Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Strategies for Promoting Early Language Development: A Parent/Caregiver Tool

The way you interact with and speak to your child can have an impact on his or her speech and language development.  Strategies include:
  • Get on your child’s level.  This may mean sitting on the floor so that you and your child can be face to face.
  • Follow your child’s lead; tune into your child’s interests.  Your child will be more motivated to communicate when engaged with something that interests him or her.  This can be anything. It does not need to be a toy and can be something as unconventional as opening and closing a box or shaking a crayon.
  • Simplify your language; match it to your child’s language.  Use language at or slightly above your child’s level. 
  • Add melody to your speech to make it more fun and interesting.
  • Imitate what your child does or says to keep the interaction going.
  • Repeatedly model simple words or fun sounds for your child to imitate.
  • Teach your child to use signs. Pair signs with words to facilitate development of single words.
  • Teach your child the power of communication: require him or her to communicate in order to get what he or she wants.  This could be simply making eye contact, signing, or saying a single word.
  • Expand on your child’s utterances to help him or her get to the next level.  For example, if your child says “more,” you can add another word, saying, “more juice.”

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