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#1 Posted : Thursday, September 18, 2014 12:55:48 PM(UTC)

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In Speech and language therapy working with toddlers and young children that are delayed in the development of language, I often use Sign language to help them with early communication. When children are learning to communicate they often do so to make a request (pointing to something, pushing/pulling an adult, just getting an object, or crying for something). These “gestures” often appear before the child can produce the word for the object or activity. Here is an activity that I often do with children learning to speak to help them:
1. Make a choice
2. Learn the vocabulary word for the desired object
3. Imitate a sound, word and/or sign for the desired object
4. Bridge the gap from “gesturing” to spoken language
Sit on the floor or at the table across from your child. Present two items- one of high interest (that they really like) and one of low interest. In this case, a cookie, and a spoon. Hold both items, one in each hand and bring up to eye level. Ask child “what do you want”.
When child looks or reaches for desired object, say its name. “cookie”. Then repeat “ want cookie”, THEN give to child a bite of the cookie . Model the sign for “cookie” and again repeat the word. When child is done, wait for child to indicate a request for “more” by either reaching, vocalizing, signing or looking at the rest of the cookie. You can again model the word and sign, and help them to produce either (which ever level they are ready for), and give object when an attempt has been made. This level may change depending on the goal (from as low as production of any type of request, up to as high as an exact verbal imitation
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