This advice-column-style blog for SLPs was authored by Pam Marshalla from 2006 to 2015, the archives of which can be explored here. Use the extensive keywords list found in the right-hand column (on mobile: at the bottom of the page) to browse specific topics, or use the search feature to locate specific words or phrases throughout the entire blog.
I wrote a guest post yesterday for Milestone Mom. My contribution to the post is re-posted below for the readers of this blog. The topic was, broadly, “helping non-verbal children speak.” (Thanks for the invitation to write, Nancy!)
Children who cannot say many words need help learning how to imitate sounds and words. The best way to do this is to imitate the child. Take a few minutes every day to imitate back to your child just exactly what he said.
For example, he may see a pretty flower and say, “Oooo.” Take this moment to repeat “Oooo” back to him. Don’t say anything else. Don’t say, “That’s a flower” or “Say, ‘flower'” or any of those other standards of language stimulation. Simply imitate back to him exactly what he said, and then wait for him to say something else. Then imitate the second utterance he makes, and so forth.
In this way you are teaching your child to take turns with the sounds and words he can say spontaneously. This is a fantastic way to stimulate more utterances per unit of time. Get him to say more of what he can say in order to help say more and to help him learn how to take control of his own speech.
This idea is based on the observations of the father of child psychology, Jean Piaget, as interpreted in my book, Becoming Verbal with Childhood Apraxia.