Speech Language Pathologists use a technique called “scaffolding” –which essentially means to increase or support language development by adding to what the child can say naturally. This helps the child to build upon his language in a naturally occurring context, without pressure.
If your child can say “ball”—there are many ways you can begin to augment his language:
1 Use a descriptive concept: “RED ball!” “BIG ball!”
This is a nice way to teach adjectives—which pepper our language frequently throughout the day. Make sure to have a few different options to point out—so your child can understand.
2 Use an early developing preposition: “Ball IN”, “Ball UP”
Language learning becomes more salient when we can attach an action to the learning. Have a box nearby and put the ball in the box, while declaring, “Ball in!” Have your child imitate—she will be imitating this new vocabulary in no time.
3 Use a pronoun that indicates ownership: “YOUR ball!” “MY ball” “HER ball”
I always recommend if a child is having difficulty distinguishing between my and your –take his point of view—so he can hear the language modeled how he should say it. For Example, take the ball—put it in your child’s hands—indicating it is his—and have him repeat, “my ball”.
4 Use an action word: “KICK ball”, “THROW ball”, “HIT ball”.
Again, as in point #2—children learn by doing. Engage them with the ball and put an action word to each movement. Remember, you may have to teach one concept at a time—that’s OK—as long as the learning is happening.
5 Use quantity concepts with more than one ball: “TWO balls”, “FIVE balls!”
Quantity can be a challenge—and adding the plural ‘s may also be difficult—but I guarantee once your child sees that there is more than one ball to have—he will be very happy to count with you.