6 Tips For Helping A Child With Unclear Speech
It is common to feel anxious when your child still doesn't sound clear even as he/she seems to be hitting all the other developmental milestones. Many parents even start 'adapting' their ears to their child's speech. It is only when friends, family or school teachers start giving feedback about not being able to understand their child, that parents start realising that there might be an issue.
So, what to do if your child's speech is unclear? There are several things parents can do. Here are some general tips:
If your child is struggling with a particular sound, try increasing your child's awareness of the correct production by repeating the sound/word when you hear your child mispronounce it. For added emphasis, you can say it slowly, with particular stress on the erroneous sound.
Do not constantly ask your child to repeat a sound/word until they get it right! It is of course perfectly fine to ask your child to repeat these words once in a while. However, when overdone (which as anxious parents, many are prone to do), it puts unnecessary pressure on a child and causes them to shut down as a result. That's the last thing we want from a child that needs more practice.
If your child is at an age where he/she can read, use finger-tracking while practicing reading out loud to help link the sounds to its written form. This also helps break down a longer word into smaller pieces (syllables) so that it is easier to process.
Keep speech practice fun! This is easier said than done. If done repeatedly, speech practice easily becomes monotonous and dry. It is important to keep the activities creative and spontaneous if possible, so that a child remains motivated to learn and practice. Use your child's favourite toys when practicing, or pick up some puppets to practice the speech sounds together - the possibilities are endless. Let your creative juices flow!
Don't be afraid of letting your child know that you don't understand what he/she is saying. This helps increase your child's awareness of his own speech production as well, and prompts them to attempt to correct their own productions. But of course, do it in a nice way.
Praise often! Let your child know that you appreciate how hard he/she is trying to get it right, and that you know it's not easy. I cannot emphasise how important this is.
And there you go. 6 tips that might help you with your child with unclear speech. This list is by no means exhaustive. These are also general strategies, and might not help with every type of condition.
If you are worried about your child's speech clarity, it is best to seek a qualified speech therapist's advice. Other conditions such as Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) or Speech Sound Disorders (SSD) can impact a child's speech development in different ways as well and require different methods in treatment.
At Dinosaur Speech Therapy, we are experienced in the assessment and treatment of different speech conditions. We believe that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and our therapists are well-equipped to change the way they deliver therapy flexibly to ensure your child gets the best possible support from therapy.
Contact us now to find out more on how speech therapy can help support your child's needs! Book a non-obligatory consultation now! Tele-consults available. Whatsapp or call us now at 8028 8535.