Some children, particularly those with dysphasia
may experience difficulties in language development,
which can affect their ability to understand and express themselves verbally.
Limited verbal expression
- Produce and organize ideas coherently
- Problems formulating sentences,
- Limited vocabulary
- Incorrect grammatical structure
Impaired verbal understanding
- Difficulty grasping the meaning of complex words, phrases and instructions.
- Have difficulty following rapid conversations or understanding the subtleties of non-verbal communication.
Difficulty telling a story
- Telling stories in an orderly and logical way
- Skipping important details
- Have difficulty using logical connectors
- Structure their stories coherently
- Appropriate use of language in social contexts.
- Understand the implicit rules of communication, such as speaking turns, maintaining the topic of conversation and using gestures and facial expressions to express emotions.
1. Visual aids
A visual calendar with images representing the different activities of the day (for example, a picture of books to symbolize reading time).
The child can consult the calendar to anticipate and understand the sequence of activities.
Boards of pictures representing objects, actions or concepts frequently used in the classroom (e.g., a picture of a pencil, a book, recess).
Children can use these images to communicate their needs, ideas or choices.
Graphic organizers (such as diagrams, tables or charts) help children organize their ideas during a writing task, oral presentation or project.
Step-by-step cards to guide children through certain tasks, such as getting ready for playtime or putting away equipment.
Each step is accompanied by a picture for easy understanding.
2. Augmented and alternative communication (AAC)
Tablet or computer with AAC software
A tablet or computer equipped with AAC software allows the child to communicate using symbols, pictograms or pre-recorded phrases.
The child can select appropriate images or phrases to express needs, opinions or ideas.
A communication board with symbols or pictograms representing words and phrases frequently used in class.
The child can point to the symbols to build sentences or answer questions.
Books specially designed for AAC contain pictures or pictograms accompanied by simple texts.
These books can help children develop their vocabulary and comprehension skills, while encouraging their participation in the classroom.
Formulate short, clear instructions, using simple, concise language.
Divide complex tasks into simpler steps and explain them one by one to the child.
For example, instead of saying ‘Write a paragraph describing your vacation and underline the adjectives’, you could say ‘Start by writing a paragraph about your vacation. Then underline the words that say what your vacation was like’.
Specific action verbs tell the child what to do.
For example, instead of saying ‘Do something with the cubes’, you can say ‘Build a tower with the cubes’.
Limit the number of instructions
Give one instruction at a time, rather than several complex instructions at once.
For example, instead of saying ‘Take your notebook, open it to page 10, write the date and do exercises 1 and 2’, you could say ‘Take your notebook ….and open it to page 10….. Write the date….. Then do exercises 1 and 2’.
4. An environment conducive to communication
A positive, inclusive communication environment encourages active participation in conversations, fosters active listening and provides opportunities to practice and strengthen language skills.
Give the child more time to answer questions or formulate ideas. Don’t interrupt, and give them the time they need to express themselves.
Be patient and encouraging during communication efforts.
5. Non verbal communication
Use gestures, facial expressions or drawings to express ideas or needs.
Provide a list of images or pictograms that the child can use to communicate.
6. Audio recordings
Record audio sequences or stories that the child can listen to repeatedly.
This reinforces verbal comprehension and can help improve pronunciation and verbal expression.
7. Expanding vocabulary
Word games, categorization activities and synonym exercises help build vocabulary.
Give clear explanations and definitions of words, and encourage active use of vocabulary in a variety of contexts.
8. Language structuring
Tools such as model sentences, narrative diagrams and planning strategies help children to organize their ideas and structure their sentences and stories in a coherent way.