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Encouraging speech

(12 Posts)
puddleduckee Sat 15-Jun-19 19:02:31

I posted a little while ago with some concerns about my 18 month old who isn't saying much. The health visitor has referred him for a hearing test, but in the meantime I'm wondering if there's anything we can do at home to help him? I talk to him all the time, explaining what I'm doing and showing him things, as well as reading to him - but he's not overly interested in 'words', although actions and animal noises he loves and very quickly picks up.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received!

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mizzles Sat 15-Jun-19 22:53:01

Maybe try singing nursery rhymes (particularly ones with actions) and pause before the end of a line to give him a chance to finish it - and don't worry about repeating them, repetition is really helpful.

Rainatnight Sun 16-Jun-19 00:19:27

A relative who is a speech and language therapist told me not to overdo the talking - keep sentences and phrases short and clear so they can pick out key words. ‘Here is your water. Your water is in the cup’, rather than the constant chat I was doing!

They also advised asking more questions and leaving lonnnnng pauses for the child to answer, on the grounds that it takes them longer to process.

Rainatnight Sun 16-Jun-19 00:20:34

PS this is a very good website.

AladdinMum Sun 16-Jun-19 11:46:39

I am slightly confused because the typical 18M old would have about 8 words (including animal sounds and sounds made consistently for the same object), so if your son is already making animal sounds he will probably be close to the 8 word count for 18M and hence will be on track... do you mean that he is totally silent? ie he does not babble?

puddleduckee Sun 16-Jun-19 12:17:01

Thanks all - will give these ideas a try. He loves nursery rhymes etc. I definitely think I may be guilty of overdoing it a bit!

He babbles a lot and makes animal sounds when shown a picture or if he sees the animal, but doesn't seem to have much (if any) interest in words. I'm not really sure his understanding is great either, but it's hard to tell. He doesn't answer yes or no, but will shake his head for no.

So I was just wondering if there are things I can do to help, if you see what I mean

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Kle209 Sun 16-Jun-19 15:52:57

@AladdinMum out of interest would this mean that a sound that is used consistently but doesn’t sound anything like the actual word (e.g ah to mean go) would actually count as a word? And if so, when do you worry that the pronunciation is totally off?

Also would you count ‘boo’ as a word, and if so by the same logic as above da to mean boo?

OP - my son (17m) is the same as yours though as you can guess from above isn’t pronouncing anything like he should. We have no useful words just animal noises and the above. So I’m interested in the advice you get! I try to talk to him all the time but basically describe what he’s doing (the ball is in the box, out the box!) and I def repeat key words constantly. He has good understanding and he will follow instructions though. Best technique I’ve found so far is the expectant pause - so basically it’s worked best for us to work on ready steady go. I say ready steady and then wait, and it can be for a really long time but for some sort of sound. Then I model ‘go’ and do the thing he’s waiting for eg roll the ball, push the car to him etc. I’ve also done it whilst reading books he knows really well and I get a sound out of him but only in the context of that specific book so he doesn’t actually know what it means yet...

puddleduckee Sun 16-Jun-19 19:12:57

Kle - so it's not just my DS with animal noises! Animals just seem to captivate him and anything related he is fascinated with - he even does 'sssss' for a snake as well as a pretty strong 'bzzz' for a bee. I would have thought those sounds would be harder to make than some simple words? Although I guess they are monosyllabic, so perhaps not?

We've been trying a bit of sign language this weekend which he seemed to enjoy, just the sign for more at the moment. I'm not sure how much he understands it, but he enjoyed it and then spontaneously made the sign for more a few times today when he wanted more food, where he would usually point and made a non descript noise.

OP’s posts: |
puddleduckee Sun 16-Jun-19 19:23:01

Also thank you for the tips one and all. I need to make sure I do the expectant pause more for sure

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Kle209 Sun 16-Jun-19 19:57:07

Definitely not just you! We don’t have many, and they are all farmyard ones (moo, baa, neigh and I’m starting to think he might have oink). Snake and bee sound very impressive!

We have been doing signing too! He can do water and more but he definitely doesn’t quite understand them properly. He’ll sign more to mean he wants something else rather than more of the same thing. We don’t have pointing yet so any improvement in communication is welcomed here! Hope your LO gets signing and talks more soon too!

AladdinMum Sun 16-Jun-19 22:11:25

@puddleduckee if he babbles and has around 8 animal or consistent sounds no paediatrician would describe him as being speech delayed and hence would be described as developing normally (I have not heard anyone ever say that a child is not interested in words because for them at the start actual words are just like any other sound, there is not difference between an animal sound or an actual word) - words will come eventually. However, typical speech therapy techniques at this age include singing nursery rhymes and suddenly stopping so he fills the blanks (so you sing something like "twinkle twinkle little..." and stop, eventually he will say "star") or if he likes cars you can hold a car in a ramp and say "ready, steady.. " and wait for him to say "go" before you release it. Initially they might say nothing so you say "go", eventually they might grunt when it's their turn to say "go" which would count and you release the car with the hope that eventually he says "go". You can apply similar techniques with all types of toys.

@puddleduckee yes, and yes - all sounds which are consistently used for the same item will count as words even if we don't understand them - for them at that age all words are just random sounds (like us listening to someone speak in a foreign language, for us is just random sounds, for others it's actual words). Pronunciation and tone is not concerning until 2.5 years of age when it would be expected that at least 50% of spoken words should be understood by strangers (and not just family members)

puddleduckee Mon 17-Jun-19 19:21:49

Thank you Aladdinmum - that's good to know and I'll give those ideas a go.

Re me saying he isn't interested in words, perhaps that isn't the best way to describe it...

I know you shouldn't compare to other children and that they all develop at their own pace - but I have noticed that pretty much all the others from our NCT group of friends (6 toddlers in total) are saying quite a few words now and seem to be developing more and more fairly quickly. My DS is the oldest in our circle, but barely says a 'word' although the animal sounds crop up often if there are toys or pictures of said animal. He doesn't really follow instructions either - he will come to me if I call him and gesture to him with my hand and he knows what no means - but if I ask him to bring me a book or car, he looks around for a moment and then just carries on with whatever he's doing. Also, if I ask him if he'd like a drink or something he won't say yes or nod, although if he saw a drink and wanted it he'd point and make a noise to get my attention. If I offer him food, as in physically pass him something to eat which he doesn't want, he will shake his head but doesn't say no.

He babbles all the time, which sounds like conversation using rhythm and tone. He often uses an 'upward' sounding inflection at the end of his babbling, and while he waits for your reply he will often have the palms of his hands open like this 🤷🏻‍♀️ with an expectant expression clearly waiting for you to say something back to him. Or he'll seem like he's giving instructions, babbling but using very short and firm sounding noises accompanied by a pointing finger (I assume he's mimicking me saying no!!).

He's my first so I really don't know whether my expectations are out of kilter?

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