Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

January 6, 2016

Speech therapist recommends toys that promote language development

By: childandfamily

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Lindsey Wegner MA CCC-SLP, speech therapist at Child and Family Development, advocates and provides play-based speech therapy for kids and always educates parents and caregivers on how to make everyday activities an opportunity to promote expressive and receptive language skills.  An article from The New York Times titled “Traditional Toys May Beat Gadgets In Language Development” was featured on the American Speech Language Hearing Association blog.  The article states that when children are playing with technology-based toys, ‚Äúthe toy takes over 90 percent and the child fills in the blank.‚Äù

Lindsey observes this, especially when they are familiar with the gadget or game and know what buttons to push to the move game along.  It reduces interaction and increases self entertainment. She thinks this is especially true for children who have a language delay.  While many parents are eager to help their children, they often make the mistake of giving toys and materials that are technology based, such as IPADs and cellphones.  Really, the family should select, and may already have, toys that can promote interactions and learning, such as books, puzzles and bubbles.  A huge part of communication is conversation- social skills and turn taking- something technology products usually lack.  Toys that encourage communication are often the “old school” items. These are the kinds of toys that are used regularly in speech therapy. Think about activities and objects that emphasize interaction.  The article states, an activity “should be 10 percent toy and 90 percent child‚Äù.  

Some basic tips for increasing communication during play with interactive toys are:

  • When reading a BOOK, stop and ask questions about each page and identify items that are age appropriate.
  • When playing with PUZZLES, have the child ask for each puzzle piece instead of handing them to him or her all at once.
  • When playing with BUBBLES, have the child ask for them each time before blowing them.  Set up a routine phrase the child can expect and learn to say along with you, such as ‚Äú1, 2, 3‚Ķ.blow‚Äù. 

Our team of 9 speech therapists are in-network with many insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, Cigna, Healthgram, Medcost, North Carolina Medicaid and United Health Care. Clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits.

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