I belong to one of those locally based Facebook mommy pages; chances are you do too. In the last few weeks I have noticed an increase in questions regarding speech delays and denials from the school district to provide early intervention. Here in my town this is the time of the year when the school district tests little ones under three that may need supplemental therapy paid for and provided by the district.
Speech Delays Are Not Necessarily Learning Delays
The number of denials are heartbreaking, but the reasoning behind some denials absolutely makes sense. You see, many of these little ones are incredibly smart and seem to be engaged in age-appropriate activities and interactions at all levels except speech. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) one out of every 12 children 3 to 17 suffers from some sort of disorder related to voice, speech, language or swallowing. There is a good probability you know someone with a lisp or you are currently trying to figure out why one of your kiddos is having a hard time sounding out certain consonants. The reality is that in most cases a language delay is not necessarily an intellectual delay. To this end, it is essential that you as a parent empower your little one with tools that provide transitional access to communication to better equip them to continue learning while they tackle their delays through therapy and training.
Empower Your Child With Communication Tools That Matter
If your child is of typical intelligence and he is unable to communicate specific needs due to a speech delay you are setting the stage for a very frustrated baby. Work around the problem through the use of baby sign language or board-based communication. Many parents are hesitant thinking that by giving their kids a way to communicate their will further delay speech. The reality is that your kiddo wants to speak as much as you want them to speak. When they are ready and the therapist has worked through the barriers that are hindering their speech your baby will talk. Meanwhile do what you have to do to ensure he or she feels like there is a connection that allows him to have their needs met.
Give Your Toddler Signs That Matter
When a baby is showing potential speech delays it is not a time for fun and games. Be intentional about the signs that you teach him to ensure you are not neglecting a basic need. Take time to teach your toddler emotional signs that will allow him to reach out for help. Scared, sad, happy or lonely should be introduced early one. Teaching this signs in tandem with signs for the basics such as food and warmth will better equip your little one to help you give him a happy and healthy life.
Team Up With Your Speech Therapist
Don’t try to do this alone. Take time to chat with your speech therapist and have them help you put together a plan that helps your baby communicate as early as possible while still working on verbal skills. There are many tricks of the trade, games and educational activities that can accelerate learning and get your little one where he needs to be as soon as possible.
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