The Little Ways You Can Support Your Child with Speech Problems
A baby’s first words are music to a parent’s ears. Both hoping their baby will utter “mama” or “dada,” which is a delight to either parent. It’s nearly impossible to discern when a baby’s babbling and coos will turn into a fully formed word but hearing your baby’s first words will forever leave an imprint on your heart.
Although each child develops language at a different rate due to individual differences, it’s exciting to hear your little one speak their first true words. Most children begin speaking a few words by 12 months. Speech development varies considerably between children, even within the same family. Children tend to follow a natural progression for speech and language development. It is important for parents to have an awareness and understanding of the basic developmental language milestones that their child will acquire at important expanding periods during the early years.
A typical 2-year-old has an expressive vocabulary of 50 to 200 words, and their vocabulary increases rapidly as they grow older. Your child’s brain is like a sponge beginning as early as birth and is developing at a rapid pace through the second and third year of life. But, if your little one hasn’t met those milestones, this may be a sign of speech delays or difficulties. Developmental milestones are skills that most children acquire by certain ages and allow parents and caregivers to know what to expect next. How your child talks, plays, learns and interacts with others determines important clues about your child’s development. It acts as a guide to help understand what skills are or are not being reached at important expanding periods during the early years. If you feel your child is not acquiring various milestones, it’s important that you seek out a professional speech-language pathologist. They will be able to asses your child to see if there are any underlying speech and language difficulties or delays and possibly have your child referred for speech language therapy.
There are plenty of things you can do to help aid in the development of your little one’s speech and language skills. Here are a just a few tips to help build on positive communication experiences with your child.
You might think that the best way to help your child with a speech problem is to try and finish their words, sentences, or thoughts for them, but this can actually discourage a child from even trying to talk. This often results in a child becoming shy or withdrawn from conversations. So, instead of interrupting them, give your child the opportunity to finish their words without putting any pressure on them. Show them that you’re listening to every word they say.
Read Books Together
You’ll find that reading books together is a great way to bond with your child. However, this is also an excellent method to support your child’s speech development. Children with speech difficulties may have a hard time saying words clearly and sharing their thoughts using words. Reading to your child every day strengthens their speech and language skills. Books like Talk, Play, And Read With Me Mommy or Talk, Play, And Read With Me Daddy by Jo Ann Gramlich are perfect books to read together as they aim to help increase and build on your child’s speech and language skills. The books contains fun and interactive activities that are engaging and give little one’s opportunities to talk, play, interact, learn, use and understand language while learning about the world around them.. Reading not only helps your child, but you’re also giving them the best gift that will last a lifetime; the love of books.
Encourage Through Show and Tell
A child can have a hard time understanding a simple word and what it means. Children may also have a hard time pronouncing words which makes it difficult for you to understand them. If your child is struggling to understand a vocabulary word, ask them to show and tell you. For example, your child calls a bunny a bun bun ask them if they can show it to you or act it out. This way, they can attempt to communicate well with you, and you will be equipped to understand them the next time.
If your child tends to echo or repeat what you say, that’s how they’re learning. You can use this to your advantage. The use of repetition is a subtle way to correct your child’s pronunciation without giving the impression that you are criticizing or interrupting them. By repeating your child, you produce a good language model and show them that you have listened to what they have said.
Lastly, keep in mind that parents are the critical factor to your child’s development. Don’t give up, have patience, and continue supporting your child throughout the early years in order to get them ready for school.