The laundry basket is one of my favorite tools to use in therapy. For toddlers (primarily ages 12 mos- 3 years) this is a great technique for helping them stay organized, and therefore able to access their speech and language.
Many times when small children present with sensory integrative disorder along with speech and language delays, a major part of the problem is helping them to reach an organized calm but alert state to optimize play and language. In a large room or any open space they can become easily overwhelmed and may exhibit repetitive behaviors such as pacing, walking along the wall, rolling wheels, or spinning toys in an effort to organize. These behaviors make it difficult to engage the child in meaningful reciprocal acts of play or language. By enticing them to come into a laundry basket (sometimes cushioned with pillows or balls) they can benefit from some proprioceptive input around their body, the visual and textural boundaries of the basket, and they can also benefit from the organization that their body receives through the vestibular system given movement. They can be slid back and forth such as in “row, row, your boat” or tipped up and down as in “wheels on the bus”.
Eventually toys, activities, or playful interactive games can be introduced while they are in the basket. In most cases you will see an increase in attention span, eye contact, and reciprocity and this is often followed by an increase in signs, gestures, words, and language. The best part about using a laundry basket for improving your child’s speech and language is that it is easily accessible and very inexpensive!! Remember to have fun and take time out to enjoy time with your child/ren.