28 April 2013
Speech and language development begins months before a child’s first words. As soon as a baby is born, he or she begins to develop the groundwork needed to produce speech. There are many activities parents and children can do together that can foster speech and language development. Be sure to stimulate your child by conducting activities that will ensure your child’s development is progressing. Below are some ideas that can help you stimulate your child’s speech and language development.
Birth to 2 Years: Stimulate speech and language development
• Encourage your baby to make vowel-like and consonant-vowel sounds such as “ma,” “da,” and “ba.”
• Reinforce attempts by maintaining eye contact, responding with speech, and imitating vocalizations using different patterns and emphasis. For example, raise the pitch of your voice to indicate a question.
• Imitate your baby’s laughter and facial expressions.
• Teach your baby to imitate your actions, including clapping your hands, throwing kisses, and playing finger games such as pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and the itsy-bitsy-spider.
• Talk as you bathe, feed, and dress your child. Talk about what you are doing, where you are going, what you will do when you arrive, and who and what you will see.
• Identify colors.
• Count items.
• Use gestures such as waving goodbye to help convey meaning.
• Introduce animal sounds to associate a sound with a specific meaning: “The doggie says woof-woof.”
• Acknowledge the attempt to communicate.
• Expand on single words your baby uses: “Here is Mama. Mama loves you. Where is baby? Here is baby.”
• Read to your child. Sometimes “reading” is simply describing the pictures in a book without following the written words. Choose books that are sturdy and have large colorful pictures that are not too detailed. Ask your child, “What’s this?” and encourage naming and pointing to familiar objects in the book.
(Source: American Speech-Language -Hearing Association)