6 Exercises To Help Children With Language Difficulties
Many children have language disorders which won't necessarily lead to permanent speaking problems in their adult lives. There are certain exercises which can help children overcome these difficulties. Find them out in this article.
Children with language difficulties should receive help from a professional and from their parents. This is the only way to develop and improve over time.
Don’t let a child close to you get bullied for his or her language abilities.
First of all, it’s important to point out that, in children, a delay in language development does not imply problems in other aspects of their development.
The fact that a child has trouble speaking does not make him or her less intelligent or incapable. Also, it’s likely that language problems of this kind only appear during childhood.
Although it may seem hard to believe, adolescents and adults with excellent speaking skills could have had language disorders when they were little. However, it didn’t limit their development or stop them having a totally normal adulthood.
The key is knowing how to help children with language difficulties.
What exercises can help children with language difficulties?
First of all, cards which refer to sounds can really help children to learn to pronounce each syllable correctly.
- The best way of doing this is to turn this exercise into a game and reward the child when they pronounce each sound right.
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2. Mirror exercises
Next, mirror exercises are very useful for children who have problems with pronouncing words and sounds. The mirror helps to teach them the right way to move their mouth and make the sounds of each word.
Repeating words over and over again is one of the most effective exercises to help children with language difficulties.
- However, the repetitions should be done slowly.
- This way, the child will be able to listen to them and hear all the phonemes.
4. Talk to children
Parents and other family members should communicate frequently with children who have a language delay. This promotes verbal communication, giving the child the opportunity to hear new words, learn them and to be able to communicate correctly.
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5. Strengthen their speaking
To strengthen the speaking skills of small children, it’s best to only give them what they ask for if they say the right word, and not if they resort to just using hand gestures. This motivates the child to find ways to use language to get what they want.
Next, reading is an appropriate resource to strengthen children’s language skills. After all, by reading, they develop new vocabulary. By reading, they learn to structure phrases better and to pronounce the words they find more difficult. Stories, for example, also help stimulate their creativity and imagination.
How are language disorders diagnosed?
One of the greatest challenges faced by parents is identifying whether their children have language difficulties and whether they need the support of a specialist. However, it’s important to emphasize that each child has his/her own variations in speech development.
Some of the situations that can help identify whether a child has language problems include identifying if:
- By 18 months, a child has not said a single word, doesn’t point at objects and shows no interest or intention to communicate;
- An 18-month-old-child doesn’t understand simple instructions of a maximum of three words;
- If at 2, a child only repeats what they hear and you can’t understand what they say;
- If at 3, the child doesn’t form plurals or use pronouns;
- If at 4, the child pronounces consonants incorrectly, makes nasal sounds or doesn’t conjugate verbs when speaking.
Recommendations for parents of children with language difficulties
First of all, parents should bear in mind that children learn language by imitation and by listening to the people around them. For this reason, it’s important to speak to them a lot. Do this with simple and clear language.
During breastfeeding, it’s important to dedicate time to verbal communication with children. Believe it or not, it’s the best time to start teaching them sign language and the imitation of sounds and gestures.
Similarly, from 6 months on, parents should read to their children daily. Stories with images are ideal to stimulate language development.
Take advantage of bath time or changing their clothes to reinforce speaking and language. These are ideal situations to name objects, items of clothing and parts of the body.
Finally, parents and other people around the children should not laugh at their mistakes. Naturally, mocking them can cause significant psycho-emotional damage in children with language problems.