Let's Talk About Speech Baby...

As Speech therapists, we are often asked “how can we facilitate language in the home?” There are so many techniques but here are a few that Little Speech Gems have used repeatedly.

Active Engagement: Sustain a child’s active involvement in play by maintaining attention through preparatory and selective cueing while picking an activity that is appealing enough to sustain a child’s attention. Essentially, play should be child directed, do whatever your child wants to do and use their natural motivation. A way to guide your child’s attention is to use phrases like “look at this!” or “come over this way."

Reinforcement: Delivering a reward following a correct response or appropriate behavior will increase the likelihood of that behavior appearing again. The way we like to describe this if your child to doing something right tell them! For example, “Good Job using your loud voice”, “Good Job using directions”, “Good Job answering my questions right away”. Adults use reinforcement all the time, we go to work- get paid for our work- and that increases the likelihood we will continue working. Think about this when playing with kiddos, everyone wants to be reassured for their “good behavior” (This technique is our personal favorite).

Repetition: Provide many opportunities for child to use a new form of speech. For example, if a child is learning to put two words together like “go car” or “move car”, repeat that statement over and over within play. You cannot over repeat. It’s very helpful in language facilitations.

Expansion: This technique builds on a child’s language foundation. For example, if a child says “Car”, therapist/parents can expand to “go car” or “go blue car”. The idea of expansion is to constantly expand upon the previous statement. It is very easy to do this naturally during play. These are a few ways to build language it is important to note that these are indirect techniques and not to be used “forced” onto a child. You do not say “repeat after me” or “you say”. You are simply modeling language. Keep it fun, natural, and simple! Common play schemes include: cars, doll house, ball ramps, play food, potato head etc. As stated before it needs to be a motivating activity and activity with multiples manipulatives.

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