Early intervention is critical when there is a speech/language delay concern. Your child’s developmental concerns can best be addressed if identified early. Here are some early intervention strategies for you to use with your child. If you are concerned that your child may present with a speech and/or language delay, please Contact us at email@example.com to schedule an evaluation.
Strategies to help improve your child’s language
1) Follow your child’s lead
- I often encourage parents to name, play and continuously talk about the items your child is interested in and/or playing with. Your child will learn best when you support their interest. If your child is interested in first trucks, you can model your child’s actions by pushing the fire truck modeling “push”, modeling an engine siren “we-o, we-o, we-o”, producing simple words such as “truck, go, red, fast” and matching sounds your child may say. If you’re child is interested in a toy bus, sing “The Wheels on The Bus” song while joining in on the play with your child.
2) Using signs or gestures, combined with verbal models
- Children often imitate what we do before they imitate what we say. Giving your child access to basic signs and gestures to have needs and wants met will help your child communicate. I always introduce basic signs such as “me, more, all-done, eat, drink, up, car, ball, bubbles” with verbal models.
3) Match and Expand
- When your child produces an utterance, match what he/she produced and add one word. If your child says “ball” match his/her utterance and add an adjective/preposition/verb to his word. “Red ball. Big ball. Ball up. or Ball go.”
- Through play, frequently name and comment on objects and actions that you are interacting with to help your child associate a given word with an object/action.
- When your child gives you an object or is looking at an object, name it, point to it and connect that object with the word that represents it.
- Ex: If your child is playing with a toy barn with animals, name each animal as the child picks them up.
- Pausing is vital in speech-language acquisition. We often bombard our children with too much verbal stimuli without giving them time to listen and respond. When you name an object for your child, PAUSE. Wait in anticipation for your child to understand what you have told them, to process and have time to respond. Once you have paused, if your child does not respond, it is fine to label the word again.
6) Replace questions with comments
- When kids present with a speech-language delay, they often have a limited vocabulary and verbal repertoire. Asking frequent questions does not allow your child to acquire more language. I have seen many children whose parents often quiz them with questions, who have resorted to simple answers such as “yes/no” only. Instead of questions, comment. Replace “Is that a red truck?” with “That’s a red truck!!!” Instead of “Is that doll pretty? Is her dress pink?” say “That doll is pretty. Her dress is pink.”
To learn more, contact our office at (310) 402-3775 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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We now offer Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy services in-home and at our Encino clinic.