Worried about your child’s speech delay? Here are the top tips that parents can do at home to help their child with speech delay.
The term Speech Delay is used loosely to state that a toddler is still not talking or is less able to talk compared to their peers. Speech Therapists might term this as language delay.
In some cases, your child might just start a little later than others. In most other cases, it means that the child needs help. We get asked for tips on how to help. So, our team consolidated the top 10 tips to help with speech delay concerns.
Top 10 Tips for Child Speech Delay
1. Play daily. Commit to about 30 minutes each day to play with your child. This means staying clear of your phone, or other distractors. In essence, allocate time to make your child the priority for that allocated time.
2. Follow their lead – use the OWL method O- observe to see what they like W- wait for them to initiate or answer L- listen to what they are saying. Join in and follow your child’s play.
Avoid taking over, and directing them to do things – including asking questions such as “what’s this?”.
3. Get down to their level: This might mean playing on the floor. This helps you to be at your child’s eye level. It helps your child to see you and hear you better. Connect with your child during play and make eye contact. Follow their eyes and catch them looking at your.
4. Be creative: Bring out the child in you. Engage with your child by finding fun things you think your child would enjoy. It could be bouncing them up and down. During this routine, you may vary it such as make it faster, higher, slower, or any of the combinations. You may also make different sounds and noises during this time. So, have fun and make the interactions interesting for both you and your child.
5. Use verbal routines: use a similar phrase or set of words to help your child anticipate what is going to happen. It may even help your child to say these words. Examples of phrases are “ready, set, go!, “1- 2 – 3, blow (for blowing bubbles)”. Once your child gets the routine, you might wait a little before saying the last part of the verbal routine. Your child might surprise you with the word!
6. Use Language: Copy the words your child is using and add one or two more to expand their output. If your child isn’t talking, you could start by using verbs. Introducing your child to verbs (such as “throw, roll, pour, blow, give”) would help them learn to expand their output. Using these words in various play activities and in many different ways increases the likelihood that your child will understand the meaning of these words.
As your probably noticed, there is nothing in this tip that requires you to ask your child to speak. Refrain from asking your child to repeat the words you said, or say them clearly.
7. Model the language: Show / model how something should or may be said. If your child points instead of says the word, copy the gesture and say the word (“e.g. take car” , or even “car” if your child is pointing to get you to take the car). If your child says “eat mama”, you might model “mama eat” in response.
The key word is model. Refrain from making your child repeat what you just said. Keep modeling the language you like your child to use.
8. Anticipate Less: Parents are great at knowing what their child wants. Before the child could ask for help, or requests for the item, most parents would have reached for the item and handed to the child. Parents are very skilled at anticipating their child’s needs. To help your child learn to communicate more effectively, you need to anticipate less. So, wait for your child to request for help, or to reach for something out of reach. Make your presence felt and facilitate your child to seek help, either in the form of gesture, pulling you towards the item or looking at you. Then employ Tip 6 and 7.
9. Keep items out of reach: Keep items that are preferred or used often out of reach. This is incredibly helpful towards your goal. Put their favourite food or toys out of reach (but within sight), or in a container they cannot open by themselves. This way if they want these items, they need to communicate. This then creates communication opportunities and you can use the above tips again.
10. Have fun: When your child enjoys the interactions with you, you can achieve more during your play time. When allocated time for your child becomes a time when your child is quizzed or tested, it is no longer fun. If play is dictated by an adult, it no longer becomes enjoyable, but a task.
So, find the child in you and start playing and talking to your child without placing demands (to play a certain way or say words). Enjoy your communication time with your child and watch his / her communication develop.
Use these tips daily to help your child with speech delay. Start with the first few tips. Progressively, you can include the other tips. Give yourself and your child some time to respond to these strategies – you may need to persist for at least one month to see change.
Follow these tips closely. Remember to model and make interactions fun.
May we suggest that you bookmark this page so that you can reference it at your convenience.
Still Concerned about Speech Delay?
You can also check out our post on whether you should wait and see or seek help.
If you are concerned, call us to speak to one of our friendly speech therapists for a phone consultation.