As children acquire language and speech, they follow unique trajectories, and some take longer than others to master the full range of sounds in their native languages. There is a wide range of “normal,” and many parents worry too soon that their child has a speech disorder or other problem. If you suspect your child has an unusual delay in acquiring clear speech, it’s important to have him or her diagnosed by a speech pathologist, who may or may not recommend Speech Therapy in Salt Lake City Utah. The following are some tips for parents who want to encourage their children’s speech development whether or not they have a diagnosis.
First of all, it’s important to read to children regularly. Choose age-appropriate, high-interest books with engaging illustrations, and encourage your child to talk about the pictures with you. If you’re not sure what books to choose, check with your local public library. For young children, rhymes are excellent tools to promote sound discrimination, as children must be able to hear a sound before they can correctly produce it.
Praise your young child’s efforts at speech and avoid correcting mistakes. It’s well documented that corrections from parents or caregivers have little to no effect on a child’s development of correct speech. Children have to go through certain developmental stages to arrive at clear speech. For example, most if not all children go through a stage of pronouncing “r” as “w.” Some children naturally linger at this stage longer than others.
Play games to practice target sounds. For example, if your child needs to work on the “sh” sound, take turns listing words that begin with the sound. Make the game more challenging by limiting the words to certain categories, like animals or actions. You can also find words in your environment or in a picture book that contain the target sound. There are also apps available that let children practice sound discrimination or pronunciation with games.
If you’re concerned that your child is delayed beyond his or her peers or if your child’s speech problems are causing social problems, it’s important to have your child evaluated by a speech therapist to determine the cause and best treatment. Many children have been able to overcome a variety of speech problems after having Speech Therapy in Salt Lake City Utah. For more information, contact Hand & Orthopedic Physical Therapy Specialists.