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Suffolk Center for Speech


How to Be the Best Language Model

For parents of children who have language delays and disorders it is important to be the best language model possible for your child. Part of being the best language model that you can means not berating your child with questions “What are you doing? Why are you doing that” but rather modeling the language for the child “Wow! Look at you putting on your pants! Look at you brushing your teeth!” If your child is unable to repeat the words back to you, you can at least model the correct language for them. Listed below are 4 types of language models that you can utilize to be the best language model possible (Speech Therapy CT, 2019):

Self-talk: Talk out loud about everything that you are doing! Talk about what you are doing, seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling when your child is close by. Be sure to use slow, clear speech and simple words and language. You do not need to remind the child to listen, but rather just provide the model in their presence. For example, while you are unloading groceries into the fridge: “put away-yummy banana-take out-put in-”etc.

Parallel talk: Talk out loud about everything that is happening to your child! Use simple words and language to describe everything that your child is doing. You don’t have to remind the child to listen or participate, just make sure they are close enough to hear you. For example: while the child is taking a bath “washing hair- washing body- blowing bubbles- warm water, etc.”

Expansion: This will be used when your child has some words! You want to add onto what your child has said to be more descriptive. For example: “up” (child), becomes “pick up” (adult model).

Praise: This is an important and huge part of being a great language model. It is important that you praise your child for any communication attempts. Praise can be done with hugs and kisses, or it can be done verbally. “I love how you used your words” and “nice using your words” are great ways to reinforce that you want your child to have communicative intent!

– Lauren W. M.S. CF-SLP


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