There are many ways in which you can help a child talk better. Here is a list of popular speech therapy strategies used by Speech Language Therapists. These can be helpful for professionals and parents alike.
1. Simplify : Use short phrases and sentences.
2. Add 1 word : Use 1 more word than what the child is using.
3. Imitation : Teach kids to copy you
4. Give 2 choices : What do you want? _____ or _____
5. Self Talk : Talk out loud about what you’re doing
6. Parallel Talk: Talk out loud about what the child is doing
7. Repetition : Repeat words again and again
8. Opportunities : Increase opportunities to use the new words many times in a day
9. Model : Tell the child what you want them to say
10. Use Visuals : Show objects or pictures when talking
11. One at a Time : Give only one of what the ask. E.g – Give one cookie, blow only one bubble, so that the child asks for more!
12. Sabotage : Set up the activity in a way that the child needs your help. E.g Give a plate but don’t give food to eat.
13. Out of Reach : Keep things that the child wants out of his reach, so that he has to ask for it. E.g – Keep the toy on the top of a cupboard
14. Be Forgetful : Pretend to forget where things are kept or what’s the next step and allow the child to speak up.
15. Don’t Anticipate : Don’t anticipate what your child wants the next minute. E.g – Let him ask for food when he feels hungry.
16. Be Silly : Do unexpected actions and gather the child’s attention. E.g – While playing with a ball, call it a pillow and allow the child to correct you.
17. Follow the lead : Talk about the child’s interest and follow his lead.
18. What’s New? : Try something new which you haven’t done with the child before. It could be a new craft, a new sensory activity or even a new song
19. Verbal Routine : Use same words in your interaction with the child. More here.
E.g- Start every activity with 1,2,3 ….
20. Sing : Use songs and music in your activities with the child.
21. Wait : Give wait time for the child to respond
22. Listen : Listen to what the child has to say. Let him finish his sentence.
23. Imaginary Talking Box : Whenever you interact with the child imagine that you both are inside a box, in a way that you should be able to a) touch the child b) maintain eye contact with him
24. Make Comments : Resort to commenting that bombarding the child with questions.
25. Say it Back : Repeat back with a stress on the correct target word. E.g If the child says , I want to eat ‘tootie’, repeat and say Yes you want to eat “COOKIE” ( stress on cookie)
26. Pacing Board : Tap or clap to add more words
27. Raise It : Raise the object you are talking about near your face. This will allow the child to maintain better eye contact and also look at how the word is pronounced in the mouth.
28. Finger+Thumb : Use this strategy to visually prompt the child to make a sentence. Each word corresponds to the finger+thumb tap
29. Temptations : Set up an environment conducive to learning. Have books, toys and items of the child’s interest around. These will tempt him to communicate with you.
30. Highlight : It’s important to use your voice effectively. Acoustically highlight it at the right time to gather the child’s attention and model good speech.
31. Gestures : Use gestures and sign language while talking with the child.
32. Expand : Expand language when talking to your child. Describe more about what you or the child is doing.
33. Open Ended Questions : Try open ended Wh questions. ( What, Why, Where, When and Who)
34. Small Steps : Take small steps in moving towards your communication goals.
35. Break it down : Break down longer activities into shorter achievable tasks. E.g – Instead of expecting the child to say all words clearly, focus only on saying all words with P clearly.
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