How can parents help with speech and language development?
- Discourage use of "baby talk"
- Praise your child for clear/ correct sound production ("I really like the way you said that!").
- In your own speech, stress sounds that your child has difficulty making clearly.
- Engage in activities which "exercise" the tongue and lips, such as blowing bubbles and making "silly" faces.
- Have your child try to imitate different sounds while looking in a mirror.
- Read frequently to your child. Name and point to pictures in books.
- Encourage your child to follow directions. Start off with short directions, and then start to make them longer.
- Ask your child longer and more complex "Yes or No" questions.
- Have your child name objects from verbal descriptions.
- Encourage your child to expand his or her vocabulary by naming and labeling things around them.
- Encourage your child to put words together. If your child is capable of making phrases or short sentences, praise him or her for longer responses.
- When your child makes a sentence with errors in it, repeat it back to the child correctly (Child: "I seed him". Parent: "Oh, you saw him.").
- Discourage vocal abuse behaviors, such as screaming, "funny voices", growling, etc.
- Encourage your child to drink water.
- Praise your child for appropriate use of voice.
- Avoid phrases such as, "Slow down", "Stop and think about what you're going to say", etc. These types of cues can actually increase dysfluency.
- Give your child as much time as needed to respond.
- Reduce the "stress" placed on the child when he or she is speaking.
- Slow your own speaking rate.