Parents love first words. This milestone is one of the most exciting because all of a sudden your baby has become a real little person. It is the icing on the cake when the first word is also your name. “Dada” (heart melts). As speech pathologists, we are often asked when should my child say their first words?
Well the short answer is at about their first birthday but what many of us don’t realise is that there is a set of skills known as ‘pre-language’ that develop well before they are of ‘speaking age’. In fact, there’s a lot you can be ‘looking’ for when you are busy ‘listening’ for first words. Here are our top 3 ‘look fors’ before first words:
SoundPLAY is just as the name suggests…..playing with sounds! Not on a piano, your i-phone ring tones or beats from Spotify but playing with the sounds from the English speech sound system. Educators and parents who understand the value of SoundPLAY for their children and its relationship to early reading success are a speech pathologists’ dream. This SoundPLAY skill is known as ‘phonological awareness’ and is best described by Fitzpatrick (1997) as the “ability to listen inside a word”.
“It is widely recognised that phonological awareness is a strong predictor and prognostic marker of early reading success (Gillon, Carson, Boustead, 2007).”
What does “language” even mean? What is it? Well, it can be tricky to define because language is actually a lot of things! But, for the purpose of this post let’s say that language is a form of effective social communication. According to the Raising Children’s Network, language skills support your child’s ability to communicate, and express and understand feelings. It also supports thinking and problem-solving, and developing and maintaining relationships. Learning to understand, use and enjoy language is the critical first step in literacy, and the basis for learning to read and write.Continue reading “Why are good speech and language skills important for children at school?”
Nursery rhymes may seem old-school, especially in this era when so many other apps, books, stories or songs available to young children. It may seem like they are no longer relevant (I mean, it’s less common to take a lamb with you to school nowadays). But let us highlight as speech pathologists, why we think they should not be a thing of the past! Continue reading “3 reasons why nursery rhymes are still relevant now”
Have you got a baby shower coming up? We all know books are a perfect addition to any nursery but did you know that there are books specifically designed to capture the attention of young babies? Read on to see the best ones we recommend. Continue reading “Best Books for Babies”