Zone of Proximal DevelopmentZone of Proximal Development is the area between what your child can do independently and what they can do with a little help. This Zone of Proximal Development is how we're going to develop your child's language skills.
How is Your Child Communicating Independently?What can your child say by herself/himself? Is it a one, two, or three word sentence? Or is your child currently communicating by pointing to things they need or want? Watch and listen to your child so you have a good feel for how your child communicates. Now look below and find which stage of communication matches best what your child can do independently. You don't have to necessarily go by your child's age, instead focus on the specific language skills that your child demonstrates.
|Birth-3 Months||Different cries for different needs|
|4-6 Months||Babbling and laughing|
|7-12 Months||Recognizes some words & vocalizes to get attention|
Spoken Communication Stages
|12-26 months||1.0-2.0||“Milk” “More Milk”|
|27-30 months||2.0-2.5||“Go out” “Pick me up”|
|35-40 months||3.0-3.75||“More milk, please”|
|41-46+ months||3.75-4.0||“I want more milk”|
Sentence Expansion & ExtensionReady for the next step? Now that you've identified your child's stage of communication, we're going to focus on teaching your child the next stage. So if your child is using two word phrases, we're going to teach them three word phrases. The #1 strategy you'll use is Expansion & Extension, aka rephrasing. It sounds complex, but I guarantee that you have used it before without even knowing it. All you do is repeat back what your child says but in a way that shows them how to make it more complex (at the next language level). Rephrase and extend your child's phrase two times. The first time, repeat it back with correct grammar and add on a word. The second time, repeat it back in a longer phrase.
Your Child: "More milk"
Your Reply: "More milk, please. Let's get you some more milk."
Your Child: "Go outside."
Your Reply: " Wanna go outside? Okay, let's open the door and go outside."
More Language Development StrategiesYou can use Acoustic Highlighting when you're showing your child how to say longer phrases. Acoustic highlighting makes it easier for your child to listen and dissect the sentences. Some other simple strategies you can use to improve your child's language are Narration, Auditory Sandwich and singing along to music . Using a combination of these strategies keeps developing language fun and engaging, but it can be overwhelming to try to learn and intentionally implement all of these strategies. Start by using sentence expansion and extension. Realistically, it can be hard to be constantly rephrasing and expanding. I get it. After a long day doing language therapy at the preschool, my voice is shot. But make the effort. Try to use this strategy consistently. It becomes second nature and while initially it feels kinda awkward, soon it'll be a natural part of your interactions. Whether I'm making Baby Boy a bottle, washing his hair, or putting on his striped socks... I'm talking and using these strategies. It's become second nature and soon it'll be for you too!
(P.S. This post may contain affiliate links 'cause momma's gotta bring home the bacon.)Citations asha.org Brown, R. (1973). A first language: The early stages. London: George Allen & Unwin.