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Speech Therapy Tips: Maximizing Your Baby’s Verbal Skills




By Jak Burke,

Speech pathology has become one of the top concerns for first-time parents. It’s up there with the other major milestones: fine motor skills, social development and appropriate attachment. Especially in our child’s first year we are looking out for any signs of a delay  – because any delay captured early can be dramatically remedied.

Speech disruption can be itemized in these different ways:

Speech delay including articulation and phonology
Oral Motor Delays
Language delay or ‘late talkers’
Specific Language Impairment
Feeding and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)
Apraxia of Speech
Phonemic Awareness/Literacy Skills
Receptive Language
Expressive Language
Auditory Processing difficulties
Organization of Language
Fluency (Stuttering)
Voice Disorders
Pragmatic Language (Social Language)
Learning Disabilities
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Hearing Impairment
Global Development Delay
Aspergers Syndrome
Accent Modification


Speech Health

If we work full-time we might worry about the attention our baby is getting from their caregiver or daycare center Monday to Friday. It’s vital that we surround our infant with responsive engaged adults. Speech is a two-way street even when our baby is too young to utter recognizable words. The goo and the gaa, for example, relate to definitive objects and persons – so far as our baby is concerned. And it’s our job to decode, mirror and remodel sounds with the correct object word.


What to look out for

How engaged is our nanny or our daycare’s staff with the children in their care?

Do they mimic our baby’s attempts at sounds and then remodel?

Do they seek out and engage in regular eye-contact (face-time) with our infant?

Are they good communicators in general?


An Expert Talks Speech

At Baby Does NYC we love to go to the experts. Heather Moss is a NYC based speech therapist. Her site is called talkthetalkspeech.com. Talk the Talk is a private speech and language pathology practice which specializes in providing speech and language therapy to children ages 2-16 and accent reduction therapy for adults.

We asked Heather: “What can parents do to ensure that their baby reaches their speech milestones?”

“- The very BEST thing we can do for our infants is talk to them. Tell them what you are doing, making, cooking, drawing. It doesn’t matter what language you are speaking, or how you pronounce things. The simple cognitive reaction that you are drawing out of your children is so incredibly valuable for their speech (and overall) development, and the best part is, ANYONE CAN DO IT!

In other words, the same goes with your “helpers” – be they paid or otherwise. For paid help, the mindset needs to shift from just “safety” and “helpfulness” to “how engaging is this person likely to be with my child”.

A person can be high energy or calm and soothing – but what matters is that they engage, interact and communicate verbally (“I am going to boil you an egg for lunch – boiling is when we make the water really hot – and we don’t touch it – because if it is hot hot hot – it can burn us and that will hurt! Ouch!!)” and physically (“Can you see where I am pointing – over there is a BIG garbage truck”). Providing these models for our little ones is the key to helping them develop their speech and language skills.

So, unlike a library or a classroom, your home and the places your child goes (park, school, grandparents, bus, subway etc) should ALL be filled with laughter, smiles and communication – no matter what the form! – “


Keeping Your Baby on Track

Here is a Speech Track chart for you to print out and keep handy. Defo share this chart with your helpers and relatives. Credit for this chart and many more: Will and I




What are your tips for baby speech? Tweet or InstaPost us your pix and thoughts here: @babydoesnyc #speechtips

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One comment

  1. I didn’t realize that the best thing you could do to help kids reach speech milestones is to talk to them. That seems like such a simple thing to do. Should I start doing this as soon as my child is born, or will it not make a difference until they area little older? Thanks for all this great information and for helping me understand the development process a little more.

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