Introduction: Language Book (for Speech Impaired)

About: Where there's a will, there's a way! Never give up, never give in...BE the good you want to see in the world. :)

This easy-to-make "book" binder is an invaluable tool for any speech impaired child (or person). My daughter's speech therapist (who specializes in working with children with apraxia) promotes this book for the children she works with.

My youngest daughter has a speech impairment called apraxia. Basically she has no neurological or physical problems, she just can't articulate the words that are readily in her mind to say. So when she speaks, a person who hasn't been around her for a long period of time to know her speech, wouldn't be able to understand her. She is 7. This effects her schooling and social abilities because friends can't understand her.

Fortunately, she's a God-send. She has such a BIG heart and loves people so much--even those who are mean to her or make fun of her. She doesn't take things personally and accepts herself as she is. She also has a strong desire to learn how to speak, and works diligently on language skills around the clock.

With apraxia, repetition is key. She has to learn how to move her mouth to say each sound. Things we don't think about, she has to work hard to think through. For example, to say the word "dog" uses the front of the mouth for the "d" sound, the middle of the mouth for the "o" sound, and the throat area in the back of the mouth for the "g" sound. That's a lot of work for her, even though we don't think it's hard to just say it. That's a three part word she has to learn how to make her mouth maneuver around to say properly.

The problem is that she HAS's in her head. She is not "slow" in thinking or her intelligence. She excels right up there with all the kids her age. But she just can't let the world know that she knows it. It's like being trapped inside your own body, having intelligence and speech, but not being able to share it. So, although speech therapy (learning each sound and repeating it a million times) works, she needed language that others could understand NOW.

Therefore, this book/binder is a tool that gives her language NOW, as well as encourages her when she sees others can understand what she's talking about.

So what is it? Basically, it's a binder with about 5 pages in it that have 9 pictures each of things she talks about regularly. This way, when people talk with her and she's by herself, she has a tool to fall back on if someone just isn't understanding.

DOES IT REDUCE SPEECH PROGRESSION? Absolutely not! It actually increases her desire to use her words because now people understand her (and don't just give blank stares). And it's not used in place of words. It's used in addition to her words.

Step 1: What You'll Need

For the Binder:

  • A three ring binder
  • Fabric to cover it with
  • Optional: Additional fabric for outer pockets
  • Fabric to make a strap with

For the Book:

  • Paper
  • Printer
  • Internet connection / Computer for obtaining pictures
  • Clear plastic page protectors (or lamination materials)

NOTE: I already made my daughter's binder when my husband suggested making it into an 'ible. So the pictures shown in this 'ible are a "mock setup" of the actual process. Real pictures from my daughter's completed binder are at the end.

Step 2: Designing the Binder

This Language Book has to be easy to carry everywhere, or else the person/child won't be able to use it when they're alone. So I made my daughter's binder into a little messenger bag-esque binder so she could easily carry it with her everywhere. We also covered it with fabric to look more attractive (plus it's fun!)

Step 3: Measure and Cut

Iron the main fabric.

Lay out the binder over the fabric with the outside of the binder on top of the wrong-side of the fabric.

Cut the fabric to have a little excess all around the edges (at least 1/2" excess on all sides).

Step 4: Glue

Hot glue the edges of the fabric around all the inside edges of the binder.

When you get to the part where the 3 rings are (if your binder's rings hang out all the way to the edge like mine did), cut a couple snips in the fabric (one on each side of the ring's width that is protruding to the edge) to make a "flap" that folds up and around the rings, then glue this in place.

Step 5: Add Pockets

Iron the pocket fabric.

Cut fabric in the size of a pocket (adjust by putting it on the front of the binder to see what size works for you).

Fold in "hem seams" and iron them to keep them down.

Add a spot of hot glue down the inside of each hem seam to secure it the seam to the fabric. Or you can sew it down if you prefer.

Do this for all pocket pieces.

Hot glue the edges of the pocket pieces down to the front (or back) of the fabric-covered binder (with the openings to the pockets facing up towards the open-able part of the binder).

Step 6: Attach a Strap

Whether you make yours to be a backpack styled book, or a purse, or a messenger-style book, it's really good to add a strap so it's easy to carry around and not lose.

To Make the Strap:

I used leftover canvas fabric I had to make the strap. All I did was measure the length of how it would sit across my daughter's body. Then I cut the fabric to that length.

For the width, I kept the finished width about 1.5". So my cut width (before folding it over) was about three times that which equals 4.5".

Finally, simply fold your fabric over, iron it down, and hot glue it to itself to form a strap. If you want to add padding, you can do so before gluing it down. (You could, alternatively, sew it instead of gluing it.)

To Attach the Strap:

Hot glue down one end to an inside corner of the front flap of the binder.

Glue the opposite end to the opposite inside corner on the back flap of the binder.

I included a picture of the actual finished binder to show you exactly where everything is glued down.

Step 7: Keep It Shut

To keep the binder closed, I added velcro on the inside.

1. Put the front and back pieces of the velcro together.

2. Hot glue the back of the sandwiched velcro pieces to the middle of one of the binder's flaps.

3. Put hot glue on the back of the remaining velcro piece from the sandwiched pieces, and close the opposite binder flap down on to it.

NOTE: Even if your velcro comes with an adhesive backing, make sure to hot glue it anyways. The adhesive backing it comes with won't permanently stick to the fabric.

Step 8: Add the Book Pages

Now that your binder is done, add the pages to it. It's ideal to put them in page protectors before adding them to your child's binder.

It's best to keep the pages fewer and simple. Less is more so the child isn't confused or overwhelmed when trying to find the picture they're describing.

Start with only a few pages--5 pages is what I started with--and only do a few pictures on each page in each category. I did 9 on each page. Always start with their most used or talked about categories (or ones that can help them if they get lost, such as a family page with pictures of their actual family so they can show the workers what their family looks like).

Categories to consider:

  • Family (use real family pictures and names underneath)
  • Food
  • Toys / Activities / Hobbies
  • Feelings
  • Places they go frequently (using real pictures of actual places in your community is best)

Printing in color is also ideal (vs black and white). This helps them to really recognize the pictures.

Also make sure to LABEL each picture so the person understands the word for what your child is trying to talk about. Above, are pages from my daughter's actual binder.

Step 9: Finished Book

Here's the finished product for ours. I hope you find this 'ible helpful!

The gift of language is a beautiful (and often taken-for-granted) thing. <3

Many blessings and thanks for stopping by :)