Language and speech developmental milestones can give parents joy and excitement – and sometimes anxiety. However, like any other developmental milestone, they are meant to be construed as guidelines – not hard-and-fast rules. Children are unique and develop at their own pace.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that worrying that your child may be experiencing speech delays is not a valid concern. If 3 years of age, your child is not talking; is unable to speak even in short sentences; has poor articulation or trouble putting words together; or only imitating actions or speech and not producing words themselves, make sure to talk to your pediatrician about it. Below, we’ve also gathered a few tips from our very own highly skilled speech pathologists here at Wooster Community Hospital, HealthPoint Rehabilitation to help your child overcome speech problems.
Tip #1 Practice
If your child has trouble pronouncing or saying certain words, instead of having them speak the entire word, encourage them to say the syllables first. Have them repeat it over and over. To keep your child motivated, give them a reward each time they complete an exercise.
Tip #2 Read to Your Young One
Reading a favorite book to your child not only gives them a sense of intimacy; it also develops or improves their speech and communication skills by providing them with a focused opportunity to pronounce and practice the words they’ve learned.
Go for books that you know your child will enjoy and will be a good read. Since smaller children inherently have short attention spans, start with reading a few minutes at a time then gradually increase it. Additionally, techniques like repetition, clapping along to the rhythm, and asking your child to fill in the words can greatly help keep your child’s attention.
Tip #3 Stop Counting and Start Talking
While teaching your child shapes, numbers, and colors is crucial for learning, you shouldn’t focus on it during the first few years, as these are when your child’s brain is the most absorbent. Allow them to incorporate numbers into their language gradually.
You don’t want to limit your child’s vocabulary. Talk to your child about anything both of you notice in your surroundings. When your young one points to something, discuss it with them. Pose questions and wait for them to respond. Describe what both of you are doing. Don’t just sing the ABCs to them; talk to them about everyday things as well.
Tip #4 Consider Changing Your Toys
Children learn and use language via play, so having good toys is essential. Get rid of brightly colored toys that light up, talk, and play music. Instead of children doing the job, these toys do it for them. Go for toys that provide open-ended play opportunities, such as blocks and balls, instead.
Tip #5 Have Your Child See a Speech Therapist
If none of the tips above seem to help your child overcome their speech problems, take them to a speech therapist. As with any other type of developmental delay, early intervention is crucial for ensuring the best possible outcome.
A speech therapist will ask you questions, interact with your child in various ways, and carry out an assessment to identify what type of communication disorder your child may have and the best way to address it.
Speech Pathologists in Wayne County, Ohio
At HealthPoint Rehabilitation our highly qualified speech pathologists aim to provide children with language and speech disorders the opportunity to reach their full potential, thrive in society, and ultimately enjoy a good quality of life. We believe parents and families are equal partners with us in this process, and thus, we work closely with them to help them better understand and respond to the special needs of their young ones.
If you believe your child can benefit from speech therapy, call Wooster Community Hospital today at (330) 202-3300 to book a visit with one of our speech pathologists. You may also request an appointment right here on our website.