How may I help my child learn to keep the volume of his speech at the appropriate level of loudness when we are in different community settings?
Voice meters can be easily made with minimal materials.
Materials needed include: paper or oak tag, colored markers, pencils or crayons and protective covering for the meter; such as contact paper, clear packaging tape, laminate or a sheet protector.
One example of a voice meter is a rectangular strip of paper with the numbers 1-5 aligned vertically in squares on the paper. Numbers are placed in squares with 1 on the bottom and 5 on the top. Each number square is colored graded shades of blue, with 1 being the lightest color and 5 the darkest shade. Each number represents a volume level:
2 = whisper
3 = normal conversational volume
4 = loud talking
5 = yelling or screaming.
This visual support will assist children whose speaking voices are very loud or very quiet to adjust the volume of their voices to appropriate levels in a variety of community settings.
- Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
- Planning Effort: Low
- Difficulty Level: Easy
Commercial or hand made voice meter
The voice meter should be introduced to the child prior to using it.
Explain the meter and model the volume each number represents.
Have the child look at the voice meter, hold it and practice making his/her voice louder or quieter according to each number/color level.
Give the child voice models for each number and have him/her imitate.
Role play different situations and model/practice the appropriate loudness and corresponding number/color shade.
After the child has experienced using the meter in practice situations, take the voice meter into community settings. Show the child the level of loudness for each setting on the meter.
Praise and/or reward the child for using the appropriate volume.
If the child’s voice is too quiet or too loud, you may tell and show them the number they are using and tell/show them the appropriate volume level on the voice meter.
Documents and Related Resources
Sample Voice Meter (Word document)
Sample Voice Meter (PDF)
Talking Voice Story (Word Document)
Talking Voice Story (PDF)
SET-BC Resources (website resource for pictures/icons)
This resource was authored by Watson Institute Special Education Consultant, Theresa O’Brien, M.Ed.
If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.