Encouraging A Child To Speak

pets and babies


My husband would say that I am highly qualified to encourage a child to talk; as I never stop!

Even having suffering a massive stroke didn’t stop me, much to his disappointment! When I was in hospital he told me he thought he had gone deaf! When I was growing up my dad would tell people that I was vaccinated with a gramophone needle!

Other than attending a work shop on the subject, I have no formal qualifications this topic; only my personal experience.

In my opinion the more you talk to your child/baby, the better communicators they will be; as that is how they learn, by imitating us.

Despite me doing this with my own children,;they were all slow to talk (maybe because they never got the chance as I talked too much!) Seriously though, I think their problems were genetic; My sister was also delayed in her speach and required speach therapy. She used to call me “Ga Ga” I would say to her my name is “Karen” I would try to help her to say my name properly by braking it down “Say Ka” I would tell her; she would repeat it, then I would tell her “say ren” again she repeated it. “Now put it together and say Karen” ….” Ga Ga” she would say!

My eldest son didn’t say a lot when he was younger; but he eventually developed his own ‘language’ that only I as his Mummy could understand. For example; if he wanted a biscuit, he would say “Mum, Mum.” and he made up his own words for certain colours. This concerned me; as his 3rd birthday was approaching and he was soon to start pre-school. I mentioned my worry to my health visitor and she said she would put his name on the list to be assessed for speach therapy. The list must have been a long one, because almost a year later nothing had been done. I kept phoning her and eventually he was seen. He went for a few sessions, and he really enjoyed them. The results were amazing; he went from hardly saying anything, to non stop chatting in a few months!

My second son wasn’t quite so slow to talk, but I recall him saying “no man” (for snowman) and “poon” (for spoon) I spoke to my younger son’s speach therapist about this and she suggested getting him to say “SS…Sammy the snake says… SS” before saying these words. That really did the trick.

My third son also had his own language; referring to his siblings as “Nangnie” (Jamie) “Nangnang” (Damon) and “Nee” (Leigh) “Annie” was orange juice and “Aggie” was a boy called Alex (who I was childminding) He also had difficulty sounding “Th.”, we came up with the idea of getting him to put his top teeth over his bottom lip while looking in a mirror (like bugs bunny) before trying to sound “Th.” again. This worked very well.

I have also looked after several children (mostly boys) with delayed speech. I think their parents chose me as their childminder because I could understand them more than most. One child once told my NVQ Assessor that “Karn” (Karen) is an “oink oink” (pig!) I realised; and quickly explained that what he was trying to tell her was that we had recently been to a farm where they had pigs!

If you are at all worried about your child’s ability to talk; speak to your Health Visitor, or GP as in my opinion; a speech therapist can achieve marvellous results.

As always, questions or comments are very welcome.

Written by Karen Dennis for her blog, The Next Best Thing To Mummy.

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