Avaz – Communication Challenge!!

Dec 19, 2014
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A few days back, we posed the following question to our Facebook community. We got some great responses.

Our answer to the question is (B).

We asked this question because we wanted to explore the topic of ‘Expansion in developing language’. First, a disclaimer. The ‘correct’ answer varies according to the communication levels of the child. Consult the child’s therapist for the best advice. Having said that, here is our rationale for the choice of the answer.

Expansion is a technique that helps develop language. It is useful for children who are emergent communicators. Expansions are comments that add syntactic and semantic details to incomplete phrases, to create a simple sentence that is grammatically correct. To expand your child’s comments:

  • Use the same words that your child has used and in the same order
  • Maintain the same meaning
  • Add the missing words to complete the simple sentence that is being conveyed

E.g. If your child says ball red, you can expand it by saying, “The ball IS red”. Or if he looks at a dog and says big doggie, you can expand it with “HE IS a big doggie”. You are building his language without correcting him directly. Expansions have been shown to increase the probability that the child will spontaneously imitate the adult’s expansion of his utterances.

The most important aspect is that the expansion is in response to your child’s initiation. You can expand just about anything that your child says or even does. Even if your child is looking at an object, you can expand it by saying “Ball. Red ball. It’s a red ball.” Rather than instruct your child on what to do and not do, it is far more valuable that you respond to your child by observing his initiation to interact, and seize that opportunity to expand on it. Keep in mind to expand your child’s utterance by just one or two words. When you expand the language, emphasize the added words with a different tone in your voice.

Therefore, a good way to expand on Johnny’s communication here is to just say, ‘You made a fish!’

Children learn language by hearing it repeatedly over and over again. Hence the aim is to keep speaking to your child, to help build the repertoire of sounds and syllables that he can produce.

If you are keen to know about an AAC solution where you can learn these strategies & tips, write to us at sally@avazapp.com.

Happy Communicating!!

Reference –

  • Paul, R. (2001). Language Disorders from Infancy through Adolescence Assessment and Intervention. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby, Inc.
  • Strategies to help your child using Expansions and extensions – Playing with words 365
  • Using Expansion and Extension to grow – Talking kids