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Keep it Functional and Model!

I would like to introduce you to a simple tool that you can use to help improve your child’s speech and language skills: modeling

What is modeling? 

According to Merriam-Webster, modeling is defined as “an example for imitation or emulation.” When viewed through the lens of a therapist, we focus on our actions and how they benefit the child.  Specifically, as a Speech-Language Pathologist, I strive to model the skills that my clients are working on such as pronouns, verbs, production of speech sounds and more! Hearing these concepts being produced correctly provides them with feedback in functional situations.

4 Types of Modeling


Recasting is repeating a child’s utterance into a more complete, phonologically, grammatically, and semantically appropriate word, phrase, or sentence. (Fey, Krulik, Loeb, & Proctor-Williams, 1999.) Doing so provides the child with an example of how to correctly convey their idea using additional language and correcting their errors. If you have a preschooler who tells you everyday that her brother took her goldfish by saying, “Him took my fishys!” You can take this recurring opportunity to model, “Yes he did, he took your goldfish.” By responding to her sentence using the correct pronoun “he,” she is able to learn from the model you provided. Let’s consider another scenario – your child is having difficulty producing the “th” speech sound correctly. You often hear him say, “It’s time to take my baf!” In response you can say, “You’re right, it is time to take your bath. Let’s go to the bathroom and you can take your bath!” By modeling the correct production of speech sounds, along with him watching you say the word, your child will receive visual and auditory feedback supports


The second type of modeling is self-talk. Simply put, talk about what you are doing, seeing, feeling, and thinking. By narrating your actions and experiences you are showing the correct way to talk about these things. For example, if you are preparing snack you can say, “This big red apple looks so yummy! I am going to cut the apple up. Cut! Cut! Cut! This apple is juicy and ready to eat!” By simply commentating on what you are saying, you are providing rich language content for your child to observe and take in.


Parallel-talk is the narration of what your child is doing. Similar to self-talk, in parallel-talk you are describing your child’s actions as they go about their day. For example, if your child is showing off their artwork you might say, “Yes, I see the picture you painted. You painted that picture with beautiful colors.” This example further describes the picture with focus on the concept of past tense (-ed) verbs.

Focused Stimulation

Focused stimulation should be provided in a natural environment while creating meaningful opportunities for integration of a concept (ex. vocabulary, grammar, etc.). You should not be looking for your child to imitate you; rather, these moments are created to encourage spontaneous responses. If you want to work on the concept of prepositions you can do so with pretty much any toys around the house! For example, if you have a barn and a few animals you can target prepositions while playing.  “Look, the pig is in the barn. The sheep is next to the cow! The horse is hiding behind the barn.”

Our everyday lives are rich in opportunities to model. Whether you are expanding on their sentences, narrating your actions or the actions of your child, you are doing something great for them by creating additional opportunities for them to learn. Make it fun when possible and keep it functional!

-Katie George, Speech Therapist

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LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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