It’s hard to believe that this is the last entry in our 2022 Summer Study Series as we are entering the final act of the summer.
For that matter, consider all we do to regulate ourselves around these transitions (Lifehacker article): being able to label how it makes us feel, and applying thinking tools and activities to help ourselves adjust. Like all humans, we have varying degrees of success in navigating these emotional waters, which is the subject of this month’s post. The article “A Multimodal Comparison of Emotion Categorization Abilities in Children With Developmental Language Disorder” (Bahn, Vesker, Schwarzer & Kauschke, 2021), which examines the connection between language learning and emotional processing.
The study details are fairly technical, so I will let you examine those as deeply as you like, while focusing here on main points and some suggested tech-infused and Story Grammar Marker®-related strategies for intervention.
So the upshot we can take from this is to not neglect our Focus on Feelings. If you are here, you believe context is important, so stories can be a route to intervene on both the verbal and nonverbal aspects of emotional language and processing. On the verbal side, we can work to label emotions manifested in stories, with SGM’s Feeling icon and the Six Universal Emotions providing systematic tools. I always find that the Six Universal Emotions provide a good launching point to linked Tier 2 Emotional Vocabulary, e.g., reluctant is “a little scared to do something because of what might happen.” Verbally, we can also work on describing facial and body language cues in story illustrations that can bridge to that nonverbal interpretation side, as well as causal conjunctions (the why of feelings) and inferential hints in the text.
As an example, take The Good Egg (John/Oswald) available on Epic! Books for Kids (even better, part of a series that includes The Bad Seed). This story of an egg trying so hard to be good includes emotional content and many “egg-cellent” “facial” expressions. Use of an e-book such as this allows for zooming in on and taking screenshots of illustrations that may be very useful in therapy activities, regardless of the device you are using.
Consider the mischievous vs. flummoxed facial expressions in images such as the above!
Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Needham, MA, and consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (www.speechtechie.com), looks at technology "through a language lens." Contact him at email@example.com.