Park Slope Communication & Learning Center
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Home Treatment for Language Delayed Kids

Parents play an integral part in their child's language development. This is especially true for children with delays in speech and language. To put this into the proper perspective, if your child is seeing a speech-language therapist, she probably sees him or her two or three times per week. You, on the other hand, spend hour upon hour together. Think of all the opportunities you have to help your child reach his therapy goals; and we promise, there will be no stress or pressure of any kind on either of you. In fact, it will be fun!

Children learn to speak one word at a time. What that means is that children go through a one-word stage, a two-word stage, a three-word stage, etc. The one word stage continues until there is a single word vocabulary of approximately fifty words. There are nine semantic categories that are expressed by these single words. These are existence, non-existence, recurrence, rejection, denial, attribution, possession, action and locative action (Lahey, 1978; Lahey, 1988; modified by Masterson & Apel, 2000). Children generally do not progress past the one word stage until they have learned to express each of these concepts. If your child is in the one-word stage, you want to try to gently nudge him into two word stage.

How you do this is to play (and really have fun) with your child and try to limit your comments to two or three words at a time. The activity should be one that is of your child's choosing. Here is how you structure your talking with your child. You are playing with your 14 month old who is at the one word stage. She is playing with blocks and putting one on top of the other and she says "bah" for block. You may reply "big block", "red block", "block on", "no block", "block fall down" or even "more block." A dialogue you might have with your 14 month old might be the baby saying "bah" for block while she places a block on top of stack of blocks. You reply, "More block, more block, more block on, uh-oh block fall down." Describe the action as it is happening and, as much as possible, talk about what your child is doing. Talk to your child all the time even if you are too busy. He will not get tired of hearing your voice!

If your child is either older or using longer utterances, then make your utterances longer too. You just keep adding a word or two and give the additional words extra emphasis. Remember that whatever you say has to be contextually appropriate.

And one other very, very important role for parents: making it fun for your child and keeping it real and keeping it salient. That way she uses the words on her own and makes them her own, incorporating them into her own verbal repertoire and used again later on her own. So wherever you are, be it in the car, the living room or Key Food, there is always, always time for language development.

Article Index

CAPD (also called APD) testing

CAPD Therapy

Causes of Hearing Loss in Children?

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

Cochlear Implants: Could this help your child with a hearing impairment?

Early Developmental Milestones for Language

Enriching Your Child's Vocabulary

From Speaking to Writing: How to Help Your Child Write Short Sequences

Helping Your Child Learn to Read

Home Treatment for Language Delayed Kids

How Stuttering is Treated, and What You Can Do to Help

How to Crack the Tough Nut of English Spelling

Is It Normal Disfluency or Stuttering in Preschoolers

Lyme Disease and Language Disorders

Multisensory Approaches to Teaching Decoding: What Does That Mean

PECS: A Communication System for Children on the Autistic Spectrum

Phonemic Awareness: What Is It, and Why Do People Talk About It

Simple Strategies for Creating Strong Readers

Speech Vitamins: do they work?

Techniques for Improving Your Child's Literacy Skills

Testing Procedures for Speech, Language and Reading Disorders

The Connection Between Word Retrieval Difficulties (language) and Reading Disorders (literacy)

Using Literacy Activities to Increase Your Child's Knowledge of Current Events and History

Vocal Hygiene ? the DOs and DON'Ts of Maintaining a Healthy Voice

Voice Disorders

What are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)?

What are the Causes of Articulation Disorders in Children?

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)?

What is Dyslexia?

What is Language Delay in Children?

What is the Connection Between Auditory Processing Disorder and Reading?

When to Seek an Evaluation for a Young Child's Speech Production