Supporting a Late Talker
Top Tips from a Speech and Language Therapist
As a parent, it can be concerning when your child's speech and language development doesn't follow the typical timeline. However, it's important to remember that every child develops at their own pace. If you find yourself in a situation where your child is a late talker, there are proactive steps you can take to support their language development.
In this blog post, Lisa Taylor-Jones, our Clinical Lead at Step Up Speech and Language will provide you with valuable insights and top tips to help you navigate this journey with confidence.
Create a Language-Rich Environment:
One of the most effective ways to support late talkers is to immerse them in a language-rich environment. Talk to your child frequently, using simple and clear language. Describe everyday activities, objects, and events happening around them. Reading books, singing songs, and engaging in conversations during daily routines can all contribute to expanding their vocabulary and language skills.
Encourage Communication in Any Form:
Late talkers may use alternative methods to communicate, such as gestures like pointing or using pictures. Encourage and respond to these forms of communication, as they serve as stepping stones toward spoken language. Acknowledge their attempts and show enthusiasm when they try to express themselves, reinforcing their confidence and motivation.
Utilise Visual Supports:
Visual supports can be valuable tools for late talkers. Incorporate visual cues and aids into your daily routines, such as picture schedules, labeled objects, or visual prompts. These visuals help children understand and follow instructions, develop associations between words and objects, and facilitate their overall communication.
Play and Interactive Activities:
Play is a natural and enjoyable way for children to develop their language skills. Engage in interactive activities that promote communication, such as pretend play, turn-taking games, and puzzles. Use simple and repetitive language during play, and expand on your child's utterances to encourage them to produce longer sentences. When you talk about your child’s play, you already have their attention!
Use Modelling and Expansion Techniques:
Modelling and expansion techniques involve repeating what your child says but in a more grammatically correct and expanded form. For example, if your child says, "Ball," you can respond with, "Yes, it's a red ball!" This technique helps expose your child to more advanced language structures, vocabulary, and sentence lengths, providing them with a richer language model to learn from.
Seek Professional Help:
If you have concerns about your child's speech and language development, please contact us to book a free consultation with one of our Speech and Language Therapists. We can assess your child's communication skills, identify any underlying issues, and provide personalised strategies and interventions to support their language development. Early intervention is crucial for optimal outcomes, so don't hesitate to reach out for professional guidance.
Foster Social Interaction:
Encourage your child's social interactions with peers, siblings, and other family members. Peer interactions provide opportunities for communication, turn-taking, and social learning. Consider playdates, group activities, or joining parent-child groups to facilitate socialisation and language development in a supportive environment.
Minimise Screen Time:
Excessive screen time can hinder language development in young children. Limit the amount of time your child spends on screens, including television, tablets, and smartphones. Instead, encourage active engagement with people and the environment to promote language and social skills.
Supporting a Late Talker - Summary:
Supporting a late talker requires patience, understanding, and a proactive approach. By creating a language-rich environment, encouraging communication in any form, utilising visual supports, engaging in play and interactive activities, using modelling and expansion techniques, seeking professional help when needed, fostering social interaction, and minimising screen time, you can provide the best possible support for your child's speech and language development. Remember, every child is unique, and progress may vary, so celebrate every step forward and stay optimistic on this rewarding journey.
If you would like more information about the work we do here at Step Up Speech and Language, please take a look at our services. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to Lisa regarding your child, please don't hesitate to contact us.