Explore these engaging and educational activities that will help your child increase their language skills. Be consistent and have fun with your little one!
Increasing Language with Speech Blubs
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Singing Songs/Nursery Rhymes
Studies have shown that melodic intonation (“singy-songy” voices) can help increase language development and sustain a child’s attention.
- Row-Row your Boat
- Humpty Dumpty
- The Wheels on the Bus
- Old Macdonald
While singing these songs, engage them in some rocking back and forth with them (e.g., row-row your boat), gesturing (e.g., Make your hands go in circles for “go round and round” in Wheels on the Bus)
Studies show that sensory integration is a large part of increasing motivation and attention for a child to engage in the activity/play
Many children who are on the Autism Spectrum tend to seek for the sensory input, therefore this is helping them cope with their sensory needs while maintaining a language-enriched activity.
Once your child starts understanding the song, leave a common/popular word from the song out and have them finish the sentence. Slowly increase the amount of blanks in the song to encourage them to sing back with you.
Example – “Row-Row your ______”
Many children with language delays need a little extra time to process information. It might get awkward, but when you leave a blank or become silent during play, it encourages your child to express something. It’s always important to give your child as many opportunities to speak as possible.
Playing with a Highly-Motivating Toy (whatever it is, doesn’t matter)
This is my favorite! It works like wonders!
- Never keep a toy out in the open for your child to simply take for him/herself and play alone with. You want to always increase the amount of opportunities that the child can express their wants or needs.
- Place a toy that is highly motivating for them in a place where they are able to see where it is; however, they are unable to reach it. This provides them with an opportunity for them to have to request for the item.
Toys that Have Many Pieces (e.g., Legos, Dolls, Play Food)
Setting Up/Cleaning Up
- Labeling items: When you are playing with toys that are in a box, pull out one object at a time and say, hello to the items as you take them out. (For example: *Take out pig* “Hi Pig!” *Putting away toy* “Bye Pig!”)
- Requesting: While setting up the toys, slowly take one object out of the box at a time. Teach your child to request for “more” of what is in the box. Requesting for more can either be using the “more” sign, or verbal speech, “more” or “I want ___” depending on their developmental level.
- Negation: Purposely give them the wrong item that they ask for. This will allow an opportunity for you to introduce to them how they can express “no.” It is important for your child to understand what “no” means. No is just a word to them until you put meaning to it. By providing opportunities for them to use the word, “no,” it allows them to understand the meaning of “no”. This also further helps with behaviors! Instead of your child engaging in a negative behavior due to them not getting what they wanted, they can simply learn how to say, “no,” or “I don’t want”.
- Sabotage: Children love when you get silly with them! If you pick up an apple and your child knows that it is an apple, you can tell your child, “Wow! Look! I found a potato!” (Kids love to feel that they are smart and know more than you) This gives them the chance to elicit communication to tell you what it really is!
Playing With Farm/Car/Baby Dolls (etc.)
- This strategy is important to help increase the length of your child’s utterances.
- While your child is playing with the toys, sit with them and describe everything they are doing, BUT, make sure that when you are speaking to them, you are speaking at their level. For example, if your child speaks at the one-word sentence level, make sure that you are speaking at the three-word level MAX. If you say too much information, it will be too difficult for your child to process all of the information. Your goal is to have your child imitate you. If you speak too long of sentences for them to handle, it will be difficult for them to imitate you.
- This can also help increase the length of utterances.
- When your child says something, add on to it.
- For example: Child: “I like dog” Caregiver: “Yes! I like the big dog”. This allows them to hear an opportunity for them to imitate and expand their utterance with more information.
- Reading is ESSENTIAL.
- Books are wonderful because they have so many language opportunities for you to elicit.
- Labeling: label items that you see in the book expressively OR receptively. “What is this?” or “Point to the ____.”
- Ask your child WH- Questions, however, remember the order at which WH- questions are developed. For example, the first types of questions that are developed are “what” and “where” questions. For a 2-year-old, it is important for them to have those types of questions mastered. Asking them a “when or why” question is too hard for them to express at this stage. Keep your questions simple.
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