I've talked a million times over the past couple of years about our struggles with the boys' speech delays. We've received so many hand outs, packets of information on tips we can use daily to encourage speech. I want to start sharing all this information with all of you because I know there are so many moms and dads out there going through what we went through- are they supposed to be talking yet? What should they be saying by now? Is it too early to seek help? Am I just being crazy? Well, I don't know if I can answer any of those questions for you but I'm going to pass on the information we've received and hope that some of it can help you, too.
This new series will hopefully be a resource to not only those of you experiencing the struggles of speech delays with your children but also for all parents in general wanting to learn ways to help encourage expressive speech in your children.
This list of tips came on a hand out we got when we got the boys tested to see if they would qualify for therapy. All of these are very basic, yet extremely effective tips.
--> Hold items/toys next to your mouth. The child will see your lips move. This also works on eye contact, joint attention, articulation and expressive/receptive language.
--> Pause for responses or initiation of communication (at least 5 seconds)...it's ok to have silence. This when sounds, words and gestures will occur.
--> Slow down your speech. This allows a child to process what you're saying. Let them know there is plenty of time.
--> Sing songs often! It makes a significant difference and provides MANY speech and language opportunities, make up songs, be silly!
--> Give 2 choices of things to play with/eat/drink, etc. Name what child chooses.
--> Use action and movement. Take breaks often. Adults need breaks. Children need breaks even more. Examples: swinging, bouncing, jumping, stomping, clapping, etc.
--> Describe what the child is looking at. Watch the child's eye gaze and comment on what the child is looking at.
--> Use phrases that are 1-2 more words than the child is producing. If a child only has 1 word utterances, use 2-3 word phrases when you talk to them. Example: Tommy has bear. Bear. Bear is jumping. Hi bear.
--> Add 1-2 words to what the child says. If the child says, "Kitty." You say, "Kitty says 'meow'. Soft kitty. Kitty jumps."
--> Draw the child's eye contact up. Put a toy close to the child's face (6 inches or so) and then pull it back. They will usually follow the toy with their eyes and give their attention.
--> Overemphasize consonant sounds and repeat the first sound of words. Example: Cat.../k-k-k/...Cat
--> Imitate the child's sounds and actions. Follow them, babble with them, and then produce a different action or sound/word to try to get them to imitate you.
-->Use signs and large gestures often.