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How to Communicate With a Speech-delayed Child

by Nakia Jackson, studioD

For many children, speech development is almost effortless; they may learn new words almost daily. For children with a speech delay, learning to say or understand simple words may require lots of effort from both parent and child. Helping a child learn language will require daily practice incorporated into his routine so that he learns the meaning of the language used for the objects and tasks he encounters every day. There's no magic cure for speech delay, but the work parents do with their children is essential to progress.

Speak or read to your child face to face. Your child will see how sounds are formed, and he will be better equipped to imitate you.

Name objects that you use or see regularly. This will help your child learn the word, the object the word refers to and the function of that object.

Emphasize your words with gestures. Point to your child's coat when you tell him it's time to put it on. Mime brushing your teeth when it's time for him to brush his.

Respond to your child's attempts to communicate. If you miss out on your child's use of gestures or made-up words, he may lack incentive to keep trying to be understood.

Pair words with sign language if your child seems to respond more readily to gestures than words.

Contact a speech therapist if your child is losing vocabulary or seems not to understand words that he used to know.

About the Author

Nakia Jackson has written for online publications since 2006, including columns for Sadie Magazine, Naseeb and Muslim Wake Up!. She has written on religion and beauty, crafts and music. Jackson's expertise stems from personal experience and her years at Berklee College of Music, pursuing a Bachelor of Music.

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