In May, we celebrate Better Hearing and Speech Month. Each week we will bring you some pertinent and useful speech and hearing-related information from our team of fabulous speech therapists.
Language Development Facts:
1. How common is late talking? The latest prevalence estimates are 10 – 20% of 2-year-olds. The most significant risk factors for late talking are:
- Gender—Boys are at higher risk than girls.
- Late Walking – Late talkers have more motor delays when compared with typically developing kids.
- Low Birth Weight – Babies born with less than 85% of their optimum birth weight are more likely to talk late.
- Prematurity – Babies born earlier than 37 weeks gestation were at higher risk of late talking.
- Delayed Early Language Development – Language abilities at 12 months appear to be one of the better predictors of communication skills at 2 years.
2. During the birth to 3 period, new brain connections form at a rapid-fire pace of 700 a second! These connections are formed throughout a child’s day throughout their observations, interactions with others, and play! Check out this link for more information.
3. Besides being an activity that (most) toddlers love…“Music and music experiences support the formation of important brain connections that are being established over the first three years of life (Carlton, 2000).” This means that singing is an EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE. Every single time you break into a song with a child, you’re helping build the circuitry for social and language development. You’re setting the stage for words.
4. Research shows that young children need to hear about 21,000 words per day, although some hear as little as 6,000. The simple act of talking to kids helps them develop their vocabulary and their language skills, including listening, memory, and speaking. Your conversation is going to state the obvious, be repetitive, and ask and answer your own questions. Here are 3 strategies for expanding opportunities for children to hear and use more language throughout daily routines:
- Ask your child open-ended questions.
Closed-ended questions can be answered with a simple yes or no, so they fail to promote language development. Instead of asking your child, “Do you want water?” try asking a question that gets your child using more specific words: “What would you like to drink: water, milk, or juice?”
- Turn your child’s words into sentences
If your child points to something, resist the urge to give it to her because you know she wants it. Let her use her words. When your young child says, “Wah-wah” and points, say, “Oh you want some water?” as you hand her the water. Then, intentionally say, “Here’s your water.” By doing so, you’re modeling using sentences for your child.
- Include little ones in family discussions.
Include your little one in dinnertime table conversations, family gatherings, and family talks. Family time is great for rich conversations. Your little one can keep in touch with family members who live far away using video chat or by talking on the phone. It may not be as great as a face-to-face conversation, but it’s conversation.
5. The use of sign language has proven to be beneficial for children in a wide variety of settings. Teaching sign language to preverbal babies has proven to benefit children in their later years. Research shows that sign language speeds up speech development, reduces frustration in young children by giving them the means to express themselves before they know how to talk, increases parent-child bonding, and lets babies communicate vital information, such as if they are hurt or hungry.