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Monday, 12 November 2012

Tips For Speech/Communication Delays - Increasing Vocabulary

"I'm simply speechless!"

Increasing a child's vocabulary is often easy.  If there is a speech delay, this is not the case.  It is not as simple as just talking to the child and repeating words over and over (although we do this anyways!)  Simply saying "Josie, can you say ____" is mostly useless.  Saying "Josie, what's that?" often draws just a blank look, or some jibber-jabber.  So, what did I do to help increase her vocabulary?  Here are my tips:

  1. Talk and talk and talk and talk.  Even if it doesn't seem to be helping, just keep doing it.  You never know when one of the hundreds of words you've said throughout the day will stick.
  2. Repeat key words over and over.  Say you want your child to say "juice."  Use juice as many times as humanly possible over the course of the day.
  3. DO NOT ASK THE CHILD IF HE/SHE CAN SAY A WORD!  If your child is being stubborn, there is no way he/she will respond.
  4. Do not ask what something is.  State what something is.  Instead of "What's that?"  say "That's a banana!"  or "I see a banana, look!"
  5. Respond to the gibberish.  Even if you have no clue what it means.  If a child is looking in the kitchen and starts jabbering, respond "Oh yes, I do see the fridge" or "Yes honey, the floor is orange!"
  6. When the child tries to say something, respond as if they said it correctly.  If the child says "nana" for banana, respond with "Yes, that is a banana!" This is way more positive than saying "No honey, say ba-na-na."
  7. When the child uses a word, add on another.  For example, the child says "baby."  Respond with "Baby eating" or "Baby sleeping."  Try to make the added words verbs or adjectives.  This will give them more words to use when they start forming phrases.
  8. When singing or playing a familiar game, pause to let the child fill in words.  Accept any noise or gibberish as the proper word.  "Head and shoulders, knee's and....."  or "1, 2, 3, ......"  Pause for a good 10-15 seconds to see if they say anything!
These are the techniques I am currently using.  We have managed to increase Josie's vocabulary from about half a dozen words, to over 30.  She only uses maybe 12 of these words on a regular basis however.  So this is still a work in progress!  If you have any tips or ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Part 1 of the Speech/Communication Tips Series was on Pointing, it can be found here.

I think Part 3 will be about turn taking.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this post.A great way to become a great English communicator is to learn how to increase English vocabulary.


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