7 TIPS TO HELP YOUR CHILD SPEAK CLEARLY

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7 TIPS TO HELP YOUR CHILD SPEAK CLEARLY

7 TIPS TO HELP YOUR CHILD SPEAK CLEARLY

By Dorothy P. Dougherty, MA, CCC-SLP

help your child to speak

1. Speak clearly, naturally and, most of all, correctly. Speaking clearly and naturally includes establishing eye contact, speaking at an easy-to-understand rate and saying sounds precisely.

2. Monitor your child for ear infections. If you suspect your child has an ear infection, call your physician immediately. A temporary mild hearing loss from an ear infection can slow a child’s ability to understand language and his ability to say words clearly and correctly. If he does have an ear infection, remember to take him back to the doctor for a follow-up visit to make sure his hearing has returned to normal.

3. Model the correct way to say a word. If your child says a word incorrectly, in most cases, it is wise not to ask your child to repeat the word. (Of course, if your child is participating in speech therapy, follow the speech/language pathologist’s instructions).

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4. Give your child many opportunities to hear troublesome sounds pronounced correctly. This will make it easier for him to hear the difference between the correct and incorrect productions of sounds, and it will also make it easier to say the sound when he is developmentally ready. Try the activities below. As you and your child interact, emphasize the troublesome sound by saying it as often as possible.
If your child is having trouble saying /f/ sounds:
Talk about things you can do with your feet.
Make a favorites list (favorite foods, animals, toys).
If your child is having trouble saying /k/ and /g/ sounds:
Play with cars in a toy garage.
Talk about the keys on your key chain.
Talk about what you might plant in a garden.
If your child is having trouble saying /sh/ and /ch/ sounds:
Talk about different kinds of shoes. Count the shoes in your child’s closet.
Find five things you can shut.
Push your child on a swing and talk about other things you can push.

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5. Expect your child to speak clearly. It is important for you to encourage and expect your child to speak the best he can. Be patient, and also tell him how proud you are when he tries his best. If your child has all his wants and needs met without having to say a word, he is, most likely, not getting a lot of opportunities to practice saying speech sounds.

6. Prepare your child for new situations. Children who must struggle to communicate often feel self-conscious or apprehensive, especially when facing the unknown. Talk to your child about a new situation he may be facing. Rehearse the words he might hear or say in this situation. Ask your librarian to help you find a book about an upcoming situation, such as a trip to the hospital, the birth of a new sibling or the first day at school.

7. Educate others about your child’s speech difficulties. Of course, you would never allow anyone to tease, laugh or imitate your child’s speech mistakes. Privately, talk to his preschool teacher or babysitter and explain his difficulties. If possible, offer helpful ideas. If he has older siblings, talk to them and enlist their help in modeling good sound productions.

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7 TIPS TO HELP YOUR CHILD SPEAK CLEARLY