Is your two year old not talking yet?
Here are some basic techniques you can employ right away to help him get started:
1-Start teaching him signs. Good first sign words are more, open, help and all done. Pair the sign with the word every time you use it. Take his hands and move them into the sign movements for him if he doesn’t imitate you by himself.
2-If he isn’t imitating your words yet (which he should be) reduce your expectations a little and ask him to just copy one sound in your target word. So for more, ask him to say mmm. For all done, ask him to say ahh.
3- when you ask him to copy your sounds, have him watch your mouth. If hearing words and sounds all around him was enough, he'd be talking more right now. He needs more information and the best way to give it to him is visually. Have him see how your mouth is moving to make the target sound.
4- Explain to him what he needs to do to make that sound. Tell him, it’s your turn, you do it, you try it. Open your mouth real big. Pop your lips open.
5-Fight the urge to anticipate his needs. Don’t jump in right away the second he needs help. Give him the opportunity to communicate with you and then give him the words to go along with what he’s thinking. If he’s trying to put his shoe on don’t jump in right away to help him put it on. Wait for him to communicate to him that he needs help and then you can work on the sign and word help.
Remember it’s not about changing him, it’s changing how you do things with him and making sure you have the right expectations. If you continue accepting grants and points and cries for communication you won’t see much progress. If you start expecting a little more, at least an attempt at saying a sound, then you’ll get on track much more quickly.
Shannon Kong, MS, CCC
CEO, Clinical Director Seven Bridges Therapy