If you want to help a child with a language delay, give him a reason to talk. I'm talking about a delay, not some disorder such as cranio-facial malformations or paralyzed vocal cords. Some tips for giving a child a reason to talk are:
- Serve small amounts of food so that the child has to request more. This may be with words, grunts, gestures, or sign language, but at least that is a start.
- Provide choices even if they don't seem important. Ask "Do you want to wear the red shirt or the yellow shirt?" Now the child may not know his colors, but when you hold up two shirts, he gets to make a choice. This gives the child a sense of being in control, which means he may be less defiant later when you want control!
- Put favorite toys slightly out of reach, so that the child has to ask for help, point, or otherwise let his wishes be known.
- Label what you are doing, playing with, or what he is doing. For example, when you provide the child with a cup, say "Drink, here is a drink". Keep it simple as opposed to saying some long drawn out sentence.
Some children truly need the help of a speech language pathologist (AKA speech therapist), whereas others just need the environment and caregivers to give them a reason to talk!