Modelling, recasting, praise, self-talk... You may have heard your child’s speech pathologist use words like this during therapy sessions, or maybe you’ve been asked to incorporate these techniques into home practice.

But what do they mean? How do I use them? And how will they help my child’s speech and/or language development? 

Let’s start with some definitions and examples...

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Modelling techniques are most effective in good listening conditions. This is because they are aimed at helping the child to focus on ‘rules’ they need to learn.  When using modelling techniques at home, ensure you...

  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Use short sentences
  • Model the target/s correctly
  • Avoid repeating the child’s error
  • Practise in a quiet environment with limited distractions

Are modelling techniques effective?

Definitely! Research in the area of grammatical acquisition found that children’s grammatical skills improved when they hear the correct grammar used in adult language. Especially when these utterances built upon the child’s. Evidence also states that modelling techniques are effective, as they give the child the opportunity to hear the correct use of language or pronunciation of speech sounds. This enables them to store it correctly and sets them up to master it themselves.

Adults model language and speech to their children naturally in conversation. However, for children with speech and/or language difficulties this is not enough. They need lots (and lots!) of repetition. 

Now you know what we Speechies do all day! (Well, a fraction of it anyway!) During your next at-home practise session, playtime or conversation with your child, give some of these techniques a go!



Hassink, M. J., & Leonard, B. L. (2010). Within-treatment factors as predictors of outcomes following conversational recasting. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19(3), 213 – 224.

Bishop, D. V. M., & Leonard, L. B. (2000). Speech and language impairments in children: Causes, characteristics, intervention and outcome. Retrieved from

Bowen, C. (2011). Delivering feedback – Modelling and recasting. Retrieved from: