Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Using Play to Build the Social Competence of Young Children with Language Delays: Practical Guidelines for Teachers

  • Lindsay R. Dennis
  • Nancy Stockall


Social competence and social communication development can be concurrently supported through intentional thought and planning on the part of the early childhood special educator. In this article, we present suggestions for how teachers can effectively plan for and implement interventions to support these two areas, all within the context of play. The levels of play, awareness, exploration, and problem solving can be utilized by teachers to provide experiences for children, specifically those with language delays, to enhance and refine their social competence skills, while also furthering their language development. It is important for teachers to provide, to the extent possible, an environment that is arranged to allow for multiple opportunities to practice these skills, while also keeping in mind the child’s preferences and interests. Implementation of the suggested strategies can support children with language delays, as well as their peers, in becoming more successful with using their social communication skills to appropriately navigate social situations within the context of play.


Play Developmental delay Social competence Preschool Language delay 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Teacher EducationFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Language, Literacy, and Special PopulationsSam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA

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