Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How to get my infant to talk: Tip #4!

It's Tip Tuesday and since I receive questions about facilitating and eliciting language in very young children often from parents all over the world I thought I'd do a series offering tips and techniques I have done (and still do) with my own kiddos to get them talking!  You will notice there will be very few speech pathology terms used here as the goal of this series is to speak directly to parents.  However this information can be used by SLPs, early interventionists, or early childhood educators as well.  These tips are targeted for children 0-3 yrs (or cognitive equivalent).

Tip #4 (you can find Tip #3 here):

Imitate your baby.  What does that mean?  When your baby begins to move his mouth, make raspberries, hums, growls, or begins to babble (with open vowels--"ah", "oh", "e"--or early developing sounds, "b, m, d, t", etc.), you want to take those opportunities to model your baby.  By modeling your baby's movements or vocalizations, you are showing him/her that what he/she is doing and/or saying is important.

When modeling baby, you want to be silly and just have fun with it.  You want to become a play thing for your child!  The more enjoyable your imitations are to your baby, the more he/she will continue participating in this game.  As your baby's participation in imitation games increases and lengthens in duration, the more repeated practice with oral motor movements and already developing sounds your child will receive.  In addition, it will increase the chances your baby will produce variations of the same sound or different and new sounds.

Why it works?  You are simply creating a reciprocal communicative exchange by imitating your baby.  Very quickly your baby will begin to "take turns" with you during this play which models how we take turns in conversations with others.  Additionally, as the old adage goes "practice makes perfect", and this is no exception.  The more your baby practices oral motor movements and sounds, the better he/she will become at producing them with volitional rather than spontaneously.

Check out Tip #5 here!

Happy imitating and talking!
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