Using Strategies from the Expanding Expression Tool
What Is It?
The Expanding Expression Tool (EET) was created by Sara L. Smith – a speech-language pathologist with a specialty in language processing and multi-sensory approaches to language development. Simply put, EET is a research-based tool to help expand a child’s language. It uses a multi-sensory approach to assist in expanding language from simple general descriptions of objects all the way to writing reports for school. The ability to express beyond labeling helps develop a child’s ability to categorize, compare and contrast, make associations, use and understand attributes, and more.
The Expanding Expression Tool is a mnemonic device using colored beads and visual supports to help a child express the following:
- What category does the object belong to?
- What does it do?
- What does the object look like in regards to size, shape, and color?
- What is it made of?
- What are the different parts of the object?
- Where do you find it?
- Anything else you know about the object?
As a child obtains the ability to answer the above questions, answers can eventually be expanded to sentences and paragraphs.
Try It at Home!
The techniques outlined by the Expanding Expression Tool can be used throughout your child’s daily life! To use EET in the most basic sense, pick an object and begin answering the questions mentioned previously. For example, while you’re sitting at the dinner table, you could describe a fork:
- What category does the object belong to? Silverware
- What does it do? Picks up food
- What does the object look like in regards to size, shape, and color? Silver, rectangular, small
- What is it made of? Metal/plastic
- What are the different parts of the object? Tines, slots, and handle
- Where do you find it? In the kitchen, at restaurants, at the cafeteria at school, etc.
- Anything else you know about the object? You can’t eat soup with a fork!
The official Expanding Expression Tool kit has all of the tactile and visual supports needed for implementation. It also includes games, posters, and various writing prompts. For more information on the Expanding Expression Tool or to purchase your own EET kit, visit https://www.expandingexpression.com/index/
Additional resources and ideas for use of EET can be found on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers.
-Kay Caprez, Speech Therapist