Monday, January 4, 2010

Teach the Language Children Want to Learn

If you want your child to learn new words and new ways to communicate, think about teaching language that is powerful. Teaching a child to say "Frog" with What's this called? is the most common kind of language teaching that I see parents do.  A child with some form of autism is less likely to willingly participate in this kind of language learning than typical children and even if he or she can be persuaded to learn to label objects, the child is not likely to use the word "Frog" in conversation because most of us do not label things in conversation.  Imagine two people sitting together and conversing like this:

Person 1: That is a frog.
Person 2:  Yes, yes it is.  And that is a fly.
Person 1:  You are right.  Yeah!  Good for you!  You said "Fly".
Person 1:  Did I mention that it is a green frog?
Person 2:  Yeah!  You said green Frog!

When we teach children new words by labeling pictures or objects, we do not give them enough information so that they can, in fact, use the words in any real way.

As you teach a child new words, keep the sentences simple but show the child how to use the words.  Here is a little video clip where the word "frog" is taught but it is taught in the context of scolding.  Scolding is fun because kids are usually at the wrong end of scolding and would prefer to be the scolder rather than the scoldee.


Karyn said...

so cute. She really seemed to enjoy that. So much better than drilling

d-lightful said...

a good reminder! As schools start to re-emphasize the development of oral language as part of a literacy program, they need to be reminded about how to best teach vocabulary; that is, not by labeling objects. And of course this is even more so the case for little ones on the autism spectrum

Unknown said...

I like this post about teaching new words and how to use them!!