Speech and Language Development Concerns
What to do when you have concerns about your child's speech and language development.
Concerned About Your Childs Speech and Language Development? Five Steps to Take:
Parents Can Encourage Language Skills
Have a give and take. Whether its bath time, dinner time, or drive time, respond to your babys babbling or engage your preschooler in a discussion about something that interests him. Ask open-ended questions and elicit his opinions.
Read together. Ask questions about the story and illustrations: Whats happening in this picture? Why did the character do that? What do you think will happen next?
Keep up a running commentary. Describe what you and your child are doing and why, whether its feeding the dog or putting away toys. This technique helps build vocabulary and comprehension
Keep corrections subtle. When your child makes an error in speech, gently rephrase what he was trying to say. If he says I runned to the car, you can respond with: Oh, you ran to the car? If a child is prone to short sentences, elaborate on what she says to encourage longer statements.
Be patient. Some children need extra time to process a question, think of an answer, and get it out. Giving your child as much time as she needs shows that you're interested and encourages communication.
Speech and Language Development Milestones to Watch For
Consider an evaluation if your childs language development falls outside this timetable:
Allison Martin is involved in adoptive family support activities through both her Web site Comunity.com and Families with Children from Viet Nam. This article was previously published in the terrific resource, Adoptive Families Magazine. See reviews of recommended speech books.
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