• Say less: Sometimes we are so eager to fill a child’s world with language that we overdo it. Saying less – simplifying your speech as a model can help your child understand and use language. -- For example, your child wants juice. Instead of, “Johnny, Do want some juice? I’ll get you some juice. Come over here, let’s have apple juice!.” –Try reducing this to “juice? You want juice.” Then waiting expectantly for a request for “juice”.
• Stress: Make important words stand out by changing the tone, volume or emphasis. Pausing slightly helps as well.
• Go Slow: Again, this allows for increased understanding and gives your child more opportunity to communicate. Sometimes just giving your child extra time to respond, allows him or her to process a response.
• Show: Show, point, add actions, gestures, signs, pictures. Support what you are saying (auditory input) with visual whenever you can.
(adapted from It Takes Two to Talk, Jan Pepper and Elaine Weitzman)
Most of all – have fun with your child! Play, laugh, enjoy.
Dawn Gummersall, M.S., CCC-SLP