Language learning is a life long pursuit.However, the first five years of life are the most important ones in which to establish a strong linguistic base to build upon.Language stimulation practices involve making a number of subtle changes in your interactions and behaviors with your child, which may serve to facilitate language development
Indirect language stimulation is a set of language enrichment techniques. The primary
goal, for adults, in using these techniques is to help young children learn to talk.
- not anticipating need or desire
- Wait, wait, wait. Delay your responses to your child’s pointing, gestures or babbling when he wants things. Pretend you don’t understand what he wants to see if your child will try to verbally communicate. Pausing allows your child another chance to verbally express himself.
- CREATE OPPORTUNITIES TO USE LANGUAGE: Does you child need to use words in order to communicate? Many of the questions we ask our children may require only a simple yes/no are pointing response. To increase the need to verbally communicate, try asking a question that requires a verbal response (i.e. “What would you like to drink?”). To increase the likelihood of a verbal answer, model a target response (i.e. “You’re thirsty. Would you like a cup of Juice or water?”). Encourage, rather than demand imitation.
- Read, Read, Read! The best thing you can do for a child is to read books with them. Choose colorful books with large, simple pictures. Talk about the pictures rather than just reading the text. Encourage interaction from your child by asking him/her questions. Point to what you are talking about
- Parallel Talk (child centered) Short phrase (45 words) the adult says that describes what the child is doing, seeing, hearing, as he does it e.g., “You’re pushing the car”, “You are digging in the sand”, “You see the red bucket”. Give the child words to describe the action he is involved in.
- SelfTalk The adult uses short sentences to describe what he is doing, seeing, hearing, e.g., “I am washing the cups”, “I see the yellow shovel”. Use short, simple sentences to help the child know there are words to describe things people do.
- Open ended Questions Questions that are broad in their context; that allow for multiple responses and that do not limit the child to single word responses such as “it’s blue”, “yes” or “no” responses. Good example of open ended question: “What do you think will happen if ….?, or “I wonder what you could use this for?”.
- Repetition Adult repeats exactly what the child says, but uses correct articulation. For example, the child says, “Widdle wed wabbit”, and the adult would say, “Little red rabbit”.
- Expansion. Add a few more words and/or information to the child’s utterance. e.g., Child: “Bus leaving.” Parent/Teacher: “The bus is leaving.” Child: “We saw police.” Parent/Teacher: “Yes, we saw a policeman who taught us about safety.”
- Revision. When responding to the child, provide a more organized utterance, where the meaning is clear to the listener. e.g., Child: “The two guys had money and otherwise he didn’t have money.” Teacher/Parent: “It’s a good thing his friends had money because he didn’t have any. Otherwise he would not have been able to buy his lunch.”
- Offering Choices between the incorrect versus the correct structure. e.g., Child: “Him was so funny!” Teacher/Parent: “Is it, ‘Him was so funny’ or ‘He was so funny’?”
- Labelling Label common objects and actions to build vocabulary. Your child does not need to repeat your words, although you can encourage this if they do it spontaneously (it is sufficient that they hear the labels and connect them to the correct objects or actions - comprehension comes before expression). With a more verbal child you can label qualities of objects (eg. size, shape, colour, number, texture), words describing how an action is performed (eg. quickly, happily, easily, loudly) or place words (eg. in/out, on/off, under, behind, between).
- Sing to Your Child. Song promotes vocal play, attention, listening, and speech. Sing simple songs your child can sing too. (Ex. The Itsy Bitsy Spider; The Little White Duck; Twinkle, Twinkle, Wheels on the Bus).
REMEMBER in using all of these techniques that you need to be at the same physical level as your child to facilitate interaction. If your child is lying on the floor, you should be lying on the floor too, if your child is sitting at a small table, you should kneel on the floor or sit in a small chair so that you are at your child's eye level.
Source: Good Talking With You Series: Oh Say What They See An Introduction to Indirect Language Stimulation Techniques. Educational Productions, Portland, OR. http://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/Images/Language%20Stimulation%20Techniques_tcm28-195246.pdf