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Tips and Tricks to Stimulate Your Child's Language

Updated: Apr 13

Children with language delay or disorder can be at risk of social isolation, delayed academic progression, and reduced participation in the activities that they enjoy (Kleeck, 2020). Taking a proactive approach to support your child's language development is an excellent way to support their continued development, regardless of whether they have a delay or not. These strategies have been complied from research supported interventions and clinical experience.


ROBUST VOCABULARY INSTRUCTION

This activity is great to integrate into every day life! Broken down into it's simplest concepts, Robust Vocabulary Instruction is explicit teaching of different words and word types. You can use this strategy when engaging in storytelling, craft activities, reading books, and other play activities. Bring your focus to building vocabulary through discussing new words. Put them into sentences and model (show) the children how these words are used.


  • For example: . word = big: Let’s think of other words that mean the same – large, huge, gigantic, and enormous. What kind of things are enormous? Is a baby bird enormous? No! Is a plane enormous? Yes, it is! Can we make ourselves enormous? (Stand up tall and stretch) etc. What would be opposite? Small! Let’s make ourselves small!

  • Giving lots of physical examples and making a game out of it can really help children learn and understand these new concepts through play.

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Talk about toys and actions during play to stimulate your child's development!

BLANK’S LEVELS OF PERCEPTION

This activity employs the use of a principle developed by Marion Blank. Research supports this strategy in the pursuit of building a child's understanding of questions and responses to them (Hay & Fielding-Barnsley, 2012). This is best completed when doing reading or storytelling activities but can be embedded in play e.g. “What will happen if I take this block out?”


  • This is a great, evidence-based language intervention that aims at stimulating children’s verbal reasoning skills, vocabulary, concepts, and understanding of the topic being taught. It is supported in providing intervention targeting understanding and use of language in children. We’re basically wanting to improve children’s ability to understand stories and make predictions or interpret information from stories and then be able to tell us what they know in good sentences.


This style of ‘questioning’ builds children’s understanding of different types of language i.e. understanding that “The man is following the dog” and “The dog is being followed by the man” mean the same thing. It’s all about exposure and getting them listening to and using as much language as possible. It's important to remember that this is a teaching activity. If you're child doesn't know the answer, show them! Tell them! Explain, and then reinforce the learning with praise and support.


child reading speech therapy speech pathology NDIS ASD down syndrome disability communication
Discussing the pictures and story with your child is a great way to build language skills!

BARRIER GAMES

Barrier Games are a good way to stimulate understanding of concepts, instructions, and sentences. This can be done in craft activities, play, or things like cooking.


  • This is an excellent way to teach new concepts, shapes, colours, numbers, and vocabulary by engaging children in a game where they must apply their listening skills to a structured direction. Playing games like ‘Simon Says’ are great for this.

  • For example:. Put the blue paint on the circle. Now draw a square at the top of the page.

Put the sand in the bucket, then turn the bucket upside down. What did you make?

Jump on the blue circle, then clap your hands.



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Practice following instructions at home!

At the core of each of these strategies, is the essence of learning and teaching. We want to always implement praise as a positive reinforcer (the reward for participating and trying really hard!). We do not want to test children when engaging in language learning. The basis if in discussing and supporting their learning.


If you think you child might need more support in this area or you would like more information, reach out to us at Foundation First Speech Pathology to chat more or book an appointment. You can call us on 0472 670 570 or email us at sarah@foundationfirstsp.com .


Until next time,

Sarah xx

Practice Director/Speech Pathologist



References:

Hay, I., & Fielding-Barnsley, R. (2012). Social Learning, Language, and Literacy, Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(1), 24-29


Kleeck, A. (2020). Preschool Language Part Four: Language Teaching Procedures [video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.medbridgeeducation.com/course-catalog/details/preschool-language-part-four-rethinking-language-assessment-tools-anne-van-kleeck/

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