Children develop language in stages, not all at once. Sometimes you’ll hear your child say something that sounds “wrong” or not grammatically correct. Dependent on their age, this can be completely normal (check out the Brown’s Stages for an idea of how your child should be communicating). We don’t want to over-correct children who are using developmentally appropriate language, but that doesn’t mean we have to be a passive participant in their growth.
Indirect language stimulation is a fantastic strategy for building your child’s language skills through a variety of techniques that builds off what they are already doing/saying. It is child-lead, meaning you focus on whatever is currently holding your child’s attention and interacting on their level. The adult uses short, simple phrases based on what the child has said to model correct grammar or expanded vocabulary. Below are a few of the most common indirect language stimulation techniques:
Parallel-Talk: The adult discusses what the child is doing as they are doing it
You’re picking up the red block
Self- talk: During the interaction, the adult narrates the task they are engaged in
I’m putting the blue block on top
Recast: The adult repeats what a child says, but with correct syntax. No need to have them repeat or “fix” what they said!
C: Molly sleep on couch
A: Molly is sleeping on the couch
Expansion: The utterance is said in an adult-like manner with more vocabulary included
C: We go store
A: We’re going to the store to get some apples
Description: The adult continues to focus on what they child is interested in by adding more information to the topic
C: Throw ball
A: This ball has blue and yellow stars on it