Narrative development refers to children’s ability to understand stories, retell them and make stories of their own. Narrative discourse typically emerges at age two, when children are talking about a collection of unrelated ideas. Between age 2 and 3, children begin telling sequence stories about a central character or topic. Between ages 3 and 4 children, start to notice feelings and facial expressions. By age 4 ½, children start using cause-effect relationships in their narratives showing that they understand how characters behave for certain reasons to get something they want. Between ages 5 and 6, children start telling true narratives with central characters and a complete plot. There is a problem or goal in the story that is resolved in the end.
Children whose narrative development is delayed are likely to have difficulties in school. Children need to understand narratives to understand stories that are read to them as well as those they read to themselves. They need narrative discourse to understand their personal predicaments on the playground and to solve them, or better yet, avoid them. Students also need to understand narratives in order to produce them, both in describing their adventures to their peers and parents and to write book reports and creative compositions.
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How Can We Help?
The specialists at Jodie K. Schuller & Associates are professional speech and language therapists, many with over 25 years of experience in communicative disorders. Licensed by the state of California as speech-language pathologists, our therapists have also completed advanced training in specific techniques to enhance oral and written communication. Therapists have been trained to help children with social challenges using Michele Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking Curriculum. To help those with delayed speech development, therapists have taken advanced training in the Talk Tools approach to oral motor therapy and the Cycles approach to phonology. Having attended the Childhood Apraxia (CASANA) Conference, therapists have been trained to use the Kaufman, Strand and Prompt methodologies, among others, to help those with apraxia of speech. Therapists have studied the various methodologies recommended to treat children on the autism spectrum including PECS and Floortime. They are equipped to help nonverbal children using American Sign Language (ASL) and Alternative and Augmentative (AAC) devices. To facilitate the development of reading and written language development, therapists have attended training programs from coast to coast including post-graduate courses offered by the Landmark School of Education, the Wilson Reading System (based on Orton Gillingham) and the complete range of programs developed by Lindamood Bell including LIPS, Visualizing and Verbalizing, On Cloud 9 Math and Seeing Stars. Therapists have also been certified by the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM) to diagnose and treat breathing and swallowing problems related to unhealthy oral resting postures, sucking habits and tongue thrust.