Workshop 1: Building Blocks of Communication


For parents/caregivers of children birth to 5 years of age who are at risk for or have an identified expressive and/or receptive language delay.

Duration:  4 sessions:  Two, 2.5 hrs. Group sessions. Two, 1 hr. private

Description: The program’s focus is on communication:  Strategies taught promote communicative interactions and language development for the preverbal  child and beyond.

The curriculum covers information on the “how” & “why” of a child’s communication, communication vs. language, , preintentional communication vs. intentional communicator, presymbolic communicator vs. symbolic communicator; Play as context for learning, the importance of pretend play and daily routines, preliteracy and early literacy activities.

There is an additional section on bilingualism and the effects of culture in language development to address the unique needs of the culturally/linguistically diverse families.

Parents/Caregivers learn:

  •       The basics of communication/language development
  •       How to determine a child’s current stage of development and create appropriate goals
  •       How to use simple, effective facilitation techniques within everyday routines
  •       The basics of bilingualism and culture as they relate to language development.

Theoretical and Conceptual Framework:

Communication begins before the understanding and use of spoken language or the use of conventional symbols for expression (words, signs, common gestures, etc.)

Social integrationist model of language acquisition – language is learned in a social context and language learning has both a biological and an environmental basis—adults mediate an innate language learning process.

The interaction between the parent/caregiver and the child forms the bases of parent/caregiver implemented language intervention.

An adult’s role as a communicative partner is to help a child learn the back and forth nature of communication; encouraging responding and initiating.  As the child understands more and becomes more able to communicate, the adult adjusts her support to encourage the child’s independence and growth to the next level. 

Ex:  Too many questions and directions can prevent a child from initiating his own conversation.

  •   Efficacy of parent/caregiver implemented intervention in the context of naturalistic familiar environments is supported by research with children who are typically developing and those with communication disorders and delays.
  •   Parents/caregivers can successfully implement simple language facilitation strategies after brief training.
  •   Early language development is critical to later academic success,
  •   Strengthening a child’s first language will support the development of English and avoid language loss