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The Girl With a Thousand Descriptors

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

Like charades with words...

"Ms. DJ. I went to the store yesterday with mommy, and I pushed it." I, of course, had some idea of what the "it" was, but I began to ask a litany of questions to gather information for her, so she could recall the correct word.

Nina had a severe language impairment and word retrieval and general knowledge was a challenge. It also greatly affected her overall reading skills, including fluency and comprehension. Hence began the questions:

"What color was it?" Shiny

"What did you put in it?" Stuff

"What kind of stuff?" Food

Tell me about the shape...

Tell me how you pushed it...

You get the idea. So after my litany of questions, I was able to repeat her shared information back to her in the hopes that she could recall the word. But no. Not yet.

I showed her an image on the computer and she exclaimed, "Yes! That's it! That's it!"

It was, of course, a shopping cart. Nina was not able to recall the word on that particular day, but the follow week with a few descriptive and visual reminders, the words came to her mind. "Ms. DJ. That is a shopping cart. That's what I pushed at the store."

I suppose my purpose in sharing this is: It is so important to talk to children. Use the word that is assigned to objects rather than "thing", "stuff", and "it". Children learn so much when you talk to them. That is how their vocabulary starts to grow!

If your child asks about eggplant at the grocery store, give them detailed information rather than simply saying, "That's a vegetable." or "That's not your business." or even worse, "Be quiet".

Parents, you are your child's first teacher. Share with them! "That's an eggplant. It's a purple vegetable that can be eaten baked or roasted. You can even put cheese on the top."

A curious mind has a lot of room for information. Fill it up!

Just like Nina's shopping cart...

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