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Speech in Small Children

12.30.08

There are some specific techniques that parents and teachers can use when trying to help improve the speech and communication skills of their infants and toddlers.

I used baby sign language with my daughter, starting when she was 5 months old. By the time she was 24 months old, she knew 32 individual signs, and we could communicate well with each other. She knew the basics: eat, drink, go, stop, and even some advanced words and ideas: diaper change, airplane, and her home-made sign for swing.

When I was working with children with Autism, and other special-needs children, I learned lots of techniques to help improve communication skills. I can teach you how to use these techniques with your children, and improve their communication with you.

Behavior is communication. The child is trying to say something, express something, or just ask for something. But, before the speech is available, how can very small children express what they need and want?

When I was serving at my church the other day for the Christmas Eve services, I tried a little experiment. I used some of the techniques during the hour and a half I was with the 12-17 month olds. I wanted to see if they would either sign or speak to me, by the end of the 90 minutes. Two children were able to say, “buh-bo” for bubbles, and one child even seemed to sign “fish” after I had signed it each time I handed her the gold-fish crackers snack.

If you’d like some help learning baby signs, or how to improve your child’s speech and communication techniques, give me a call or email, and I can help you.

parenting resources

helpful websites

  • Love and Logic
    Bestselling author Jim Fay, founder of the "Love and Logic" process.
  • Focus on The Family
    Provides parenting advice and other family issues from a Christian perspective. Founded by Dr. James Dobson.
  • TroubledWith: Parenting Children
    Resources dealing with various common childhood issues and what a parent can do.