Speech Pathology News: Concepts

The speech pathology team have almost complete the oral language assessments for all students with the support of classroom teachers and education assistant. We are now in the process of analysing the information. In the next couple of weeks we will work with teachers to establish some key oral language goals for classes and individual students.

As discussed in our previous newsletter, we look at each students’ understanding of language (receptive language) and their use of language (expressive language). One of the key areas we look at when exploring our students’ understanding of language is their understanding of concepts. These concepts are critical for understanding and following instructions in the classroom and to understanding content in many curriculum areas such as maths.

These concepts include:

  • Location concepts (For example, Point to the star in the top row. Circle the bee that is next to the flower. Colour the boy that is behind the sandcastle). Other location concepts include – bottom, in front, between, above, below, furthest from, closest to, right and left.
  • Sequence concepts (For example, Put a cross on the boat at the beginning of the line. Circle the last bird. Point to the middle kite. Other sequence concepts include – first, second, third.
  • Inclusion / exclusion concepts. (For example, Circle the socks that are underlined. Colour all the pictures except the rabbits. Point to all but one pen. Circle the picture that is neither a frog nor a turtle). Other inclusion / exclusion concepts include – all in one row, either/or. Working on instructions including ‘and’ helps the children to recall three items e.g. Circle the tiger, the lion and the cheetah).
  • Time concepts (For example, Before you point to the fish, point to the shark. After you point to the ladybird, point to the butterfly.)
  • Conditional concepts. (For example: If the doll is in the box, put the box on the truck)
  • Negatives. (For example, Circle the square but not the one that is black)

You can support your child with these concepts at home by:

Emphasising key concepts as you talk about daily routines and activities.  For example: “You put the toothpaste on the toothbrush.”; “You put the toothbrush in the cup”, “The red car came first and the black car came last”.

Giving your child instructions using the key concepts as they complete daily routines or help with tasks around the home. For example the washing – “Find all the t-shirts but not the black ones.” Or setting the table “Put the knife next to the plate”, “Put the glass above the plate.”

Play Games such as Twister, Connect Four and Pop Up Pirate where you can modify the game and include different concepts. As your child becomes comfortable you can take turns giving instructions using the concepts. Twister -“Put your right foot on a blue dot.”, “ Put your hand above a green dot.”.  “Stand next to a red dot.”  Connect Four – “Put a yellow counter above the red counter,” “Put a red counter next to a yellow counter.” “Put the red counter on the left.” Pop Up Pirate – “Put a sword in but not a blue one”, “Put all but one yellow sword in.” “Put a red one in before a green one.

Keep the interactions fun and enjoyable. You are not testing your child, but just exposing them to language and helping them to tune into words. Only persist with the activity for as long as your child is interested. Little and often is sometimes just as powerful as lots of time on one activity.