Let’s Make Some Noise! Eliciting Play Sounds in Toddlers
I have a friend with a toddler with significant speech-language delay. This morning I read on mom’s blog that the little one started to fake cough last week.
That’s HUGE!! I got so excited for her and I hope if you’re a pediatric SLP reading this, you did too!
Please don’t miss the emergence of these “play sounds.” To reiterate my point, that’s HUGE in the continuum of helping a child become purposefully verbal.
Play sounds or sound effects can be an important “in-between” step for lots of late talkers before they begin to try to imitate real words.
In my zeal to help her from afar, I sent her my list of other kinds of play sounds she can introduce to get other kinds of play sounds going. Here’s a copy for you too!
Try these Play Sounds
Pant like a dog
Squeal or scream
Grunt with effort
Slurp with drinking
Exhale after drink
“Sh!” for quiet
Say “ah” or another vowel sound in an empty bucket, paper towel or toilet paper roll, or in a funnel
Animal sounds and other play sounds like car and truck noises such as “beep beep” and “vroom” are powerful play sounds that toddlers love.
Exclamatory Words are Play Sounds Too!
Other kinds of “play sounds” include exclamatory words such as:
Mmm, mmm, mmm (when eating and the food is good!)
My lists could go on and on and on… : )
Most of all, these kinds of sounds are so much FUN for everyone! I’ve found that dads and siblings naturally gravitate toward these sounds and are fabulous models for our little friends. Coach families to include these sounds not only at playtime but throughout the day. Here are some examples:
When a toddler sees a dog outside, on a commercial, or while reading a book, model panting.
When you see someone sleeping, modeling yawning, snoring, and saying, “Sh!”
As a toddler plays in the kitchen while mom is cooking dinner, get out the dishes, pots, and pans and excitedly say, “Boom! Boom!” as you bang a spoon on the bottom of the bowl or “Swish! Swish!” as you pretend to stir.
If you’d like other ideas for using play sounds or need “how-to” instructions, check out my book Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers. SLPs – Use the great handouts in this book as parent education or homework for families.
More than anything, remember to get NOISY to help a toddler move toward using words!
SLPs and other pediatric therapists – Play sounds are such an important step in helping late talkers become verbal that they’re a whole ‘level’ in my course Steps to Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers. Find out how to maximize the effectiveness of play sounds plus the skills a child needs before this goal is realistic and other “in-between” skills to target for toddlers with speech-language delays.
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