Treating Cluttered Speech in a Young Child

[ Contents | Search | Next | Previous | Up ]

Re: Is it all about being positive?

From: Lynne Shields
Date: 19 Apr 2010
Time: 11:29:25 -0500
Remote Name:


Ruth, We try to use more positive reinforcement through commenting on successes than requests for correction ("Use clear speech"), because I find that people respond to positive comments on their behavior by increasing those behaviors. In the initial part of therapy, there were probably more requests for correction than positive comments, but as soon as she increased her use of clear speech, we began commenting on successes, as well. I never use negative reinforcement, which would be discontinuing a negative consequence when a target behavior occurs, so I assume you actually meant making requests or modeling correct targets. We also follow up after we asked Claudia to "use clear speech" by commenting "that was clear" or "I could understand you that time", rather than "good" or "great", since it gives her feedback about what it was that she did correctly. It is much more specific feedback. We don't use this to the point of annoying her, however. Sometimes, the natural consequence of having the clinician simply take her own turn when Claudia speaks clearly is sufficient motivation to continue speaking in an intelligible manner. Good questions about reinforcement--it is an area where many SLPs really don't think this through sufficiently to provide the best support for clients. Regarding whether or not we might have begun with another aspect of pragmatics, this child had (and has) a number of issues related to social use of language. The reason we selected eye contact was to get her to be more aware of her listener, so that she might respond to both verbal and nonverbal requests for clarification. Since she does not monitor her own speech very well, having her increase her attention to noting whether or not her listener is following her seemed important to us. I'm sure one could make a case to begin elsewhere, but that was our reasoning. Thanks for your good questions, and for reading the paper! Regards, Lynne

Last changed: 05/05/10