If your child has a speech impediment, you’re likely to feel like you’ve done something wrong along the way. There are many reasons your child may not be reaching her language milestones and any mixture of causes could result in a speech delay.
For some children, learning to speak comes as naturally as breathing does. If your little one is struggling with words, it may be time to take some of the pressure off of the result-driven activities and to start enjoying your casual chats together. Here are a few tips to assist and speed up speech development in your budding little conversationalist.
Your child may not be able to talk in words yet, but that doesn’t mean she can’t communicate. Take some time to learn her language. Use it to communicate with her, all the while supplementing it with your words.
Get her to look in the mirror
This is a technique used by the specialists and it works! Your little one will just love seeing herself in the mirror, and seeing the way she moves her mouth will help her to concentrate on the words she’s being asked to say.
Do an activity that she is keen on
Invite her to do something she loves doing. Spend time talking to her about it as you take part in the activity. In our home, that means getting my child involved with cooking dinner. She’s always excited about it, and she opens up like a blossom in the springtime. We connect over potatoes, carrots, green beans and soup, and because she’s enjoying it so much, she is eager to learn the terms and the vocabulary needed to build a conversation around the topic.
Don’t cut her off
Let her speak. This sounds simple enough, and you may be thinking that you do give her plenty of time and room to talk. The question is, by whose standards? It wasn’t until someone had pointed out my child’s reaction to my hasty conclusion of her long-winded discussion (conducted mostly in babble, mind you) that I realised I was partly to blame for her lack of confidence in the art of communication.
This is a bit of a cliché, but it’s worth noting. Out of sheer desperation to see improvement, we often push too hard, too fast. Take your time and enjoy your little one just as she is. Let her know that she is perfect, even if the other mothers may all ask questions about her development (yes that happens!).
There are tons of online resources for speech-related activities that can assist you. You hold the key to your child’s speech, but recognise when it is time to seek professional help. Speech therapy is not nearly as invasive as it used to be and a therapist will rely heavily on you to help with your child’s progress. A professional opinion can, and will help you to see where the problem lies so that you can isolate your efforts in that area for the best results.