Be an active listener and participant in the conversation the child wants to have
- Follow you child's lead.
- Ask-open-ended questions ("Tell me more")
- Encourage your child to elaborate on topics that are important to him or her.
Provide good models.
- If your child is "misarticulating" sounds, make the sound correctly yourself.
- Don't ask you child to repeat the words or the sound he or she is having trouble with.
- Correct your child by saying things like "Oh! You want soup?" instead of "Say soup, not thoup."
Talk, talk, talk about events in the child's life
- Talk about these events in a meaningful way.
- Don't talk too fast!
Provide a supportive atmosphere
- Make sure your child feels free to communicate with you.
- Provide lots of good models of speech and language.
- Be encouraging and supportive.
Read, read, read to your child
- Read to your child during infancy, toddlerhood, preschool years, and beyond.
- As you read to older children, point to the words, talk about the pictures.
- With older children, talk about words that rhyme, different letters and the sounds they make.
Have the tools of written communication available
- Have plenty of crayons, marking pencils, and paper available to your child.
- Encourage your child to use these tools to communicate.
Play sound and word games
- "How many words are the in the sentence "I like to go to the store'"
- "How many syllables are there in the word, baby? Let's clap it out - ba(clap) by(clap).
- "Let's play a word game. I'm thinking of glasses- kinds that we wear and kinds that we drink from. Can you think of another word that can mean two different things?"
If your child "dysfluences" (difficulties)
- Let your child finish each communication; don't finish sentences for him/her.
- Model easy, slower, less complex speech.
- Be patient!
Source: Speech-Language pathologist Deena Bernstein (personal communication, March 14, 2003).
© ______ 2009, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.