Speech Therapy for Young Children: Some Helpful Facts
Is your child reluctant to speak and communicates only through gestures? Do you feel that it is not very expressive and begins to enclose itself in a shell? If you have the slightest suspicion that your child may have difficulty expressing himself in words, you should seek medical intervention.
The earlier speech therapy is started in a child, the greater the chances that the child’s communication skills and intellect will develop rapidly. There is growing evidence that there are a number of children who are simply late for things, so there may be no real concern unless the child is over ten months old, when they should be able to pronounce whole words and not just babble.
Experts believe that children whose parents spend quality time reading, playing with, and talking to them are the ones who will start speaking earlier and with a larger vocabulary. A child who is exposed to a lot of social interaction and whose conversations are taken seriously is also believed to exhibit intellectual superiority over peers. If you suspect that your toddler may have a speech disorder, you can try teaching him to speak at home, which should usually clear things up.
Getting a young child to do what you want him to do is a very difficult proposition. Instead, try doing the things the toddler wants to do. Sit down with your child’s toys and offer to play with him. Observe the toys that receive preferential treatment and use them as a reward. Have some delicious treats on hand, which you can give as soon as you get the correct answer from your child.
Don’t waste too much time trying to get the words out of your child’s mouth. Remember that you may be able to hold the child’s attention for up to ten minutes, so don’t go over that limit, at any cost, as this could make the child hate these “talk” sessions. Always model the sound a word makes and get the child’s attention. If the child repeats the word correctly, offer the treat and give great importance to its success.
If you are a new parent, remember that it is never too early to start talking with your child. In fact, experts recommend talking to the child and playing soothing music while he is still in the womb. The impact a parent has on a baby is immense, so take advantage of it and set aside time to talk with your child. Refrain from talking to your child and encourage every effort your child makes to communicate through words or gestures.
If your speech therapy attempts are not very successful, your child may need a full medical check-up by a pediatrician, ENT, and audiologist to rule out other complications. Your child may also benefit from speech evaluation and therapy sessions with a professional speech pathologist.