; then, the child imitates most of the model to order independently. For example, an adult helper could say, “Do you want a vanilla?” and then the child looks at the waitress and says, “I want a vanilla.” Note: The adult needs to model whatever strategies the child uses. So, the adult might slightly slow down their speech rate and add easy onsets, continuous voicing and phrasing and ask the question like this, “Doooyouwant / aaavanilla?”

Most of all, try to have fun with this; that will help reduce anxiety!!!!

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.