Every parent or every teacher has been experiencing different struggles in handling children with or even without special needs. These worries may be because they notice that their child doesn’t socialize with their peers or maybe because their child has a very short attention span. These are all challenges that each face but one of the common concerns of the parents or teachers is that the child has a speech delay.
We have seen some heartbreaking moments of the parents seeing their child who can’t communicate. You want to know what the child is thinking and feeling but you can’t because of their speech delay. You want to help them but feel lost and overwhelmed not knowing the best things to do.
The question is, how many words shall your child use?
- 12 months (2 to 6 words; other than “mama” and “dada”)
- 15 months (10 words)
- 18 months (50 words)
- 24 months (200-300 words)
- 30 months (450 words)
- 36 months (1,000 words)
If you think your child is lagging behind, don’t wait. Start making progress now. There are many ways on which you can help your child to improve their speech but the best way for them to learn how to communicate is through PLAY.
Some parents may think it’s necessary to buy the battery-operated toys or iPad and other gadgets but it’s really not. In fact, low-tech toys that don’t require batteries are the best items for developing speech and language as it gives more opportunities for the children to explore and discover the use of these toys which results to more interaction.
So what are the TOP 5 toys to increase speech development?
- Any types of blocks or stacking toys is a great way to fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. What’s good about blocks is that the children can stack up, make towers, make train, make houses and other things. This can widen their imagination and creativity in building something out of the different shapes. You can also incorporate turn-taking skills by saying “you stack” then, “I stack”, “we stack together” and joint attention will take place which means sharing the activity together. This can also practice requesting by saying or signing “more” or “more blocks”.
- Balloons are very cheap but effective toys for our children. For balloons, you can try to pump the balloon together and at the same time say the balloon is “big” or “small”. These balloons are also a great way to introduce colors. Most importantly, you can also give one to two step instruction to the children which can increase their attention and listening skills. For example, you can say, “give me” or “put inside”. Incorporating functional words can also be more helpful to them just like “put on” or “take off” which can also be used in “putting on” clothes or “taking off” shoes.
- Animal Puzzles
- Animal puzzles can be very interesting for the children. The more interesting the pictures are, the more the children will be engaged. For animal puzzles, sounds of animals can be taught. We give our children opportunities to imitate or make sounds of the different animals. Always emphasize sound of the words so that can somehow catch each sound. This is also good for their matching which is an important cognitive skill and also practices fine motor skills in trying to make the puzzles fit in.
- Story books
- Simple story books or nursery rhyme books will always be a great go-to toy or activity for the children. Make sure to choose which books your children are interested to. When reading, make sure to have more tonal variation, making it more enticing to our children. Make the point the picture, say different vocabulary words, make sound effects, do various hand movements – these techniques will make it more meaningful to our children.
- Toy cars or trucks
- If you want your children to be engaged, play with toys or trucks! Most of the children may be a little too fascinated with cars and trucks so this is the easiest way to get their attention. In playing make sure you have a car for yourself and for your child. This is best for back and forth reciprocal play. We can also integrate terms like “push” and “pull” or “give” and “take”.
There are thousands of ways to make play more fun and more meaningful. You know your child best so find all possible toys and activities that will keep them engaged and happy. Always remember to be consistent, be patient and progress will follow. Every small progress is still a progress.