18 Feb 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Tips on increasing your child’s vocabulary

As children learn to speak, they need  to expand their vocabulary. Children need to learn the meaning of new words and to able to use them appropriately. A lot of this work occurs naturally for a child. They learn through hearing adults (and older siblings) talk around and to them. However there are ways of communicating as a parent  that are more likely to help children learn than others.

Increasing your child’s vocabulary

Let’s start by talking about what your child is interested in! If we try to talk to your child about doing the laundry – they won’t be interested or motivated to tune in to what you say! However you might see a different response when talking about dinosaurs, making fairies fly, and jumping around the house.

Use play time with your child to help their language. This can be challenging but also very rewarding.  During this play you want to ensure you are playing with what your child wants to play with, and how they want to play with it. To illustrate,  if they want to play with cars, great! If they want to make the cars fly like spaceships – great lets do that! Try not to insist that the cars drive on the road in the ‘proper’ way – let your child lead the way!  From here we use the child’s natural language and expand on it.

If your child is able to speak – repeat what they say, and add to it!  For example a child says “It’s a monkey” we can repeat this but add something new to build their vocabulary e.g. “Look it’s a big monkey! It’s a big silly monkey!” Don’t forget to speak in  an animated way, emphasising the key words, slowing down your speech, and repeating yourself.

The 4 S’s of vocabulary building

Say Less- limit your what you say. Yes your child may understand you if you say “Look the blue car is going down to big slide and then let’s move this car under the big brown bridge!”. However, they cannot imitate this. Provide this information to your child in sections that they can try to imitate e.g. “the blue car goes down!”

Stress – emphasise the key words you want your child to learn! E.g. “The blue car goes down!”

Go Slow – Slow down your rate of speech!

Show – demonstrate what you are talking about – if you say “the blue car goes down” – make sure the blue car does go down the slide!

Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! Everything you say – say it more than once! Repetition is the key to your child listening and taking in what you are saying!

Seeking help

Remember – you are not going to be able to change your communication style overnight – it’s going to take time and practice. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t speak to your child in this way every minute of the day. Set aside time to practice each time and focus on your communication.

Consulting a speech pathologist may also be helpful if you’re feeling worried about your child’s language development. Please contact reception for more information about the speech pathology service we provide on 9274 7062.

Georgina Klimaitis

Speech Pathologist

Strategies adapted from The Hannen Centre.

05 Feb 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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5 tips for language development

Children learn language by watching and listening to others. As a baby your child listens to your voice and tries to copy you with all those lovely babbling sounds.  From 6 months onward, some of those sounds begin to sound like words (e.g. dada and baba). Then from 9 months onward, you’ll see your child start to recognise words (e.g. no, ouch, ta and bye-bye) and they will find ways to tell you what they want (e.g. raise their arms to be picked up). Use of individual words can start anywhere from 12 to 15 months. This is the exciting phase when children start to develop a vocabulary of words to let you know their needs (e.g. juice, doll and doggie).

As a parent you play an important role in helping your child develop their early language skills!

How can parents help?

Taken from The Hanen Centre, the following are some tips to help guide your child’s language development.

1.Use many different kinds of words when talking with your child.

2. Make a point of highlighting a variety of word types when talking to your child, not just the names of things. It is important for your child to learn a variety of word types in order to talk in short sentences.

3. Emphasize action words (sleep, eat, run, push, squeeze, break), descriptive words (soft, hot, big, sticky, funny, tired), location words (up, down, in, on, under), words about belonging (my, your, his, Mommy’s), and feeling words (sad, sick, happy, angry), as well nouns or names of things (dog, book, bed, cup).

4. Repeat these words often and make them stand out when you use them by exaggerating your intonation and slowing down a bit. For example, “Mommy is very… TIRED (yawn). I must go to bed because I need to have a good sleep. Then I won’t be so tired.”

5. Talk about your  child’s natural interests (e.g. their favourite toy) with them. For example, if your child says “ball”, you can extend this with something like “yes, that’s your big, red ball!”.

Where to go for help?

Children can struggle with language development for a range of reasons. A conversation with a child health nurse, GP or early childhood teacher may be helpful in providing reassurance or pointing you in the right direction. Consulting a speech pathologist for advice may also be helpful as they are able to let you know if there is anything to be concerned about and if there is a need for therapy.

The Centre has three speech pathologists available who work on different days of the week. Please call reception on 9274 7062 for more information about our speech pathology services.

Georgina Klimaitis and Naomi Ward

Child Wellbeing Centre

30 Jan 2019

BY: admin

Speech Pathologist

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Encouraging Listening Skills

We learn about language by listening to patterns and changes in the speech of others. Encouraging good listening skills will help your child throughout their language development. Listening to sounds and talking about sounds with your child will encourage them to focus on sounds and help with learning to link sounds with their cause.  So how do we develop listening skills in young children? Try the following tips…

5 Tips for developing the listening skills of young children

1.  Remove or reduce distractors. Don’t try to talk over the top of the TV, other voices or music. Turn down the volume of devices so you and your child can hear you speak . Getting their attention in the first instance is very important.

2. Encourage your child to look at you while you are talking. Having said this some children find eye contact uncomfortable so for these children, facing towards you is fine. Encouraging your child to show you with their body (e.g. eye gaze, body posture and orientation) that they are listening will make it easier for you to know that they are.

3. Encourage them to ask you questions. This allows both you and them to check for understanding. For the children who won’t ask, you can always prompt them to tell you what they thought you just said. This isn’t meant to be an interrogation though! Rather its a way of checking in.

4. Play listening games with your child. Remember the old “Chinese Whispers” game? Aside from fun, it’s a great way of sharpening up listening skills. Other activities where your child has to listen and follow instructions are also helpful e.g. cooking.

5. Praise, praise, praise. Learning to listen is a skill that everyone has to master. Some of us find it easier than others. It’s always good practice to praise a child when you see them doing something positive and helpful…just like listening.

What to do if those listening skills don’t appear to be switching on?

Children can struggle with listening for a range of reasons. It’s important to take note and seek advice. A conversation with a child health nurse, GP or early childhood teacher may be helpful in pointing you in the right direction. Speech Pathologists can also assess listening and the role that language development may play in any difficulties.

The Centre has three speech pathologists available who work on different days of the week. Please call reception on 9274 7062 for more information about our speech pathology services.

Georgina Klimaitis and Naomi Ward

Child Wellbeing Centre

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