Early intervention refers to services for children with developmental delays. These services help a child develop functional life skills. In some situations, the therapy a child receives at an early age enables that child to reach developmental milestones on target or close to target. Early intervention can relate to a child’s:
- Physical development a child’s ability to move, see and hear
- Language and speech development a child’s ability to talk and communicate
- Social and emotional development a child’s ability to play, interact and relate to others
- Adaptive development a child’s ability to handle self-care functions, such as feeding and dressing
- Cognitive development a child’s ability to think and learn
All parents and caregivers, no matter how busy, want to provide their children with the most stimulating environment for learning and using language. A trip to the supermarket, taking a car ride, playing outside, or doing everyday activities at home provide great opportunities for developing speech and language skills. There are always opportunities to maximize communication and encourage interactions, which are both language-rich and fun! Below are different daily routines with examples of ways we can maximize communication.
- Blow bubbles in the water. Talk about the size (big bubbles), speed (slow, fast), etc. as you play.
- Practice following simple directions like “kick”, “splash”, and “scrub.”
- Let your child tell you which body part to wash or give your child a choice, “Do you want me to wash your arm or leg?.”
- Talk about what the bath toys are doing (e.g., going up, down, hiding under, in/out of water, jump off the tub, etc.).
- Sing songs in the bath (e.g., “Row row row your boat”, “It’s raining it’s pouring”, etc.).
- Use bath toys to hide under a washrag. Allow your child to find the toys and explore hide & seek games.
- Talk about bathtime concepts (e.g., water temperature, washing speed, vocabulary related to the bath, etc.).
Eichten, P. (2000). Help me talk: A parents guide to speech and language stimulation techniques for children 1 to 3 years (2nd ed). Richmond, VA: PI Communication Materials, Inc.
Katey Sellers, MA, CCC-SLP