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Using Short Animated Videos in Speech Therapy

using videos in speech therapy

My students love videos.

Last year, I drew the YouTube logo on my whiteboard and asked my students if they knew what it was. Every single student recognized it. I asked them what they thought of YouTube and their response was clear– YouTube is cool.

Why does this matter? Because I only get to spend 30 minutes once or twice a week with my students and what we do during that time is extremely important. Plus, my students are adolescents who sometimes don’t even want to go to speech in the first place.

Yes, I use YouTube videos in speech therapy.Click To Tweet

In this post I’ll explain why and how I like using videos in speech therapy. I’ll focus on one of the types of videos I like to use: short animated films. At the end of this post I’ll show you the videos that I use. 

Watching short videos in speech therapy can be very time efficient.

If you’re in the schools, chances are your sessions are 30 minutes or shorter. I find that when the focus of my session is having conversations with the students, using videos allows me to maximize the time my students can talk.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when reading is absolutely necessary, such as when I’m targeting literacy skills. I would never advocate completely abandoning text. All I’m saying is that when you just need something to use as a basis for a conversation, videos can be great.

A few months ago I started a playlist on YouTube and I have been adding short animated films that I come across. All of the films are less than six minutes long. They are full of action though! It’s surprising how a film can tell a story in such a short amount of time.

Animated films are great conversation starters.

I especially love incorporating quick animated videos in speech therapy sessions targeting fluency. Why? It gets my students talking.

If you’ve ever sat for 30 minutes with an adolescent boy who stutters, you know that it’s not always easy to get kids to talk. Sure, I use conversation starters and we talk about things going on in his life. We sometimes even use objects and crafts to spark a conversation.

It’s good to have variety though, and this is where videos come in handy. They give you one more thing you can do with your students, which keeps your sessions from getting boring.

How I use animated videos in speech therapy

Since I only recently jumped onto the video bandwagon, I am mainly having my students retell the videos. We will watch the video and then I will ask each student to take a turn retelling the video. 

I target stuttering and cluttering by asking my students to use a specific strategy during the retelling. For example, I might ask one of my students who stutters to use continuous voicing while he retells the video. A student who clutters might work on reducing fillers such as “um” or “like”.  I usually close the session by giving out pocket sized homework. For more ideas on working with cluttering, check out this post.

I also see other possibilities for things you could target using videos. Retelling the events of the video could be a great sequencing activity for language. It could also be a good exercise for correctly producing speech sounds at the conversation level.

More tips for using YouTube videos in speech therapy

  1. Look for short videos; 5 or 6 minutes max. You want most of the time to be spent talking with students, not watching the video.
  2. Watch the videos by yourself beforehand to make sure they’re school appropriate.
  3. Be careful what you search for on the computer you’ll be using to play the videos. Google ads appear on videos based on searches and sites visited by the person playing the videos. 
  4. Make a playlist so you can  keep track of the videos you want to use.

Ready to get started?

Below I have embedded the playlist I use with my students. Use the controls in the top left corner of the frame to move between videos. I will keep adding videos to this playlist, and the newest videos will play first.

You can play these videos right now, and come back to this post anytime you want. If you want to access my playlist directly from your YouTube account, you can subscribe to me on YouTube.

I hope this post has inspired you, whether you are giving videos a try for the first time or are looking for new ideas. Feel free to leave a comment with other ways you like to use videos in speech therapy.

Using Short Animated Videos in Speech Therapy

About the Author:

About Tween Speech Therapy Amanda Dugan, MS, CCC-SLP is an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist. She works full-time as a school SLP in North Carolina. Amanda has experience serving as Lead SLP and has spent more than 10 years molding young minds. She’s provided speech therapy to all ages of children, from toddlers to teens, and especially enjoys "tweens".

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8 Replies to “Using Short Animated Videos in Speech Therapy”

  1. Thanks for sharing this just in time when I’m starting to introduce short films to my son. I’ve noticed that aside from reading comprehension, he needs more of visual comprehension. I started with short animated clips about moral lessons. Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome! While you’re watching the videos, try to point out things you notice. Ask your son open-ended questions about the video and have him retell you the story. The goal is to use the videos as a jumping off point for discussion.

    1. It’s a playlist of over 20 videos. If you’d rather look at them on YouTube, I included a link in the article.

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