Occasionally I am asked for suggestions from parents on how to play at home with their preschooler who is receiving speech therapy in order to encourage using appropriate dialogue.
Here are a few suggestions that I find are beneficial:
1). My child repeats “swinging” or “running” while swinging or running.
When your child says an action, while doing the action, model appropriate responses during the activity such as "this is fun, go higher", “I like swinging”. This models appropriate responses to an activity and reduces labeling that children will sometimes do when they have been receiving drill therapy with flashcard or IPAD apps.
2). My child will not say the word when I show them a card even though I keep saying it.
When targeting expressive labeling of pictures, tapping or banging the picture while you say it will often encourage the child to verbalize while producing the movement. It’s also fun to tap and bang pictures! Try putting the card in a Kleenex box, a cabinet drawer that they NEVER get to use, or sliding it under the door to make it disappear after they label.
3). When do I make them use the signs if they don’t seem interested?
Model and bombard "more" "help" and "all done" with signs to request and refuse during play. Even if the child doesn’t imitate, they are watching, and you may see them experiment with that sign during play independently at a later time. When something is REALLY wanted, that’s the time to wait until they try the sign before you give in. Snacks or really special toys can be very motivating.
4). My child looks at what she wants but won’t say the word and I know she can say it… she just doesn’t want to.
I try to discourage using the prompt “say” if a child is hesitant to repeat on command. Often the pressure of knowing that you want them to repeat a word interferes with their ability to do so. Try WAITING!!!!!!! Bombard, model and repeat and then wait. The silence can be agonizing but children need a chance to feel like something is missing…….. then they may say it since you didn’t!