|#354 When a Child Does Not Imitate Words Consistently


Join pediatric speech-language pathologist Laura Mize, M.S., CCC-SLP of teachmetotalk.com as we discuss what to do when a toddler does not imitate words consistently. This is a very common problem with late talkers, and the solution is always the same, but a little counter-intuitive. Instead of teaching a child to do something new, we actually have to BACK UP to what a child can already (kind of) do – rather than tackling the immediate goal. Most of the time, late talkers are NOT developmentally ready to begin working at the word level – that’s the problem! We have to use different strategies and it varies from child to child depending on what they can already do. Listen to the show for ideas!


Find a child’s current developmental skill level and expand within that same category. To do this, we meet a child where she is – expanding on what she can currently do – rather than trying to teach something new.

I’ve written about it in my therapy manual Building Verbal Imitation Skills in Toddlers.

For example, if a nonverbal child learns to use a gesture or two, teach more gestures instead of pushing for words. If a child has learned to use a sound effect, teach him more sounds, not words.

Listen to more examples in the show!


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