Language is my jam! Don’t get me wrong I enjoy working on all other speechy things, but language has my heart. Last year, I was doing some research for my Language Goal List and stumbled across this awesome Language Processing Method Treatment Model handout. Talk about heart eye emojis!!! This just made sense to me. Plus, it was so wonderful to have some research to support an order for working on areas and ultimately writing goals. So today, I wanted to talk about how to use the language processing hierarchy.
So how does this whole hierarchy thing work? According the handout and other research, children go through a progressive method of acquisition of information in order to build on and grow their skills. It starts with labeling, then knowing functions, then associations, categorizing and so on. If you think about it all it does make sense. When you don’t know what something is called, how can you say what it does? If you can’t state what something does, it’s purpose, how can you say what goes with it? If you have can’t figure out how items can go together, how can you put them into larger groups? See where I am going with this?
Now is this the end all be all to figuring out language breakdowns, probably not, but it does give you some pretty useful information to help give you direction on where to start. The Language Processing Test is an assessment that I will often give when concerns about language are raised. By the name of the test I am sure you guessed that it is created by the same people who put together that nifty little handout. It goes through the majority of the areas that the handout states and it easy to give. From the results I can see where they may be lacking.
When it comes to treatment, you want to start by taking a few sessions ( 2-3 ) to review the skill that precedes the one you are targeting. So if it is categorizing, you will want to take a bit of time to go over associations. This is done to A) make sure the child has a firm grasp on the foundational concept for the one you are going to work on and B) provide a natural transition and reference point for them as you move to the target that will be challenging for them.
I like to start with visuals to help take some of the pressure off of the student as we introduce the new area. Recently, I have been using these interactive visual activities as my first steps with kids. I like it because it can help me see how they are thinking about the concept we are working one. If we are targeting functions and they start to reach for the wrong picture, I can see what they reached for and try to figure out why they would go for that particular image and how they may have been thinking. After they are pretty good at matching visuals we move to no visuals or visuals for just the targeted item and so on.
How do you like to work on the processing hierarchy?