What are gestures?

Gestures are non-verbal movements used to convey a message.  Children who have not developed verbal communication or have just a few words, may rely on gestures to get their point across.  It is important to watch for these gestures and to respond to them.  These gestures are an early way that children communicate.  Responding to them may limit frustration and ultimately tantrums. There are many types of gestures.  Most parents recognize conventional gestures such as waving.  You probably also recognize pointing (to an object to ask you to give it to them), showing (you a book to ask you to read), and giving (you the bottle to ask for more). I notice that parents sometimes are unaware of their child’s more ritualistic gestures.  These include: holding their hands up to ask you to pick them up “dancing” to ask you to sing them a song opening their hands to ask that

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What are blocked and random practice?

Blocked and random practice are terms used in apraxia therapy.  Here is a quick explanation of these practice types. Blocked practice is repeating the same word again and again.  This is best to establish a new motor pattern. Random practice is saying different words.  This supports retention and transfer of a motor plan.

My child doesn’t talk. I wish he could tell me something.

Maybe he already is telling you something. Just not with words. We get our point across in many ways. A quick glance to let a friend know not to say something. A facial expression to communicate disappointment. Pointing to a preferred item when we have laryngitis. Grabbing someone’s hand when we are scared. Handing your spouse the bottle that you cannot open while continuing to talk about other things. These ways of communicating are all without words. We are not talking but we are conveying a meaning. Help your child get his point across. Interpret his non-verbal communication. If he hands you the remote control, does he want to watch TV? If he throws himself on the floor, maybe he doesn’t want to eat the broccoli. If he walks to the cabinet where the popcorn is kept then looks at you, give him the popcorn. If he grabs your hand

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When should my child say sounds?

There are ranges of normal with sound production.  The 24 consonant sounds can be broken into three groups of sound development:  early, middle, late. Early 8 Sounds Emerge and mastered between the ages of 1-3 m, b, y, n, w, d, p, h Middle 8 Sounds Emerge and mastered between the ages of 3-6 ½ t, ng, g, k, f, v, ch, j Late 8 Sounds Emerge and mastered between the ages of 5 -7 ½ sh, s, th (in think0, th (in these), r, z, l, zh   Adapted from Shriberg’s Order of Speech-Sound Acquisition

What is recasting?

Recasting is a form of corrective feedback.  It is used often in speech and language therapy.   Recasts can be focus on pronunciation, on grammar, or on vocabulary.  After a recast, repetition is not expected. Recasts may sound like this: Child:  Wawa. Mom:  Water, you want water. Child:  I runned fast. Mom:  You ran very fast.

Communication without TALKING

Children communicate in a variety of ways. We all hope that our child will talk. When this doesn’t happen then we look at how he can get his point across. Here are some ways that he may tell you something. Let’s use playing with bubbles to explore these non-verbal means of communication. Physical manipulation: Your child will manipulate your body to make a request. He may take your hand on put it on the bubbles to ask you to blow some. Giving: The children will hand you an object. Your child may hand you the bottle of bubbles to ask you to open it. Pointing: The child will point to a desired item that is out of reach. If the bubbles are on the shelf, then the child might point to them to ask to play. Gaze shift The child will look at a desired item. The child may look

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What is the difference between articulation and phonological processes?

Articulation and phonological processes both impact how we sound. Articulation errors involve a specific sound.  People often refer to these as “a lisp” or a “wobbly R”.  This would sound like wabbit for rabbit. A phonological process is a pattern of sound errors.  People often say that the child “sounds funny” but can’t define why.  Some of these processes are normal and disappear by age three.  They include: Syllable deletion:  Children leave out an unstressed syllable.  This is why children say “nana” for banana. Final consonant deletion:  Children leave off the last sound of a word.  A child may say “ba” for bed. Assimilation:  Children make sounds in a word the same.  Your child may say “lelo” for yellow. Reduplication:  A syllable is repeated.  Parents usually hear “baba” for bottle. Fronting:  The K and G sounds are made at the back of the mouth.  Instead children make them in the front of

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If my child is a late talker, will sign language make him less likely to use speech?

No.  Children are very smart.  They will do what ever is easiest to get their needs met. If your child is a late talker, he may have even developed some bad habits like yelling, throwing a tantrum, or whining to get his needs met.  Giving him another, more appropriate way, to communicate will decrease his frustration (and yours). Once speech and language develop, sign usage will decrease.

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