How Parents Can Help a Child with Speech Delay?

Delayed speech, without other developmental delays, is often treated with speech-language therapy. Additionally, speech-language therapy is often effectively used together with alternative treatments when another diagnosis is behind speech delays in children. 

Since speech delays can affect a child’s ability to learn, an early intervention must be sought. Parents should visit speech therapy Singapore before the child goes to school to ensure he does not face difficulty adjusting to formal education. Even as specialized help is sought, there is still much that parents can do to support and encourage their toddler to speak.  

Talk to the child constantly.

While it may seem pointless to talk to a child who is not responding, the last thing parents should do is stop talking directly to the child. When the child is ignored, he will move on and concentrate on other things that interest him. Children learn by mimicking what adults say, so when a child with delayed speech notices words that parents say constantly, they are likely to start saying the same words before long.

Point to objects when talking about them

Toddlers with delayed speech can still observe their surroundings. Speech therapists recommend gesturing and pointing to objects while saying the corresponding words. For example, when talking about a banana, keep pointing at it by pointing to the banana whenever you mention it. 

Repeating these words, while gesturing means the child will soon associate that word with the object. Besides building language, it helps ease communication with the toddler because even if he doesn’t speak yet, he can still understand what you are saying. 

Sing simple songs regularly.

Speaking with your toddler can still be fun if you include music. Sing simple songs that you can keep repeating. Over time, the child will start enjoying the sounds and will even start picking some words in the song.

Give the child a chance to ask what he needs.

After getting used to a toddler’s non-verbal communication, most parents get too comfortable with it. They learn to anticipate the child’s needs, so he rarely gets the chance to say what they want. This toddler also assumes it is natural for his needs to be met without him voicing it, so he sees no reason to make an effort. When you visit a speech therapist in Singapore, you will be encouraged to give your child a chance to request what he needs. 

Introduce your child to playgroups

If your toddler has delayed speech, you should consider sending him to play with children with great language skills as often as possible. You should do this regularly, so your child can build friendship and even attempt to talk like the other children. If he has a good time, he will start looking forward to playtime. 

Avoid criticizing his speech errors.

When your toddler finally starts speaking, his first few words may not be clear. However, it is best to say the correct word repeatedly instead of criticizing him. Otherwise, he may regress and refuse to say the words he wishes to because he is not confident that they will come outright. 

Speech therapists can only do so much for a child with delayed speech. In some cases, the therapist only has a few hours with the child a week, yet parents spend more time with the child. Parents need to pick up what the therapist is doing and do the same when at home. This means the child is exposed to some form of therapy at home as well. This will go a long way in helping the child develop language and speech skills faster.