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Question: How do I help to develop my child’s communication skills when our schedule is already so busy?

Answer: Magnify the Moment


What do I do? Place a moment in one of the magnifying glasses and a pet in the other. The goal is to build vocabulary and language skills around experiences that are already part of your child’s day. You are likely doing some of these things already.

How long will it take? As little as 5 minutes

What age group is this for? It varies, depending on the complexity of the language used

Who is it for? It can be used for students whose communication is oral, sign language, and/or augmentative communication

Optional materials: printer, handout, scissors

Example: Taking your dog for a walk

  • Does your child know the name of the things that are used on your walk? (e.g., leash or harness, bags for cleanup)
  • What is the first, second, or last thing you have to remember before you leave? (e.g., making sure the leash is on before opening the door). What do you have to do as soon as you get home (e.g., dry the dog with a towel if it is raining, wipe their muddy feet)
  • Do you always take the same route? If so, you can work on specific language goals included in their APSEA Service Plan (ASP). Ask questions such as:
    • Who lives to the left of Mr. Smith?
    • What color is the last house before the park?
    • Who lives across from the Boyles?
    • Which house is closer, the blue one or the white one?
    • Does one of your neighbours always have a treat for your dog?
  • Do you sometimes run into other people walking their dogs? Compare and contrast the dogs by talking about how they are similar or different.
  • How is the other dog different from your dog? Which one is bigger/smaller, older/younger
  • Is one big, huge, or enormous? Is one tiny or little?
  • Does one have soft/coarse or straight/curly fur?


  • Depending on your child’s age and language skills, you could ask questions such as:
    • Are there people or dogs to be avoided? Why or why not (e.g., some people are afraid of dogs, some dogs don’t get along)
  • The attached handout provides some examples of moments to magnify as well as different pets. If you don’t have a pet of your own, you can choose a pet and time to generate discussion. It also works with stuffies.