Assisting Your Child with Speaking in Sentences Consistently : Everyday Talk about Speech Therapy
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Assisting Your Child with Speaking in Sentences Consistently

by Ashely Sellers, Speech Language Pathologist, M.Ed., CCC-SLP on 11/12/17


Words are necessary for us to communicate with each other. We take words and combine them into sentences to communicate our wants, needs, thoughts, feelings, and interests. We also use words to ask questions to obtain desired information. Using words to communicate comes naturally and without effort for most people, but what happens when it does not, especially for your young child?

This is when teaching vocabulary and using words becomes very intentional. I am aware that are a lot parents experiencing this with their young child and are frustrated and overwhelmed about how to handle this situation.  Let me kindly offer you a few suggestions:

*        First, don’t allow your concern to result into frustration and panic.

Rather take note of your specific concerns regarding your child’s communication skills and how they are adversely impacting their ability to communicate with you regularly at home.


*        Establish your child’s communication needs based on what is best for them and not what your expectations are for them based on your communication skills (which are typical, not delayed).

This will allow you to lower your expectations and communicate with your child on their level (this makes communicating easier for them because there is less pressure).


*        Establish a language target.

Consider what ways or situations that are pertinent to your family or child’s routine in which you want communication to occur the most (meal time, family-play time, grooming).


*        Intentionally decide the vocabulary words that need to be taught to encourage the use of words and sentences within those settings. (Ex. mealtime- apple, cup, spoon, plate., Ex. grooming-toothbrush, water, sink, towel).


*        Teach the vocabulary receptively first.

o    Present objects or picture representations of the vocabulary you choose.

o    Label these objects repeatedly but not with an immediate expectation for the child to imitate or use.

o    Add descriptions or functions of each object to stimulate their language and increase their understanding of why knowing and naming these objects within the setting presented is important.


*        Encourage verbal use of these words over time.

o    Pair words with signs

o    Shape vocalizations and word approximations into real words/phrases.


*        Note that imitation is a sign that spontaneous speech is possible and may occur soon.

o    Shape imitations into three to four-word sentences.


*        Expand spontaneous word use of two to three words into complete sentences using description words and prepositions.

o    This will allow for the use of more meaningful, vivid speech  

Want a resource that helps in this area?  Check out the sample of my new activity book called: Intentional Use of Words:  Forming-Expanding Sentences. Purchase the entire workbook: Website: CLICK HERE  or Etsy: CLICK HERE

I hope you find this resource to be useful for you and your child

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