On average, one in six children experiences a speech and social developmental delay. However, according to a study, compared to children born before the pandemic, those born during the pandemic have almost twice the chance of facing speech delays.

According to some researchers, one of the reasons for this could be the lack of interactions between children.

Speech delay means a child speaks less, learns to talk later, or uses gestures like pointing instead of using words. If a child ignores their name being called, doesn’t look at what others are looking at in the environment, or avoids playing with other children or trusted adults, it can cause social developmental delays.

By providing children who may have speech and social developmental delays with rich, responsive interactions and conversations, parents and preschool teachers can help.

Here, as child psychologists with expertise in language and literacy development for children with learning disabilities, we would suggest you try autism assessment online.

In this blog, we are sharing five techniques that parents and teachers of children with speech and social developmental delays brought on by the pandemic can use to foster the development of their children’s linguistic skills and future school performance.

Encourage children to talk

  • We convey our experiences through language. But children who experience speech delays could not speak much. Children can learn to interact and communicate with others by having opportunities to talk created by adults.

Making settings where the child must talk in order to obtain what they want is one technique to achieve this. For instance, at home, place a child’s favorite toy or food in a transparent, sealed bag or plastic jar so they can see it but can’t get it without help. Give the child two options at snack time or free play at the preschool or daycare, and ask them to choose one.

Any noise or attempt at speaking for children who are facing speech delays is a good sign. The fact that they are making an effort to communicate is more significant than how well their sentences sound. Make the child point and talk simultaneously to express their decision if their speech is difficult to understand.

Expand on children’s speech

Improving the language skills of children with speech delays requires using rich language.

Responding to what the child says and then adding details or adjectives is one technique to teach rich language.

For instance, you can elaborate on a child’s “Cat!” exclamation by adding, “Yeah, there’s a cute white cat.” In sharing the experience of seeing a cat, you are acknowledging what the child said and adding new words for the child to hear and respond to.

Be a pleasant and attentive conversation partner

Children develop greater language abilities in preschool, richer vocabulary and reading skills in the first grade, and mathematical skills in the third grade when adults interact with them in a friendly and supportive manner.

Supportive parenting means not constantly instructing the child what to do but rather taking their lead. For example, Play with the toys the child chose or act out the stories they created. Take turns talking during the conversation while talking directly to the child about the subject they choose.

Don’t worry about guiding the interaction or correcting the child. If you’ve mentioned the cat across the street a thousand times, it’s alright. Each exchange helps children’s linguistic skills. Be optimistic and engaged.

Share a book

With the shared book reading method, the adult actively engages the child in the narrative experience. In later grades, children who regularly read aloud to one another have wider vocabulary sets, use more complex language, and have improved reading comprehension.

You can ask them what they think will be happening next in the story. Describe to the child your own experiences that are similar to those in the book.

When you read for your child, point out words and letters to help children grasp them. Discuss new words from the story and explain them to the child.

Discuss about words

Encourage children to become aware of the relationship between words and how they sound. This is a crucial ability that helps in both reading and writing.

Syllables in words like “cupcake” or “butterfly” can be counted or clapped. When reciting nursery rhymes, ask the child to identify the rhyming words or to suggest additional rhymes. Discuss the starting or ending sounds of words, such as the “t” sound in “tiger” or the “m” sound in “room.”

Children will slowly start understanding that written letters can represent the sounds and words that make up spoken language. The first step in developing your ability to read and write is gaining this knowledge.

These are the techniques you can use to help your child learn language skills and get over the difficulties you consult a child psychologist.

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