Speech and Language Services
Suggestions for ParentsGeneral Communication Tips
Talk naturally to your child. Speak about what your child is doing, seeing and/or hearing.
Listen to your child -- really listen. Respond to what is said so that your child knows you have been listening.
Don"t push your child to speak like an adult. Accept some mistakes in pronunciation and grammar as your child develops.
Don"t ask your child to slow down or repeat.
If you find that you have to repeat a lot or have to speak loudly to get your child"s attention, have your child"s hearing tested.
Never wait to get help for your child, if you suspect a problem. You and your family members know your child better than anyone. Seek professional help from your certified speech/language pathologist or audiologist.
Sounds are learned in an orderly sequence. Lip sounds (p, b, m) develop first, with s, r, and l developing later. Children should produce all the sounds of the English language by age 8, but many learn them earlier. A child"s speech pattern will usually become more understandable as the child matures.
How can I help a child pronounce words correctly? Set a good example for articulation by presenting a good model. For ex., if the child says, "There"s a wittow wabbit," you say "Yes, there"s a little rabbit." Don"t interrupt or constantly correct the child.
Frequent non-fluent speech is typical of early speech development, especially between the ages of 2 and 4. This is due to the rapid acquisition of language and the tendency for young children to want to say quickly more words than they can formulate at that time. This period of speech non-fluency is usually a part of normal language acquisition and should not be concerning. If, however, these non-fluent periods become more frequent or severe, you should seek a professional evaluation.
What should I do when I hear a child speaking non-fluently? Do not call attention to the nonfluent pattern. Do not ask the child to "Stop and start over," or "Slow down." Listen patiently to what the child is saying. Focus on what the child is saying, not how he is saying it.
Slow down your own speech slightly and your child may follow suit. The fast-paced nature of our current lives and schedules may create a hurried speech pattern, which may result in nonfluent speech or stuttering.
A normal voice is judged according to whether its pitch, loudness and quality are adequate for communication. Voice problems occur when the pitch, loudness or quality call attention to itself rather than what the individual is saying, or if the speaker experiences pain or discomfort when speaking or singing. A variety of conditions may cause voice problems. A laryngologist should be consulted to diagnose any possible medical problems which may result in a voice disorder.
How can voice problems be helped? If a child has hoarseness, voice change, or discomfort that lasts for ten days in the absence of an allergy or cold, an examination by a laryngologist is recommended. Referral to a speech/language pathologist for voice therapy may be made, pending the outcome of the medical evaluation.
Language is a code that we learn to use in order to communicate ideas and express wants and needs. Speaking, listening, reading, writing and gesturing are all forms of language.
Children learn the language code by listening to other people talk, and the early years of life are critical to this process. A child with frequent otitis media (middle ear infection) may not get the full benefit of language learning experiences. He may miss out on hearing the speech and language needed for normal development. Medical follow-up for any ear infection is crucial.
Some children exhibit delays or disorders in language learning which are associated with general developmental delays, birth injury, or trauma to the brain. Some children may have difficulty acquiring language for no apparent reason. A speech language pathologist with expertise in child development can evaluate the child and design an organized plan of language learning.
How can I foster language development and learning at home? Talk with your child. Talk about the here and now and activities the child is engaged in. For example, if you are making cookies together, label the ingredients and equipment you are using, talk about the actions (pouring, stirring, baking, etc.), talk about the sequence of the activity and even make up your own song about your cookie-baking experience.
Read to your child. Label the pictures in the books and discuss the actions of the characters. Use language to describe the pictures. Encourage your child to predict what might happen next.
Encourage your child to communicate, but don"t demand speech. Make talking fun. Songs, rhymes, and finger-plays are fun ways to encourage expression.
Articulation/ Language Carryover Activities
Welcome back to school! Your children will be working on improving their articulation of various speech sounds and/ or improving their language skills. It is imperative that they practice at home. The more that they practice, the faster the correct production of their target sounds will be integrated within their conversational speech. Several suggestions for practicing these sounds and language will be included each month.
Carryover Ideas for September
1) September is a time for returning to school. Have your child think about what he/she needs to carry in his/her backpack. Listen for their correct sound(s).
2) Have your child talk about their classroom rules. Once again, listen for their target sounds.
3) Have your child review his/her classroom schedule for the day. Ask them to describe what they did in their "special" for the day.
4) Have your child think about places they would like to go on a school field trip.
5) A new school year means meeting new people. Have your child talk about the children in his/her classroom.
6) Grandparents' Day is in September. Have your child describe his/her best visit with their grandparents.
7) Have your child describe how the weather changes in the fall.
8) Help your child brainstorm about different words associated with autumn.
9) Many trees lose their leaves in the fall. Help your child talk about different types of trees.
10) Football season is beginning. Have your child explain why wearing a helmet is important.
11) Have your child describe how the game of football is played.
Carryover Ideas for October
1) Children may go trick or treating on Halloween. Have your child name Halloween treats.
2) Have your child describe his/her favorite Halloween costume.
3) Ghosts can be scary. Have your child tell a ghost story.
4) Have your child describe a haunted house.
5) Some children may dress up as super heroes for Halloween. Have your child talk about his/her favorite super hero.
6) Some children choose characters from books to dress like Halloween. Have your child talk about a character from a book.
7) Have your child read his/her favorite book to you.
8) Have your child describe his/her favorite subject in school and explain why.
9) National Children's Day is this month. Have your child describe how a child and adult are alike as well as how they are different.
10) October is hurricane season for the south and eastern United States. Have your child describe a hurricane.
11) Have your child describe the difference between Fall (the season) and fall (the action word). Help him/her brainstorm about other homographs.
12) As the temperature falls, many birds fly south for the winter. Have your child name things that can fly.
13) Fall is the time for harvest crops. Have your child describe a scarecrow and its purpose.
Carryover Activities for November
1) Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for things we have. Have you child describe those things that he/she is thankful for and explain why.
2) Traditionally, people have big feasts on Thanksgiving Day. Have your child describe what his/her feast would be like if he/she could choose anything that he/she wanted.
3) Have your child pretend that he/she was present for the first Thanksgiving meal and describe what it would be like.
4) On Thanksgiving Day, there are many parades with big balloons. Have your child make up a balloon character of his/her own and describe it.
5) Election Day is in November. Have your child discuss things we vote on. 6
6) During November, people in many countries remember those persons who served in the Armed Forces. Ask your child to talk about how a police officer and soldier are alike as well as how they are different.
7) By November, football season is in full swing. There are many rules in football and other games. Have your child discuss why games have rules and why these rules are important.
8) In the fall, bears prepare to hibernate for the winter. Discuss with your child what hibernation is. When does he/she sleep? Why is sleep important?
9) Many people go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Have your child describe his/her last shopping trip. Did he/she enjoy shopping? Why or why not?
10) Basketball season begins in November. Have your child explain how to play basketball. Are there any rules? Does he/she like to play or watch basketball? Why or why not?
11) November is a busy travel time. Ask your child to brainstorm all the different ways there are to travel. Which is his/her favorite? Why?
12) November is a time for appreciation and thankfulness. We can be thankful for the many talents we all have. Ask your child describe what he/she likes to do. What would he/she like to improve upon?
Take any and every opportunity to practice those skills that your child has been learning.
Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
Carryover Ideas for December
1) Children receive many types of toys this time of year. Have your child discuss a new toy he/she would invent and tell how it would work.
2) Santa has 9 reindeer including Rudolph. Have your child name all of the reindeer and explain how they travel.
3) Children often write letters to Santa. Have your child discuss what he/she would write to Santa.
4) December is a good time to thank those that have helped you throughout the year. Ask your child to talk about people or things that have helped him/her this past year.
5) Have your child brainstorm words that are associated with winter.
6) For the holidays, many people bake cookies. Have your child describe how they would make their favorite cookie. Tell them to describe as many types of cookies as they can.
7) People light candles for both Chanukah and Kwanzaa. Have your child name things that shine.
8) During this season, many people exchange presents. Have your child describe how to wrap a gift.
9) It is a busy shopping season. Help your child brainstorm a list of people and gift ideas for each of them.
10) The school holiday break is in December. Have your child discuss what he/she did last holiday break. Have them describe their favorite holiday vacation.
11) During the holiday break, many children read books. Ask your child to tell the story of his/her favorite book.
12) In winter, the weather starts to turn colder. Brainstorm with your child about things to do to keep warm as the weather gets chilly.
13) Think about special things that happened to you this year. Discuss them with your parents.
Best Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday and a Happy & Healthy New Year!
Carryover Ideas for January
1) You often see people out shoveling after a big snow storm. Have your child explain why people shovel walkways after it snows.
2) Every year we learn new things. Have your child recall things that they have learned last year and discuss things that they would like to learn in the upcoming year.
3) You can go sledding when it snows. Ask your child to talk about sledding. What do you need for sledding? How fast should you go?
4) In January the Super Bowl football game is played. Have your child tell why so many people like to watch the Super Bowl on TV. Does he/she like to watch? Why or why not?
5) After the holidays many people go to the stores to return or exchange items they received as gifts. Ask your child to think of reasons why people might return things.
6) Ask your child to tell how ice skating and roller-skating are alike. How are they different?
7) When it snows, you can build a snowman. Have your child describe how to build a snowman.
8) Eskimos live in houses called igloos. Have your child tell how his/her house is different from an igloo. How are they the same?
9) Martin Luther King, Jr. made a famous speech called "I Have a Dream". How could you make the world a better place?
10) Every snowflake is unique. Unique means each one is different. Describe what makes you unique from everyone else.
11) When the ground is covered in snow, children often make snow angels. Ask your child to describe how to make a snow angel.
Carryover Activities for February
Valentine's Day Ideas: (1) Every year, children exchange Valentine cards. Ask your child to talk about Valentine's Day. Why do people give each other cards on this day? (2) Cupid makes people fall in love by using magic arrows. Have your child tell you about all the things he/she loves. (3) February is a time for love and sharing. Have your child talk about times he/she has shared with friends or family. (4) Sometimes people call each other nicknames like "sweetheart." Have your child name as many different nicknames as he/she can. (5) In February, sweethearts often exchange chocolate candy. Have your child tell about sweet treats he/she likes to eat.
President's Day Ideas: (1) Ask your child to name the president and describe his job. (2) Ask your child if he/she would want to be president. Have him/her explain why or why not. (3) Ask your child how George Washington and Abe Lincoln were alike. How were they different? (4) Help your child imagine being president for the day. What would he/she like to do?
Carryover Ideas for March
1) "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb." Have your child tell you what this means.
2) Have your child tell how a lion and a lamb are alike and how they are different.
3) Discuss the difference between March the month and march the action word.
4) Marching bands often play in parades. Have your child describe a musical instrument they would like to play, and explain why.
5) Have your child tell you about what he/she would do if a Leprechaun knocked on his/her door.
6) Pretend you and your child have found a lucky four-leaf clover. Have your child define "luck" and give an example of someone having good luck.
7) Ask your child what he/she would do with a pot of gold.
8) During rainy days of March, children often play indoors. Have your child describe how to play his/her favorite game.
9) Have your child describe a rainbow.
10) Trees are about to bloom. Have your child name various fruits that grow on trees.
11) With warmer weather, more people get outside for exercise. Have your child talk about exercise and tell why it is important.
12) Spring Break is coming! Ask your child what he/she would like to do during their break.
13) College basketball games are fun to watch in March. Have your child explain how to play basketball.
14) As spring draws near, the weather becomes warmer. Have your child tell how spring clothes are like winter clothes and how they are different.
April Carryover Activities
April Fool’s Day: 1) Have your child tell a joke using his/her good sound(s). 2) Brainstorm with your child a list of words containing the sound that they are working on in speech class. Help him/her create a silly tongue twister using his/her sound(s). 3) Help your child think of a time when someone played a joke or teased him/her. Have your child describe the event and how he/she felt using their best speech sound(s).
Earth Day 1) Recycling is one way people take care of the Earth. Have your child explain what it means to recycle. Have your child name things in your house to recycle. 2) Pollution is harmful to the Earth. Have your child talk about sources of pollution. Listen for his/her good sound(s). 3) Some animals are very scarce, or endangered because of damage to the Earth. Have your child talk about ways we can protect animals.
April Activities: 1) Have your child name colors he/she might see in a butterfly. 2) Have your child explain how to fly a kite. 3) Have your child describe how a bird makes a nest. 4) Have your child pretend he/she is a weather person. Using his/her best sound(s), have your child give a weather forecast. 5)"April showers bring May flowers"...Have your child describe their favorite rainy day activity. 6) Have your child tell how galoshes and tennis sneakers are alike and how they are different. 7) Have your child think of special items needed for a rainy day. 8) Spring rains make big puddles and lots of mud. Create your own recipe for a "Mud Pie". Have your child tell about how to make this special pie. 9) Have your child imagine that their shoes had springs. Have them draw a picture of "spring sneakers" and tell a story of what they would do if they could wear these sneakers for a day. 10) Baseball season is almost here. Have your child describe the rule of baseball. 11) Have your child talk about their favorite baseball team.
May Carryover Activities
Mother's Day: (1) Mother's Day is a special day for mom. Have your child plan a breakfast for mom and talk about what will be served. (2) Every mom is special. Have your child tell 5 things that is special about his/her mom. (3) Have your child think of 5 things that he/she can do to help his/her mom on Mother's Day. (4) Have your child describe his/her mom's "typical" day.
Memorial Day: (1) On Memorial Day we remember soldiers who fought for our country. Have your child describe 5 things that are important to remember. (2) Have your child come up with a grocery list for all things needed for a Memorial Day picnic. (3) Most people don't work or go to school on Memorial Day. Have your child describe how he/she will spend the day.
Better Hearing & Speech Month: (1) May is the month we celebrate good hearing and speech. Have your child tell ways to care for his/her hearing. (2) Have your child give reasons why listening is important. (3) Have your child describe what they are learning in speech class. (4) Have your child explain why good speech is important. (5) Have your child discuss the rules in his/her speech class.
Other May topics: (1) Have your child explain what it means to have a "green thumb". (2) Flowers are everywhere. Have your child name flowers and describe where they are found. (3) The grass sure grows fast this time of year. Have your child name things that move fast. (4) T.V. finales are on in May. Have your child talk about their favorite T.V. show. (5) Many people use fans to keep cool. Have your child tell how a fan and air conditioning are alike. How are they different? (6) On sunny days, golf is popular. Have your child describe how to play golf. (7) The weather is perfect for playing outside. Have your child describe his/her favorite outdoor activity. (8) It is time for spring cleaning! Have your child describe things to clean around the house. (9) On a nice day, riding bikes is fun. Have your child talk about the day he/she learned to ride a bicycle. Have her/him describe how to ride a bicycle.
June Carryover Activities
1) Every dad is special. Tell some special things about your dad. 2) Describe your dad's typical day. 3) Describe some special things that you will do for your dad on Father's Day. 4) In May and June moms and dads have a special day. Discuss how moms and dad are alike and how they are different. 5) Every father is different. Draw a picture of your father and describe what he looks like.
1) Discuss the things that you learned in school this year.
2) Now that school is out you will no longer be taking a bus every day. Discuss different types of transportation. Describe how they are similar and different from one another.
3) Explain how to play baseball.
4) Sing "Take Me out to the Ballgame" or make up your own baseball song.
5) In the summer children play with friends. Describe what you like to do the most during the summer.
6) Some children may have a lemonade stand in the summer. Describe everything that you need to set up a stand.
7) During summer vacation some children may have babysitters. Explain what a babysitter does.
8) Flag Day is in June. Symbols and patterns on a flag vary from country to country. Every state also has a flag. Design a flag that represents your family.
9) June is a great time to go on a picnic. Draw a picnic basket with those things that you would like to take on your picnic. Describe what you put in your basket.
10) June is a great time to go to a baseball game. Think of things that you might find at a baseball game. Draw things that you can see at ballpark. Discuss your drawing.
11) The summer solstice marks the longest "daylight" during one day in North America. It is also the first official day of summer. Draw a picture of a sun. On each of the sun's rays write what you hope to do this summer. Share your ideas with your family.