how can i help improve my 3 y/o sons verbal skills and enunciation?
During his 3 year checkup his dad and I were discussing how his enuciation and communication seems a little behind other kids his age. The dr. didn't seem worried, but I would still like some tips on how i can help his verbal development along.
Do the people around you struggle to understand him?
One thing we have done through the years with my son, who does have a documented speech delay, is to "mark syllables" to help him enunciate more clearly. So if he is saying a long word or a phrase, I might clap my hands or tap the table with each syllable as I repeat it back to him. Then I ask him to do the same to me, with the tapping or clapping. It helps him to slow down and hear/say each piece of the word.
Our son is not yet 3, but he is also not on level with some of the kids around him, and it has been worrisome to us because we haven´t seen much advancement in several months. He´s exposed to two languages though and that is a factor that influences how fast he is progressing also. What we are doing:
Children really benefit from watching mouth formation while hearing pronunciation, so encourage him to make eye contact with you (actually to be looking at your mouth) while you over-enunciate. If you have concerns that he he struggling to copy certain sounds (remembering vocabulary is different than repeating what Mama just said while watching her), practicing language in this way will help you isolate any problem sounds he needs further help with or may even help you recognize if there is a hearing issue that is affecting his reproduction of many sounds. If you do pursue an evaluation, a notebook of your observations can sometimes help the therapist key in on problem issues.
We also decided over the holidays that for the next several months we are going to focus on a specific grammar structure for about three weeks at a time. That has helped in that our son is starting to leap forward a bit with sentence structure, so in the course of about 5 weeks he has gone from asking for things in a gruff two word manner only in his 1st language to using polite speech (May I have some .... , I would like to ..... ) in his 2nd language (if you knew DS you would know that is a huge leap, because he isn´t high on politeness).
If you have any flash card games, picture dictionaries or even interesting magazines it can be useful to ask an older child or teenager to sit with your child to do some word work as frequently as possible. Toddlers often really like to win the attention and praise from older kids who have the patience to site with them in quiet mode in the age range of 10 to 18. If you allow your child to watch TV, movies or play with your computer - turning the volume off and working with them to describe the scenes (particularly if you are willing to let them touch the screen) can be another tool for you.
I went online and printed off charts with pictures and words that I knew my son was having issues with. Then I got a binder with some sheet protectors so I could make a book with them. Then we point to the pictures and I have him tell me what they are and he gets stickers for pages or words he does correctly. Hope this helps :)