What can be done to improve receptive language (understanding of language)?
- Eye-contact: Obtain your child’s eye contact before giving them an instruction.
- Minimal instructions: Refrain from giving too many instructions at once.
- Simplify the language you use with your child so it is at a level that they can understand (i.e. usually just above their expressive language level or how much they are saying).
- Break down verbal instructions into parts. Instead of “Go and get your lunchbox and your hat and go outside”, say “Get your lunchbox.” When the child has followed that instruction, say “Now get your hat” then “OK, now you can go outside”.
- Repeat: Ask your child to repeat the instruction to ensure that they have understood what they need to do (e.g. “Go and get your bag then sit at the table. What do I want you to do?”).
- Use "First/then": Use this concept to help the child know what order they need to complete the command (e.g. “First get your jacket, then put on your shoes”).
- Clarify: Encourage the child to ask for clarification if they forget part of the instruction or have trouble understanding what they need to do. Encourage them to ask for the command to be repeated or clarified (e.g. “Can you say that again please?”).
- Show: Physically show the child what to do when giving them an instruction so that they can ‘see’ what the concept within the instruction looks like.
- Use visual aids (e.g. pictures, gestures, body language, facial expression) can be used to assist the child’s comprehension and recall of the instruction.
- Describe: In everyday activities describe to the child what they are doing (e.g. when the child is packing up their toys you might say: “Put the toys in the box” or when dressing/undressing you might say: “Take your shoes off/Put your shoes on”).
- Emphasize the word you want your child to learn about and repeat the concept in a variety of situations or settings so that the child sees the different ways in which a concept can be used (e.g. “Lights on“ versus “The book is on the table”).
- Play: For the young child engage in play on a regular basis, model how to play with toys, follow the child’s lead and talk about what they are doing with the toys.
- Reduce background noise: Turn off background noise in the home (e.g. television, radio, music) when engaging with the child to reduce/minimise distractions.
- Face-to-face: Get face to face with your child when talking.
- Visuals such as pictures can be used to facilitate and support your child’s understanding.
- Books: Look at books which interest your child and talk about the pictures and the story. Get your child to predict what might happen next or explain why something might have happened in the story.
What can be done to improve expressive language (using words and language)?
- Play: Children should participate in play on a regular basis and see how to play with toys. As a parent it is important to follow your child’s lead and talk about what they are doing with the toys.
- Talk to your child often throughout the day about what you are doing, where you are going, what you are going to do, what you have just done.
- Turn off background noise in the home (e.g. television, radio, music, Iphones).
- Face-to-face: Get face to face with the child when talking so that the child can watch your mouth to imitate how to produce words.
- Expand the language the child is using by repeating what they are saying and adding one or two more words to their utterance (·e.g. child: “Dog”;adult: “A big dog”).
- Books: Look at books together that the child is interested in and talk about the pictures and/or the story.
- Model ·back to the child utterances that they have said incorrectly in the correct way (e.g. child: “Me want that one”; adult: “I want red apple please”).
Language Tasks I
1. Find 5 objects in your home from a category (e.g., food, toy, tools, clothing, etc.) and make a complete sentence to label the object. For example, "This is a ________". Use a simple line to represent each word used.
2. Find 5 objects while looking out the window from a category (e.., animals, vehicle, tools) and make a complete sentence using at least one descriptor category on the Describing Visual linked at the top of the page.
3. Pick 5 objects in the house and put them in different places. Model for the child where the object is using words like "on","in", "under", "next to", and "behind".
4. Make language of everyday family work. Modeling and using language during meaningful work can be joyful and teach children to use a variety of VERBS (e.g. folding, sorting the socks, watering plants, dusting plants, cooking, baking, chopping, etc!)
5. Use books as a way to work on language skills. Have your child point to items that you label.
7. Sing songs and dance, sing familiar songs and sing them often. Stop at expectant parts and look at your child expectantly; provide wait time and model the words that you want your child to fill in.
8. Use "self-talk": as you and your child are playing, doing a project, talk about what you are seeing, hearing or doing. For example, “I am gluing the red paper ”
9. Use books as a description/labeling activity. Describe an animal then have your child name it. (e.g., Tell me the animal on this page that is big, grey and has a trunk.)
10. Read through a book one time with expression – act out parts, exaggerate tones of your voice and make associated sounds when possible. For example, car sounds, animals sounds, fun expressions (e.g., "wee!" or “wow!”).
Here are some videos to help your child follow directions:
Language Tasks II
1. Choose a simple picture (board) book, family photo, or comic strip. Using a complete sentence tell what is happening in the picture. Use a blank sentence form to "show" the child the sentence made and how long and complete it is.
2. Cut apart a story in a magazine or newspaper into sentences or paragraphs. Mix them up and then unscramble back into order. Talk about it.
3. Play Barrier games!
4. Use sidewalk chalk -Draw pictures using sidewalk chalk and have your child describe the pictures using color, shape, and size words -Draw a hopscotch game and write words in each square. These could be vocabulary words that they then have to use in a sentence.
5. Charades: Act out different animals, actions, jobs, etc. without making a peep!
6. Go on a scavenger hunt outside or inside! -Give your child descriptions of things to find in your home. These could be vague, such as, “Find something large and blue” or specific, such as, “Find something that you use to dry your hands.”
7. Read a book to your child: Ask your child questions about what you have read. These can be factual questions (Who? What? Where?) or inferential questions (Why…? How…? What might happen next…?)
8. I Spy: Pick a secret item and give 3 clues to help your partner guess your item.
9. Go on a scavenger hunt outside or inside! Give your child descriptions of things to find. These could be vague, such as, “Find something blue and big..."
10. Read a book to your child: ask your child to draw their favorite character, part of the story, etc. and explain.
Your child will enjoy these videos that focus on language while having FUN!:
Language Tasks III
1. Tell someone the steps to make your favorite food/snack (e.g., pizza, popcorn, etc.) using the words “FIRST, NEXT, THEN, AFTER THAT, LAST” as many times as needed.
2. Use question words to ask a grown up to make a plan to make that food with you.
3. Ask an adult who you live with to tell you a story (e.g., how they met someone, their favorite childhood memory, etc.) and show good Whole Body Listening. Then retell the story.
4. Ask an adult who you live with to tell you a story (e.g., how they met someone, their favorite childhood memory, etc.) and write or draw their story on paper. Then retell the story.
5. Have a conversation with a grown-up who you live with about things you could do outside for outdoor time (e.g., take a walk, use sidewalk chalk, rake the yard, ride bikes, etc.). Tell them what you want to do the most and why you like it. Start with "I like _____ because...."
6. Take a poll to choose an activity for the entire family.
7. Play a barrier game: Tea Party
8. Play a listening game: 2 Step Direction Activity
9. Play "I Went To The…" Pick a place and try to name all the things you might see there. For example, “I went to the beach and saw a shovel, bucket, towel, wave, whale, …”
MORE language ideas: https://mommyspeechtherapy.com/?p=2676
Here are some fun video activities:
Even MORE Following directions activities for kids:
Here are a few standby games to play with kids to help them listen and hear what you are instructing follow directions:
One person is Simon or Simone (the “leader"). Simon gives a set of instructions and everyone else follows. The person who doesn’t follow the instructions is “out.” And the person who follows the instructions throughout the game, wins Simone Says.
Red Light, Green Light
One person is the leader who calls out “Red Light” or “Green Light.” When the leader calls out “Red Light,” everyone stops. When the leader calls out “Green Light,” everyone goes. Anyone who doesn’t stop or freeze during “Red Light” is out.
Follow the Leader
Take a walk around your house or outside and whatever you (or the leader) does, everyone else must follow. This is a great game to allow your child to be the leader and have you follow your child. It’s a perfect opportunity to model following directions for your child!