Strategies to Increase Expressive Language Skills in Toddlers
Are you concerned that your toddler isn’t developing communication skills at an expected rate? If you are worried about your child’s speech and language skills, do not hesitate to request an Early Intervention evaluation with a skilled speech therapist. Recognizing your child’s speech and language challenges early and seeking professional help will only be beneficial for him or her in the future. Below are five strategies to help build your child’s communication skills at home:
- Place things out of your child’s reach. Help your child make a request by placing a favorite object in his view but out of reach and then wait until he does something to ask for it. If he only points or grunts, try to expand his message by modeling “toy please”. As soon as he imitates you (or attempts), give him the toy he wants.
- Waiting/Withholding. Offer a little bit of a preferred snack or drink and then wait until he does something to ask for more. If he only points or grunts, try to expand his message by modeling “more please”. As soon as he imitates you (or attempts), give him a little bit more, then wait again.
- Communication Temptations. Choose an activity that your child can’t do without your help (e.g. bubbles, wind-up toys, opening a container of toys, etc.) and wait for your child to ask for help. If he only points or grunts, try to expand his message by modeling “help please”. As soon as he imitates you (or attempts), give him the object he wants.
- Expand all his pointing, grunting, and one-word messages into longer messages. Do this by responding with a slightly longer and grammatical sentence. For example, if he says “on” you might say “Okay, let’s turn the water on”. You don’t have to have him imitate your sentence. Just by expanding his message, you will help him build his vocabulary and ability to express himself.
- Provide your child with two choices during play and meal time to encourage him to use a gesture or vocalization to communicate his wants and needs. For example, if your child points toward his toys to indicate he wants to play, give him a choice by holding up two toys and asking “Do you want the puzzle or bubbles?”. Try keeping his toys up and out of reach and only presenting two choices at a time. This helps to increase communication temptations and decrease messes!
You can also try some of these apps:
For more information, visit http://www.abcpediatrictherapy.com
Is your child meeting their developmental milestones?