My video blogs are usually for autism professionals and parents, but I have a little secret. All the techniques I talk about work great for any child even a child without disabilities. You see all of the strategies I recommend are based on the proven science of applied behavior analysis. I discuss the technique I’m talking about today in almost every lecture I present. I’ve given this advice lots of times to parents and grandparents of typically developing toddlers as well as parents and professionals in the autism world.
So my number one technique to get any child talking more is this: We want to focus on words that are important to the child such as mama, juice, apple, and bed and actions like go and up. We also want to slow things down and talk with one word at a time. And the shorter the word the better!
Let’s pretend you’re going to a foreign country tomorrow and you don’t know any language spoken there. Think about what words you might need to know to get your needs met. For instance you might need to know how to say the words eat, bathroom, and water. Now if you got to this foreign country and still didn’t know the word water and I said oohie owie ubee, meaning do you want some water, you would not know what part of that sentence meant water. However if I slow things down and use one word at a time hold up water and say ubee, ubee, ubee as I hand you water you will quickly learn that ubee means water.
Recently I presented a full day pre-conference workshop at the Applied Behavior Analysis Conference in Denver. One of the professionals in the audience was, Dr. Binyamin Birkan, who is professor who translated my book into Turkish a few months before I met him in person in Denver. Since he was sitting in the front row of my workshop, I called him up to demonstrate this principle with him trying to teach me a few Turkish words for bubble and up.
This is why Skinner’s Verbal Behavior book talks a lot about learning foreign languages and why my procedures are all about breaking things down into one word utterances.
You can use the same technique in many different areas including within my shoebox program that I developed for a few years ago.
I hope that you found this information useful and that you’ll slow things down for your child or client starting today. Don’t forget download your shoebox program cheatsheet.