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How to Become a Speech & Language "Model" for Your Child

Many parents feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to help their child learn sounds, words, and sentences at home. Here are some very helpful strategies that I share with many families. These strategies are engaging and fun!:

PLAY!- Through play, a child can attach meaning to concepts. When they learn new words, it’s builds their vocabulary. Provide names of toys, actions (go, jump, sleeping), and locations (up, down). Comment about what you or your child is doing in play.

Talk to your child about what you are doing, where you are going, what you see around you.- Use short words and phrases that your child can imitate. Use correct grammar. Example: “I see a dog. The dog says ‘woof.’ This is a big dog. This dog is brown.”

Follow your child's lead- You can still model even when your child leads the activity! If your child is playing with a certain toy, join in and engage with your child. Comment about the toy, or bring another toy to the activity.

Expand the child’s language- Add a word or phrase to the child’s short phrases. By doing that, you are modeling correct sentence structures to your child. If a child is producing one word, expand to two words (“car go”); If the child is producing two words, expand to three words (“car go up”).

Talk about sounds around your house- Listen to the clock go tick-took and say “t-t-t”; Make car or plane sounds, like “v-v-v-v”; Blow bubbles and make the sound “b-b-b-b.” Pop bubbles and make a “p-p-p-p” sound; Engines on toys can make the “rrr-rrr-rrr” sound.

READ to your child every day- Start with books with large pictures and a few words on each page. Talk about the pictures on each page. Have your child find the items in the pictures and name them. If they cannot name the items, simply model for them.

Sing songs- Many children’s songs provide increased exposure to vocabulary through repetition and creates opportunities for turn taking. Take turns by allowing the child to follow the directions, or fill in key words in the songs. Examples: “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” “Old McDonald,” “Row Your Boat.”

Focus on the POSITIVE- Let your child know that you heard them and that they used appropriate sounds and words. Examples: "I heard you say 'mmmm," "Buhbuh, you see the bubbles," "That's right, the car goes up!" The more you provide positive feedback, the more motivated the child will feel to say those sounds and words again!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child, please complete the "Contact" portion on the homepage and Gillian will be in touch with you!

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