“We learn by example and by direct experience because there are limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.”

Experiential learning is a method of learning where children actively participate in the learning process.

Before a child adopts a new word into their receptive and expressive vocabulary, they spend months learning about the word and pairing it to many different experiences.

It is suspected that a child is exposed to and is attuned to approximately 1,000 matches of any given word in early language development before it is fully understood.

When children are unable to attune to their environment or have misrepresentations of their body in space, they are missing out on opportunities to make meaning around words leading to underdeveloped vocabularies or narrow understanding of what words mean.

Look at the many examples provided where children naturally match the word “down” as they experience it. In therapy, consider working on concepts such as prepositions one word at a time, helping the child experience many different matches of a particular word with their bodies as in typical development.

The FOCUS should be on engaging the child, helping them experience the word, and modeling the word many times. Research confirms that modeling language supports expressive language development whereas telling a child to say a specific word does not. Before you know it, the child will make a connection and carryover a new word into all settings automatically!