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Don't Give Up On Speech
Many children can learn to speak long after age 3 and 4, especially ones with muscular and neurological delays such as Down Syndrome, Autism, Apraxia, Cerebral palsy, and other problems.
Do not believe the MYTH that if a child is not talking at 3 or 4 , she will not talk.I am currently working with two brothers with DS who are beginning to talk at 7 and 9.
In 30 years of clinical and research work with late talking children we have found the following:
- Too many people give up on speech too soon..
- Children can learn to speak after ages 3 and 4, even as late as 8 and 10.
- Children with Down Syndrome, Apraxia, and other issues have sever oral motor delays.
- Before children speak, they need to be CONSTANT SOCIAL SOUNDERS.
- Adults must enter a child's world of sounds before pushing for word.
- Imitating your child's sounds is very important for him learning to talk. Make sound imitating your most frequent way to play with your preverbal child.
- Expecting words too soon can discourage your child from the sounding practice he needs.
- The most important exercise children need for speech is MAKING A LOT OF SPEECH SOUNDS.
- Practicing sounding all day long is necessary; therapy sessions are not enough. Learning to speak is like learning to play piano; a child ill not learn piano if he only takes a lesson once a week and does not practice.
- Parents must learn what children need to do before speech: social play, imitation, turntaking, social sounding and communicating habitually without words.
- Late-talking children often interact much less than others.
- The more a child interacts , the more likely will he learn to speak.
- The more you play in your child's world the more he will speak.
- The more you pressure him to speak in ways he is not ready the less he will speak.
- Be a living dictionary: put a word on your child's immediate experience.
- Be a translator: your child has two languages: one is English and one is his own special language ( call it "Lisa "or "Larry" language) : respond to his special language such as" ee-ee" for"doggie" with the simple word "doggie"
- Have conversations with sounds before words.
- Over stimulation is a serious barrier to learning to speak. Be careful not to "bathe" your child with language because you might" drown" him out.
- Match your child's communication: talk in ways he can talk; avoid talking too much in ways he cannot try to do.
- Avoid (like the plague) correcting your child's speech or making him feel he is doing something wrong. Simply give him the word clearly without judgment.
- The more your child feel successes, the more he will speak.
- Speech for school or performance ( show and tell) is not enough. Make sure your child is really communicating with people not just answering questions or reciting things.
- Signing can help at first, but do not depend on it; go for speech. I know many children who sign hundreds of words but rarely speak to people; be very careful.
- Talking back and forth in many turns is more important that combining words in long sentences. FOCUS ON MORE TURNS BEFORE MORE WORDS.
- Children talk more when you join in his enjoyable activities..
- Parents are the best language teacher: Your child learns to talk in every interaction you have; not in school or therapy.
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