Teaching Tips for Parents on how to develop imitation skills in their children.
1. Frequently imitate your child including babbling, mouth movements, hand movements-any kind of movement, especially ones that the child does over and over. Do this as often as you can throughout the day.
2. Continue to imitate your child and change what you do just a little bit. If your child babbles “pa-pa”, you babble “ba-ba”. Be very enthusiastic, if your child imitates your “new” action. Write down some of your child’s sounds and movements and how you are going to imitate them a little differently. Put your list on the refrigerator or other obvious place as a reminder.
3. Continue to imitate your child, but change your action a little more. If your child says “pa-pa”, you say “pie-pie-pie”. If your child claps hands together, you put your hands on the floor. Praise your child and be enthusiastic when the child imitates you. Write down your child’s actions and sounds and how you plan to imitate them. Later write in how your child imitated you.
4. Give your child toys that resemble things around the house: toy dolls, toy dishes, etc. Let the child play with brooms, pots, and pans and “dress-up” clothes. These will give your child opportunities to experiment with actions you perform during the day. The child can dress dolls, “cook” food, sweep the floor, or “drive” cars.
5. When your child begins to say words, add one other meaningful word to it to expand on his/her speech and language.
Write down each action your child imitates without seeing you do it at that time. Write down ways your child does things that show the child is thinking-using an action that has been imitated before to solve a problem that requires a similar action. The child who opened and closed a puppet’s mouth by relating an open and closed mouth (the familiar action) to opening the puppet’s mouth (similar action) is an example. This helps you note and remember your child’s development.
Written by Leslie S. Mccolgin. Communication Skill Builders, 1988
Even though this information was written in 1988, the principles hold true for present and future ages.- Pam Hass, Speech Language Pathologist
Consult your speech language therapist for more ideas on how to develop speech, language, and signing development to facilitate communication.
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