The Language Fix

A blog for sharing language and learning information


April 2014

Communication Temptations

Communication temptations are a type of manipulating the environment or incidental teaching that involve caregiver tempting or luring child to talk.  These are good for increasing initiation, social skills, such as asking for help, or asking questions.  Communication temptations often require starting something, pausing, and waiting until child does something.Image

examples: Put a desired object on high shelf, encouraging child to ask for it. Put a desired object in a tight jar. Give child just a few legos and wait for him to ask for more.
“Accidentally” do things, like walk past the room, don’t turn on the light, etc.

Child Directed Speech and Choices

child-directed speech – aka “mothereseuses frequent questions, exaggerated intonation, extra loudness, lots of repetition of key words, slower tempo with more pauses – not “baby talk”

examples: Is that a car? That car looks fast. That car is red. Do you like the car?


choices/ forced choicecan be very specific to a specific child, and so are an excellent teaching tool – great for labeling in general, or for labeling/using specific language skills – ways to make easier or harder…

  • Hold desired object and a non-desired object. “Do you want the cookie…or the paper?”
  • Change the foil. “Is this a pencil or a perpendicularagram?” when you want to make it more obvious that the correct choice is pencil, versus, “Is this a pencil or a pen?”
  • Change the position. “Are you 4 years old, or 20 years old?” versus, “Are you 20 years old, or 4 years old?” It’s naturally easier when the choice is in the last position.

Language Therapy Strategies – Chaining

Chaining starts with part of a skill, then keeps that skill while adding another part, then keeps those two skills while adding another part, and so on continuing until the larger target is learned.  There are two main types usually used:  forward and backward.  Forward is sometimes used in teaching speech articulation, such as with multi-syllabic words, and backward chaining is often used in teaching self help skills, such as brushing teeth or making a bed.  Chaining as a language teaching tool has been demonstrated to be effective, and it seems to carry a large untapped potential.  With chaining you’re basically using successive approximation, or gradually increasing the length and complexity of an utterance.

example: adult says, “Say, ‘I’m’” – child says, “I’m.” – adult says, “Say, ‘I’m three’” – child says, “I’m three” – adult says, “Say, ‘I’m three years” – child says, “I’m three years” – adult says, “Say, ‘I’m three years old.” – child says, “I’m three years old.”

Language Therapy Strategies – Carrier Phrases

With carrier phrases, the caregiver repeats the same phrase, with substitutions for one part.  Use of carrier phrases is similar to focused stimulation.  These are good for increasing sentence length, and for working on specific target structures.

examples: 1)  When reading a book, the caregiver may say, “I see a dog. I see a horse. I see a car.” to try to entice child to use the phrase, “I see a ….” for other objects.  2)  “I have…” may be used as a carrier phrase for labeling body parts, such as:  “I have hands.”  “I have a nose.”  “I have shoulders.” etc.

(Note:  I’d been planning on posting these strategies together, but it just got too big for that.)

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