Whole Language Approach; Language-Based Approach to Speech Sound Disorders


Language-Based Approaches to Intelligibility Issues

Whole Language Therapy (Hoffman, 1993) and Language Based Intervention for Phonological Disorders (Tyler, 2002) are intended for children experiencing moderate to severe phonological issues and expressive language impairment concomitantly (McCauley, 2009).

Whole Language

A Whole Language typical treatment session targets might include question forms, personal pronouns and /h/ SIWI. The clinician might read to the child a book such as ‘Are you my mother?’ from the Berenstain Bears Series modelling the question form, pronouns, and /h/ SIWI, especially in he, his and her that occur frequently in the story. Then the therapist would re-tell the story, stating with short utterances and gradually increasing their length. As the story is re-told, the child repeats each brief utterance and then, if able, tells the story again (perhaps to a puppet or doll). Therapy takes place via conversational interactions and story contexts, incorporating cues, cloze sentences, rebus stories, story reading (to the child) and story telling (to the child and by the child) with no picture or object-naming per se.

Language Based Interventions for Phonological Diosrders

"Children with phonological disorders often display difficulty in other domains of language. Language-based approaches focus on all aspects of language; therefore, little attention may be drawn to sound errors and these may not be specific targets of intervention. These approaches involve a variety of naturalistic, conversationally based techniques such as focused stimulation in the form of expansions and recasts, scaffolding narratives, and elicited production devices such as forced choice questions, cloze tasks, and preparatory sets. Results from well-controlled group studies are inconclusive regarding the cross-domain effects of morphosyntax approaches on phonology. There are, however, individual children whose phonology improves with a language-based approach. Preliminary evidence suggests that such an approach may be an appropriate choice for children with both speech and language impairments whose phonological systems are highly inconsistent. One advantage of a language-based approach is that it may lead to simultaneous improvements in both speech and language for children with difficulty in both these domains. It is also a viable option when service delivery dictates classroom and collaborative settings. When a language-based approach is chosen for children with phonological disorders, it is imperative that the practitioner monitor phonological progress closely to ensure its effectiveness." Tyler, 2002


Hoffman, P. R. (1993). A whole-language treatment perspective for phonological disorder. Seminars in Speech and Language, 14, 142-151.

McCauley, R. (2009). Prioritising goals for children with speech and language disorders. In C. Bowen, Children's speech sound disorders. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 82-84.

Tyler, A.A. (2002). Language-based intervention for phonological disorders. Seminars in Speech and Language, 23, 69-82.