Natural Language Intervention Techniques

Parents can help their children develop their expressive language skills. Some language facilitation tips and techniques include:

1. Correction through Modelling
Child: “You know we was saved by the sting of a wasp cause we ran.”
Parent/Teacher: “You were saved from the sting of a wasp. It’s a good thing all of you were fast runners.”

2. Expansion
Child: “They’re looking in here. Bunch of Janitors just walked.”
Parent/Teacher: “A bunch of janitors just walked by and looked in?”

Example of Modelling and Expansion together:
Child: “We were jogging for the minutes and I was talking to him as I go ’round.”
Parent/Teacher: “So you were jogging for 5 minutes and you were talking to him as you went around the track.”

3. Expatiation
Child: “Jim gave me this stuff for Biology.”
Parent/Teacher: “Jim gave you his book and notes. They must have helped you study because your marks were good.”

4. Revision to a more complex, better formed or clearer utterance
Child: “This guy what lost his mitts thought someone stole them.”
Parent/Teacher: “The guy who lost his mitts thought they were stolen.”

Child: “They have this new thing at school, uh it’s for Valentines Day. It’s a computer thing where you … they pick the ten most … you know.”
Parent/Teacher: “You have a computer dating service. You tell the computer about yourself and it picks out ten girls that match your tastes.”

Child: “The day was a long time coming.”
Parent/Teacher: “I’m not sure what you mean. Can you tell me more?”
Child: “It’s dark for a long time when I get up.”
Parent/Teacher: “Oh, you mean the days are shorter now that it’s winter. You will have less daylight. So it is dark when you get up and it takes longer for the sun to come up. Did you notice that it gets dark sooner in the evening?”

These techniques can be used with the teacher/parent saying full sentences or parts of sentences. This way of interacting helps you to use the productions of the student and expand them into utterances which have more complexity and clarity. Do not interject whatever you say in a “teaching” or “correcting” tone of voice.

You may notice that over time the student will begin to repeat your models or parts of models spontaneously. This is good because it gives correct practice but you should not insist that the student repeat your models.


Reviewed 2019

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