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Top 3 Strategies to Boost Your Child's Language at Home

Speech-language therapy should not just stay in the speech room. There are tons of strategies you can implement at home without the supervision of an SLP. Here are my top 3 suggestions:

1. Parallel Talk

This is one of my favorite language stimulation techniques. It is simply a narration of

what your child is doing, seeing, and/or feeling. This strategy can be used throughout your day while your child is completing routine activities such as eating, playing, and dressing. Many children with language processing difficulties may get nervous and feel pressure when asked a question so this technique is great for removing some of that pressure. Parallel talk provides a natural model of what language sounds like throughout the day. For example, if your child is playing with cars, you may say, “You have a green car. That car goes fast.”

2. Add a Word

The adding a word strategy builds on your child’s current language abilities. If your

child is using non-verbal communication such as pointing or reaching, add a word to their

communication. If your child is using a one-word utterance you would then model a two words utterance. For example, your child says ball, your response could be “want ball”, “throw ball” or “see ball”. Adding a word keeps the language model simple without overwhelming your child with too many new words. It also follows the natural language development progression in which a child would gradually add new words to their current vocabulary.

3. Give Your Child Time

As a parent this strategy is often overlooked. We are constantly anticipating what our child

might want, need, and feel. For those with children who are just starting to develop language we may not be giving them enough time to process and provide them with an opportunity to request and respond. When teaching this strategy to parents I tell them that the amount of time you may need to wait is child dependent. Some children need 3 seconds, while others may need up to 20. Observe your child, listen to what they may be trying to communicate and wait before you prompt them for a response.

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