Delayed speech

Helping the Speech Delayed at Home




1. Make sure your child is not tongue-tied.    tongue-tied babies often have trouble nursing and make clicking noises when they do nurse.  K didn’t have any issues with nursing, but I knew he wasn’t babbling as you would expect by that point, so it was a natural thing to check for.


2.  Teach sign language, but never use it in place of verbalizing. Baby signs are a great tool, but you must ALWAYS SAY THE WORD with the sign.  Using sign language with your child will not delay them even more if used alongside the word they are to be learning.  In fact, the repeated use of the sign AND the word together actually encourages the child to take that step into speaking because they are being inundated with the word over and over again and they believe the word and the sign go hand in hand.


3.  Speak to your child on your child’s level and enunciate words clearly. Get right in front of your child when you speak to him.  break words down into syllables, enunciating each syllable distinctly and asking to repeat after us.  break down sentences into individual words.


4.  Ask them to repeat after you, but don’t overdo it. Parroting is an excellent way to get your child to at least try to speak intelligible words, but if you harp on them too much, you will only aggravate them and reap the opposite result.


5.  Read and interact with them for 15 minutes every day ALONE. This is difficult in a household our size, but I managed to shut us up in the bedroom and read to him as much as I could.  I didn’t usually get 15 minutes in because he thought that was a bit too long, but what time I did get was spent reading and asking questions and helping him to respond (and of course, sharing tons of cuddling!)


6.  Be aware of tongue and teeth placement in speech. I can thank my semantics class in college for introducing  me to this very important part of speech therapy.  You have to know how letters are formed in order to help a speech delayed child.  You have to have a basic understanding where the tongue and teeth are in each sound made.  It’s not hard to do if you take the time to consider your own speech, but it can be hard to get across to your child.  This is where a good speech therapist comes in quite handy.  But even if you do choose to take your child to a speech therapist, it is still good for you to know the basics of tongue posture to be able to work with your child at home.


7.  Get their ears checked if you don’t see progress (or if you feel there is something more than just a speech delay going on). Keian was almost 3 when we decided we had to take him in for more than just a simple ear exam.  There are conditions where a child seems to be hearing you, but what they are really hearing sounds as if they are underwater.  This causes many letters to sound garbled to them, which in turn, causes them to be unable to pronounce the sounds correctly.  We didn’t want to leave any stones unturned in helping K speak, so we chose to take him in and were pleased to find out his ears were just fine.


8.  Praise them for their progress (even if it isn’t much). Children love praise and need to know they are on the right track.  If your child manages to eek out one little syllable, praise him mightily!  It’s a start!  Let them know they’ve done something right.


Language delays are the most common developmental delay, according to Healthy Children, and one in five children will experience a delay in speech or language. Often, speech delays will resolve on their own, and at-home speech therapy techniques allow parents and other family members to work with a child to overcome the delays without the intervention of a speech language pathologist.

Have A Conversation With Your Child

One of the most important ways to encourage language and speech development is to talk to a baby on a regular basis. Healthy Children recommends encouraging a child to use gestures or simple words to communicate needs and desires before granting them. This will encourage the child to find ways to overcome his speech delays by working toward getting what he wants. Repeating what a child wants when he points will also encourage him to ask for what he wants as a parent makes a conscious effort to make him communicate.

Encourage Your Child To Ask For What She Wants

Mommy Speech Therapy, a website dedicated to early speech and language development, recommends using strategies that force your child to vocalize her needs. Eating something your child loves in her presence will encourage her to ask for some. Playing with her favorite toy will encourage her to vocalize her desire to get in on the fun. Limiting your child’s access to things, such as portions of food on her plate, will require her to vocalize her desire to have more. Playing turn-taking games and storing things in containers with tight lids will also encourage her to ask for what he wants. Requiring your child to vocalize her needs rather than crying or gesturing will encourage language development

Provide Toys That Encourage Speech

Interaction and one-on-one play time are two important behaviors that encourage speech development, says Speech for Kids, a website dedicated to speech therapy for kids. Learning to speak requires an understanding of language and what it is used for as well as the ability to gain an increasing number of vocabulary words to express needs and desires. Speech for Kids recommends providing toys that require taking turns and interaction to encourage your child to use his words and continue to develop speech skills. Some suggestions from Speech for Kids include Mr. Potato Head, puzzles, bubbles, large building bricks, blocks, pop-up books and interactive toy sets. Taking turns and interacting with toys will encourage a child to begin speaking and continue to build a vocabulary.