Inference & Speech Therapy

What does inference mean? I'll review the definition of inference so we are all on the same page and then discuss how it applies to speech therapy.

Keep reading for more information!

Inference Definition

According to Merriam-Webster, inference means "a conclusion or opinion that is formed because of known facts or evidence."

During therapy, I tell my clients that they need to be detectives to complete inference tasks! They have to gather clues from text, conversations, body language, and/or pictures to understand what is going on. 

They need the skills of observation and higher-level reasoning to realize what is happening right now. 

Inference & Speech Therapy

How does inference and speech therapy relate?

Inferring is an language essential skill needed for academic and social success that usually arises around 3-6 years of age. Of course, this skill will develop and strengthen over time.

We need inference for:

  • Understanding text
  • Being able to participate in conversations
  • Form relationships
  • Navigate the our daily lives

How To Teach Inference

When I introduce a new skill to a child who has a developmental language disorder, I ALWAYS make sure that I am working on the desired skill. This means, I take out extra language demands that may be a challenge for my clients.

Step 1 - Start With Pictures

For inference, I start with pictures!

This way, I take out all other language demands such as vocabulary comprehension and grammar and work on finding clues to answer questions!

Here, at Speech Therapy Talk Membership, I have inference flashcards & worksheets in both English and Spanish!

Step 2 - Short Videos

Once the child masters inference with videos, I move on to short videos. I usually find some free videos on YouTube.

At this stage, the child has to comprehend language and observe facial expressions, body language, and setting to infer. However, they still have a visual to help!

Step 3 - Short Text With Images

For children with developmental language disorders, text can be difficult due to delays in grammar and/or vocabulary.

For this reason, I start with short texts (2-3 sentences) that have a visual paired with it.

Step 4 - Short Text With NO Images

Once the child starts to master inferencing skills with text AND images, I move on to short texts WITH NO images. 

This is a challenging but important next step. 

Step 5 - Grade Level Text

For the last step, I find grade level text from the child's classroom and work on inference using that. This is the most functional and challenging!


  • To access your English materials, click here.
  • To access your Spanish materials, click here.


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