Your speech/language pathologist and the rest of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Craniofacial team will do everything they can to make sure your child has the tools to build normal speech and language skills. But you and your family play the most vital roles in this process. Your child will pattern speech after the voices heard around him, so you and your family members are all models.
Children who do not hear enough spoken language may have problems with speech and language skills. They may not learn certain skills (such as vocabulary and grammar) simply because they are not exposed to them. This is why your role as a model is so important.
As a model, there are a few things you can do to help your child improve his skills:
- Speak clearly and pronounce words well
- Use short sentences when you speak to your child
- Avoid "baby talk," as it does not help your child learn to speak properly
Children learn "object" words first, so teach your child the names of objects. This includes the names of people, toys, food, utensils and furniture. Name and talk about new objects during shopping trips and visits.
Between the first and second year, children often learn "action" (like walk, eat, and play) and "description" (like soft, wet and furry) words. When your child begins to show interest in books, begin by talking about the pictures. Take turns naming objects and talking about what is taking place in the pictures.