Last summer, I attended a continuing education seminar on apraxia of speech in very young children. One of the many techniques I took away from the course was to hold a toy, or other desired object, up by mouth and say the name of it. (While holding up a toy car, “I have a car. The car is blue.”) It was such a great and easy-to-use idea, I implemented the strategy with a lot of the children on my caseload, whether apraxia was an issue or not. Some of their parents started doing it too. Here’s why it’s so useful for young children with speech and/or language delays:
- Children learn that the mouth is the source of speech.
- They get valuable information by watching how the adult’s mouth makes the sounds that form the word.
- It helps in getting children to make eye contact, which is both especially difficult and really important for those with an autism spectrum disorder.
I had been happily using this strategy for several months when I came across the following in another speech-language pathologist’s blog*:
MY GOLDEN RULE FOR EYE CONTACT
Anything that can be held in one hand comes up by the speaker’s face.
So now, not only do I have an easy-to-use strategy, I have a simple way to share with parents how to implement it. I hope those of you who have children with speech and language delays find it as helpful as I do.
*Credit to Kathie Harrington for stating this so succinctly.