Teach children with severe language impairments to understand and use early developing semantic relationships. This expansive program with 251 reproducible picture cards uses a controlled vocabulary and a variety of teaching methods.
- Increase understanding and use of longer utterances
- Use meaningful phrases
- Improve receptive and expressive semantic skills
- Develop syntax skills
Children learn functional language, increase mean length of utterance, and master 22 phrase structures in a systematic progression of engaging lessons. The program uses these innovative techniques:
- each word of every phrase taught is essential to completing the tasks correctly
- a limited number of vocabulary words helps students master syntactic relationships
- students are empowered to control their environment
- train skills with picture cards, toys and objects, group interaction, and the natural environment
The heart of the program is the 251 full color, print-your-own picture cards (print them from the CD that comes with the program). The picture cards are presented in sets with one picture representing the target phrase and the other pictures representing phrases that differ from the target by only one word . The example below shows how the picture cards are presented to teach noun + verb phrases (target phrase is in bold):
Set 1 Set 2 Set 3
girl running cat eating cat drinking
boy running dog sleeping boy drinking
boy eating cat sleeping cat running
The program is organized into four levels of difficulty:
- Single words
- relational phrases (e.g., more, bye-bye)
- Two-word phrases—develop nine phrase structures such as:
- noun and noun (e.g., milk and cookie)
- adjective + noun (e.g., sad boy)
- verb + noun (e.g., eating apple)
- "more" + noun
- Three-word phrases—teach seven phrase structures such as:
- noun + verb + object
- noun + preposition + object
- possessive noun + adjective + noun
- Four-word phrases—target six phrase structures such as:
- noun + preposition + adjective + object (e.g., dog under dirty car)
- adjective + noun and adjective + noun (e.g., wet girl and big ball)
- adjective + noun + verb + object (e.g., little boy pushing wagon)
There are four types of training activities in each level:
- Picture card training—three levels of receptive and expressive skill training include activities for even the most challenging language delays
- Functional training activities—use common toys and objects for activities in modeling, imitating, and producing words (from various parts of speech) and phrases
- Classroom group activities—circle time/expansion activities help students use target semantic structures in new contexts
- Environment—less structured practice using common toys and objects in everyday life
The program includes these additional helps:
- Picture library of manual signs for the 28 vocabulary words
- Sample goals for receptive/expressive language
- Suggestions for targeting skills in articulation/phonology, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, and auditory discrimination and comprehension
- Storybook adaptations
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- Simplifying language input is a useful technique to help children with limited vocabularies (fewer than 100 words) transition from single-word utterances to early word combinations (van Kleeck, Fey, Kaiser, Miller, & Weitzman, 2010).
- Students who struggle with vocabulary acquisition need more trials than typical language learners to maximize vocabulary growth and utterance length (Montgomery, 2007).
- Many young children with communication disorders benefit from intervention through visuals (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
- Early interventions that address skill acquisition in the areas of interaction, attention, play, comprehension, and expression will support the development of an even profile. The acquisition of key developmental skills supports the later development of communication, language, and speech and enhances emotional, social, and academic development (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
Functional Language Program for Children incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.
van Kleeck, A., Fey, M., Kaiser, A., Miller, J., & Weitzman, E. (2010, February). Should we use telegraphic or grammatical input in the early stages of language development with children who have language impairments? A meta-analysis of the research and expert opinion. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19, 3-21.
Montgomery, J. (2007, November). Vocabulary interventions for RTI: Tiers 1, 2, 3. Paper presented at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) convention, Boston, MA.
Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech and language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.