Photo Credit: babyfella2007
Speech Therapy For Toddlers: Keep the Communication Real
You think you’re doing everything right. You strategically use self-talk and parallel talk, you give premeditated choices, and wait so expectantly that you begin to wonder if your eyebrows will remain raised indefinitely. However, your toddler is not amused by your funny way of speaking and refuses to engage.
You ask yourself: “Why are the techniques not working?”
You think: “I’m using all the strategies.”
You think some more: “Sometimes Jonas seems to speak more during those moments…when nothing is really expected.”
If you’re a parent trying to boost your toddler’s language skills, or are a fellow speech therapist, wondering the same thing, let me reassure you, I’ve asked myself the same questions.
Here’s what it boils down to:
When language is elicited it should be real and authentic.
Communication is a two way street. Why should your toddler speak or want to speak if he feels he’s just a puppet being talked at rather than spoken to?
If you are so focused on saturating your toddler’s play routines or daily routines with techniques then those communicative moments are no longer real and authentic. Therefore, use the techniques strategically and also as naturally as possible.
The child has to want to communicate.
Are you giving him or her something worth communicating about? It’s your responsibility to make the speech therapy session or communicative moment irresistible (hats off to fellow speech therapist Gina Davies from across the pond for that precise language – irresistible). Give the child a true reason to communicate and respond.
The child has to feel you are genuine with your questions and comments.
Say something because it adds value to the conversation not because you fear the silence.
Parents, please resist thinking that your speech therapist is not working because he or she is allowing for some quiet moments.
This silence gives the child a chance to process verbal information as well as the opportunity to initiate communication.
The beauty in so many of the language elicitation strategies is that they work best when not overused or spoiled with inauthenticity.
Sometimes less is more.
Keep it real and keep it authentic. Do not allow the techniques to loose their power by fading into the background.
Ask yourself three questions:
- Does this interaction feel natural, real, or authentic?
- Would I want to talk to this person?
- Am I over-using the techniques so much that there are no breaks for silence and reflection?
For more tips, please see the Troubleshooting Tips: What to Do if the Toddler is Not Imitating You, in My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child’s Language Development . Amazon affiliate link included. Thanks for your support!
I wish you the very best.