Today we host our monthly Talks on Tuesdays webinar and our topic is “Addressing the Receptive Language Skills of Young Children” with Dr. Corey Cassidy. The webinar will be archived and a fantastic tip sheet will be posted within the next few days on our Talks on Tuesdays page on the VA EI Professional Development Center site. I thought I’d share a few tips from the webinar this morning to give you an idea of what to expect. To hear about all 12 tips, check out the archived webinar if you aren’t able to join us at noon!
Keep it simple
Researchers have determined that labeling–simply stating an object or an event name–is more effective than any other kind of talking to help a child maintain attention to what he is doing. Use lots of single words. Use lots of short phrases. Avoid long explanations or questions. When you’re asking the child if he wants a cookie, hold up the cookie and ask, “Want a cookie?”
Follow the child’s lead.
When you’re eating snack with a child, use simple words to label and talk about the snack itself. Don’t break into a dialogue about what happened at daycare yesterday or grandma’s visit next weekend. Keep it simple and in the here and now so it “makes sense.”
Use words that the child uses.
Talk using single words and simple sentence structures that the child can process and learn. Observe the activities in which the child is interested, watch what he or she is involved in, and then use simple, one or two word utterances to provide the child with opportunities to hear the words, experience the words, and process the words!
Provide lots of visual cues.
Point to or use simple gestures to indicate an object or activity to direct the child’s attention. When practical, show him the actual object. If you’re using books, point directly to the picture, say its name, and then make a brief comment.
Repeat again…and again…and again.
Repetition helps a child create connections in his brain in order to solidify and store information. The more often a word or concept is repeated, the more likely it is that the child will be able to process and recall information that has been presented earlier.
(Tips shared courtesy of Dr. Corey Herd Cassidy. Dr. Cassidy is on the faculty at Radford University and can be contacted through the university website.)
For an additional 7 tips, you can also visit the Talks on Tuesdays page on our site for a tips sheet that can be shared with service providers, child care providers, parents, etc. who are interested in encouraging receptive language development. Visit our Communication Development and Delays topic page for more info about early communication development. Hope you can join us for our next webinar in February 2013!
If you have comments about the tips or the webinar, or suggestions for future webinar topics, please share in the comments below. What other strategies do you recommend to address receptive communication?