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Declarative Language with Linda Murphy


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“It shifts your communication dynamic from one that might be negative to one that’s positive. It moves it from demand based or power struggles to connection and partnership.”

Linda Murphy

This is episode 91 and today I’m here with Linda Murphy talking about Declarative Language.


Linda is a speech language pathologist and RDI® Consultant. She co-founded Peer Projects – Therapy From the Heart, a clinic in Beverly, MA dedicated to helping individuals of all ages and their families by using a positive, thoughtful communication style that emphasizes understanding, patience, respect, and kindness. Linda has been working with individuals with social learning differences for over 25 years. She leads trainings on the topic of social learning, and has authored Declarative Language Handbook, Co-Regulation Handbook and numerous articles. Linda lives north of Boston with her husband and their two busy lovable boys.


Who: Declarative language is beneficial for everyone, though we explain how it’s extra helpful for kids with social learning differences. 

Imperative vs Declarative: Declarative language is recommended in contrast to the imperative language of demands that is often used with kids. We go over how people are usually communicating with kids and why it’s problematic.

Examples: We give some examples of imperative language and walk through turning them into declarative language.

Benefits: We share the benefits of using declarative language.

Social Learning: We address an example of each of the five areas of social learning fostered by declarative language and elaborate on what’s happening in each example.

Pacing: We discuss why it’s hard yet important to hold the awkward, silent space for processing after making a declarative statement.

Co-Regulation: Co-regulation is something we have talked about in the Polyvagal Theory episode in the context of nervous system regulation but Linda integrates a slightly different version of it. We cover how co-regulation goes hand-in-hand with declarative language.

Help with Declarative Language

The communication chapter of the new Sage Mothering course is steeped and marinated in declarative language goodness. So if you’re striving to integrate this style of communication into who you are and how you show up as a mother, come on in at

Dive Deeper

Disclosure: When I recommend a product that I believe will add value for you, it may contain an affiliate link, and when you click the link to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Linda’s website

Linda on IG

Declarative Language Handbook

Co-Regulation Handbook

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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

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