I am having so much fun with my daughters’ language development right now.  From the moment she wakes up, to the moment she falls asleep it is non-stop vocal action!  She talks, she babbles, she hums and she sings.  It is truly an amazing thing for me to witness.  She hasn’t always been a talker though.  In fact, not more than four weeks ago, she had very little.  There were a couple of signs and maybe about 20 really coherent words, but aside from that it was silence or screaming.  Can you imagine wanting to say everything and not being able to get it out?  That was why we had screaming.  Communication break down!

Most recently, we had begun doing a few more games and activities that really focused on using her language, she was really unaware of the work she was doing.  It was all fun and games to her 🙂  So here are some ideas to vocalize and verbalize with your child!

Singing Songs: Being a Music Therapist, I spend a lot of my time singing songs.  The greatest thing is when a kid finally sings a song with me!  It may be after one session, it may take a little while longer, but the process is still the same.  First, we sing the songs without guitar and use sign language to really drive the total communication.  Second, I let the children sign while I support them with singing and guitar.  Sometimes, having that extra little bit of instrumentation takes off a lot of pressure.  When I am sure that the child has a grasp of the song, I start to leave words out, the last word or two of a phrase works best.  For example:

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little, _________

It’s amazing what happens next.  Some kids will immediately shout out the word for the first time (and then they smile and laugh because they “get it”).  Some parents immediately bring their hands to their mouths as if to say “Holy cow, he/she has words!”.  It’s pretty cool!  Some kids will just vocalize during that rest, a shout, a yelp, a “LA”.  Some kids will provide you with some real intense eye contact that says “finish my phrase”.  All of these are steps toward purposeful vocalization and verbalization.  What a process!

Read with your Child: It’s amazing how many times just reading a book, preferably one that has predictable language (like rhyming or a simple story line with matching pictures).  We read two books every night before bed with our daughter.  One of her earlier words was “Moon” as a result of reading “Goodnight Moon” so many times.

Anther great reading idea: Write a book with your child.  Say your child only has a few words, but they are really clear and used often!  Use those words in a book while adding new words and phrases that would come next.  This take a bit of effort on your part, but the reward is pretty cool! For Example:

Farrah’s first few words: Moon, Cat, Chair, Car

Our book would be about a CAT that SIT’s in a CHAIR, while watching the MOON at NIGHT.  During the DAY when the SUN is out, the CAT would drive a CAR to see her friend the DOG.  And so on…. There would be pictures, which could be as easy as magazine cut outs or clip art.

So now, in addition to the four words that were pretty consistent, she is now learning three more words that are associated with what she already knows!

Bubbles: Check out this post to check out our bubble games!

Side Tip: Whenever you hear your child approximate a word (and you can tell what they are trying to say), validate that with the correct pronunciation of the word.  Baby talk is great for the baby… not your talking toddler! 🙂 For Example:

“Momma, Chuck!”
“Oh, You see a TRUCK?” “Great!”

What other ways have you and your child, or you and your client used to promote vocalization and verbalization?