iHear Tips – It’s So Much More than Dinner Conversation

Blog, iHear Internet Therapy

Maggie is having dinner with her family. As they are all asking each other to pass different bowls or plates of food to one another, Maggie’s mother, Kathy, recognizes that dinner time is a great opportunity for her to practice the skill of combining two words to make a request. She knows that Maggie loves to drink milk and realizes that Maggie’s cup is empty. She leans over and comments to Maggie that her milk is all gone. However, Maggie is not even looking at her cup or plate. She is looking across the room and pointing at the dog. Mom says, “Oh, you see the dog!” and Maggie’s eyes light up with excitement as she looks back at her mom. Maggie then says, “Dog!” Her mom notices that the dog’s ball is on the floor, close to the table. Mom responds and asks, “Do you want to roll the ball?”. Maggie gives a big smile and says, “roll ball!”. Mom hands the ball to Maggie so that Maggie feels immediate reinforcement for making a request. Maggie’s mom, Kathy, is able to follow her child’s lead and focus on objects or activities that are the most motivating to her. Although it was likely tempting for mom to ask Maggie to pay attention to her as she was talking to her about the milk, she was able to tune into Maggie’s interests while still practicing the skill of using two words to make a request. By following Maggie’s lead, mom was able to provide the most meaningful opportunity for Maggie to practice using language and also taught her that her language is powerful.