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I’m an SLP and I don’t do manners…. Here’s why

Imagine you’re at the grocery store and you can’t find the cookies. You approach a worker and they say, “Can I help you” and you say “Please”. They’re somewhat confused and begin leading you around the store directing you to various aisles and you begin to get frustrated. Again, you tell them “Please” and they express confusion. Now imagine that same situation, but instead of “please” you tell the clerk “Cookie”. Think about how much faster your needs are going to be met and how much less frustrated everyone will be.

Now, don’t get me wrong I appreciate a good “please, thank you, yes ma’am, no sir” as much as the next person but it’s not my main goal. As an SLP my goal is to build functional communication so that a person can communicate their wants and needs in a safe and effective manner. Because of this, manners are not my main goal, while they add kindness to communication they don’t help to increase the function. Increasing a child’s vocabulary with a variety of functional words can increase their ability to communicate to meet their needs and wants. Check out some word lists below.

Target Words






Answering Questions:

More, Push, Play, Go, Eat, Open, Stop, Help, Ball, Baby, Cookie, Look, Night, Sleep

Stop, Done, Go, Bye, Go Away

Hi, Bye, Hug, Kiss, Daddy, Mommy, Grandmas, Hurt

Big, Small, Tall, Empty, Silly, Happy, Sad, Hot, Cold, Scary, Loud

Yes, No, Maybe, Not Now, Later

I truly believe manners have their time and place, however adding some of the functional words listed above can help increase your child’s functional communication, eliminate frustration, and help meet their needs.

Kirby K. Pittman M.S. CCC-SLP, CAS