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Three Things You Need, to Be A Super Language Facilitator for Your late-talking Child
Written by Marci Melzer on Jan. 18th, 2018
I have practiced as a speech-language pathologist for 30 years, working with children and their families in natural environment settings. As it turns out, there were many "interesting" places that families live, work, and play.  A couple of times, I even got to work while hanging out on the beach overlooking the beautiful Gulf of Mexico (a really cool day at the "office"). In all of these places, during every-day activities, I have helped hundreds of parents get their late talking and (often non-verbal) kids interested in and eager to use words. They did this by becoming Language Facilitators

Here are the 3 things YOU need to be a language facilitator for your late-talking child.

1. You need to understand and acknowledge your child’s unhappy feelings and turn them around so your child feels happy and safe.
When your child is not feeling at their best, they are not going to want to learn anything, especially something they don’t like. Late-talking children often don’t like to try to imitate words, which is what we need them to do to practice using them. It might be physically challenging for a late-talking children to say sounds or words or they might not have the same confidence in talking like they do in some other skills, like running and climbing, and are afraid of “doing it wrong”.  Other children don't use words because they simply don't want to. 

Language Facilitators recognize their children’s feelings and acknowledge them.  They never push the issue or force their kiddos to do anything. That doesn't mean they let their Spirit Kids wreck the house! These wise parents offer empathy to their child by telling them they understand that it's a bummer when things are hard. They consistently remind their child how much they love it when their kids try at challenging tasks, and suggest that their reluctant talker can try again next time when they are feeling better.  Then, Language Facilitators quickly diffuse any negative reaction or behavior by offering a positive and fun alternative.

Here are a few ideas:
Give your child a big giant hug and a million kisses and tell them you love them ALWAYS.
Jump around and wiggle to “shake off” the negative feelings - Channel your inner Taylor Swift!
Pretend you are Queen Elsa and sing “Let It Go!” Who cares if those are the only words we know?

Once your child is feeling happy and safe again, it’s like a “reset button” that offers new opportunities for teaching almost immediately.

2. You need to know what communication attempt you can reasonably expect from your child TODAY and how to show them exactly what you want them to try.
This is where your SLP or other Interventionist comes into play. Language Facilitator parents use the professionals who work with their children with as resources for themselves. It’s important to remember that therapists can’t read your mind, and they aren’t in your house every day to witness the struggles you are having. You have to be prepared to tell your therapist about the specific issues that you need help with. I recommend writing down the top 3 challenges you have with communication at home and have them ready for every visit. Additionally, make sure that your child’s therapist is taking time within the treatment session to talk to you about the specific things you can do every day to overcome the communication challenges you face.  Language facilitator parent ALWAYS make sure they get clear and consistent communication from their child's therapist.  

If at all possible, Language Facilitator parents are present at their child’s therapy sessions. This is important so they can watch the clinician working with their child and learn from their technique, and can ask questions about what kinds of communication attempts they can reasonably expect from their child when they are doing everyday activities at home.

3. You need to work at your strategies every day, even if it feels uncomfortable.
The only way to learn something new, and to do it well, is to try to do it, and keep trying.  Your child's therapist should be able to give you specific activities that you can do at home, to solve the problems that you present. Once you have the strategies, it is all about try and try again.

Language Facilitator parents keep trying at their strategies everyday and really put effort into trying them even if its just in one small way every single day.  Even if one of the strategies may seem a little outside of their comfort zone, Language Facilitator parents know that even just in baby steps are movement forward toward their goal of helping their child learn to use words.

For example, it is common for children to talk more frequently when they can see and hear real people talking throughout their day. If you are a mom of a late talker with a quiet personality and your SLP recommends that you to start to get really animated and talk about everything you do all day long, it may seem like too much for you to undertake.  

Language Faciltator parents keep their expectations for THEMSELVES and their kids REAL and ACHIEVABLE and most of all FUN!  If you have fun, it will be easy to overlook the times you feel uneasy with things and slip into old habits, because even Language Facilitator parents have bad days sometimes.  Mistakes and frustrations are all part of any learning process, and it always helps when you can view them with a laugh and move on with lessons learned. 

With daily practice, you will get better at the strategies, and start to implement them with greater success. Soon enough, you will find yourself transformed into a true Language Facilitator and best of all, communication intervention with your child will be happy and FUN!

If you would like to know more about how I have helped hundreds of parents transform themselves into Language Facilitators and get their kids talking, I invite you to view my free online class and then schedule a free phone strategy session to talk to me personally.

Marci Melzer M.Ed.-SLP
Intuitive Speech-Language Pathologist

I am an intuitive speech-language pathologist and I practiced in families' natural environment for 30 years. Now, I have an online coaching program for parents of late-talking children called Waves of Communication. I believe that there are many late-talking children who are reluctant to use words because they are so good at teaching parents to understand their non-verbal communication. Often these children are misdiagnosed with diagnoses that are scary for their parents.   Waves of Communication helps parents show their late-talking Spirit Kids how to start using the words they need, to share the important messages they have for the world.

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