Speech therapy for babies: Four speech therapy exercises to help babies start talking.

I’m going to show you four exercises to help your child start saying their first words. Many parents need to know when their babies start talking. My name is Patricia Ruiz and I’m bilingual speech language pathologist here at Miami Speech Institute and I wanted to show you four exercises that we do here in therapy to stimulate your child in order for them to start learning more vocabulary words.

When babies start talking?

If your child is 12 months, 12 – 13 months they should be saying their first words already which should be Mama, Papa, Dada, something along those lines. After that, your child will start acquiring more words. So how can we stimulate this child in order to help them say the words a little bit quicker?

Four most effective speech therapy exercises to help babies start talking.

Here in therapy we do a few things. The first thing I recommend that you guys buy puzzles (Watch video for detailed information). These wooden puzzles are great because they talk and manipulate them easily. They are wood. They are easy to put. They are easy to take away. You can find several different puzzles; there are also these kinds of puzzles. I recommend personally anything that makes sounds. So environmental sounds such as a bus, a fire truck, or an animal puzzle to start. After that, you can pick other things, other objects that maybe don’t make noise but I would like the puzzles at first for your baby to be able to make noise.

They have puzzles that actually make the noise for you such as this one but this one is not working or you can imitate the noise such as a cat does meow, a horse neigh brrr, or you can buy one if you ought to saying the neigh, and that comes with the sounds. So let’s begin.

What do you do after you have the puzzle? Well you can buy it at Ross or on the internet wherever you’d like, they sell them everywhere. Melissa and Dog are usually my favourite ones. So what do you do? First, you’re going to pick the most basic animals. Don’t pick the fish. Fish is difficult. Pick the dog and the cat. So you’re going to start with three. So first I would pick the dog, the cat, and maybe the horse. So I’m going to take three and I’m going to flash it at my child, at my patient, and I’m just going to say the noise. I’m going to go woof-woof and I’m going to try for my patient to imitate the noise back.

I’m not going to tell him it’s the dog. I’m just going to label this as woof-woof. I’m going to do the same with the cat and with the horse. Now, I’ll go over this with my child a few times during the day and I only use these three to begin. I’m not going to incorporate the rest. I don’t want to confuse him. So I’m going to go over this.

Once my child starts imitating the noise back to me, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be an approximation. Once they start imitating it back to me, I will add another animal. So I can add the bird, the frog, etc. So we want the child to be able to imitate it back. Once they have it perfect and then when we say perfect it’s not an approximation, it’s not kind of like a dog, it’s woof-woof, exactly how you taught it, then I would add the environmental noises.

The environmental noises include, let me show you, they include the choo-choo train, so choo-choo; a fire truck wowowoo, a bus, a car, a police car, a plane. So you’re going to incorporate environmental noises after the animal noises. First the animal, then the environmental noises. You could do either or but I like this order better.

Once they imitate it perfectly then you can start adding the word. You’re going to go back to the three animals you picked and you’re going to tell them woof-woof, dog. You’re going to add the label to the sound. You’re going to do the same with the cat, the same with the horse. So then like that, your child is going to now imitating the word. It might be an approximation at first but eventually here she will say it correctly.

I will try this. This would be my first exercise for a child. That’s not really speaking and they should add first words to the vocabulary. This is how we start. This is how we’d start here in therapy. So that’s one exercise.

Now, the second exercise that we do here in therapy are first word cards. These cards you can also get at Marshals at Ross on the internet, wherever you want. I want this first word cards because, I’m going to show you. For example, first they are big they are easy to manipulate. They are easy to grab. Second, you can touch them. They are furry. We like that, kids like that. So this is a cat and you could touch it, you could show it.

The first thing I would do is obviously do the sounds. If they imitate the sounds I do the word, and we’re going to flash these cards. Like I said, I don’t like to overwhelm my patients with a lot. I would not use all these cards. I would pick a few, maybe five cards and I would put the big things that I have at home. So for example, we can pick shoes, if you have a cat which I do, keys is something your child sees every day, they see it opening the door, closing the door, getting in the car.

Parents are impressed by the fact that their child knows what keys are. Well, yes, they’ve been watching you open doors for a really long time. So usually keys is a really good pick. Apple, and then you can pick another one. Baby so they can identify themselves. So I would pick five of these cards to start with and I would have the child point at what I want.

For example, this is the way that it should be done or the way that it’s done here in therapy. So I would ask my child which one are shoes, this one or this one? We don’t want to put a whole bunch of cards. We want it to be a field of two cards. We want our child to reach for shoes. If he doesn’t, if he doesn’t reach for the shoes, we want to flash the shoes in front. Cover the cat in the back and we want to show him the shoes. This is the correct way to kind of get the child to understand that these are shoes. You will do the same, apple and baby. So which one is the baby? You know, we want them to kind of reach for it and we want to facilitate it. We don’t need them exactly to come and grab it. You want to facilitate it. If they pick the wrong one, you flash the correct one in the front and do it again. Baby.

I will do a combination of this, a combination of the cards. This is for them to identify. This is for him or her to label. So identify, label. So this is receptive language and this is expressive language. We want to kind of stimulate the child in both expressive and auditory. This would be my second activity that I would do.

My third exercise that I like to do is my monkey. You can pick a toy, you can pick a baby, whatever doll you want. So you want to show your child three basic verbs. Verbs come in at two years old but we can still show him so he has the concept of what it is. They’re not going to say the verb but at least they understand what the verb mean.

I want to show him, drink. We don’t want to say drinking. Drinking is difficult, it’s progressive. It’s in the future, it’s what we’re doing now. We just want to say basic. Drink. So monkey drinks. We want to show the monkey drinks. We want to show the monkey sleeps because it’s something we do every day. So the monkey sleeps.

We also want to show the monkey eats. So let’s say the monkey eats bread. We want to show, hmmm, the monkey eats. I like to pick sleep, eat, and drink because these three verbs are we do all the time that kids will know. It’s not something out of the routine.

I would also show and incorporate the three verbs. I would incorporate the noises, the cards, and the three verbs.

The last exercise I would do with my patient would be a set of food. These foods are fun. They have soft foods and they have hard foods. It’s up to you in preference. You know, the smaller your child, softer. The older your child, harder, anyhow.

I have the soft pineapple. Pineapple would be really difficult. I will not pick three or five items to show the child pineapple. It would not be one of them. It’s a difficult word to say. It’s not something we eat every day. But we want to pick something basic so I would definitely pick bread because if you’re Spanish you eat break and bang, it’s easy to say. I don’t think this is bread. Actually, this is a potato, sorry. This is the bread.

We would pick something basic such as bread. I would also pick, you can buy any of these fruits and I have a shopping card. You can buy any of these fruits at any store. I think these were bought at Target. There’s chicken, there’s cheese, banana is a good one, and I’ll explain why. I would pick another one maybe something that your child eats, eggs. Is there anything else I would put? Look, and a cookie.

The idea is for you to pick again three to five items. Don’t overwhelm the child with so many options and so many things. We just want to show him the basic. So let’s see. So I would still do the same thing that I did before. I will show him, hmmm, banana. We put it here and cheese. Then, I would ask them to please pick the banana. You want them to reach for the banana. You would ask the same thing as you did with the cards, banana and cheese. You would ask them, which one is the banana. But this is different than the cards and I’ll explain why.

It seems to a lot of people that it’s the same exercise but it’s not. This is flat. This is a card. It’s flat, it’s two dimensional. This is something more concrete. I mean, it’s not real banana, a real cheese but it’s something more tangible that you can grab. So it’s not the same exercise even though that it kind of look like it is. So you want to do the same thing. You want to put it out and you want them to pick the banana versus the cheese or whatever it is that you asked for. Banana is a good fruit to pick because it starts with the letter B. B words are easy so when it comes to a baby or a child that’s between a 12 to 15 or 16 months, we want to pick words that are easy. So anything that starts with a B, an M, a P are easy words. So banana will be one. Pan, if you speak Spanish would be another one, that would be easy. Cookie is another one that would be easy because the K sound is also easy, cookie.

This would be by fourth exercise. I would go over with my child. We would identify all of them and then we will try imitating the word and then we would try labelling them. If you would do this kind of exercises, maybe once a day or so for a few weeks you would see the improvement and you would see that the child will start to get more stimulated and wanted to speak more and wanted to express himself or herself better.


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