Working With Toddlers With A Speech Delay

Working With Toddlers With A Speech Delay

Speech delay is also known as alalia. It’s a condition that describes a child’s delay in the development of speech mechanisms which make it difficult for him or her to make sounds. This is different from toddlers who are late talkers.

A late talker is already hitting normal play, motor and social thinking skills at the age of 18 to 30 months but their vocabulary in expressing themselves is limited. This may be because of being in a bilingual environment among or more talkative older siblings. Speech delay on the other hand is typically as a result of delayed development in the toddler’s milestones.

Parents have been identified as their children’s best teacher because they can continue the speech activities with their children in a more nurturing manner at home. Here are three excellent activities that parents can do with their toddlers to help them catch up in their speech skills.


Labeling is crucial for a child with speech delay. Using flash cards is an excellent way to label objects in the home and whenever mom or dad are talking about something they say the name of the object our loud and have the child repeat after them. The good news is that there are flash card apps for children so parents don’t have to write out labels all the time for everything. They can turn identifying items in the house from their labels into a family game.

Make it challenging

Put their favorite toy out of the way or put their favorite cereal out of their reach forcing them to articulate their need for the item. Before doing so make sure you give them a help sign. Teach them to come to you, hold out the help sign and lead you to their toy or cereal bowl. Encourage them to say the name of the items they want like “captain crunch” for their cereal or “Mr. fuzzy” if that is the name of their toy. With time they will be able to say what they want by themselves without needing any prompting. Kids will talk more when they want something.

Spend time playing

Kids learn a lot about interactions both verbal and non-verbal from play time. But with kids with delayed speech strive to verbalize parts of the game more. For example, when playing with a ball use phrases like “catch the ball”, “give me the ball” or “a red ball.” Everyone in the family should use verbal cues when playing with the toddler. Our baby-o-logy classes are also available for toddler groups. 

Make sure to praise their efforts as they make progress. This will encourage them and help them stay focused on learning. And of course, also make sure to take breaks where necessary.

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