This is a common question we often hear is!
Communication is such an important part of our lives and developing speech and language skills is a significant part of building children’s independence and socialisation.
Is your child a Late Talker?
Many people are led to believe that communication is synonymous with speech, but in fact speech is not an all-or-nothing skill. There are a number of skills that children need to master before they speak. Sometimes parents that focus too intensely on their child’s speech miss opportunities to build functional communication skills.
Here are some more strategies that may help:
Follow your children’s leads during play and every-day routines. Tune into their messages
Focus on increasing your child’s attention to you and the environment. Attention is the ability to focus on something important. You provide most of the language input to your child. Joint attention skills are really important when it comes to developing speech and language.
Observe your child, including their actions, gestures, facial expressions, interests and body language. This allows your child to initiate and show interest in things and gives them the opportunity to start an interaction.
Focus on turn-taking. Communication is, in essence, an exchange of ideas. Choose play that involves back-and-forth interactions to support your child to respond to your attempts and also take the first turn to communicate.
Wait for your child to engage. This might mean that you lean forward to your child with an expectant look. Using strategies to ‘cue’ your child to “take a turn” in conversation.
Listen carefully. Showing your child that you are listening is so important. It also enables you to understand their message. ‘Bi-bi’ could mean ‘biscuit’. Try repeat back what they are saying using the correct language and sounds.
Use functional words with your child. Repeat and rephrase words that your child uses in daily routines, such as “we want more crackers” “No, thank you” “Let’s eat” “Let’s go to the park”. Model the language you would want your child to use.
Comment on what your child is doing by narrating the their play. This is especially meaningfully when it is used in routines that are important to your child. For example: if you are on the play-ground you could say “You are swinging so high!”
Choose toys that are interactive and require you and your child to engage and take turns! Choose toys your child enjoys! Perhaps bubbles, wind-up toys, tunnels, lego?
Remember – there are ENDLESS opportunities to practice. During mealtime, play time and other every day routines.
If you have concerns about your little one and want to learn more about online speech therapy at Specialised Speech Pathology, check out our website and contact us any time!