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Top Tips For Speech2020-01-06T08:46:28+00:00

Top tips!

Helping your child develop clearer speech

If we use the correct sounds in words, these make what we say clear, so others can successfully understand what we’re talking about. For example, we use the long sound ‘fffffffff’ in “fish” rather than ‘b’ that would make “bish”. Children gradually develop the speech sounds adults use but tend to simplify these at the earlier stages.

NB when we are using speech sounds, we use the ‘pure’ sounds that are used in ‘Phonics’ in school rather than letter names.

General Top Tips for Everyday:

Ensure your child has the foundations for speech sounds:

      • Hearing: That they are able to hear what you say – glue ear is very common in the pre-school years and can impact on hearing. If you’re concerned talk with your GP.
      • Attention Skills: Children need to be able to focus on what other’s are saying as well as be able to focus on adult directed activities for direct work on speech sounds as this takes a lot of effort.
      • Understanding of language: Ensure child has an understanding of concepts such as ‘front/back’, ‘long/short’, ‘noisy/quiet’ as they will need these to understand where in the mouth and how these speech sounds are made.
      • Use of language: Ensure your child is using a range of words and phrases.

Supporting your child’s speech & language

  • If you understand what your child is saying but it is unclear, acknowledge positively what they have said (rather than how they said it) and model the way it is said. For example, if your child said “look it’s a bish!”, you could say “yes it’s a fish” placing a slight emphasis on the sound. Your child does not need to repeat this.
  • If you do not understand what your child is saying, try not to guess. Confirm what you did understand in the sentence and then work together to work out what they have said. Can your child show you by pointing to what they’re talking about, by using a gesture or a sign?
  • Use a home-nursery/school news book. You and nursery/school staff can add news that your child would like to share about their day or weekend. Adding photos will help your child to know what to share and will also cue you and staff into the context. This will allow your child to be successful in sharing their news, which is key to their confidence in talking.
  • As you walk outside or are in the house, use it as an opportunity to listen out for everyday sounds. Can you and your child guess what it is. Children need to be able to identify everyday sounds before they are able to identify different speech sounds.

Top Tips for Special Time:

If you’re not sure where to start with Special Time please refer to the Top Tips for Making your 5 Minutes success here https://helencaiels.co.uk/top-tips-for-language/

  • Be face-to-face – so your child can see what you’re saying and how you’re making the sounds with your mouth. NB this does not mean making your child look, but create opportunities for face watching by:
    • Sitting opposite your child, being at their level and in the ‘listening space’.
    • Give extra silence whilst they play and only talk when they face watch and stop when they look away.
  • In play, offer a choice of activities that ‘happen’ to have lots of words with a specific sound that they are finding difficult. For example, for a child that has difficulty with ‘f’ sounds you could have a ‘farm’ or book on ‘farms’ that has a ‘fox’, ‘food’, ‘frog’ and you can ‘feed the animals’ or they may ‘fly’. This creates lots of opportunities for your child to hear and see how the sound is made in the words. Again, they do not need to copy you. Children who are having difficulty with sounds need to hear them many times in words and in different word positions before they will be able to use them.

Speech Sound Resources

Remember, it is not easy to change the way we say sounds, so it will talk lots of practice with your child at each stage of therapy to ensure they are successful. Little and often is much better, so try to practice ideally everyday for 5-10 minutes. If you can make it fit, your child is much more likely to want to practice.

If you are accessing therapy for speech sounds, please find below two free resources:

This free resource talks you through the first steps in therapy to support your child to identify different sounds. So in any of these activities your child will be listening to you say the sound and then identifying the right picture.

This free resource talks you through the last step in therapy, when your child is able to use a target sound they’ve been working on in words,  to help them generalise this into phrases and sentences before we can expect them to use in conversation.

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