How do I get my kid to talk? (Part 4)

4 secret hacks to Getting your late talker to talk. (Part 4)

So, you’ve talked yourself blue in the face and still your child refuses to communicate with words. They point, kick, grunt, squirm, scream. You play the guessing game, “do you want this?” shakes head “Do you want that?” shakes head

Now What?! You’re out of ideas and exhausted.

Hack Number four: Joint Action Routine. What is that? Children learn through play, so, the answer is PLAY. This kind of play is a little different than maybe what you’re used to. This is structured play with a routine, routine where the action is paired with words. It requires a minimum of two people to attend to a common element. We have routines we go through every day, getting dressed, taking a bath, eating meal, preparing a favorite snack, walking out the door etc. These are all language building opportunities, but first, you have to establish the Joint Action Routine.

For example: Taking a bath:

Mom and little Liam (3 years) finished dinner. Mom says to Liam, “time to take a bath.” Liam loves baths he jumps up and runs to the bathroom eager to strip down with a splash. Mom enters the bathroom. Remembering her hack number one auditory bombardment and hack number two; Parallel/Self-talk (link back to previous article), She begins to say, “Bath time, I like baths, you want bath? Bath time”. She turns on the water, “Water On”. She Plugs the drain, “Close drain”. She puts her hand under the water to feel it, “Water” (self talk). She lets Liam feel the water too. Simultaneously bombarding him with 2-3 simple phrases about “water” (parallel talk). Then she moves to Liam. She says, “shirt off” then takes his shirt off. “Pants off” Then helps him again and so on and so forth until he is ready. She proceeds to narrate the bathing routine. She does this every time they take a bath. Pretty soon Liam knows what’s coming next. He reaches to put his hand under the water before she even turns it on. He pulls at his shirt with anticipation for it coming next. It is in these moments that language expression is ready for demand.

Mom puts her hand to the faucet and says, “water----” and waits. She waits as long as it takes for Liam to make a noise close to the approximation of “on” (something that resembles and adult’s production). Liam replies “AH”. She quickly turns the water on. They continue with the routine. He pulls at his shirt she grabs the waist of the shirt and says, “shhh-------” and waits. She is waiting for his attempt of “shirt off”. They take turns filling in the blanks. Pretty soon Liam is narrating the whole entire bath time with words that Mom can understand. Liam feels empowered because mom understands everything he said on the first time.

Let's take this one step further, as Liam narrates the Joint Action Routine and mom inserts echo-expansion (see hack 3 in our blogs) into his utterances. She uses this opportunity to provide correct models and add to Liam’s vocabulary.

Joint Action Routines become a place where all our hacks can come together as one to build language. Children love routines, language is empowering, through the use of auditory bombardment, parallel talk/self talk, echo expansion, and joint action routines you are armed with the strategies to promote language, empower your child and decrease the frustration of communication breakdowns.

Comment below what routines do you have at your house and join the conversation.

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The content of this website does not serve as medical advice nor does it substitute for a thorough medical evaluation by a health care practitioner. It also does not represent the opinions of any of the mentioned medical institutions or practitioners. Consult a physician or local health care provider before changing your health care regimen.