Speech Therapy Basic

QUESTION: How can we develop a child’s language and abstract reasoning?
Explain with examples.
It is a system of conventional spoken, manual (signed), or written symbols by means of
which human beings, as members of a social group and participants in its culture, express
themselves. The functions of language include communication, the expression of identity, play,
imaginative expression, and emotional release.
Language development is an amazing process. In fact, learning language is natural, an innate
process babies are born knowing how to do. Interestingly, all children, no matter which language
their parents speak, learn language in the same way. Overall, there are three stages of language
development, which occur in a familiar pattern. So, when children are learning to speak,
understand, and communicate, they follow an expected series of milestones as they begin to
master their native tongue. However, note that individual children will progress at their own pace
along this timeline within an expected range of deviation.
The best way to promote language development for babies is simply to talk to your child. Babies
learn by experiencing (and listening to) the world around them, so the more language they are
exposed to the better. Additionally, you can put words to their actions. Talk to them as you
would in conversation, pausing for them to respond, then you can say back what you think they
might say.
Talking, understanding others and knowing what to say are really important skills in life. Being
able to communicate helps children make friends, learn and enjoy life to the full. Some simple
ways to encourage and enjoy the child’s language development include:

Getting the child’s attention: Face the child or sit down with them. Without making
them attentive, one can never make the child learn anything. Say their name before you
start speaking. Talk about something you can both see in front of you. This helps them to
learn what words mean.
Have fun together: Use actions, sing, make noises and funny faces. This can encourage
language development.
Commenting and not questioning: Children do not like it when they are asked lots of
questions as it can feel like it’s a test. Make it a conversation. When one talks to a baby,
comment on what they are doing and what is happening instead.
Give them time to think: Children need more time than adults to think about what
they’ve heard, and to decide what to say back. Give them time to respond, and look at
them while you wait.
Use simple language: Keep your sentences short. For example, “Food time now” or
“Wow, you’re building a tower”.
Repeat what you say: It’s good to say the same thing over again. Babies and toddlers
need to hear words and sentences lots of times to understand them and learn new words.
This is key aspect of baby talk.

Make it easier for them to listen: Turning the music, radio or TV off helps children
focus on your words.
Build on what they say: Adding one or two words to what they say helps your child
onto the next stage of talking. So, if your child says “bus” you say “Yes, big bus”.
Speak in the home language: It’s important for children to learn their first words and
sentences in their home language. The child will learn in English later, at nursery and
Make it easier for the child to talk: Dummies can get in the way of talking. Try to keep
them just for sleep times. Take it out to talk.
Show them the right way: Young children often make mistakes. Show them that you
understand, rather than asking them to repeat words correctly. Say the word or sentence
again correctly for your child. If they say “Look at the dod”, you can say “Yes, it’s a
Copy what they say: Repeat back sounds, words and sentences. Whether its “la la” or
“Oh, you liked the banana?”, it shows you’re interested and that sounds and words are
important. This can help the baby’s speech development.
Talk to someone if you’re worried: Some children find talking and listening harder than
others. They might find it hard to understand what words and sentences mean. Some
struggle to find the right words and sounds to use and put them in order. These children
may need extra help.
Talk, talk, talk: Narrate the day as it evolves. Tell your child, for instance, “Now
we’re going to take a bath. Can you feel the warm water on your belly? When we
dry off, we’ll get dressed and take a walk.”
Read, read, read: One good predictor of future reading success is the amount of
time parents spend reading with their child. Parents can start with simple board
books and graduate to picture books and longer stories as their child gets older.
Story times at the local library or bookstore can also help a preschooler develop a
love of books.
Enjoy music together. Young children love music and movement. When they
listen to lively songs, like “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” they learn about the
world around them and the rhythm of language.
Tell stories. Make up elaborate stories with characters, conflict, adventure, and a
happy ending. Be sure that the stories fit the child’s interests and aren’t too sc ary
for her liking.
Never criticize the child’s articulation or speech patterns. Instead, repeat his
statements back to him with the correct pronunciation or word usage. Give your
child lots of praise for his efforts.
Go on field trips. A trip to the zoo, the aquarium, or a children’s museum will
open up a whole new world for the child. They would want to learn what new
things they saw.
Abstract Reasoning:
Abstract reasoning, also known as abstract thinking, involves the ability to understand and think
with complex concepts that, while real, are not tied to concrete experiences, objects, people, or
situations. This type of reasoning involves thinking about ideas and principles that are often
symbolic or hypothetical.
Abstract reasoning is considered a type of higher-order thinking. This type of thinking is more
complex than the type of thinking that is centered on memorizing and recalling information and
facts. Abstract Reasoning is most closely related to fluid intelligence: our ability to quickly
reason with information to solve new, unfamiliar problems, independent of any prior knowledge.
It includes lateral and flexible thinking, logical reasoning, and generating solutions beyond the
most obvious.
Examples of abstract concepts include ideas such as:

How It Develops
While abstract reasoning is an essential skill, it isn’t something that people are born with.
Instead, this cognitive ability develops throughout the course of childhood as children gain new
abilities, knowledge, and experiences. The psychologist Jean Piaget described a theory of
cognitive development that outlined this process from birth through adolescence and early
adulthood. According to his theory, children go through four distinct stages of intellectual

Sensorimotor stage: During this early period, children’s knowledge is derived primarily
from their senses.
Preoperational stage: At this point, children develop the ability to think symbolically.
Concrete operational stage: At this stage, kids become more logical but their
understanding of the world tends to be very concrete.
Formal operational stage: The ability to reason about concrete information continues to
grow during this period, but abstract reasoning skills also emerge.
This period of cognitive development when abstract reasoning becomes more apparent typically
begins around age 12. It is at this age that children become more skilled at thinking about things
from the perspective of another person. They are also better able to mentally manipulate abstract
ideas as well as notice patterns and relationships between these concepts.
Some strategies that can help improve the abstract reasoning skills include:

Think about why and not just how: Abstract thinkers tend to focus on the meaning of
events or on hypothetical outcomes. Instead of concentrating only on the steps needed to
achieve a goal, consider some of the reasons why that goal might be valuable or what
might happen if you reach that goal.
Reframe the thinking: When approaching a problem, it can be helpful to purposefully
try to think about the problem in a different way. How might someone else approach it?
Is there an easier way to accomplish the same thing? Are there any elements you haven’t
considered? This can help in solving the problem in a better way.
Consider the big picture: Rather than focusing on the specifics of a situation, try taking
a step back in order to view the big picture. Where concrete thinkers are more likely to
concentrate on the details, abstract thinkers focus on how something relates to other
things or how it fits into the grand scheme of things.
Encourage dramatic play with use of real, as well as representational, items: Begin
by focusing upon familiar stories and previous experiences. Continue by acting out how
future events might unfold.
Develop new stories to be acted out using these items: Encourage the format of
beginning, middle and end of a story.
Give words to your own thoughts: When you prepare a meal or an activity, verbalize in
brief comments the steps that you are taking.
When solving a particular problem, provide words to describe the steps that you are
taking to solve the problem: Keep the language short, but clearly related to your
Try to get the child to think of new ways to use a familiar object: For example, ask
about different ways that you can use a bedspread and/or pillows. Ask a child to consider
different ways that you might use a single egg that is in the refrigerator.
Use everyday situations and ask a child to “think about” reasons that it occurred
and possible solutions: For example, if you are out of milk, ask child to develop ways
that you can deal with the problem. Ask about ways that you might avoid the
problem. Keep the problems simple and relevant to everyday situations.
Help your child think of analogies in relationship to everyday life or favorite books:
Ask the child to identify stories that remind him/her of the current story. For example,
what book has he read that also reminds him/her of the story about pigs. Identify the
similarities between the two books or ask the child to clarify his/her thinking.
Develop problem-solving skills that can be used in multiple situations: With the older
child, encourage comparing one situation to another that has been experienced. Provide
structure, such as asking who was involved, what occurred, what might have been other
responses, how other responses might have impacted the situation. Keep questioning to a
minimum, but help the child see how different responses might have occurred. Evaluate
the efficiency of these responses in relationship to the situation, i.e. “did it help solve a
When teaching abstract concepts, employ the thinking-aloud strategies used at an
earlier age: Talk through your explanation stopping at discrete steps. Try to compare
abstract concepts to real-life situations. For example, when discussing different branches
of government, relate these branches to aspects of a family. Be sure to summarize the
specific ways in which they are alike, as well as different.

Realize that it is much easier for a child to focus upon ways in which situations,
objects, or concepts are different: Encourage them to look for similarities, even in
items or events that are quite different on the surface. Use real objects at the beginning,
so that similarities will be obvious. For example, ask the child to determine ways in
which a flower and a carrot are the same.
Talk about ways in real life that experiences are the same as one another: Start with
experiences that have many similarities and move to experiences that are seemingly quite
different. For example, talk about the similarities between a trip to the store and a trip to
the dentist.
Encourage creative thinking in determining similarities between these situations,
objects, or concepts: Perhaps develop one list that could be considered “Silly
Similarities”, as well as one that is more reality-bound.
Avoid the tendency to ask a number of “why” questions: If you do ask these
questions, help the child by “thinking aloud” as you determine possible answers. Help
the child understand that there are often multiple answers to this question. This not only
encourages abstract reasoning, but also helps build creativity. For example, instead of
beginning by asking the child “why do we have to clean up water that has spilled on the
floor?”, provide multiple reasons, such as “we need to clean up the water that spilled on
the floor because someone might slip”. Begin with this type of concrete example of
response to “why” questions, rather than abstract ones, such as “why do the star’s
Help the child to evaluate the “success” of a particular experience: This helps
identify the emotions that the child is feeling, as well as giving a sense of independence
from the feelings of others. Prior to this activity, help the child develop a limited number
of characteristics (i.e. no more than 4) of a successful (or pleasurable) activity.
Plan a party together: Divide responsibilities into four parts, e.g. planning, inviting,
hosting, and cleanup. Ask the child to determine 3 different activities within each of these
responsibilities. After the party is completed, ask the child to review the
responsibilities. Which tasks were not necessary? Which tasks should have been


So what actually IS Abstract Reasoning – and why is it important?


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