What goes on”behind the scenes” when we talk? Teach your children about what happens when they speak and help them get more interested in improving their speech! For young children, try drawing a picture of the parts of the body that are used while speaking. For older children, print out a model of the speech sound structures, have them study it and then try to label the structures on their own!
By Kelly Faulkenberry Cheek, MSP, CCC-SLP & Keri Spielvogle, MCD, CCC-SLP
SING YOUR WAY TO BETTER LANGUAGE
Sing repetitive songs to your children for a wonderful and fun activity that helps them learn about concepts, categorization, associations, sequencing, and new vocabulary.
For example,“Old MacDonald Had a Farm” teaches children about farm animals and the sounds they make. Let your children choose the animals they’d like to sing about. This helps children practice naming objects in a category and associating the different sounds with the correct animals. Change the song to “Old MacDonald Had a Zoo” to include different animals with different animal sounds (i.e., tiger, monkey, elephant, and others).
For a challenge, try singing “Old MacDonald Had a Fruit Store.” Let the children decide what objects to use and what to sing about. For example, they can sing, “And at his store, he had an apple, E-I-E-I-O. With a shiny, red peel; a shiny, red peel; here a peel, there a peel; everywhere a peel, peel.” Other good songs to sing with your children include the following: “The Wheels on the Bus,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” and “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.”
I SPY GOOD LANGUAGE SKILLS
Another good game to play with children is “I Spy.” This game helps develop reasoning, describing, and listening skills. Use colors, sizes, uses, or positions and ask for more descriptive words as your child’s skills progress.
Take turns giving clues and guessing the answer. For example:
“I spy something blue.”
“I spy something round.”
“I spy something you use to wash dishes.” “I spy something in the sky.”
“I spy something small, red, with a peel.”
LISTEN AND HELP
Children who are learning language often use their new language skills incorrectly. They may say the wrong word or mix up the words in their sentences. Playing games presents a great time to notice these errors and help them learn the correct way to use language. Sometimes, the best way to help them learn is by saying the sentence again, but saying it correctly. For example, if your child says, “Daddy forgetted his book,” you could respond by saying, “Yes, Daddy forgot his book.” Place emphasis on the corrected word by saying it slower and louder, but try not to obviously correct your child. Making errors like this is normal for children who are just developing their language skills. Often the best and easiest way to help your child figure out language rules is by setting a good example.
If you have any questions or concerns – contact Speech Language Pathologist, Christine Wilson, by clicking this link!
Speech Word Easter Egg Hunt
Choose one sound that your child struggles with and find pictures of words that have that sound in it. Print off those pictures on pieces of paper and fold them up so they fit inside one of those plastic Easter eggs. Hide the Easter eggs inside or outside of the house and have your child go find them. Every time he/she finds an egg, have them open it up and say the word that’s inside. If your child has trouble producing those sounds in words, you can just have particular letters written on pieces of paper and have your child say the sound that letter makes when he opens up the egg. It may be a good idea to have a few with chocolate or money as well just to spice things up!
Dying Eggs or Coloring Paper Eggs: Following Directions, Colors, Letters
You can even work speech and language into your egg dying routine! If you dye eggs with your child, have them practice writing letters on the egg with a white crayon before you dye it. The dye won’t stick where you put the crayon so you’ll be able to see it once the egg is dyed. If your child can’t write yet or has trouble seeing what he/she is writing, you can write it for them. Once the eggs are dry, you’ll be able to see the sounds and you can have your child practice the sound as they find them or before they eat it. You can also create written or picture instructions for the steps to dying the eggs so your child can practice following directions as well. If you don’t plan on dying eggs with your child, you can always print out Easter egg coloring pages (like from Google Image Search) and have your child decorate them. You can even write letters on them just like you would have real eggs. Don’t forget while you’re dying or coloring to be talking about the colors you’re using as well! If you have multiple children, you could have each child in charge of one color so you can talk about who has which one.
Christine Wilson Speech Language Pathology wishes everyone a happy Easter!
Normal Speech & Language Development
It’s important to discuss early speech and language development, as well as other developmental concerns, with your doctor at every routine well-child visit. It can be difficult to tell whether a child is just immature in his or her ability to communicate or has a problem that requires professional attention.
These developmental norms may provide clues:
Before 12 Months
It’s important for kids this age to be watched for signs that they’re using their voices to relate to their environment. Cooing and babbling are early stages of speech development. As babies get older (often around 9 months), they begin to string sounds together, incorporate the different tones of speech, and say words like “mama” and “dada” (without really understanding what those words mean).
Before 12 months of age, babies also should be attentive to sound and begin to recognize names of common objects (bottle, binky, etc.). Babies who watch intently but don’t react to sound may be showing signs of hearing loss.
By 12 to 15 Months
Kids this age should have a wide range of speech sounds in their babbling (like p, b, m, d, or n), begin to imitate and approximate sounds and words modeled by family members, and typically say one or more words (not including “mama” and “dada”) spontaneously. Nouns usually come first, like “baby” and “ball.” Your child also should be able to understand and follow simple one-step directions (“Please give me the toy,” etc.).
From 18 to 24 Months
Though there is a lot of variability, most toddlers are saying about 20 words by 18 months and 50 or more words by the time they turn 2. By age 2, kids are starting to combine two words to make simple sentences, such as “baby crying” or “Daddy big.” A 2-year-old should be able to identify common objects (in person and in pictures), points to eyes, ears, or nose when asked, and follow two-step commands (“Please pick up the toy and give it to me,” for example).
From 2 to 3 Years
Parents often see huge gains in their child’s speech. Your toddler’s vocabulary should increase (to too many words to count) and he or she should routinely combine three or more words into sentences.
Comprehension also should increase — by 3 years of age, a child should begin to understand what it means to “put it on the table” or “put it under the bed.” Your child also should begin to identify colors and comprehend descriptive concepts (big versus little, for example).
An evaluation with a speech pathologist such as Christine Wilson can determine if your child is meeting his/her developmental milestones or help them catch up!