Some children take a while to say their first words, with great concern for us parents … how can we support them on this path?
First of all it is good to know that our little one, from the first hours after birth, among all the sounds to which he is exposed, is able to recognize and focus on those that have a linguistic value: this is because we are genetically predisposed to learn the ability to communicate!
Language development is closely related to the development of the body, in particular:
Each of these areas has its own path of maturation: and once developed, they must learn to live together and collaborate with each other.
This is why language is acquired gradually: there is no clear distinction between the moment a child "does not speak" and the moment he "begins to speak"!
It is a path that every child undertakes in a different way and at his own pace, which is not linear: in some moments we will notice substantial improvements, while others will seem to us that our little one has come to a halt, but it is absolutely natural.
In this process, of course, our role as parents is crucial!
Speech therapist Anna Biavati-Smith suggests 3 simple strategies to help us make it more natural to teach our baby to speak:
- The power of repetition. Several studies have shown that, in the early stages of the verbal language learning process, it is necessary to hear a word at least 1,000 times before assimilating it! This also applies to those who already know a word, but must learn to articulate it correctly. But be careful! It is important that we parents repeat a word several times, without ever insisting that the child repeat: it will come naturally to him!
- The power of the pause Try to sing "If you are happy and you know it, beat …": the instinct for the listener is to complete, fill the space. Stimulating our little one to complete sentences will help him a lot in developing his communication skills!
- The power of the game. Play is essential to stimulate the child's communication. It favors interaction, concentration, and directs joint attention and reciprocity. It also stimulates empathy and exchange. Never stop talking while playing with the baby: tell what is happening and name all the objects you are using!
These and other expedients are at the center of the new volume Listen as I speak of the QUID + series published by Gribaudo, Feltrinelli group, created with the scientific advice of speech therapist Anna Biavati-Smith, who has been working for years with teachers, professionals and parents to help adults. to stimulate and enhance the linguistic development of children.
As Dr. Biavati explains “We must not think we will see immediate results! Even if it seems to us that our little one is taking too long to improve, we must be patient, from one moment to the next he will be able to speak better and better. In any case, let us not let worry show through, let's send him serenity and he will not have performance anxiety or guilt! "