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Self Talk vs. Parallel Talk

Narrating your day through self and parallel talk are simple language intervention strategies that you can naturally incorporate into your daily routines. This is considered an indirect technique because the expectation is not to elicit language but rather to model language and provide meaning for the things that you and your child are doing. These strategies are also a great way to meet your child at their specific language level. For example, if your child is at the stage where they are gesturing or making vocalizations for communication, I recommend that parents model single words. If your child is beginning to use single words and label items, you can use 2 word phrases to model for your child.

Self Talk

This is when you narrate what you are doing when in front of your child.

  1. Snack Time: "Time to eat." "Mom is making a snack." "I cut the apple." "I put the apple on the plate." "I like it."

  2. Getting Dressed: "It's time to get dressed." "Opening the drawer." "I am picking out a shirt." "I am tying my shoe."

  3. Playing Outside: "I am going outside." "Swinging, swinging." "I am running fast." "Slow down" "I am kicking the ball." "Down the slide.

Parallel Talk

This is when you narrate what your child is doing.

  1. Snack Time: "It's time to eat." "You picked the pink plate." "Sitting down." "Wiping your face." "You are eating." "Uh-oh it spilled."

  2. Getting Dressed: "Put shoes on." "Putting on your coat." "Hat on." "Shoes off"

  3. Playing outside: "You kicked the ball." "Wow, good throw!" "Jumping in the puddle." "Oh no, shoes are wet!" "Fall down."

I prefer utilizing parallel talk more than self talk as this can be more engaging for the child since you are modeling play and actions that are motivating for them. Instead of asking questions of your child, model the actions you and your child are completing as this provides more opportunities for your child to learn language without there being too much demand place them. Remember, our goal isn't to gain information from your child by asking lots of questions, rather our goal is to model language by making lots of comments.


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