I know what my child wants before he speaks… does that discourage him from asking?
I would rather she use words rather than pointing and grunting… how do I help?
In Part I of this series on Early Intervention and Speech Development, we focused on activities to develop oral muscle memory by making silly faces and imitating car sounds. In Part II, Dana Valerio, a teli Speech Language Pathologist, provides some answers for those tough times when helping your child versus letting them “use their words” to communicate might be better for them.
Early Intervention and patience can help your child find their words
It is hard to argue that a parent knows their child better than anyone, but in some cases, those assumptions result in a child not needing to speak for themselves. Dana has worked with a number of families where this is a concern for the parents.” I will encourage parents to pair their child’s point and grunt for an object with a word. So that rather than responding to a point and a grunt for juice, I may say, “Tell Mommy juice.” Or I may use a picture of juice to encourage them to use their word,” says Dana.
Dana emphasizes that it is important to provide the child with time to respond. “I usually try a few times to have the child repeat the word before a parent responds. If the child does not attempt to repeat the word, we model the word again as we give them the object. This encourages a child to use words to get their needs met, without getting frustrated by withholding the request. By pairing the child’s gestures with words, they will begin to learn that if they use their voice to ask, they receive what they want a little faster. ”
Early Intervention and Repetition .. a key element on the way to improvement
A key component of Early Intervention therapy in all of these examples is the goal of incorporating the activities into the family’s daily life. “We want parents to feel very comfortable with the activities we do with their child,” says Dana. “Especially in the case of speech therapy, being sure that the exercises are fun and part of a family’s daily routine, is a way to ensure that the child gets more and more practice,” With repetition, the results become greater over time, allowing your child to master their communicative skills.”
Be sure to check back for our continuing series “Wonder How Early Intervention Works?” to understand the “back story” On Early Intervention Therapy from our teli therapists.