If your child is like most, she loves to see herself in pictures. Why not take advantage of this and use it as an opportunity to help develop her language skills? Of course, sources for pictures to look at and work with are numerous. You may have them tucked neatly into a baby book or scrapbook, or perhaps, they’re all uploaded to Facebook. You may have them accessible on a tablet, in which case your child can touch and scroll through them herself. Wherever they are, and however you choose to share them with your child, there are plenty of skills you can target through this simple activity.
- Pointing – You can work on the actual act of using the index finger to point to things. This does not come naturally to some children, especially those with language delays. Simply model pointing yourself as you name what you are pointing out.
- Referring to self – As your child points to pictures of herself, encourage her to use words like I and me, as well as her name. “There I am,” or, “It’s me.”
- Combining words – You can model this for your child by describing a picture in two to three words. “Suzy’s hat,” or, “Johnny in wagon.”
- Using verbs – Often, children who are language delayed develop a large vocabulary of nouns to label things, but they are short on verbs to describe actions. You can ask your child what she was doing in the picture. If she has trouble coming up with a sentence with a verb, you can model a sentence like, “Jenny was dancing,” or, “Kelly was swimming in the pool.”
If you’re really ambitious, you can take current pictures of your child and create an album or slideshow of her doing specific activities, wearing specific items of clothing, or holding specific objects you might want to talk about. For example, you might take pictures of her playing dress up and then talk about a silly hat or big sunglasses. Or, you can take pictures of her throwing and kicking a ball and then talk about those verbs. The possibilities are truly endless.
How has talking about pictures of himself or herself helped your child?