August 29, 2019
Language stimulation activities are one of the best ways to encourage oral language development. Such activities can help early language users to practice dialogue, use and understand more words, learn more complex sentences, and see how language is used in a variety of social exchanges. Not only does language stimulation activities encourage the child to communicate more, but it also allows him or her the opportunity to see how communication can be effectively used.
Language stimulation is critical because it allows the child to see and experience language at incredibly young ages. Language stimulation techniques should always be taught from the perspective that the child is a competent learner. This means to avoid “baby talk” or other techniques that may dilute the experience for the child. Not only does language stimulation provide quality practice, but it also assists in language development that will likely establish the foundation for which the child will learn even more skills as he or she grows older.
Two of the most popular strategies that adults can use when talking to your child are self-talk and parallel talk.
Self-talk is when the adult describes what he or she is doing.
Parallel talk is when the adult describes what the child is doing.
Both of these approaches support connecting action with language. It is proven that a child connects best to language stimulation activities when the interaction is involved. Adults can talk about places, objects, or events that are happening at the moment. A child learns best when they are dealing with information that is right in front of them.
It is noted that adults alter their language techniques when talking to young a child and events. This is referred to as child-directed speech. It may include:
Speaking at a slower rate
Talking in a high-pitched voice
Smaller sets of words
Using a sing-song voice
Keep in mind, child-directed speed is not the same as “baby talk.” This strategy does not simplify language nor introduce improper pronunciation.
Another helpful strategy is incorporating expansions into everyday communication. Adults can expand on their child’s comments by taking words that the child has said to form a grammatically correct sentence. This is especially useful when working with a younger child who only uses one word to describe an action or event. For example, a child may say “sleepy,” then you would expand on this by saying back to the child, “Are you sleepy?”
Expansions allow you to model how words are combined to create a complete sentence or thought.
Extensions are appropriate to use with a child who is starting to string together two or more words.
Extensions adding more information and ideas to your child’s utterance.
For example, a child may say, “I sleepy,” and an educator would add, “You are sleepy. You must be ready to go to sleep. Let’s put you to sleep.”
Not only does this offer more guidance for things such as problem-solving, but it also goes a step further in guiding children toward speaking in more complex ways. It allows children to process more information and encourage them to provide more details that will express what they think or feel.
Language stimulation is an incredibly important aspect of language development. Not only does it support language development, but it helps them understand connections in their environment. Over time, this strategy allows children to become independent communicators who effectively express their ideas while understanding others.
If you would like more information about language stimulation, please reach out to us. We are more than happy to help you learn effective strategies that will help the child in your life. Contact us for more information.