If your baby is of 12 to 13 months old, he should start saying his first word in the form of mama, papa, dada or something along those lines. After that, your baby will slowly-slowly start acquiring more words. So, how can you stimulate your child in order to help him say the words a little bit quicker so? Here is the list of some of the most effective speech therapy materials that may help your baby:
The first thing a speech therapist would recommend is the puzzles. The wooden puzzles are great because your child can manipulate them easily. Since they are made up of wood, they are not only easy to put but also convenient to take away. There are different kinds of puzzles available. A speech therapist recommends anything that makes a sound. It may be the environmental sound like the sound bus, fire truck, aeroplane or an animal puzzle to start. After this, you can pick up other things or objects that may not make noise.
Puzzles should be the first choice for your babies, the puzzles that actually make noise or come with sound. First, you need to pick up the basic animals like dog and cat. Don’t pick up the animal like fish because fish is difficult. Try these puzzles on your child. Your child is expected to imitate it back to you. You should not expect him to be the perfect. An approximation is accepted.
Once he starts imitating back to you, you can add other animal like bird, frog etc. Once the noise is perfect, it’s not an approximation, you can add the environmental noises of bus, car, firetruck, plane etc. So, you are going to incorporate environmental noises after the animal noises. First the animal noises then the environmental noises. Once they imitate it perfectly, you could start adding the words. You can go back to the two animals you picked. You child is going to imitate the words first. It might be an approximation at first but eventually, he or she may say correctly. So, you can try this as the first exercise for your child who is not really speaking. This will add the first word to his vocabulary.
Use of Word Cards
You can use the word cards. They are one of the most effective speech therapy materials recommended by your speech therapist. They are easy to manipulate, easy to grab, you can easily touch them. Moreover, it has been observed that kids like them. Pick 4 to 5 cards. Pick those pictures on the card that your child sees every day like apple, baby, keys, shoes and many more.
Now, pick 2 cards containing the pictures of apple and shoes out of the 5 cards. Ask your child which one are shoes. Your main target is your child should reach for the shoes. If he or she doesn’t reach for shoes, you should flash the card containing the picture of shoes in front. This is the correct way to make your child understand what’s the word “shoes” means. This will help him in identifying and labeling. This is an example of the receptive language whereas the use of puzzles to identify the sound is the example of expressive language. This will help in stimulating your child in both receptive and expressive language.
Use Of A Toy
The third exercise is the use of a toy. You can pick a toy, baby, dog, whatever you want. You can show your child’s three basic verbs, the verbs that usually comes in at the age of 2 years old, but you can still show him so he has the concept of what it is. He is not going to say the verbs but at least he will understand what these verbs mean. So, you can show him the action of the verb drink.
You should not use the word “drinking” because “drinking” is more difficult for your child to say. It’s progressive, it’s what we are doing now. You need to say basic drink, so you should try to show that the toy monkey or doll drinks. You can show him that monkey sleeps because this is something, we do every day. You can also show him that the monkey eats. In this way, you can visualize eat, drink and sleep because these are the three verbs that kids do all the time. It’s not something out of their routine. So, by now, you have incorporated noises, cards and the three verbs.
Fun With The Set Of Foods
This exercise consists of a set of food toys. These foods are fun. There are soft as well as hard foods. You need to pick up 3 to 5 food items your child eats every day. It should be something basic like bread, apple, potato, banana etc. Don’t overwhelm your child with too many options, just show him the basics. Ask your child to pick the banana. You can also ask him which one is the banana.
This exercise is different from the card though it seems to many people that these are the same exercises. But it’s not the same. The card is a flat, two-dimensional picture but the food toys like banana and apple are more concrete. It’s not the real banana but something more tangible and you can grab it easily. It’s not the same exercise even though it looks the same.
You want your child to pick the banana versus the cheese or whatever you asked for. The main objective of this exercise is to identify, imitate the words and then label them.
If you try these kinds of exercises on your child once in a day or for a few weeks, you will see the improvement in your child. You will observe that your child starts to get more stimulated and want to speak more expressing himself or herself better. These are the easy steps you can do to help your child at home. However, if by any reason you still feel that you require professional help or you need any professional advice or suggestions, you can contact a professional speech pathologist for your child.