Speech and Language

With Speech and Language, there are many areas that can be a difficut for people.  These include:

  • language delay

  • specific difficulties in producing sounds

  • hearing impairment

There is nothing that can replace advice from a trained Speech and Language Therapist, however with waiting lists getting longer as the pandemic reigns, you may want to get a piece of mind while you wait. 

Whatever the need it is important to have a sound and language rich environment.  Talk to them, read to them, and listen to them.  If they are frustrated, try signing.  Makaton is used in homes and schools throughout the world. It uses speech with signs (gestures) and symbols (pictures) to help people communicate.  It also uses facial expression, eye contact and body language to give as much information as possible.   It is similar to BSL (British Sign Language) but is used in word order to augment speech.

When ascertaining what the barriers can be, I often begin with Afaisic's screenings found here.  From this I can target support. 

When there is an issue with sound articulation, you can use a screener such as this.

Once you have narrowed the sounds down, there are various ways to help your child.  Primarily is not to correct them.  This will create anxiety around speaking.  Repeat back to them what they say.  E.g. If they say - I want a tar.  Your response would be - You want a car.  This way they can hear the correct pronounciation.  If they repeat it, it is a bonus.  Encourage them to look at you for the correct tongue placement.  Say their name so that they are tuned in and then speak.  The more a child watches others when they are talking, the more they are likely to pick up sounds naturally.

A fun way for them to associate the feel and look of sounds is play in the mirror. Pull faces and make sounds.  When brushing teeth, this can be a fun activity.  Who can make the other person laugh first?

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