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Professionals for DHH Families: Expand on Language Transcript

[Title slide appears with the following text: “For Professionals Working with Families with DHH Children: Language and Literacy Strategies Expand on Language (State of Minnesota logo) Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing”]

[Leala Holcomb appears and begins to sign.]

>> Leala: Expanding on language is a great way to build up a child’s language. The child is continuously learning language and tends to express through simple words. Maybe just one word, such as ‘cat’ and that’s all. On the other hand, adults have a richer language where they can observe the child’s language skills by adding more words to expand on the initial word. Using the cat as an example, one can add to the cat by describing how big it is, how old it is, how furry it is, how soft it is, whether or not the cat is nice, and so on. That is known as expanding on language, and let’s take a look at some examples of how to expand upon a child’s language. 

[Leala is replaced by a video clip. A parent and a child sit on a couch together with an open picture book in front of them.]

>> Parent: (pointing to picture in book) It’s got curly hair on its head, and a fluffy tail. (Points to picture in book). It’s got four legs. (Points to picture in books). It walks on four legs, two by two…

[Video clip ends and is replaced by another video clip. The same parent and child sit at the table with two cups in front of them, and jugs of milk and orange juice standing off to the side.]

>> Parent: Cold milk is delicious!

>> Child: Cold!

[Parent moves one of the cup to a spot in front of the child. Child bows her head over it, about to drink.]

[Video clip ends and is replaced by the same parent and child, now sitting on the floor with a toy horse in between them.]

>> Parent: Did you know they can be different colors? 

[Child nods and smiles.]

>> Parent: They are not just brown, they can be other colors! Black, white, gray, and so on…

[Video clip ends, and Leala reappears onscreen and continues to sign.]

>> Leala (continued): I will now model how you as a professional can help a family practice this strategy. I will take on the role of a professional in this scenario, interacting with hearing parents. You can watch, and think about how you as a professional can interact with families out there. 

[Leala is replaced by a video clip. Leala as a professional is sitting with a different parent at a table, both are looking at an iPad standing on the table in front of them.]

>> Leala: See how the mother expanded on the child’s language? The child responses with a sign, and what did the mother do? She expanded on the sign by adding description. You too can expand on that one sign as well. 

(Parent nods along}.

>> Leala: Want to give it a try? 

(Parent nods).

>> Leala: Let’s see… horse? 

>> Parent: Horse… hmm… 

[Video clip pauses with a slide with text: “Pause video: practice what you would say to families.”

[Slide is replaced by Leala, who continues to sign.]

>> Leala (continued): You can work with families on how to incorporate this strategy in the different activities you do all day along.

[End credits: 

“Created by 

Debbie Golos, PhD 

Associate Professor & Coordinator of the Deaf Education Teacher Preparation Program 

University of Minnesota

Leala Holcomb, PhD 

Early Childhood Education Specialist

Brynn Roemen, MEd 

Instructor in the Department of Educational Psychology 

University of Minnesota

Damon Timm

Video Production


Leala Holcomb


Haruna Matsumoto


Oceana Matsumoto


Special thanks to Peters Pictures and Hands Land for permission to incorporate their material in this series and to Stanley Matsumoto and Aaron Waheed for additional filming.”]

[End credits:

(State of Minnesota logo)

“This webinar series was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $360,725 with zero percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

“Produced by the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing.”]

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