Chapter 2 – Application

Lisa Ehrie shares some applications about chapter 2:

PARENTS NEED TO TALK MORE TO THEIR BABIES AND CHILDREN! This will foster higher IQ, higher achievement in school and improve their language processing speed. This is something we pretty much already agreed on.

We have probably said that exact statement before to many of our families during early intervention. But that is one of those statements that may seem easy to do (to us), but can be very vague and empty to parents who may not be in tune to or aware of what “Talk to your kids more” even means on the most basic level. It probably could even be very stressful for parents to feel that they need to “change” the way they talk or speak to their child. That is why my favorite line of the chapter was:

“We don’t have to get parents to talk differently to their children. We just have to help them (talk) more” ….and the rest will take care of itself.

We are often so involved with the therapy side of our world, we miss that we can also be great resources for home. Handouts are helpful and telling them strategies is definitely beneficial. But I had the realization in this chapter that the skills we are advocating are not as “second nature” as we feel – if they were, parents would already be doing them! Basketball coaches and Art instructors teach others too – and they do it by showing – that is what I may lack sometimes. Modeling specific scripts, comments or activities that parents can do. This chapter gave many key ones that we can try to zero in on when we teach and actually model to parents during early intervention.

The researchers confirmed the following as critical to language development:

1. Homes need lots of words used in them

2. Affirmative feedback (Good job, You’re so smart, That’s right  Versus  Stop talking, be quiet, or no response at all when the child speaks to them)

3. Joint attention where parent/child use meaningful words and gestures as they share an activity

4. Routines and Rituals – my turn/your turn, games, structured daily events

5. Business talk (get down, put your shoes on, eat your dinner) Versus Extra Talk (What a big tree, This ice-cream is yummy, Who’s mommy’s big boy?).  Extra talk is the chit-chat of life!

If we can incorporate and model some of these specific ideas to parents, it could really impact their “homes” and begin a change in their language environment that will last long after the toddler stage.

Thanks Lisa!


7 thoughts on “Chapter 2 – Application

  1. Karen says:

    I agree. I also think that we live in a different world than ever before. We see this as video games, movies, iPads, cell phones, etc. have taken the place of conversation and communication. Unless we get a better handle on reinforcing the importance of talking, the more our children will have communication needs. Social skills as well as verbal communication is often lacking because our families are not modeling this at home. Even as adults, I see more and more people with their head down, looking at/playing with their phone. We even convey birthday wished on Facebook, when in the past, a phone call would have been made. Like what was said in the initial post – “We don’t have to get parents to talk differently to their children. We just have to help them (talk) more”.

  2. Jane Stosberg says:

    I absolutely agree with you Lisa. I too have taken for granted the “simplicity” of advising parents to just talk to their children more. I love how you boiled down the research implications into a succinct list of more specific examples we can use with parents and caregivers. “Nourishing with words” seems so simple and is at the heart of what we do, but it is important to remember that not everyone knows how best to provide that nourishment.

  3. Katie Cohen says:

    Lisa, I absolutely agree with your blog post. Thank you for the great ideas in how to better provide support for parents in how to talk more to their kids. I’m going to piggy back off Jane’s comment in saying: as an SLP, of course its obvious to me how important it is for parents to talk to their kids, especially when they’re young. However, when I think back on my knowledge of child development as a high schooler (which some of our kids’ parents are), I did not realize the importance of parents talking to their kids.

  4. Jamie Priddy says:

    This chapter and blog post really opened my eyes to what a lot of my middle school students experienced at home growing up. They still come to speech as “almost-teenagers” telling me how they stay home alone or raise siblings or walk miles to the grocery store for their family. It absolutely breaks my heart to imagine how things were when they were in those critical language development years of birth-3. It makes so much more sense as to why they struggle so desperately with language. I have made it one of my personal goals to throw around words and vocabulary and verbal praise like confetti to all of my students, because you never know how much (or what type of language!) they are hearing at home.

  5. Amanda says:

    Great list of specific examples to share with parents! I think this is eye opening to how leading by example is imperative.
    I have a personal example of this that is still a family ‘joke’! I made daily reading a priority with my oldest son from the beginning. We had our ‘reading time’ often when my husband was not home. I would read him the words, comment on the pictures, etc. One day my husband was home during this time and I said “Look at her boots (with a finger point)! Her boots are red!”. My husband picked up on this ‘extra talk’ and had a little laugh about it. I defended my comments as good for his language and we moved on. BUT, the next time I heard my husband reading to my son… he was adding this ‘extra talk’ and not just reading the words. While I wasn’t doing this to teach my husband, this little demonstration sure did work! This makes me think about how we can demonstrate for parents (of children of all ages).
    Whenever we see red boots or anything that resembles that interaction, that quote still comes back to us 🙂

  6. Rachel says:

    I feel like communicating and talking to our children has made gains in world of First Steps, but some kids, sadly, fall through the cracks and never receive that service. I have a child in kindergarten who would have desperately benefited from first steps, but not only the therapy he would have received, but the education and visual examples that the parents would have received if the therapy had been in their home. Over 12 years ago, I had one of my graduate school rotations with a First Steps provider. It was eye opening to see how the simple things that come naturally to us as therapists, like describing what we are doing at bath time, expanding on books during reading, turn taking, etc. are really novel ideas to some of these families. It is not as easy to be a visual example for parents while working in the schools, but I do know that I could definitely do a better job on communicating and educating the parents/guardians of some of my neediest children.

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