Our video resource has been produced in-house by our specialist team of speech and language therapists and assistant practitioners.
Early language top tips video
Early language top tips video
In this video we’re going to talk about the five top tips for language learning. It’s important that children learn to talk and listen, so they can become super communicators. This will help them to talk to other people, learn in school and make friends.
The right skills need to be in place for children to develop other skills, similar to the layers of a cupcake. The cupcake case represents the stage of development. Before words come these are the child’s pre-verbal skills and early interactions and they support and underpin everything else. Children gradually learn to share their interests and attention for longer periods of time. They begin recognizing patterns, routines and behaviours, and start to copy some of these in their play.
Children start listening out for, and tuning in to actual words more. Children practice being able to concentrate for a longer period of time.
Next is the cupcake bun, which represents a child’s understanding of language. Children begin to understand words as they hear them again and again. Matching them to their experiences. Children begin to recognise more key words and then start to understand them when placed together in sentences.
Children learn more complicated words as they hear them in their real experiences. Consider the word sneeze – a picture wouldn’t have the same movement as the real action. To enable a child to learn what this means for all of this to happen, children need to be able to listen and tune into language and remember it.
First words come next, and this is represented as the swirl of frosting on the cupcake. First words are usually names of people and objects that children are familiar with. As well as some words to demand, these usually match language from everyday activities and routines.
More words gradually get joined together in sentences as children begin to recognize how they can use them well together.
Finally children develop speech sounds and this is the cherry on top of the cake. Speech sounds usually become refined as we use them more in words. For this to happen earlier language and communication, skills need to be in place. For example attention, listening, understanding and using words in context. Some speech sound replacements are typical in younger children. For example, a child might say one for run and this can normally take time to develop. Sometimes beyond the age of seven.
Skills at the bottom of the cupcake need to be in place before skills at the top can be developed.
Being a super communicator doesn’t happen by accident. Adults need to encourage and support children to help them with their speech and language development. This might seem daunting at first, but it can be as easy as talking listening and playing with your child.
Some children learn to talk quicker than others and some need a little bit more time. All children would benefit from these tips.
Our first top tip is about the environment. When we’re thinking about the environment, we want to make a positive space for our children to learn. This means reducing distractions, so that might be turning off the tv, and making sure we have our child’s attention. We can do this by using their name and getting down on their level.
We can think about building special time into our daily routine. That’s just five minutes a day where we share a book or play a game that our child chooses. In this time we can also build in practice of turn taking, this is really important for children to have the best environment to learn in and turn taking skills are going to be needed later to take part in conversations.
Our second top tip is creating opportunities. There are lots of ways that you can create opportunities for speech and language development with your child. Either at home, in the car, at the shops, bath time or anywhere that you are with your child. Here are some examples so you can tempt your child to talk.
This is increasing the child’s motivation to want to say something. So you could do this by putting a favorite toy up a height, so the child has to come and ask for help. You can put a box on a lid of toys. You can put their favorite snacks slightly out of reach and try not to jump in and offer the child help straight away, because the child may just come and ask for some help. You can leave pauses or miss out words in memorable rhymes and stories and the child needs to hear words lots of times before they’ll start to use them. So you can do things like play ready, steady, goal and leave out the goal. So the child can then step in with that or nursery rhymes. You can sing humpty dumpty and miss out familiar words, such as ‘humpty dumpty sat on a…’ and leave a pause.
Another example would be to give your child some choices. So you could say do you want juice or milk. That way, the child’s got a chance to hear the word before they try to see it. Another example is to follow your child’s lead during play. This means allowing your child to choose the activity and then letting them play the way they want to play. This gives us a chance to talk about what they’re interested in at that time. Try to remember to wait and give your child time to make comments and ask questions during play. Staying silent for five to ten seconds will let them know that you’re listening to them and what they have to say is really important.
Our third top tip is questions and comments. When thinking about questions and comments, we want to try and ask less questions, and instead make more comments about what our child is doing. We can think about this as moving from being a quiz master, to being a commentator. An example of this could be if your child is building a tower instead of asking what are you doing. Instead say that’s a big tower, or there’s the red block, this is important because by asking less questions, we reduce pressure on our child to speak and we also provide a good language model by using the keywords related to what they’re doing.
The fourth top tip is modelling. Modeling can be used to encourage the development of your child’s language skills. I’m now going to talk about modelling and what that means when you’re talking to your child. Use child-friendly words and keep your language simple. Your child is more likely to copy brick on, then put the red brick on the green brick, try not to tell your child to talk. For example, stay horse this puts extra pressure on the child especially if they find talking tricky.
Children learn new words best by using them when they want to and when they’re talking about something that they’re interested in. When learning language, children often make mistakes rather than correcting them. It’s more helpful to repeat back what they’ve said in the correct way and emphasize the important words. You can also expand on what the child has said by adding more information. For example, if your child says ‘I go granny’ you can say ‘yes, you’re going to grannies’. You can expand on this by saying ‘yes, you’re going to granny’s on the bus’. We can think about modeling as repeating, emphasizing and expanding.
Our fifth top tip is repetition. We know it can feel tiring to feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over. But it’s really key to your children’s learning.
We can build repetition into everyday activities, so for example if you’re shopping with your child, you can name the items as you pick them up and name them again as you put them in the trolley. You can also repeat songs in nursery rhymes, or phrases that they hear in their play such as ready, steady, go. This is really important because children need to hear words lots of times before they can remember them and use them.
To recap, our five top tips for language learning are: environment, creating opportunities, questions and comments, modeling and repetition. It’s important to remember these tips won’t work overnight, it will take some time for you to see the benefit. But it’s important to keep going with these strategies and know that they are helping.
If this type of support isn’t helping your child make progress, they may need more specialist advice. This could mean referral to speech and language therapy.
Parents can refer the child in themselves, or through any professional that knows your child with your permission. Contact details will be coming up on the next slide thanks for listening we hope you find our five top tips helpful.
If further support is needed, ask for advice and ideas from health or education staff who know you child as a first step.
For more advice on what to try and useful information on development of speech, language and communication in children, there are links to further resources on our website: www.nth.nhs.uk/services/salt
Practical strategies to support young children who stammer
Practical strategies to support young children who stammer video
Hi my name is Laura Dixon and I’m one of the lead speech and language therapists who work with children whose stammer in our service.
Hello, my name is Beth Abbott and I’m one of the speech and language therapists that specialise in working with children who stammer in our service.
If you have noticed that your child has started to stammer it can be a really worrying time. You want to make sure that you are responding to them and supporting them in the best way possible. It’s important to know that parents and carers do not cause stammering and also that for lots of children going through a period of stammering when they’re younger, is a normal part of their development. You as a parent and other adults, can be key in supporting your child with their talking whether your child is aware that they are stammering or is completely blissfully unaware.
The following advice we’ve put together for you should be beneficial. Try to avoid giving your child advice like: stop, slow down, or take your time. It can be really common for children who stammer to not actually be aware that they have bumps or stammers in their talking and even if they are aware sometimes, advice like this can interrupt the flow of conversation and make children a little bit frustrated sometimes.
It’s completely understandable that we give this advice though, because we do know that when children slow down they tend to be more fluent. The more helpful ways that you could support your child to do that, is just to wait and give them the uninterrupted time to finish what they’re going to say.
A useful tip if you’d like your child to slow down, is to speak to them in a slightly slower pace yourself. Children tend to pick up on this a little bit more, and are more likely to get the message that they don’t need to rush and slow down their talking.
When your child is talking, try to get down to their level and give them lots of good, natural eye contact. This shows them that they have your full attention and that they don’t need to rush. When a child feels relaxed and as though they’ve got all the time in the world they are more likely to get their words out smoothly. As well as getting down to their physical level, try and match their language level. This means using the same types of words and sentences that your child uses. So avoid long complicated sentences and instead try to keep them short and simple. This gives your child far less to think about and makes talking a lot easier for them.
Another way to make talking easier for them, is to ask them just one question at a time and give them plenty of time to respond. A better way, if you can change a question into a comment. For example, instead of saying what have you drawn, try something like – that’s a lovely picture – and your child will respond if they want to, and they don’t have the same level of pressure.
A really important thing for all children, but particularly for children who stammer or are going through a time where talking is a little bit tricky, is to keep up or build their confidence with their talking. You can help your child to keep their confidence up with their talking, by giving them praise and positive encouragement about their communication skills. There’s lots more to communication than just being fluent or smooth with speech.
Giving your child praise and positive feedback about the amazing words that they use, their fantastic clever ideas, or the way that they listen to their brother or sister, can really help to keep their confidence up with their talking.
At times if your child is really struggling with their talking, it can be beneficial to gently acknowledge this with them. Be encouraging and reassuring by saying something like: that was a tricky word, that’s okay, talking is really really hard, but then encourage them to keep going. That can be a relief to some children, to know that you’ve noticed it’s hard for them and also, it normalizes stammering, bumpy speech even more because you’re able to talk about it rather than avoiding it.
It’s really typical in households that when we’re all talking, we tend to overlap and interrupt one another. It can be really difficult for a child who stammers to compete for turns to talk. It might feel as though for them, that they have to put a bit more pressure on themselves to speak quickly to try and get into the conversation, which can make talking a little bit more difficult.
You can help this at home by supporting turn taking, reminding everyone to take their turn, wait and listen. To the person who is talking, this can make the childhood stammer feel like they can join in that conversation and there’s no need to rush.
If you would like more support or advice, or to discuss a referral to speech language therapy, please contact your local speech language therapy service for more information. You can also head to the british standard association website and the details of this are on the next slide.
British Stammering Association –www.stamma.org
Helpline Number – 0845 6032001 (local rate)
Michael Palin Centre for stammering children:https://michaelpalincentreforstammering.org
Introduction to eating, drinking and swallowing
Eating, drinking and swallowing team video
Hi my name is Kathy and I’m a speech and language therapist. I work with babies, children and young people who have eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties.
Now you may be surprised to hear that speech and language therapists work in this area, but if you think about it, we use the same muscles for eating and drinking as we do for speech and communication. So it makes sense for us to be involved in this area too.
As a team, we work with babies, children and young people with a wide range of difficulties. Babies may have difficulties breastfeeding or bottle feeding, as they’re learning to suck. Older children, who are starting to wean, my fight may find it difficult to move on to harder chewier textures, and sometimes children find it very difficult to tolerate textures in their mouths, and they gag a lot.
Some children might have difficulties with their muscles and the coordination of the musculature needed for eating, drinking and swallowing and some children have breathing difficulties. They may need breathing tubes, or even breathing machines all of these factors, and many other factors can make eating, drinking and swallowing difficult.
Some babies, children and young people may have difficulty swallowing safely and you might hear this referred to as dysphagia. If we suspect dysphagia is present, there’s a possibility that food and drink might be going down the wrong way. That means that food and drink might be going down into the airway, or into the lungs, instead of the tube that leads directly to the stomach. We call this aspiration.
Things to look out for with your child if you’re concerned, are things such as coughing, choking, spluttering on food and drink, face colour changes, so turning red or eyes watering. Your child might also have a wet or a gurgly sounding voice or breathing as they’re eating and drinking. Children who have these issues are a little bit more prone to chest infections, so it’s important that we see these children quickly and see what’s happening with them.
The first time we meet you and your child, we’ll be collecting some information about your child’s early history and development. That’ll include their feeding history and any medical details. In all likelihood, we’ll also want to watch your child having something to eat and drink and this is usually in your own home, or possibly at school, or possibly in hospital.
We’ll watch your child eating and drinking and look at how their muscles move. Their tongue, their lips, their cheeks, and how they’re swallowing. We may use a stethoscope to listen to your child’s swallowing and this involves placing the stethoscope simply on their throat and listening as they swallow.
In some cases, we may request more information about your child’s swallow, and that involves a moving x-ray. You may hear this referred to as a video fluoroscopy. A moving x-ray called video fluoroscopy enables us to see food and drink moving through the mouth, down the throat and into the child’s stomach. It also enables us to see if food and drink is going down the wrong way, and that helps us in our management of the child.
After assessment, we’ll agree with you what needs to happen next for some children. We may suggest changes to the textures in their diet that might include softer or easier to chew foods. We may also consider their drinking skills, and suggest thicker drinks. Sometimes children will need a little bit of advice and we can discuss the possibility of discharge at that point. How many times you see a speech and language therapist will depend on how difficult eating, drinking and swallowing is for your child and how we can support you to manage this in their daily life.
If you do have concerns about your child’s eating, drinking and swallowing, then please contact our department to discuss a referral. You can also discuss your concerns with your health visitor, or your doctor, or any other professional involved with your child. Thanks for listening.