Child Development

All children develop speech and language at slightly different rates, which are influenced by a range of factors, including general developmental level, position within the family and stimulation at home or nursery.

There are established patterns of typical development which allow for comparison of a child against the expectation for their chronological age. This illuminates specific areas of delay which may need to be targeted within therapy.

There are a range of useful strategies which every parent can employ to develop their child's speech, as well as specific techniques which are taught by the Speech and Language Therapist.

General tips to develop speech, language and communication during child-led play:

  • Play face to face - get down to the child's level so that they can see your facial expressions and watch your lips as you speak.
  • Copy - show your child that you are interested in their play by copying what they do with the toys.
  • Watch, wait and listen - remember to watch in order to find out what your child is interested in, and wait so that they have a chance to tell you their thoughts, feelings and ideas. This can be a look, sound, action, word or sentence.
  • Repeat lots of words - name the toys and objects that your child is playing with (or the pictures in the book that they are looking at). Evidence shows that hearing lots of models supports a child's language and speech development, therefore repeat, repeat, repeat!
  • Use comments not questions - comment on what your child is doing, which may be with a sound effect, keyword or sentence, depending on the level needed for the individual child. If the child is crashing cars together, the adult could say "crash". If the child is engaging in imaginative play, the adult could produce a running commentary "the lady is riding a horse".
  • Encourage good social skills and turn turning at a level that the child can realistically cope with.
  • Laugh, have fun and let your child know that they are fun to be with.
  • Don't expect too much - give your child time.

 

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