On this week's blog we look at Language Development strategies that we received from my son's speech therapist at Visability.
These strategies are tried, tested and successful with my 2 year old.
It is important that there is an expectation that your son or daughter uses words to communicate. Is your child currently relying on non-verbal communication (e.g. pointing) and non-descript whining to express their wants and needs? For them to develop their expressive language skills, it is important that your child’s communication partner encourages them to use their words as opposed to accepting gestures for requests.
Provide simple, positive praise when your child uses their words e.g. “Good talking “insert name!”
Children need to have a reason to communicate. If all their needs are met without them having to talk, then there is no need to say anything. Often parents/siblings will anticipate what the child wants, removing the need (and the opportunity) to practice talking.
“Sabotage” means setting up situations so that your child has to talk to get what they want. This may include things like:
Putting favourite toys where your child can’t reach (so they have to ask for the one they want).
To give your child all the items for an activity except the most important one (so they need to ask for it to complete the activity).
Give them a small amount of something (so that they need to request “more ______”).
Expand on what your child has said by repeating what they have said and adding one or two words. This will provide a model for them, which is just slightly above the level they are using. If your child is mainly using close approximations of single words, demonstrate using two-three word phrases for them. This can be helpful for language learning and encouraging imitation.
E.g. Child: Car.
Adult: It’s a big, red car.
Use clear, simple speech that is easy to imitate.
Model phrases such “I would like ________” or “I need _________” to encourage your child to use functional speech instead of relying on gestures.
Explain to your child what is going on around them. This will help to gain a greater understanding of the people and items within their environment. It will also provide lots of opportunities to hear good models of language.
Comment frequently on what your child is doing and experiencing. Keep phrases simple and easy to imitate.
Demonstrate self-talk – comment on what you are doing when they are with you. This provides extra opportunities to learn language.
Introduce new vocabulary through reading books that have a simple sentence on each page. Name objects and describe the picture on each page of the book.
State synonyms for familiar words (e.g. big, large, huge) and use this new vocabulary in sentences to help them to learn it in context.
When your child names an object, repeat what they have said and expand upon it. Provide descriptive words or words related to function e.g. "That is a comb. “Insert child’s name” uses it to comb his or her hair."
Try to use different kinds of words in your own speech. Use words which indicate size or action (rather than just colours or numbers).
Verbs/Action words e.g. running, hopping, flying.
Describing words e.g. sticky, wet, prickly.
Location words: e.g. in, on, under.
Use daily activities and real life situations to incorporate teaching of concepts (e.g. fast, slow, same, different). Your child may then begin to use them in spontaneous speech. Concept knowledge may also facilitate their comprehension.
Modelling, repetition and emphasis on pronouns e.g. “What is the boy doing? HE is jumping. HE is jumping over the log”.
Children learn more easily when they have heard a new word a lot of times. Repeating the same word or phrase will help them find it easier to focus on the new words/phrases and to associate them with what is happening.
DEVELOPING SOCIAL SKILLS
Encourage your child to face a conversational partner.
Model the correct response to a question or a situation.
Always let them know that what they have to say is important to you by asking them to repeat things that you do not completely understand.
Encourage turn taking with toys or during games.
Encourage your child to finish activities
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