Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Speak to Me! (Part 2)

Since I am so fascinated with speech and language development, I thought I would do a series of posts as John's communication takes off.  The first post on language can be found HERE.  This original post was from December 18, 2013.  John has now had 6 more weeks of critical language development under his belt. I am happy to report that he is saying a few more words, squealing less, and using facial expressions and hand motions to signal what he wants.  This is a welcome change from all that screaming!

John's words include but are not limited to:

  • Momma
  • Dada
  • Out
  • Down
  • Please
  • Buckle
  • Row, row, row your boat
  • Kitty
  • Yay!
  • Hey!
  • Dog
  • Baby
  • Car

So in this video clip for today, you will be able to see his new "tongue action" and facial expressions. 

Here are a few focus points for the video:
  1. Notice John's tongue moving from side to side in order for him to make a talking sound.  This tongue movement is so critical for toddlers to develop; an awareness of their tongue and where it goes to actually make words.  This is why it is so critical for the adult to model clear speaking and have the toddler make eye contact when he is learning a new word.  This is also why staring at the television is such a DETRIMENT to speech and language.  The child has NO human, face-to-face interaction.  "Face-to-puppet" interaction, as in the case with Elmo on sesame street, is certainly no good model for language development, either.  Puppets on TV don't even have tongues!  One idea is to watch Sesame Street with your toddler and say things as Elmo says things. Model the TV interactions and talk with your toddler as the show is going on.  This way, he/she will be looking away from the TV intermittently and have some 3 dimensional, human interaction.  
  2. Watch John's hand movements and facial expressions.  The nonverbal communication is critical at this stage.  Young ones rely so heavily on sign language and facial expressions.  Watch how expressive his eyes are as he communicates to me.
  3. Listen to my prompts in the background.  When helping children make progress with their vocabulary, it is so important to model good speech habits by naming everything they see and touch.  This, of course, also aids in vocabulary development.  Remember, toddlers have such a growing vocabulary (up to 10 words a day).  Being able to say the words is a different matter entirely.  They understand so much more than they can say. As a side note, this is always a good thing to remember when developing positive behaviors in your child, as well.  
  4. Look at those little fingers.  With speech and language comes also fine motor control and task commitment.  John gets distracted and puts a puzzle piece in the drawer at one point.  But when prompted, he continues to put the orange square in successfully.  This task commitment gives any toddler a great sense of pride and accomplishment.  

We shall see what progress John has made 6 more weeks from now.  Maybe there will even be two words strung together!  Next to baby's first steps, learning to talk is one of the most amazing milestones to watch.

Until next time...Happy Babbling!

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