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Not Just Repeating Words

   A speech-language therapist uses models throughout speech sessions.

What is a model? A model is a word or words, a gesture, or an expression that you present in a way that makes it stand out and makes it clear to the child that it is what you want that child to imitate. 

    Models can be given during therapy sessions as well as throughout daily routines and play.

For example, if you want to target the word "door" when going out or coming home, there is a better way to model it then by just repeating the word "door, door, door" by itself. A young child learns in the moment, so a speech therapist would overemphasize the target word while narrating EACH moment to give it some context and meaning, instead of just repeating the one single word.

For example:

"Let's go to the DOOR. Go, go, go. This is the DOOR. Let's knock on the DOOR. Knock, knock. You are knocking on the DOOR. Open the DOOR. OPEN. Let's go. Go, go go. Close the DOOR. There. You closed the DOOR."

Express Yourself

How Well Do You Use Facial Expressions?

   In order to present models effectively, it is important to use facial expressions as well as hand movements, gestures, and cues. If you want your toddler to pay attention to what you are saying or doing, then you need to GET their attention. 

   It is important to SHOW enthusiasm. If you look disinterested or uninterested then your child will be disinterested and uninterested. Although you may feel worried about your child's development and feel you are trying to be serious about teaching, being serious is not how you're going to get your child to want to look and pay attention to you. You need to be aware of how you are presenting yourself and focus on what will be motivating to your child. And the last thing you should be worried about is looking silly- Remember: toddlers love to be silly, so act silly!


Talk   Sing   Play

What is the Magic in Speech Therapy?

   It sounds so simple. This is what you have been doing, right?

 Talking. Singing. Playing.  So why isn't my child talking, you ask? 

   There are some ways that a speech-language pathologist interacts,

talks, sings, plays, and models language that may differ from how you

as a parent, or caregiver, may have been doing with your child. 




   Talk to your child about what they are doing. Talk to your child about what you are doing. Talk, but also MODEL.

For example, you may say to your child, "Come on, it's time to eat. Let's go sit down. Eat your apples. Here's your cup." 

   A speech therapist sees each moment as an opportunity to model language by overemphasizing a word repetitively, pausing briefly before the model to highlight the word, and by using an enthusiastic, varying intonation when speaking. For example: "Come on, it's time to... EAT. Let's go sit down. GO, Go...Go! MMM... YUM!

You have...APPLES! I like APPLES! APPLE for...ME! APPLE for...YOU! Want MORE? MMM...MORE APPLE?

Ok, you want MORE...APPLE."

   A speech therapist is also always looking to provide as many repetitions of models as possible. Mealtime is one situation where you can create more opportunities to model language. Become aware of ways to create these opportunities such as limiting the amount of a food item you provide on the plate to two small pieces so that the child will have more chances to request. You can also "forget" items like a needed spoon, placing the child's cup in sight but out of reach, or handing an empty cup to the child. 

    It is important to position yourself directly in front, facing your child at their eye level. Talk TO your child, not to the air as you are walking around.  



   Sing songs during daily routines that you make up or that are familiar to your child. Sing songs the same way, in the same tune, each time, so that your child learns them and can anticipate what comes next. Be sure to use facial expressions and pauses at the same time to allow your child chances to "fill in" or look to you to continue. Be sure to be at your child's eye level and wait a few seconds while looking at your child with an expectant look following pauses so that your child learns that you are giving him an opportunity to take a turn.





   Play WITH your child. Just you and your child without toys. Remember to look at your child at their eye level,

be enthusiastic, silly, and make it fun!

   Play tickle games that build anticipation by using rising intonation and pausing before tickles ("I'm going to get your...BELLY!"). Be sure to wait a few seconds following pauses to see if your child will "fill in" or look for you to continue ("Peek a... Peek a.. BOO!").

   Do hand gestures together for "If you're happy," "Wheels on bus," "So big" and other nursery rhymes or songs.

   Place your child in a laundry basket or a cardboard box, model "Chug a, chug a... Choo Choo!" and pull or push around.

   Model "ready, set...GO!" during swinging or lap bounce games. 

   Model the word "MORE" or "AGAIN" and wait a few seconds then model "MORE" or "AGAIN" before repeating a game. 

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