December 6, 2023

Encouraging students with expressive language disorders is a great way to help them develop their language skills.

But what are the best ways to get students to make the biggest impact without making it a “big deal” that they need help?

It is easy! It’s all about redesign and expansion.


Recast and expand as a challenge hierarchy

Although there are many complicated techniques and materials that can be used to help students with expressive language disorders, recasting and broadening are two of the simplest and most effective strategies that can be used.

They require no preparation and can be done no matter where you are when working with your student. They are also easy enough that you can teach families how to implement them so that they become second nature to anyone who works with a child.

What is typecasting?

Instead of repeating exactly what the child says to you, paraphrasing means repeating the message but correcting it.

For example, when a child says, “You want pizza.” You would say, “I want pizza.”

Another example would be when a child says, “The dog has a ball.” You would say, “The dog has a ball.”

In other words, you are repeating the core of what the child is trying to convey, but correcting it at the same time.

This models how the statement should be worded while validating the comment and intent of the student’s communication.

What is an extension?

Extension is when you expand on an idea the student has communicated. Adds additional language to extend and enhance the comment.

Using the above examples, if a child says “I want pizza” and you respond “I want pizza,” the extension might include “It’s delicious!”

For “The dog has a ball” the recast is “The dog has a ball” and the extension is “He is very excited to play!”

An extension gives the student a model of other ideas that might match their original statement.

Why use casts and extensions?

Unlike other strategies that require preparation and planning, Reframing and Extending allows teachers and families to use everyday authentic conversations as learning and modeling opportunities.

They support the student’s original idea and help build on it so that the student feels heard, validated and understood.


What are your favorite and most effective ways to encourage students with expressive language disorders? Share with us below! We’d love to hear how you use retyping and expanding or other prompting strategies!

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