Speech… Teach Your Kids Early!
Posted by Heidi | Filed under Improving Articulation
Welcome to Mommy Speech Therapy! I hope I can keep this up since responding to email in under a month has been a challenge I am still working to overcome. My motivation for starting this blog is to have a place where moms like me (and dads too of course) can go to discuss questions and share experiences on the development of our children’s speech and language skills.
As a speech language pathologist I am constantly getting questions from friends on how to support their children’s speech and language development. I’m excited to be able to talk (write) my thoughts and experiences, and answer those questions I’ve been asked so many times! What I’ve found in working with my own children and children on my caseload is that they can be taught to speak not only intelligibly but articulately a lot earlier than is commonly believed. They just need a little extra help that we can give them as parents.
My daughter Sophie is 20 months (that’s her in the picture above, :) my little darling). Yesterday, I was doing the dishes in the kitchen when Sophie comes in and asks me for apple juice. After filling her straw cup (I’ll talk more about those later) I handed it to her. She promptly replied “ganks mommy.” I knelt down in front of her so she could see my mouth. I stuck my tongue out for the th- sound and started blowing. Then I told her it was her turn. She imitated the sound beautifully. I then said “th..anks, pausing in between. She did the same. Then I put the word together, “thanks.” She responded, “th..anks.” This is quite common. I tried again, slower, “th..anks.” She said, ”th..anks.” Then I had her say it five times in a row. She did it! We were so excited we had her go up stairs and say it for her dad. She still needs a reminder now and again but she’s getting it.
The interesting thing about the th- sound is that according to studies children don’t master this sound until the ages 4-8 on their own. But the th- is such a visual sound, that if we take a minute and try to teach this sound to children with imitation most children will get it. The earlier we teach the sound the easier it is for them to move it into conversation because they don’t have a habit to change. Of course there are a few sounds that will still need extra help even with our best efforts.
And there you have it, the reason for me starting this blog. I love to talk about and speech and language development and I love seeing kids grow and progress. Hopefully this will inspire any parents who may be looking for some good ideas on helping their own children with their speech. Thanks for reading!