If your child receives speech therapy services, the help the child gets from a speech therapist should be only the beginning of the process of helping your child develop speech and language skills. These speech therapy services should continue at home. If you are unsure how to help your child with language skills, consider some of these things suggested by the mother of a child who receives these services.
While you likely will not want to do this all the time, when you are playing with your child or doing other activities with your child, add narration to the activity. You might say something like, “Suzie is playing with a red car. The car goes vroom, vroom” or “I am putting the plates on the table. One, two, three, four. Four plates on the table.”
Correct Language Skills in a Kind Way
Avoid pretending you do not know what the child has said or forcing the child to say the word right if the child has said a word wrong. Instead, repeat the word correctly. For example, if the child says, “I want to wide my bike today,” you might say, “Oh, you want to ride your bike today. Do you want me to ride with you to the park?” Put extra emphasis on the part of the word that the child said incorrectly, and be sure to say the word two or three times so the child can hear it said correctly.
Have the Child Vocalize What They Want
While pointing and grunting is fine for babies who do not yet have language skills, older children should verbalize what they want. If the child is only pointing or grunting, say something like, “I'm not sure what you want. Will you tell me?” Wait for the child to use words to express their wants. You may even have to encourage the child to “use your words.”
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