Communication is a skill that is learned. Before children can talk, they are listening to and observing all verbal and non-verbal interactions that take place around them. Some children take a longer time to acquire language than others. It is important to encourage your child’s speech and language development outside of the therapy room. Think of it this way, if you exercise once a week you are less likely to notice results than if you exercise daily. Language acquisition works the same way. You don’t need to stop all of your plans in order to encourage speech and language. There are endless possibilities all around you. These are some ways to encourage speech and language, on the go!
Strike a Pose and Be a Model
During playtime, bath time or even at the supermarket, you can model words for your child. Point out objects that you see in your everyday environment. For instance, “I see a ball. Let’s throw the ball. Let’s bounce the ball.” Try to maintain eye contact with your child and say the word to him or her. If your child attempts to say the word and says it incorrectly, praise him or her for trying!
Have Fun With Sounds
Use games in order to motivate your child to make sounds. When playing with a toy car, you can make a “beep beep” sound while rolling it on the floor. By using symbolic sounds during play, a child can learn to vocalize and imitate what you say while engaging in a fun activity.
Create Opportunities For Communication
Creating temptations or requests can encourage a child to make sounds or vocalizations. For example, handing your child a closed container with a snack will encourage him or her request you to open it. If a child is just beginning to develop language, a vocalization or approximation of the word is acceptable. Creating opportunities for communication allows a child to learn to use his or her voice to initiate or make requests.