It’s that time of year again! Everywhere you look is another advertisement for yet another toy that your child MUST have! Barbie, Play Dough, Nintendo Wii, Lego sets…these are always great gifts that most children will love. But, what about toys that are fun for kids and can help build language skills and increase vocabulary at the same time? Is that even possible? The answer is yes. But will the kids enjoy these toys? Again, the answer is YES, and you may be surprised that some very famous toys are actually excellent language building blocks.
Mama! Dada!! Like many parents, you have likely been waiting months for your child to finally say a real word! Sure, the grunts, pointing and babbling sounds are cute, but that moment your child utters her first word is priceless! Once the first word is spoken however, there is no turning back. What was once a semi-peaceful trip to the grocery store is now filled with endless, “Ball”, “Mama”, “Apple”, “Want Dat”. Car rides are no longer excuses to escape with Adam Levine. Instead the sounds of “Stop,” “Go”, “Car”, “Fire Truck” are yelled triumphantly and continuously from the back seat. Are there ways in which parents can start building speech and language skills early? How early is too early?
Communication is complicated. How often do you find yourself asking your friend to “say that again?” or misspeak with a wrong word or a nonsense word by mistake? It happens to everyone. Despite well-developed communication skills, even adults can’t speak clearly at times. Why? Because successful communication requires the synchrony one of many skills. For some children, correcting an articulation error in speech therapy, that sound might only be one piece of the communication puzzle. In fact, that’s exactly why speech pathologists do an evaluation, to assess, using an arsenal of measures, many elements of communication. Fortunately for parents who might be concerned, there are two simple things that might be impacting a child’s communication that can be easily addressed.