How to Avoid These Mistakes with Your Late Talker

Do you ever just wish your child would talk more?  Then this is an important article that could make the world of difference to you.

As a parent, you have an enormous influence on your child’s talking in those critical first 5 years.  You need to be aware of the mistakes you can make that can reduce your child’s talking skills.

Let’s start by looking at how many words your child should be saying…

Age Number of words used
12 months 2-6
18 months 20-100
2 years 200-300
3 years 900+
4 years 1500+
5 years 2500+

 

That is some massive growth happening in a very short amount of time!  If your child doesn’t hear the right amount and type of talking during these critical early years they can have trouble learning to talk, the gap between them and their peers can widen super quickly and you will spend more time in therapy trying to close that gap.

By learning to talk to your child in the right way with the right amount of words you can help them develop their talking skills at the right rate.  They will keep up with their peers and you can avoid expensive long-term therapy.

“We hear so many parents being told to just ‘wait and see’ by people who are not qualified Speech Pathologists.  Do NOT wait and see.  There is a huge amount of evidence that shows getting help early leads to the best results and NO evidence that the ‘wait and see’ approach does.”

So, if you want your child to talk more then read on and find out three of the biggest mistakes you could be making when talking to your child.

Mistake #1 Asking lots of questions

This teaches your child a very limited range of words and does not teach your child the different ways we can use words. Asking ‘what’s this?’ when you know they know the answer is pointless! Watch the video below to find out what you should be doing instead.

Mistake #2 Saying “say”

We see this one all the time!  You may hear yourself come out with “say dog”. Prompting your child to “say” something can often have the opposite effect and their lips will shut tight.  Instead, model the word or sentence you want them to try to say and wait while looking expectantly at them.

Mistake #3 Talking too much

You may find yourself talking constantly or using long sentences thinking ‘the more the better’. But actually this doesn’t work.  They’ll put getting a word in or imitating you in the too hard basket.  So, try saying a short sentence that is 1 or 2 words longer than what your child uses and leave silences so your child can say something if they wish (count to 10 in your head before talking again).

 

If you want to know more about how we can help get your child talking send us an email at info@talkplaygrow.com.au and one of our friendly staff will be in touch.

 


3 Ways to Develop the Critical Skills Your Child Must Have Before They’ll Talk

If you have a child who’s not yet talking, those first words are probably something you’re excited about hearing. Keep reading to find out one thing your child needs to be able to do before you’ll hear those precious first words and ways you can help them to learn how to do them.

The critical skill they need is joint attention. Joint attention is when you and your child share focus on something together. It might be a toy, a person or something interesting in your surroundings. It’s important that your child is able to gain and direct your attention to something. They’ll often do this by pointing and looking at the thing of interest. It’s also important for them to be able to respond to you and shift their attention when you want to share something with them. Joint attention is super important as it’s one of the ways we ‘tune in’ to other people and learn from them and our surroundings. It’s a critical skill your child needs to learn to talk. Without it your child’s talking will be delayed. 

So, how do you help your child develop joint attention? Here are 3 things to try:

1. Get down to your child’s level

When you’re standing up, you seem a really long way away from your child and this makes it harder for them to focus on you and what you're looking at. Getting down to their level helps them to pay attention to your face and the thing you’re showing them. It also makes it easier for them to get your attention and direct it to what they’re interested in.

2. Be animated 

When you’re trying to get your child’s attention or you’re sharing focus together, use lots of facial expressions and an excited tone of voice.This will not only help to capture your child’s attention but it’ll help them stay focused for longer too.

3. Follow their interests

Pay attention to what your child is interested in and join them by looking at it too and making comments about it. There’s no need to try to get them to focus on a new toy if they’re interested and enjoying focusing on another. When you do this your child will be far more likely to return the favour and share in your interests.

If you’re worried about your child’s talking, a paediatric Speech Pathologist is the health professional who can help. Contact your local Speech Pathologist or send us an email at info@talplaygrow.com.au

 

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3 Ways to Develop the Critical Skills Your Child Must Have Before They’ll Talk

If you have a child who’s not yet talking, those first words are probably something you’re excited about hearing. Keep reading to find out one thing your child needs to be able to do before you’ll hear those precious first words and ways you can help them to learn how to do them.

 

The critical skill they need is joint attention. Joint attention is when you and your child share focus on something together. It might be a toy, a person, or something interesting in your surroundings. It’s important that your child is able to gain and direct your attention to something. They’ll often do this by pointing and looking at the thing of interest. It’s also important for them to be able to respond to you and shift their attention when you want to share something with them. Joint attention is super important as it’s one of the ways we ‘tune in’ to other people and learn from them and our surroundings. It’s a critical skill your child needs to learn to talk. Without it, your child’s talking will be delayed. 

 

So, how do you help your child develop joint attention? Here are 3 things to try:

1. Get down to your child’s level

When you’re standing up, you seem a really long way away from your child and this makes it harder for them to focus on you and what you're looking at. Getting down to their level helps them to pay attention to your face and the thing you’re showing them. It also makes it easier for them to get your attention and direct it to what they’re interested in.

2. Be animated 

When you’re trying to get your child’s attention or you’re sharing focus together, use lots of facial expressions and an excited tone of voice. This will not only help to capture your child’s attention but it’ll help them stay focused for longer too.

3. Follow their interests

Pay attention to what your child is interested in and join them by looking at it too and making comments about it. There’s no need to try to get them to focus on a new toy if they’re interested and enjoying focusing on another. When you do this your child will be far more likely to return the favour and share in your interests.

If you’re worried about your child’s talking, a paediatric Speech Pathologist is the health professional who can help. Contact your local Speech Pathologist or send us an email. 

 

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Christmas Gift Guide to Grow Your Child's Language Skills

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and it's that time of year to find gifts for the children in your world. There are so many options available so we thought we'd put together a list of the best toys to engage your child's language skills - after all learning through play is one of the greatest ways to help your child develop their communication and have fun!

Looking for some last-minute stocking fillers or a Christmas present for under the tree?  The masses of toys you find in the stores can be rather overwhelming.  You may find yourself asking which ones will they enjoy and will also help with their development? To help you choose, we’ve put together of few of our top suggestions for some great presents this Christmas that everyone will love and won’t send you rushing out for more batteries on Boxing Day.

1. An experience voucher

Not every gift has to be a toy. An experience voucher is a great way to explore the world around us together. Whether it is a voucher for the zoo, movie tickets, an interactive play centre, a wildlife park, adventure park, water park, aquarium or science centre.  There are so many fabulous places for children of different ages.  Your child will love spending time with you and seeing something new.  And, of course, it’s the perfect opportunity for them to learn new things too!

2. Books

The benefits of books are enormous and a great gift for any age!  For younger children, colourful picture books and books with lots of repetition and rhythmical language are perfect.  Some wonderful authors include Mem Fox, Pamela Allen, Eric Carle and Julia Donaldson. For older children, you’ll probably know what they’re interested in reading.  Some great series include the Treehouse series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Bad Guys and Captain Underpants. All of these chapter books have images and text to be able to engage your child in a love for reading.

3. Construction Toys

Think soft or plastic blocks for babies, wooden blocks or Mega Blocks for toddlers, Duplo or LEGO for preschoolers and Technic LEGO for school children.  They will spend hours constructing whilst using their imagination and motor skills. When playing together construction type toys give the opportunity to talk through steps and further develop vocabulary and an understanding of prepositions (i.e. in/on/top/under) which can be explored at any age.

4. Board and Card Games

Games are a great way to explore communicating within a fun framework. They encourage children to take turns, read and process information, express themselves and develop strategies for communicating. When finding games for preschool seek out ones that are simple and encourage taking turns like Snap, Match-Ups, Memory games or Snakes and Ladders. As they get older children can further explore multiple-step instructions and turn-taking along with other literacy skills in a fun way with games like Top Trumps, UNO, Scrabble - Kids Edition, Kids Know Best or Monopoly to develop these skills.

There are lots more specific and detailed suggestions out there. One of the things you’ll notice about these lists is the toys do not need batteries! Studies have found that toys with lights, sounds and automatic actions actually reduce the number of ways a child will play with it and reduce the amount of talking that happens during their play.

We hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and you find a gift that’s your child loves.

Happy Christmas shopping!


Is Your Child Stuttering?

What is stuttering?

Stuttering is a communication disorder in which there are interruptions to speech.   The types of stuttering that may be present are:

  • Sound repetitions (e.g. t-t-t-teddy)
  • Word repetitions (e.g. my-my-my-my turn please)
  • Phrase repetitions (e.g. I want-I want a banana)
  • Blocking (i.e. getting stuck before the word)
  • Prolongation (i.e. stretching out the word)

Signs of tension or effort may also accompany these interruptions.  Stuttering can range from mild to severe and its onset may be gradual or sudden.  The severity of stuttering can also fluctuate over time.

How common is it?

Stuttering is common.  In their study, Reilly et al (2013) found that 11.2% of children were stuttering by 4 years of age.  Stuttering is more common in boys than girls however it is not known why this is the case.

What causes it?

The cause of stuttering is not known.  Current thinking is that it is most likely due to some difficulties in the brain activity involved in speech production.  It is not caused by anxiety, though feeling anxious can make stuttering worse.

It is known, however, that stuttering tends to run in families and therefore there may be a hereditary component.  There is no evidence to suggest that the way parents interact with their children leads to a child stuttering.

Will it go away by itself?

Some children will naturally recover from stuttering without any treatment.  Currently, it is not possible to predict which children will recover naturally.

When it comes to when to start treatment individual circumstances must always be taken into account.  There are certain characteristics that indicate immediate treatment is required.  As such, it is recommended to seek advice from a speech language pathologist if your child begins stuttering.

There are programs that have been proven to be very effective in the treatment of childhood stuttering.  The most widely used in Australia is a program developed by Sydney University’s Australian Stuttering Research Centre called The Lidcombe Program.  It is recommended that stuttering treatment begins during the preschool years.

If you are concerned your child is stuttering please feel free to contact the team at Talk Play Grow on (02) 9653 9955.

Our speech language pathologists are experienced in working with children who stutter and can provide you with advice and guidance.

References
Australian Stuttering Research Centre (2012).  What is Stuttering?  Retrieved 22 March, 2014, from http://sydney.edu.au/health-sciences/asrc/what_is/index.shtml

Reilly, S. et al (2013).  Natural history of stuttering to 4 years of age: A prospective Community-Based Study.  Pediatrics, 132(2), 460-467.  Doi: 10.1542/peds.2012.3076

Stuttering (2011).  Retrieved 21 March, 2014, from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Stuttering?open

 


Clear speech: 3 tips to help your child say the 'f' sound

Do you have a child who can’t say the ‘f’ sound?

Perhaps they say ‘pish’ for ‘fish’ or ‘cottee’ for ‘coffee’. These mistakes can definitely sound cute when they’re young however once your child gets to a certain age they need to be able to say these words correctly. If you let your child say words the wrong way for too long it can make the mistakes harder to fix. And if you leave it until they start school, your child is very likely to have trouble learning to read and spell. And we know you don’t want that for them so keep reading for 3 tips on helping your child say the ‘f’ sound correctly. 

So when is the right time to try to fix the ‘f’ sound?

The answer is once your child is older than 3 years of age. If your child isn’t 3 years old yet don’t try to fix it. They won’t be ready and it’ll just end in frustration for both you and them. But if your child is older than 3 then now is the time to work on getting it right. There are many ways to teach children to say sounds correctly and here are 3 of our top tips for the ‘f’ sound:

Show them how to say it

The first tip in teaching your child to say the ‘f’ sound is to get down on their level and show them how to say the sound. Say just the sound itself and be right in front of them. Don’t try it in words like ‘fish’. That’ll be too tricky for them, they won’t succeed and they’ll either get frustrated or not want to try again. Ask them to copy you and see how they go.

Explain to them how to say it

Some simple instructions on how to say the ‘f’ sound can be really helpful for your child. Now, different instructions work for different children so be prepared to try a few ways. You could tell them to “bite your lip and blow” or “make a rabbit face and blow”. If one work, stick with it! 

Use a mirror for visual feedback

Your child will really benefit from seeing what they’re doing with their mouth so use a mirror. If you’ve got a mirror on your wardrobe just sit on the floor in front of it or head to the bathroom and use the mirror there. Just make sure they can see themselves. You may need a small step. You make the sound and see if they can copy your mouth movements to make the sound too. Give them the instructions on how to make the sound at the same time. 

Please be aware the above does not replace professional advice. If you’re worried about your child’s speech please contact a Speech Pathologist. Click here to send our Speech Pathologists a message today.


3 ways to support children with Autism

As part of Autism Awareness Month we thought we’d share with you 3 of our top tips for supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There’s a saying that if you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism. And it’s so true! By its nature, autism is a spectrum, with each child having their own combination of strengths and difficulties. Even though every child is unique, there are some key ways we can help support all children with autism so they can reach their goals, whatever those may be.

So, here are 3 of our top tips for supporting children with ASD...

TIP #1 - Create a consistent routine

We all tend to enjoy some consistency and routine in our lives however for children with ASD this is even more important. Consistent routines are something they rely on to understand their world and feel calm. Regularity in mealtimes, school, therapy appointments, and bedtime makes their day more predictable which reduces anxiety and increases calm. Disruptions will happen from time to time but try to keep them to a minimum and stick to your schedule. If a change to your routine is needed try to give your child as much notice as possible beforehand and talk about it regularly with them in the lead up to the change. 

TIP #2 - Use visuals to support understanding

The problem with words is they’re so transient. Spoken one second and gone the next! This puts an enormous load on our brains to process the information quickly and remember it. For children with ASD we know this is much harder from them to do. Visuals, or pictures that represent words, lighten that load. The pictures stay put and your child can refer back to them whenever they need to. Visuals can be used throughout your day. They can be used to show your child their routine for the day, the steps they need to complete for everyday tasks (e.g. going to the toilet), understand abstract concepts like emotions and more.. 

TIP #3 - Use their interests to teach them new skills

All children have things that interest them more than others. Children with ASD are no different. There’ll be things that interest them a lot and things they’re not interested in at all. Finding out their interests and incorporating them when you’re playing or talking to your child will help them pay attention and learn from you. Some parents worry that entertaining their interests will make them fixate on them even more however this is not the case. Using their interests will help them to engage with you and when they’re engaged you can gently introduce new ways of playing or new topics to talk about.

We hope you found this article useful? Please feel free to click the share button and help spread the word. All children deserve to be supported to achieve their full potential.