PRAGMATIC LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

The following conversational social language skills should be developed by the age of three years and continue to be reinforced as the child’s language matures.

1) Requests for objects - Identify situations during art activities when the child wants or needs certain items. Also identify specific items in the situations which would be available to the child on request. For example, the task may involve the use of scissors. Instead of having them readily available, the child is told to cut paper in an activity but must ask for the materials.

2) Requests for actions - Identify certain situations where children must ask for assistance. For examples, some children may need assistance opening glue bottles, writing their name, or cutting. Instead of anticipating those children which need assistance, wait for their request. Although you may know that one certain child needs help, wait for their request. Although you may know that one certain child always needs help, a general instruction for all the children to "Let me know if you need help!" may be enough to prompt the child top say, "Help me, please."

3) Assertions - An assertion occurs when a child talks about an activity which he/she has completed in your presence or is in the process of completing. The child wants to confirm the main ideas or purposes of the activity . For example, after the class has participated in an art activity. the teacher may ask the children to tell about what they made. Assertions are also helpful in reviewing the sequence of a task (e.g., What did we do first? Then what did we do?, etc.).

4) Denials - A denial should occur when the teacher says or does the opposite of what the child asks for or expects. For example, the child asks for some glue (a request for an object). and the teacher gives the child some scissors. The child should deny the response by saying, "That's not glue." or "I need glue, not scissors."

5) Request for information - A request for information can be staged by omitting information that the child needs to complete a task. For example, when giving directions regarding a new art activity, give the child an extra piece for which you do not give instructions or have one unusual piece on your example so that children must ask "How?" questions to get enough information to complete the project.

6) Callings or Summons - Children should beckon a teacher or another child for assistance or to enlist their participation in an activity. The person must be a reasonable distance from the speaker but not directly attending to the speaker. For example, a child in a classroom may call a teacher's name when assistance is needed with an individual task in which he/she has been involved.

7) Stated information - Stating information is simply telling a person something new or not previously known to them. Situations of this type occur frequently in classrooms. The "show and tell" time or times when children are asked to take verbal messages to a parent or another teacher are common examples. For example, "Tell Mom what you made today."

Harmon, Lynne F., Speech and Language Development in the Day Care. Adler, Sol and King, Deborah (Eds.), A Multi-Disciplinary Treatment Program for the Preschool Aged Exceptional Child , (1985).

 

Parent-Child Services Group, Inc.
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