Help your preschool child develop age-appropriate social language skills. This book is chock-full of functional, goal-directed activities and practical "know-how" in ten key areas of social language development.
- Establish developmentally-appropriate social language skills
- Have successful interpersonal interactions
- Make and keep friends
- Accurately interpret and send nonverbal messages
This is a systematic program of goal-directed activities for preschool children with developmental delays and older children with severe to profound pragmatic deficits. These skill areas underpin social success:
- Social Referencing—eye referencing and joint attention
- Reciprocity—turn-taking in play and in communication
- Responding—following directions, reciprocating greetings, answering questions, and responding to comments
- Initiation—gaining attention of the listener and beginning an interaction
- Topicalization—topic maintenance, initiating a topic, and shifting topics
- Communicative Functions/Speech Acts—protesting, requesting, answering and asking questions, and making statements/comments
- Nonverbal Signaling—eye, voice, body, and space messages
- Cohesion—presupposition, eliminating redundancy, and communicative reference
- Comprehension Monitoring and Conversational Repair—inaccuracies in discourse, communication breakdowns, and conversational repair
- Discourse Modalities—descriptive, narrative, persuasive, and humorous discourse
There is a hierarchy of instructional objectives and corresponding activities for each skill area. The functional activities use:
- everyday objects and items
- environmental prompts
- reproducible therapy materials (cards, activities, social scripts, sequenced stories, visual organizers, etc.)
Each skill area has teaching helps:
- detailed explanations of the skills
- hallmarks and red flags in development
- prerequisite skills
- teaching and troubleshooting tips
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- Speech-language pathologists should play a central role in treatment of infants and toddlers with disabilities. Children with identified disabilities should have access to a broad spectrum of care to address communication and other needs (ASHA, 2008a, 2008b, 2008c; Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, 2004).
- Prelinguistic pragmatic functions are directly related to later expressive vocabulary in children with mild to moderate developmental delays. Their rates of joint attention and communication were statistically significant predictors of later expressive vocabulary (McCathren, Yoder, & Warren, 1999).
- Children with autism and those with other disabilities showed significant increases in cognitive, communication, and socio-emotional functioning following intervention that targeted attention, persistence, initiation, cooperation, joint attention, and affect. Relationship-based therapy was conducted once weekly in hour-length sessions for one year (Mahoney & Perales, 2005).
- Joint attention and social development in infants were positively related to the emergence of social behaviors in preschool children (Vaughan Van Hecke et al., 2007).
- Social-communication intervention promoted increased initiations, responses, turn-taking, and peer interactions in young children. Quantity and quality of interactions improved significantly (Stanton-Chapman & Snell, 2011).
- The more that mothers and caretakers engaged children in joint attention via gesture use at age two, the greater the children's verbal language development at age three (Schmidt & Lawson, 2002).
- Using child-centered strategies that promote interaction, such as talking about what the child is interested in and waiting for the child to participate in interactions, leads to more talkativeness in toddlers (Girolametto & Weitzman, 2002).
- Shared event knowledge is important to scaffolding new language skills, particularly topicalization (Lucariello, 1990).
- Book sharing activities provide adults with more opportunities for asking questions, making comments, and taking turns than many other conversational contexts with young children (Cole, Maddox, & Lim, 2006).
- Book-sharing by teachers elicited more emotion words from preschool children, indicating more contemplation of emotional states (Thomas, 2010).
- Two of four preschool children with autism increased initiation attempts through application of video self-modeling techniques (Buggey, Hoomes, Sherberger, & Williams, 2011).
Preschool Social Language Therapy incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2008a). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in early intervention: Guidelines [Guidelines]. Available from www.asha.org/policy
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2008b). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in early intervention: Position statement [Position statement]. Available from www.asha.org/policy
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2008c). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in early intervention: Technical report [Technical report]. Available from www.asha.org/policy
Buggey, T., Hoomes, G., Sherberger, M., & Williams, S. (2011). Facilitating social initiations of preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders using video self-modeling. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 26(1), 25-36.
Cole, K., Maddox, M., & Lim, Y. (2006). Language is the key. In R. McCauley & M. Fey (Eds.), Treatment of language disorders in children (pp. 149-174). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
Girolametto, L., & Weitzman, E. (2002). Responsiveness of child care providers in interactions with toddlers and preschoolers. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 33, 268-281.
Lucariello, J., (1990). Freeing talk from the here-and-now: The role of event knowledge and maternal scaffolds. Topics in Language Disorders, 10(3), 14-29.
Mahoney, G., & Perales, F. (2005). Relationship-focused early intervention with children with pervasive developmental disorders and other disabilities: A comparative study. Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 26, 77-85.
McCathren, R.B., Yoder, P.J., & Warren, S.F. (1999). Prelinguistic pragmatic functions as predictors of later expressive vocabulary. Journal of Early Intervention, 22(3), 205-216.
Schmidt, C.L., & Lawson, K.R. (2002). Caregiver attention-focusing and children's attention-sharing behaviors as predictors of later verbal IQ in very low birth weight children. Journal of Child Language, 23, 279-305.
Stanton-Chapman, T.L., & Snell, M.E. (2011). Promoting turn-taking skills in preschool children with disabilities: The effects of a peer-based social communication intervention. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26(3), 303-319.
Thomas, D.V. (2010, January 1). The nature of teacher-child interactions in emotion discourse. (Doctoral dissertation). ProQuest LLC. (AAT 34.30902)
Vaughan Van Hecke, A., Mundy, P.C., Acra, C.E., Block, J.J., Delgado, C.F., Parlade, M.V., & Pomares, Y.B. (2007). Infant joint attention, temperament, and social competence in preschool children. Child Development, 78(1), 53-69.