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age appropriate requesting

I Want It Now! A Guide to Age-Appropriate Requesting

As children learn and grow, what counts as “appropriate” requesting also changes. Parents may notice that what once was acceptable (like grunting and pointing) is no longer as children’s language expands. See below for an overview of appropriate requesting for each age range. It should be noted however, that each age group represents a range of skills and some children may develop faster or slower than others.

 A Month-By-Month Guide to Age-Appropriate Requesting:

  • Birth-9 Months: These babies will express their wants and needs through vocalizing, shouting,age appropriate requesting and crying. Oftentimes, parents report that they can tell the meaning behind different cries however, unfamiliar adults may have difficulty. Babies may be requesting a diaper change, milk, or to be picked up/rocked.
  • 9-12 Months: Requesting in this age range becomes slightly more volitional than for the younger babies. These babies will continue to vocalize to make wants and needs known, but they may also reach for desired objects (e.g., toy, rattle, spoon), and may imitate sounds to indicate a continuance of play (e.g., “buh” when caregiver says “ball.”)
  • 12-18 Months: Once toddlers begin to speak in single words (whether prompted or independently), requesting becomes more mature. Toddlers may use words (e.g., “more,” “help,” or naming desired object) to indicate their needs. Children in this age range are often more likely to point to preferred items (e.g., ball or bubbles), and will tend to pull caregivers toward desired objects (e.g., bookshelf, puzzles, or anything out of reach).
  • 18-24 Months: Children in this age range will often use one or two words when requesting. These requests again become more mature, as children will name objects during play to indicate their preferences (e.g., “ball,”). They may also shake their heads to express “no.”
  • 24-30 Months: Two year olds will begin to express desires with two or three words, often using early pronouns (e.g., “I want ball”). They may request to ask for help, (e.g., “open juice”), and may respond to questions from caregivers (e.g., “do you want more milk?” answer: “more milk”).
  • 30-36 Months: Three year olds will begin to express “yes” and “no” verbally, when asked questions regarding their wants and needs. Expressive requesting will become more mature, and children will often use four words to express their preferences. Telling parents or teachers, “I want milk please,” these children are more independent than previously.
  • 36 Months+: Requesting for preschool-aged children again becomes more complex. Once mastering four word requesting, these children may express, “can I have the ____.” Often this will require prompting for parents or caregivers, and children may benefit from adult models for appropriate sentence construction.

Click here to read 5 things you didn’t know about how your child learns language


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reference: Rossetti, L. (2006). The Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale. Linguisystems, Inc.

a recipe for speech and language

A Holiday Cookie Recipe for Better Speech and Language

It is largely recognized that the holiday season is a lovely, yet chaotic time of year. During this busy time, being with family often takes precedent over the speech and language homework sent home by your child’s speech-language therapist. Why not combine a holiday tradition with speech-language homework?

Use this recipe for extra language and speech reinforcement while decorating cookies this holiday season:

  • 2 cups of basic concepts: While adding ingredients give directions emphasizing the understanding of a recipe for speech and languagequantitative concepts, such as all, some, one, both. For example, “Add both cups of flour” or “Put on some red sprinkles and some green sprinkles.” If this is too advanced, you can always get extra practice with counting. You can count the cups of ingredients or the number of cookies.
  • 1 teaspoon of adjectives: Adjectives or descriptive words can easily be targeted during baking. You can talk about ways to describe the cookies that you are making, e.g., “Look! You made a big cookie and your sister made a small cookie,” or you can give directions including adjectives, e.g., “Decorate the long tree cookie and I’ll decorate the short tree cookie.”
  • 2 tablespoons of vocabulary: Like with any activity throughout your day, it is good to try to introduce your children to new vocabulary or reinforce the vocabulary they are already using. Vocabulary categories that are easily targeted during cookie decorating are: colors, shapes and nouns. For example, “Do you want to make the tree, snowman or ornament?” or “What colors did you use on your cookie?”.
  • Mix in turn taking: Turn taking is a great social skill to practice at home with siblings or friends. Take turns putting in ingredients, mixing or putting on candies to decorate. Appropriate turn taking can be used by kids when playing games with peers and during conversations.
  • Stir in requesting: Have your child exercise his or her expressive language skills by requesting for items. Depending on their skill level a carrier phrase could be used, “I want ______” or the request could be in question form, “Can I have the _______, please?”. Once your child is successful at making simple requests, work towards expanding the utterance, making the request longer, (e.g, “I want the red frosting”).
  • Bake for following directions: Baking holiday cookies makes for the perfect set up for your child to practice following directions. First start with simple one step directions, “Put on white frosting”. To continue to improve your child’s receptive language you can advance to first/then directions, “First put on white frosting, then put on green sprinkles”.
  • Let it cool with articulation practice: Throughout the whole baking/decorating process, articulation (speech sounds) can also be targeted. As an adult model, you can provide the correct productions for your child emphasizing the target sound. (e.g., What cookie do you like?, Look at my cookie!”). If your child is at the stage in speech therapy where they can practice saying their target sounds, work on using them during the activity. For instance, if you were working on “s” or s-clusters you could practice using the sound to describe what you see “I see a reindeer” or when taking about the steps to baking “Stir in the flour”.

Throughout your cooking baking experience keep in mind that the activity should remain fun, keeping the speech-language practice with in your child’s abilities in order to keep frustration low. Enjoy this recipe for ideas of ways to target speech and language! Happy Holidays!




Top 5 Toys for Speech and Language Development: School-Aged Edition

With Hanukkah only a few weeks away and Christmas right around the corner, parents need to be on the lookout for fun and educational gift ideas. If your child’s speech and language development is one of your concerns, read on for our list of the top 5 toys/gifts for enhancing speech and language skills in school-aged children.

Parents can also help develop these skills by playing with their children and modeling appropriate language, encouraging turn taking, and requesting. Parents can also help children with articulation difficulties through play by modeling accurate speech sound production and correcting their child’s inaccurate productions.

Top 5 Toys for Enhancing Speech and Language Skills in School-Aged Children:

Toy

Function

Apples to Apples
  • Appropriate play with peers
  • Turn taking
  • Direction following
  • Same/different (e.g., explain why the cards go together)
Board Games (e.g., Candyland)
  • Turn taking
  • Direction following
  • Articulation (e.g., say a word before you take your turn)
  • Appropriate play with peers/parents
  • Sequencing steps to play
HeadBanz
  • Word finding (e.g., object description)
  • Object function (e.g., “you sleep on it, and it is soft”)
  • Asking/answering “wh”-questions (e.g., “where is it used for?”)
  • Articulation (e.g.,  monitor sound production, target specific sounds)
Memory Games
  • Turn taking
  • Direction following
  • Memory skills
  • Articulation (e.g., can use pictures of target words)
Story Cubes
  • Sequencing (e.g., story building, temporal relationships)
  • Verb tenses (e.g., make the story in present/past/future tenses)
  • Turn taking
  • Opposites (e.g., say the opposite of what is on each dice)
  • Auditory comprehension (e.g., retell a peer/parent’s story)

Tips for Improving Your Child’s Social Skills

Why don’t they just get it? When it comes to appropriate social interactions, it can be surprising when a child does not innately posses the tools and skills to foster successful conversations and peer relationships. This should not be alarming, as social skills can be acquired like any other skill; we all go to school to learn math and science, and without assistance one might not understand these concepts. Social skills function the same way – without education and practice, children may struggle in social situations.

It is important for children to understand the rules of language (e.g., using language, changing language, and following rules) in order to succeed in various social environments. Using language comprises greeting (“Hello”), informing (“I am watching TV.”), and requesting (“Can I watch TV?”). Children also need to learn to change language, depending on the environment. Children will adjust their message depending on their needs, the needs of their communicative partner, the age of their partner (e.g., talking to a baby differently than talking to your principal), and based on their environment (e.g., yelling on the playground is acceptable, however yelling in the classroom is not). Children will learn to follow the rules of conversation as well, including taking turns, staying on topic, reading verbal and non-verbal cues, and understanding personal space boundaries. If your child is struggling with any aspect of social language, the tips below can help!

Tips for Improving Your Child’s Social Skills:

  • Ask questions: Model how to ask peers or adults questions. Examples may include the following: asking how someone’s day is going, asking likes/dislikes, or asking communicative partners to elaborate or repeat phrasing in order to aid in listener understanding. Utilizing these strategies will help children better interact in social situations.
  • Answering questions: Talk with your child to help him learn that answering questions can help further a conversation and will allow for the back-and-forth flow of an interaction.
  • Topic maintenance: Children will often change the topic to something of interest to them. Help your child practice topic maintenance skills by each taking turns picking the topic and see if you can each make 5 questions/comments for a non-preferred topic.
  • Role playing: Pretend that you and your child are in different social situations and adjust your tone of voice, volume, and message based on each scenario. Different scenarios include talking to a teacher, explaining a favorite game to an adult, asking a peer for help with homework, ordering in a restaurant, and not getting your way.
  • Non-verbal skills: Alter your non-verbal skills when your child is telling you a story. This will help your child to pick up on signs of confusion, frustration, boredom, and anger. Explaining that non-verbal skills are integral parts of social interactions can help children to learn to maintain eye contact and use whole-body listening.

For further information, please read Social Skills: Improving Social Skills to Enhance Socio-Emotional Health or click here for more information from a licensed speech-language pathologist or a licensed clinical social worker.

Co-written by Ali Wein

Terrific Toys for Speech and Language Development

Below is our list of the top 10 toys for promoting speech and language development in preschoolers. Parents can help their preschoolers through play by describing and labeling items (e.g., “the brown horse”), modeling (e.g., “my turn”), expanding utterances (e.g., “oh, you want MORE blocks?”), and asking questions during play (e.g., “do you want the red truck or the blue truck?).

Toy

Function

Animals/farm
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., animal names, animal sounds)
  • Requesting (e.g., “I want the dog”)
  • Location concepts (e.g., “the cat is UNDER the tree”)
  • Following directions (e.g., “put the cow next to the pig”)
  • Functional play
Balls
  • Turn taking (e.g., “my turn, your turn”)
  • Requesting (e.g., “can I have the ball?”)
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., throw, roll, bounce, kick, catch, toss, pass)
Blocks
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., “up,” “fall down,”)
  • Location concepts (e.g., on top, next to)
  • Turn taking
  • Requesting (e.g., “I want more blocks”)
Books
  • Asking/answering “wh”-questions (e.g., “what did brown bear see?”)
  • Vocabulary building (labeling items)
  • Requesting (e.g., “turn the page”)
  • Sequencing
Bubbles
  • Requesting (e.g., “I want bubbles,” “more bubbles”)
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., “pop bubbles,” “blow bubbles”)
  • Oral motor development
Cars/trucks/trains/bus
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., labeling toy items, increased use of verbs, fast/slow concepts, environmental sounds)
  • Requesting (e.g., “more cars”)
  • Turn taking (e.g., “my truck”)
  • Location concepts (e.g., “car is ON the track”)
Mr. Potato Head/doll
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., body part labeling, labeling clothes, learning colors)
  • Requesting (e.g., “can I have the hat?” or “I need help”)
  • Functional play
“Pop up Pal” (cause/effect toys)
  • Requesting (e.g., “I need help”)
  • Learning if this happens, then that happens (e.g., “press the button, to open the door”)
  • Direction following
Play food
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., naming food items, colors)
  • Requesting (e.g., “I want more”)
  • Direction following (e.g., “put the banana on the blue plate”)
  • Functional play
Puzzles
  • Requesting (e.g., “more,” “help please”) to earn more pieces
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., shapes, letters, animal names) depending on puzzle
  • Functional play

Read here for helpful apps for speech and language development.