In this section, speech-language pathologists will find resources to identify sentence-focused targets and parents will find resources to support their children’s language development. You’ll also find links to published research explaining our approach to language intervention from a sentence-focused framework. 

Treatment Targets

In language intervention, treatment targets refer to specific, measurable aspects of language that are expected to change. An intervention agent brings about these changes. The agent may be a clinician or a parent who has learned to use specific strategies.

On this page COMING SOON, you’ll learn about a recommended sequence of sentence-focused treatment targets. These recommendations are based on the expert opinion of APL investigators. You’ll also learn about methods for monitoring treatment progress.


Language intervention strategies refer to the actions an intervention agent, such as a clinician or a parent, takes to bring about change in children’s language abilities. There are many types of intervention strategies, such as arranging the learning environment, following the child’s attention, responding and expanding child utterances, balancing conversational turns, and modifying properties of adult language input.

On this page, you’ll learn about toy talk and other strategies that APL investigators use to modify properties of language input and how changes in parent language input are related to children’s sentence diversity. 

This instructional resource written by APL investigators describes toy talk and explains the potential benefits of using it. The resource includes a copy of the handout given to parents participating in an intervention study with their toddlers.

This article first appeared in the Alumni Magazine of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois. The article describes responsive labeling, self-talk, and parallel talk, how toy talk is related to and distinct from these language modeling strategies, and the reasons why APL investigators developed toy talk.

For more information on the benefits of toy talk, see 

Hadley, P., Rispoli, M., Holt, J., Papastratakos, T., Hsu, N., Kubalanza, M., & McKenna, M. (2017). Input subject diversity enhances early grammatical growth: Evidence from a parent-implemented interventionLanguage Learning and Development, 13, 54-79.

Hadley, P., Rispoli, M., & Holt, J. (2017). Input subject diversity accelerates the growth of tense and agreement: Indirect benefits of a parent-implemented interventionJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60, 2619-2635.