Parents of children with speech and language difficulties may well have taken them to see a speech therapy specialist such as speech pathologists for help, advice, and a view to finding a treatment option for their child. Doubtless, the treatment recommended will be based upon the specifics of the child’s speech development problems, their age, and other factors such as their home environment.
A child’s home environment can be a huge factor in how effective any speech therapy program is. One example of how is whether or not either of the child’s parents is at home during the day which will determine if the child spends time each day with a childminder. Whilst a childminder may be able to look after the child whilst their parents are at work, their experience may not include speech therapy.
Another influence at home would be older siblings who are willing to spend time with their younger brother or sister to help with their speech. The reason why we highlight childminders and older siblings is because, despite neither having any speech therapy qualifications, and that can also extend to a child’s parents, the fact is there are several ways that all of these people with whom the child has regular contact can assist in their speech therapy.
The way they do so is by using the everyday situations which arise and rendering them as opportunities to help the child practice their language skills in scenarios they are familiar with. Below are five examples of these and how they can be used by parents and others to support a child’s language development.
Getting Ready In The Morning
Many households with young children tend to be somewhat chaotic and rushed in the mornings, but do not let that put you off trying some simple language development exercises with your child. Sequencing words like first, second, next, then, last, and so on can be used when the child is getting dressed. You can also enhance their understanding of categories such as clothes and breakfast foods.
Whilst In The Car
When driving to school, or on any car journey for that matter, you can encourage your child to talk about what they see outside. This can be especially effective in teaching them descriptive words, so if they see a dog, is it a large or a small dog? If they see other cars, what colour are they? For people, are those people old, young, or tall?
In The Supermarket
A trip to the shops is a great opportunity to practise several language skills. There are categories such as cereals, drinks, vegetables, and fruits. You can also get the child to use location words for items on shelves such as front, back, top, bottom, and under. Sequencing can also be taught such as first, second, and last when your items are being scanned at the checkout.
Whilst Eating Dinner
Although parents usually want children to eat and not talk during dinner, you can do some language development before everyone tucks in. Encourage the child to use descriptive words to identify hot and cold food and the colours of the food on their plate. They can also describe individual foods in terms of their sizes and their shapes.
At Bath Time
Bath time for kids tends to either be great fun or an exercise in parental patience for those with children who hate baths. Either way, use bath-time for teaching body parts such as foot, arm, leg, and head as they get washed. You can also use bath-time to teach “doing” words like wash, splash, wipe, scrub, and dry.