Funny Pictures Help Develop Language Skills

Children find describing What’s Wrong pictures to be a fun carryover activity for articulation, grammar and vocabulary.  An instant smile appears when a child is shown a picture of the Statue of Liberty holding an ice cream sundae!

This speech and language task also allows a child to demonstrate the ability to link visual and cognitive skills, which is crucial for pre-reading.  A child has to carefully examine a What’s Wrong picture, just as he needs to look closely at printed words to notice blends.

When a child focuses and attends to a silly picture and can explain why it is crazy a polar bear is on the beach, he is using reasoning skills and making inferences. 

Picture completion (pictures that have something missing) subtests appear on intelligence tests, such as the WPPSI (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence), the WISC-IV (Wechsler Intelligence Scale For Children) and the Stanford Binet (Picture Absurdities).  A child’s visual acuity and reasoning skills are measured when asked to identify a missing part of a familiar pictured object. 

Try What’s Wrong coloring books.  What’s Wrong? by Anna Pomaska is good to start with.  Then try What’s Wrong with this Picture? also by Pomaska.  I often provide these coloring books to children I work with so they can discuss one page a day with a parent as part of their homework.

An incredible set of silly photographs is a great informal activity / ice breaker at an evaluation.  You can read Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss as a therapy activity or provide a few worksheets for homework from Super Duper’s 150 “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” Scenes.

Stephanie is a pediatric speech therapist in Manhattan.