When your child’s speech is difficult to understand, both you and your child may feel frustrated. The following suggestions may help to make talking a more enjoyable experience and help develop your child’s speech skills.
Reduce Your Rate of Speech
It may be helpful for your child if you reduce your rate of speech slightly (not too unnatural) and allow them to see your face while you are speaking. This will help your child see a clear, correct model of sounds and words.
Model Good Speech
When your child says a word incorrectly, don’t ask your child to repeat it, as this may cause them to become frustrated. Instead, provide your child with the correct model. For example, if your child says “loot at my nake” you might say “yeah, look at your snake”. This way, your child will know that you understood what they said AND they will also hear the correct pronunciation of the words.
Emphasize the Sound Your Child Missed or Said Incorrectly
Emphasize the sounds your child is having difficulty saying by making the sounds a little bit louder and a little bit longer. For example, if your child says “poon”, you might respond by saying “you have a s-s-spoon”. Again, do not make your child try to say the word again – they may not yet be ready to make certain sounds and having them say it again may increase frustration.
Position Yourself at Your Child’s Level
When modeling sounds for your child, you should attempt to be face to face. Allow your child to see the way you say sounds and words, while placing slight emphasis on the target sound.
Say Less – limit the amount of words used with the target word
Stress – emphasize the target sounds louder, longer, repeated
Go Slow – speak slower and insert more pauses
Show – use visual cues and show what you do with your mouth