Late Talkers

My Toddler is Not Talking Yet.

Should I be concerned?  What can I do to help?

These are comments and questions that we hear quite frequently when concerned parents contact us at Learn2Communicate.  So many parents have, what they describe as, a niggling doubt about their child’s speech and language development.  At first, they may rely upon the well-meaning advice of loved ones.  Being told ‘Don’t worry.  He will grow out of it’ or  ‘Your father didn’t speak until he was 4’ can temporarily put those worries aside but, unless that little toddler starts to talk soon after, such comments rarely help to allay a parent’s worry.  Before long someone will surely say something  along the lines of ‘I think he should be talking by now’ or ‘Your child should have 50 words by this age’.  Although such comments often tip a parent into action; these types of comments can also fuel a parent’s concern and do little by way of assisting the parent in knowing what to do next and when to do it.

For those of you reading this post and think ‘Ahhh…I do have concerns about my child’s language development’, then please read on as we have some simple tips to get you started and to help you feel  empowered with the knowledge, skills and capacity to nurture your child’s communication development.  There is much that you can do to help young children learn how to communicate. All children can become effective communicators…even those who have a significant degree of disability and other co-morbid conditions.  Okay, read on for some great tips to get started!

The ‘WHY’ of Communication

Sit back and observe your child for a few days.  Take note of the reasons WHY your child communicates.  Take your focus off which speech sounds your child can or cannot say for now.  Just ask yourself WHY does my child communicate / for what communicative purposes?

Some reasons why you child might communicate include to express:

  • Greetings / Farewells
  • Request for items, food, drink and actions e.g. to be lifted out of the highchair, to go outside
  • Comments about what he or she is interested in or is noticing
  • Responses to your simple questions and to your requests to follow simple directions
  • Enjoyment, excitement, frustration, protest and rejection

The HOW of Communication

Some of the many ways in which your child might communicate these intents might include:

  • Facial expressions
  • Tone of voice
  • Gestures including pointing
  • Speech ‘jargon’ that is unintelligible but that has the intonation of language
  • Single words
  • Short phrases

Identify any gaps in the WHYs of communication

Communication is a complex dance between people that goes back and forth in a reciprocal relationship.  Communication involves far more than identifying body parts or imitating words after an adult requests a child to ‘say…’.  Look for the gaps in your child’s communicative intent.

Perhaps your child can wave hello and bye bye but may not yet be communicating for the purpose […]
2022-12-21T22:27:54+00:00

Talking Time with your Child…Make it an Atomic Habit

I have recently been reflecting upon how our daily habits all contribute to our long term health and wellbeing after reading the bestselling book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear.  For those of you who attended our face to face Learn2Communicate events throughout the Central West of NSW earlier in 2022, you would already know this.  I haven’t stopped thinking about the idea of applying this concept to my work as a Speech Pathologist.  How can we make small and easy changes to our daily routines and interactions with children in a way that will have a powerful impact?

We know that children respond well to frequent, positive interactions with a loving caregiver and that child acquisition of oral language skills can be boosted in the early years via such interactions. As a Speech Pathologist and also as a Parent, I also know that providing families of children who have speech, language and communication challenges with comprehensive, detailed ‘home programmes’ in order to provide this boost to oral language can be ineffective.  Add to this the request by the Speech Pathologist to “complete this home programme with your child at least 3-4 times per week and try to spend 15-30 minutes during each practice time” and we see many parents opting to run for the hills!

What if we could, instead, infuse some new powerful habits into everyday routines and that these habits were easy yet effective in helping all children become effective communicators?

How can we make Talking Time with Children a new Atomic Habit that each and every one of us can adopt?

Here are some ideas I would encourage all of you to consider!

Start by identifying what the exisiting routines are during your day that involve you and your child.

Write these down.  A routine doesn’t have to have many steps; it is simply just something that happens on several days each week with some degree of predictability.  Some examples I can think of with a toddler in mind might be: getting into the car seat, packing a bag for daycare, bath time, story time at night, getting dressed, breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner time, parent returning home from work time, bed time.  Perhaps keep a blank piece of paper on the fridge for a week and note every small little routine that you can think of as it occurs.

Now…choose one of those routines and write down the ‘script’ for what happens. Here is an example for a fictional child. Let’s call him Dylan:

Snack Time after Preschool

Mum opens front door.

Mum and Dylan walk inside.

Mum takes Dylan’s backpack and unpacks drink bottle, lunch box and hat.

Mum puts each of these items away.

Mum takes Dylan’s shoes off.

Mum opens fridge and makes Dylan a snack of carrot sticks and hummus.

Mum lifts Dylan to sit at kitchen bench and places snack in front of him.

Mum says “time for afternoon tea”

Dylan eats snack whilst mum […]

2022-11-21T01:23:17+00:00

Many Ways to use our Fun Friends Cards

So many ways to use our Fun Friends deck of cards for listening and talking development. Asking questions, listening, providing rich descriptions and learning about emotions…. We love resources that have plenty of different applications and this is definitely one of them!

Order your copy from our website today https://learn2communicate.com.au/product/fun-friends/

2022-11-07T03:37:41+00:00

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