Unlocking later-developing language skills in older children by means of focused language stimulation

Frenette Southwood, Ondene van Dulm


Certain language structures and skills continue to develop after the age of school entry. The present study sought to establish whether directly targeting the development of such complex language structures and skills in comprehension and production can be successful among older, school-going children. The data for the present study comprise four case studies of children with language learning problems, including language comprehension problems: one 5, one 6, and two 7 years of age. Relevant parts of the Receptive and Expressive Activities for Language Therapy (Southwood & Van Dulm, 2012) were used during six to eight language stimulation sessions. Substantial gains were seen when comparing pre- and post-stimulation language assessment results on the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation (Seymour, Roeper, & De Villiers, 2005). The implication is that direct targeting of specific later developing language structures and skills can render the desired results, well after their usual age of acquisition, even among children with language comprehension problems and within a limited number of sessions. Given the relationship between language skills and the development of reading skills, the findings have implications for the literacy development of Foundation Phase learners who enter school with underdeveloped language skills.


later developing language; syntax; pragmatics; Afrikaans

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5785/32-2-650


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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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