Thursday, April 28, 2011

Modelling and Repetition ~ Speech Therapy

From a very young age babies learn to listen and 'tune in' to the speech of other people. This is an important skill in developing their speech and language. As you are the one who spends the most time with your child, you are your child's main speech and language model. Every time you speak to your child you are modelling language for them. Modelling can also be used to help teach your child specific target words. However, adopting certain strategies can make your modelling more effective.

Providing a 'good' model of speech for your child involves
* Speaking at an appropriate pace (not hurried)
* Speaking in clear short sentences
* Using mainly key words and appropriate vocabulary
* Using lots of repetition

These strategies help you to gain your child's attention, help them understand you better and encourage them to attempt to copy your language models. You can stimulate them to use language when you consistently repeat the same words over and over again in familiar situations. Modelling is also an effective strategy you can use when your child says a word or sound incorrectly, as you can then model back to them the correct way of saying it.

At first, your child needs time just to take in information and to improve their ability to understand what is being said and what the words really mean. Achieving the goal of clear words takes time. You need to emphasise and repeat on many different occasions before the new information becomes well established as part of your child's vocabulary.

Information in this handout compiled from: Manolson, Ayala (1992). It takes two to talk: a parent’s guide to helping children communicate. Toronto: The Hanen Centre.
Handed out by the Speech Therapy Department at Northam Regional Hospital.

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