What it takes to talk

by Anna Dubiak, M.S., CCC-SLP
Duncan Lake Speech Therapy, LLC

We have received many a calls from concerned parents reporting to us that their child is not talking and they are not sure what to do. Some say doctors, mom friends, or the internet has told them not to worry but they can’t shake the feeling that there is something more to be investigated. First of all, always trust your gut, the worst thing that could happen is you get an evaluation from a speech language pathologist that states your kiddo is right on track! Alternatively your concerns may be validated and your child (and yourself!) will get the support they need to continue to grow and foster communication skills.

We get asked a lot of questions from parents when we meet a new friend during evaluation times and one of the most common questions we get is, “How long is this going to take?”

  • Reacting to sounds/events in the environment, as well as people who are talking around a child.
    • Why? Responding it the basis of communication! As communication typically involves two or more people we need to see if a child is responding to others in any way.
  • Taking turns in interactions.
    • Why? This is how communicators interact in conversation.
  • Developing longer attention spans as well as shifting attention.
    • Why? If we had no attention we would not be able to learn new things and if kids are able to maintain and shift their attention they will start to understand and listen to others as they communicate.
  • Playing with a variety of different toys.
    • Why? Children learn through play, when play is diversified they have the opportunity to learn more!
  • Imitating actions, gestures, and words they hear and see in others.
    • Why? Children learn from others in safe contexts by repeating things they hear.

These are just a few of the skills children need to begin to talk and build their vocabulary and communication skills. It makes sense that with all these necessities it may take more than we think to learn how to communicate effectively with others. Here at Duncan Lake Speech Therapy we believe in total communication. This means we believe all forms of communication are valid. Whether your kiddo is using some words, gestures, augmentative and alternative communication, signing, or a combination we want to support and respect all the ways your child communicates.

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