Speech skills develop at a specific range of age for most children. Not beginning to babble at 4 months or not responding to speech by 9 months may indicate a delay in speech.
Children with autism spectrum disorder also have a speech delay. However, there are practices and resources to encourage children’s speech development, like speech therapy.
We wanted to compile a list of 10 speech exercises, perfect for home-based speech therapy during these times where access to SLPs is not possible.
What is Speech Therapy?
This is an intervention done by Speech-Language Pathologists to help a child improve their language skills. It is used to help with things like fluency and articulation.
Speech therapy also aids comprehension in kids. The goal of the practice is to enable the child to communicate in a clear and understandable manner. Children learn how to interpret and understand language.
What Happens in Speech Therapy for Toddlers?
Professional help is essential. Speech-language pathologists can help children in their language and speech problems.
First, the speech-language pathologist will assess the best way to approach the situation. There are a couple of techniques used during speech therapy:
- Utilizing picture boards
- Signing or typing
- Exercising facial muscles to improve articulation
- Modulating the tone of voice
- Understanding body language
These techniques focus on modifying social communication and behaviors. This, in turn, will increase social acceptance by the child. SLPs often collaborate with the child’s caregivers to provide better and more suited care.
Through the help of speech therapy, children with autism become more socially aware. Although no single method is proven to be effective, the combination of a couple could be really beneficial in the child’s speech and language.
There are various other techniques. The speech-language pathologist and your child’s doctor would decide the most suited ones.
In addition to professional aid, there are other supportive practices for home-based speech therapy. We have compiled a list of 10 speech exercises and activities you can do with your child at home.
The 10th one, particularly, is the most fun and engaging one for children.
- Communicate with your kid. Start talking from birth. Babble back when they cooing. When focused on communication, the child will be encouraged to speak. Don’t force them to speak all at once.
Casual communication will actually help your child grasp when to use what appropriately. Imitation of sounds and gestures is the most natural way to learn speech. This exercise will help the kid in these aspects.
- Singing to your kid is another way to encourage them to speak. Songs will help them learn and memorize new words. Their listening skill will also develop.
Singing songs can help expand the vocabulary of your child. Rhymes are a pretty nifty tool to this end, and songs are full of them.
- Read books with your kid, even when they are babies. Reading aloud age-appropriate books while also describing the pictures will grab their attention. While you name things in the book, the child will have a visual aid.
This may encourage learning new words. Similar to signing, reading books aloud expands the child’s vocabulary.
- Describe your everyday activities. While in the grocery store, point out the vegetable and name it. Explain what you are doing while cooking a meal. Point out objects around the house when you are cleaning it. Make your explanations simple.
Storytelling is another great tool to encourage your child to speak and share more information. You can turn simple routines into little stories, adding items of interest for your child.
- Limiting your child’s access to things, such as toys or food, will make them eventually ask for help. Heidi from Mommy Speech Therapy suggests really smart ways like this to get your child to speak.
This is a great opportunity to show them how to make a request. These are sort of “tempting” ways to encourage speaking.
- Listening to your child is essential. Give them time to think and prepare a response. Do not immediately fill in the silence.
- Making silly noises with letter sounds is suggested by Mandi from Mommyish in a blog post. In the article, she states that the practice actually helps children practice the sounds necessary for speech. Not only the sounds, the shapes made by the mouth will also help your child exercise their facial muscles to actually articulate the words.
- Technology has a lot to offer. There is an abundance of tools online to have productive speech therapy while also having fun. There are also mobile options, like Otsimo | Speech Therapy. You can download the app on your phone or your tablet and practice quality Speech Therapy in the comfort of your home.
Using fun filters, Otsimo | Speech Therapy will engage your child like nothing else and teach them how to articulate words more clearly.
- Engage your child in physical activities. Using facial muscles can help children articulate words. You can blow bubbles together, for instance. Also, repeating words in front of a mirror would help your kid imitate you and learn how to sound the letters.
Imitation is one of the most effective techniques for teaching children speech. It would be a great practice to exercise imitation skills while you are at home.
- Ask a lot of questions to your child. Make sure to include the topics of interest for your child to be more encouraged to join in on the conversation. You can also repeat what your child says and build upon it. This will help your kid learn more language, more appropriately in time.