For children with many speech impediments, early intervention can be extremely useful in both resolving speech issues and referring children to speech therapists for intensive treatments. Childcare educators are in an ideal position to observe children's speech patterns and create activities that can help boost speech clarity and help children build confidence around their speech.
Here are some activities that can help children build speech skills.
Drinking Through Straws
By drinking through straws children need to develop and use their lip strength, as well as co-ordinating tongue, lip and jaw movements. By creating a solid seal around the straw, children use their lips muscles in a controlled manner, which help aid speech clarity.
Children can use similar skills to blow bubbles and create straw splatter paintings (by sucking small amounts of paint through their straws and releasing onto the page), to help you find different ways of using straws in play as well as eating.
Show and Tell Sessions
Many students are reluctant to speak in front of a group if they have unclear speech. By practising speaking about a favourite toy or fun memory as part of their news in peers and teachers, children can gain confidence in speaking on familiar topics, which is often easier than trying to get them to speak when upset. If your children are struggling to come up with news items, come up with prompts such as a letter of the alphabet or seasonal prompt.
An important speech and pre-literacy skills is the ability to narrate situations in a logical manner. Start to get children to narrate detailed pictures and scenes by describing what they are seeing, as well as what is being said and the emotions of the characters. Ask children questions about their observation and prompt them to use adjectives and descriptive language to communicate the issues.
If you have children from background where there are not many children's books, consider operating a lending library using thrifted books where children and parents can borrow books to read and narrate at home. You can choose books with suitably detailed and interesting illustrations based on the ages and interested of your children.
If you have children who seem to be showing substantial speech delays, and who are not responsive to these activities, it is worth mentioning your observations to parents. Parents value the role of childcare workers in monitoring and observing their children's development.
For more information, contact communiKIDS.