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How to optimise your child's speech and language development

by on 20/12/2021 2310

Here are a few supplement therapy ideas that you can try to optimise the outcome of your child’s speech and language development: 


Reading to your child at an early age will reap dividends later in life. There is sufficient evidence that while in the womb, a foetus can benefit from listening to words and music.

It is understandable that for a child with autism, sitting down and listening to a story could be challenging, however you can provide language input in other ways. Reading aloud and varying your tone emphasis on words will give him/her exposure to normal use of language. You can make up the story in your own words and use pictures and gestures as you are telling the story.

Once your child’s attention and concentration improve, try and point out things in the pictures or ask him/her to indicate things in the pictures. The level of your child’s autism will be a big factor in determining when and if he/she is ready for these strategies. But, do not rule them out entirely if your child does not seem to pay any attention initially.

Rhymes and songs

Another fun way to teach language and pronunciation is through rhymes and songs. You can even sing and point out parts of the face and such in front of the mirror. By using different types of input to teach your child, you will help them with retention of the information. This strategy works well for children who have very short attention span and for those with limited language skills.

Everyday routines

It is important to make teaching and learning as a part of your everyday routines. If your autistic child is interested in cars, use that as a starting point. You can teach him/her numbers, colours, parts of the car, action words (such as run, jump, eat), words to describe (fast, slow), relative sizes (e.g., bigger, smaller) and taking turns (‘you go first, and then I will), to name a few. You can gradually introduce new concepts and elements by building on things that interest your child.

This article was written by Sophia Shobana Kalaimani and Anis Arsyida binti Abd Rashid, courtesy of SI World. SI World is a special needs centre that provides therapy, such as occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy, to children.

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