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Speech delay is hell on a parent. There is so much frustration and desire to hear your child speak that it can feel heartbreaking when it’s just not happening when it should.
The first thing you should do is remember, it’s just as frustrating for your child who doesn’t know how to communicate with you. They don’t understand why you don’t just know what they want.
You and your child are feeling the frustrations of speech delay together, and it’s you two who are going to get through it.
As a mom who deals with speech delay in her son I know how heartbreaking the process of speech therapy can be. I know the frustrations you are feeling.
So when we found a toy that helped with speech delay in our toddler I knew I had to share what I found out with you. Maybe it’ll help you and your child in your own speech delay experience.
Our Speech Delay Story
Our son was always an independent one from the start. He loved his cuddles but if he always wanted to try to do things for himself. At about 10 months old my son started walking and from there it was run like crazy, climb everything, and get into everything.
It was also about this time that we noticed we were having issues communicating with our son. He had said dada and mama for a little while but not much else. We encouraged, repeated words, but didn’t get far.
At about a year and a half our doctor had said he was most likely speech delayed. She said it was common in active children who are excelling in other areas.
So we did the speech and hearing tests and got the official speech delay diagnosis. Once a week 30 minute sessions with a speech therapist started.
We worked with him at home but 2 came and passed, 3 came and passed, and it wasn’t until shortly before his 4th birthday that we started getting communication skills out of him.
He started showing us what he wanted, saying the name of his favorite foods, books, movies, and animals. He was saying the entire alphabet and counting to 20.
The One Toy That Helped
What was the change? The Magna Doodle. This magnetic drawing toy was what changed the game for us.
He would write down the word he associated with the object he wanted and we would say the word and he would repeat the word. My son could spell his name before he could say it. He could write the alphabet before he could sing it. He could write the numbers 1-20 before he could actually count them.
Once he wrote it and we taught him how the words, letters, and numbers sounded he could say them with ease. He even learned to use it to draw us what he wanted to watch, play, eat, or drink.
How His Speech Delay Is Progressing
I’ve added a few more toys to our collection to try to help with his speech but none of them worked quite as well as the magna doodle.
We encourage a lot of speech from L because we know this is the only aspect where he is behind his peers. I ask him to tell me stories, to which he does and I listen intently to pick out what he’s saying. I’ve gotten pretty good about understanding some of his words.
However, there are times when I’m just not quite understanding him. In these times I always return to the magnadoodle and ask him to draw or write it out for me.
As time goes on he’s getting a lot better and learning loads of new words. He’s calmed down in his reactions to our questions too. If we get a guess wrong he just shakes his head no.
How His Other Skills Are Progressing
The thing to remember is speech delay is just as frustrating to the child as it is to the adult. As a baby you were able to understand a cry meant they were hungry, needed a diaper, or wanted to be held.
As a toddler they don’t understand why you just don’t know exactly what they want like you used to. So it takes a lot of patience, watching for visual cues, and cheering them on when they are able to communicate their needs to you through speech or action.
As per usual, my son is still extremely independent still. With supervision he will make his own toaster waffles, using special plastic toaster tongs to remove the slices of waffles. He will pull out all the ingredients he wants for a sandwich or scrambled egg.
L is improving in a lot of areas. He’s learned shapes, names of different foods and animals, plus due to practicing writing his handwriting is better than mine. The magna doodle helped with our communication issues and is an amazing tool for us to continue to use.
Speech Therapy Through Play
Speech therapists often recommend teaching words and sentences through play. We’ve really taken that to heart and have daily play time in which we are teaching him new words, phrases, and sentences.
For instance we “roll the ball,” “kick the ball,” and “bounce the ball.” If he wants to play with the ball he will say, “roll the ball.” This is my que to roll the ball back and forth to him.
If your child has speech delay set aside 15-30 minutes at a minimum everyday to just play with him. During these playtimes teach open and close, up and down, in and out. Identify colors, objects, and what you do with those objects.
One of L’s favorites is playing with blocks, we often say, “connect the blue block to the red block.” This reinforces the action, color, and object that is being played with.
It Takes Time
If there is one thing I’ve learned with speech therapy is it takes time. It takes time to teach not just the words but the importance of communication. With that time it also takes patience.
Your kid is going to get frustrated and it’s learning how to show them you understand their frustration and you want to help. It’s asking them to show you what they want then reinforcing the name of the item they want.
Your child isn’t going to necessarily start talking in full sentences overnight and it’s going to take a bit of work and patience to get there. Cheer on every improvement and milestone. Get excited and get animated. Your kid will feel so proud over their accomplishments.
What’s your speech delay story? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your parenting boards.
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