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What can I do to help my child talk?
I've worked with hundreds of parents and professionals whose main desire was they wanted their child to talk. Many of them thought that since their child had delays, getting her to talk meant teaching her, like teaching numbers and other school-like things. However, we have found that there's a great deal of play, turn-taking, and nonverbal communication needed before words are ready to come. But for now, lets look at what parents can do once their child is ready for words.
Use the guide below to prepare your child to be a frequent and enjoyable talker.
- PLAY FREQUENTLY in ways your child plays
- BALANCE your times together; be sure both of you do about as much as the other
- WAIT FOR YOUR CHILD TO TALK; avoid doing all the talking
- MATCH your child's actions
- MATCH your child's communications, communicate in ways your child can do
- TALK AS MUCH AS YOUR CHILD DOES; then show him a next step
- RESPOND to your child's little sounds and actions as communications at first
- RESPOND MORE to your child's words than gestures or sounds, after he's talking regularly
- SHOW HIM WHAT TO SAY in one or two words
- MAKE TALKING TIMES MORE PLAY THAN WORK
- TRANSLATE your child's own language of sounds and movements into A WORD
- DON'T RUSH YOUR CHILD TO WORDS; communicating with sounds come first
- REDUCE YOUR QUESTIONS; show your child what to say instead
- ACCEPT ANY PRONUNCIATIONS AT FIRST, he won't talk like an adult until he practices a lot
- BECOME MORE OF A PLAY PARTNER THAN A TEACHER; your child will stay and learn more
- BE A LIVING DICTIONARY; put words on your child's experiences as they happen
TO HELP YOU LEARN THESE STRATEGIES, REFER TO THE TWO NEW HOME ACTIVITY BOOKS, Before Speech: a daily activity diary, AND First Words: a daily activity diary.
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