From infants and toddlers to 7-year-olds and adolescents, there’s no age limit to experiencing language delays and difficulties speech. Children can experience difficulties forming words, developing new words, using functional words—like was, is, or am, among others—and creating complex, multi-word sentences, or even worse, they can face difficulties in numerous areas at the same time.
Admittedly, we wish there were one, or at least few, causes that we could clearly define for parents and guardians when they come in and speak with us, but the complexity of speech and its use doesn’t allow us to pinpoint one solid reason why children may face challenges in speech and language development.
While this can be frustrating, it also allows the speech-language pathologist to take a wholistic approach in looking at children’s entire being, rather than boxing them into one category.
From hearing loss and autism to mental disabilities and physical impairments, no sole source bears responsibility for children’s difficulties. What we do know is that the source can all be traced back to the child’s mind. Language is but one area of a very complex neural network that can create varied skills in development. In the same way that some of us are born with the elevated neural capacity to do certain athletic moves or quickly understand and solve arithmetic problems, we’re born with an innate ability to be adept or challenged in language acquisition!
Naturally, as medical technologies advance we’ll likely be able to better define and pinpoint the causes of children’s language problems. Currently, a circulating thought is that children may be predisposed to language and speech challenges if their parents or relatives faced similar challenges. While it can’t be said for sure, it does stand that, as with many medical illnesses or disabilities, a family history may be indicative of future problems.
Despite having undefined causes, we do know that there are ample solutions and treatment protocols that we can use with children to overcome their challenges and accelerate their learning skills!
Two At-Home Activities To Help Your Child
We know parents and guardians want to be as helpful as possible to their child’s progress and success in life. While the skillset of a certified speech-language pathologist can’t be replicated, we do have some at-home activities that are sure to help you and your child have fun while developing skills!
- Grocery Store Sentence Starters! In helping your child develop and progress to using complex, multi-word sentences, try our grocery store activity! As you go through the store with your young one, ask them to describe what you both are doing, and help them along the way. Simple sentences like: “Mom is buying our milk” or “Daddy buys the juice” can be simplistic ways to start introducing three and four-word sentences to your child in a way that will spur your engagement and make your shopping trip more enjoyable! You can expand this by adding descriptors to what you are buying like: “Red apples” or “Very large watermelon.”
- Let’s Make Lunch – Making lunch doesn’t have to just be another after-dinner task that you keep on your to-do list. With some note cards, a willing young one, and a lunchbox, you can create your own picture-based at-home activity. Select your favorite lunch options, like a sandwich, apples, cookies, juice boxes, vegetables etc. When you have everything prepared, ask your child which thing they’d like packed first and have them pick up or point to the appropriate card. This simple activity will help bolster their communication skills while helping them with their ability to discern objects. As an added bonus, you can make different note cards for different types of sandwiches, like PB&J, Nutella or any of your child’s favorites!
Tackling your child’s speech and language difficulties can be a challenge, but you don’t have to do it alone! If you suspect your child has a language difficulty, or you just want tips and help with your child’s progress, reach out to a speech-language pathologist and schedule an appointment!
If you’re wanting more tips and professional help, then find a passionate, dedicated professionals like the staff at Greater Learning LP. We’re here for you and your family in your journey toward healthier living.