Finding enjoyable, stimulating gifts for toddlers and preschoolers that won't break within 24 hours or drive parents crazy with electronic noises is hard enough. For young children with delayed speech, the challenge can be even greater, as you understandably want to give a present that she'll not only be able to use, but which could potentially help her speech development. Gifts that support speech development are not terribly dissimilar from other gifts that encourage learning in children this age.
Even though a child has delayed speech, hearing the rhythms and vocal rhyming of children's songs can help stimulate the link between language and pronunciation, explains the University of Michigan Health System. And, unlike books or toys, which kids can frequently drop on the floor prompting cries from the back seat in the middle of traffic, parents can play music CDs for their little ones while driving.
Reading is one of the best ways to stimulate speech and language development. Give the child simple age-appropriate books, with repetitive themes, like "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?" by Eric Carle, to help her learn a predictable pattern to the words in the story. Choose books with stiff cardboard pages that can easily fit inside the parent's bag for busy families or a large, colorful book that lets the child see the words and pictures up close and in great detail.
Stimulating environments encourage children with delayed speech to express themselves either by asking questions or by expressing excitement. Give the child a few day passes to the local children's museum, aquarium or zoo. The grocery store and park can help build everyday vocabulary and understanding, but a new adventure gives the child and parents a reason to exchange language before, during and after the trip, explains the University of Michigan Health System.
Delayed speech can occur for a number of reasons, but non-electronic toys that require the child to move her tongue and lips in a certain way can strengthen the muscles needed to speak, reports ApraxiaKids.org. Simple toys like blowing bubbles or a fun character cup with a straw instead of a sippy spout, encourage muscle control in the mouth region. For the child with noise-tolerant parents, child-friendly plastic musical instruments like the flute or kiddie saxophone are another option.
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