How to improve your child’s pragmatic language and functional language.


Thank you again to my four children for demonstrating the use of my parachute..I bought this one on Amazon…and it is one of my favorite activities to do during speech and language therapy.

So for today’s post….I want to send a thank you out to my friend V for allowing me to be a part of her child’s journey….I will call her child A….to keep her anonymous in my post.  Ok….so one of A’s biggest struggles right now is her pragmatic language…this refers to her social language…her desire to be social…and her ability to use her language functionally to interact with me…to have a back and forth conversation…demonstrating reciprocity of language of course….her ability to add to the conversation…to maintain a conversation…to ask questions relevent to the conversation…to remain on topic…to initiate the topic…those are all of the skills I look for in reference to a child’s pragmatic language ability.  Well…little A has come so far in her journey…every day she takes steps in the right direction…using more language functionally…asking questions…answering questions…making better eye contact….she really is a different little girl…thinking back to when we first started working together in the summer of 2011.

So….what works for her now…how can I help her to use language more functionally and to improve her pragmatic language?   I do know that there will be: no more sitting at the table doing puzzles and table top games..she has mastered all of that…she can point to pictures…follow directions…locate objects upon request…find her body parts upon request…play appropriately with toys..and most importantly….she can now deal with her frustration…and this is huge for her….for little ones who have difficulty in understanding of language (a big challenge for her initially)…dealing with handling their own frustration is an enormous challenge…and I would imagine it to be the case…if you are not understanding what is being said to you…and you do not have the language to express yourself…well by all means…I too would have a tantrum…NOT A anymore…she understands so much more….can handle being frustrated (better)…can transition better…can problem solve better..and is even more flexible…GO A!!!!!  What I do know is that humor works for A…movement activities…baking…any activity that can actually be embedded into her daily routine..I just need to tie humor…and the strategies to improve functional language and pragmatic language.  She responds to humor so well…sometimes I think..she must think that her speech therapist is crazy!

So for our session on Monday..I brought in my parachute….and I asked A if she wanted to on the parachute or under it…easy concepts for her to understand now….she opted to go on it….then I asked if she wanted to go fast or slow…she opted for fast….so mom and I did so…carefully or course.   Then I would stop and ask her as many WH (who, what, where, when , why and how) questions as I could….pushing her…but not too much.  Then I told her that I was tired…and that I needed to lie down….because I was tired….and I got close to her face…and she looked right at me….smiled…making great eye contact…laughing….giggling…thinking I was silly….and then spontaneously expressing that she wanted more parachute…I do not remember her exact words….as she has so much language now…so too much to recall how she produced the spontaneous sentences she produced.  What is great…is that the activity is so motivating for her….that she is eager to use her language to indicate that she wants more…to tell me that she wants to sit on the parachute not under…that I should pick the parachute up….that her mom should help….and every time we would swing her….I would stop once again…ask her some more WH questions…working on the HOW questions now….a bit more challenging…but she answered with prompts: How did daddy get to work today?  How to D (her brother) get to school today?   She responds so well to humor that when I told her: Daddy took a plane to work...she said: No, truck.

And everyday….she will continue to add more skills…aquiring more and more on an incidental level…not on a therapeutic level…this is what I wanted to see.

I wanted to end the post with the high-lite of the session….as I said above…I would ask A if she wanted me to go fast or slow with the parachute….so when I told her that I was tired again…after moving her FAST on the parachute..and that I needed to rest….I put my head on the parachute next to her…and she said:

“How about slow Kim, move the parachute slow.”

Pretty cool I must say…what a great problem solver she is….very impressed little A….you made my day.






guitar stands

About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
This entry was posted in Speech Therapy at Home, Teach me to talk and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How to improve your child’s pragmatic language and functional language.

  1. Frances A. says:

    I love using games and play time to teach children language. children are the most receptive when they are engaged in fun activities!!!

  2. I love using games and play time to teach children language. children are the most receptive when they are engaged in fun activities!!!

Comments are closed.