Is your child face difficulty at placing words within a sentence? Is he/she not able to pronounce words with clarity and ease? If yes, then it is must to make the kiddo cope up with it through speech exercises. The inability to communicate also makes it difficult for the child to convey his thoughts or emotions. Thus speech disorders fall out as one of the most common disabilities among kids affecting over 10% of the children. In the long run, this can put limitations upon the kids abilities and also restrict them from being a part of several activities. Do you really want to see your child speech deprived? No, right! None of the parents would think of it.
So, Let’s first look at why speech is important.
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Importance of speech
Speech helps us in expressing ourselves. It effectively aids in building strong connections, reaching out to people and also influences our choices in life!
Inability to communicate properly can also create misunderstandings, social disapproval, unclarity, etc. Thus it becomes a must to gain firm grip upon one’s speech.
What can be some causes of speech disorders?
There can be different types of causes behind speech disorders.
Some of them include:
- Attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder
- Developmental or neurological disorder
- Brain injury
- Nervous system disorder
- Hearing issues
If symptoms are left ignored, they could get worse and harm a child’s speech development. Communication difficulties can be effectively treated in order to reduce symptoms and significantly enhance behavioural and educational patterns. Speech exercises can tremendously help in bringing flexibility in tongue and clarity in communication!
Exercises for Speech Improvement
A child’s speech and language development can be aided by techniques and equipment used in structured speech therapy exercises. They are essential for enhancing a child’s speech, language, and communication abilities and, when given as a part of an entertaining activity, are enjoyable for young children while still being a very effective component of therapy.
Come on! Let’s get acquainted with some interesting exercises.
The following exercises can aid in your child’s oral motor muscle development. The exercises are made simpler if your youngster copies you while performing them. Be imaginative, energetic, and most importantly, have fun!
1. Tongue exercises
The main objective of tongue exercise is to strengthen the tongue muscle and increase oral coordination and stimulation.
|Tongue Push-ups (Procedure)||Tongue Pops (Procedure)||Back and Forth (Procedure)|
|Ask the child to hold the grape or berry on the upper ridge of their palate (not to touch the teeth) and roll the tongue upwards. Repeat it 3-4 times for few seconds. At last, berry is the reward!||Suck tongue up on the top of the mouth. Pull it back and release it making a pop sound. Repeat it 3-4 times for few seconds||Slide out your tongue and hold it for few seconds. Now the tongue inside the mouth. Make sure the tongue does not touch the teeth. Repeat it 3-4 times|
2. Hop and talk
Although you already know that repetition is an effective strategy in speech and language therapy, it is not enjoyable to encourage children to repeat the same sound or word repeatedly. But it is possible with a little inventiveness on your part.
For eg: Make a trail with foamy pads on the way. Ask your little kiddo to jump from one pad to the next and repeat some sounds and words along with you. They won’t see this repetition exercise as anything other than pleasure because they’ll be too busy hopping!
3. One stanza of music each day
Music can indeed be a strong source to improve language skills. Every line full of meaning can help the child to develop verbally! So also it puts healthy force upon the vocal cords and helps out with speech.
For eg: Ask your child to learn one stanza of his favourite song supposedly “Saare jahan se accha Hindustan hamara”. Let him recite it once he is done learning the lyrics. The lyrics of music indeed can help the child in getting a firm grip on pronunciation, utterance and the knowledge of words.
4. Picture decoding
This is one of the best ways to lighten up imagination centers in kids’ brains! Pictures indeed speak a lot and visual interpretation helps in understanding the things much better.
For eg: Place a cartoon scene of “Tom and jerry” in front of the child. Ask the child to speak a few sentences on each character that is the part of the scene. And then ask the child to narrate the scene or what is he actually able to understand from the picture displayed.
It’s exciting and entertaining to practise breath control with your kids by blowing bubbles. Because blowing forces kids to purse their lips, it’s also a great oral motor practice. Blowing exercises such as blowing bubbles position and strengthen the tongue for sounds produced in the back of the mouth. It also strengthens the abdominal muscles and helps in sustained speech thereby increasing the sentence length.
6. One new word each day
Learning one new word each day is a wonderful way of gradually expanding the vocabulary.
For eg: Give one word to the kid like “Sugar”. Ask the kid to use that word and make a sentence out of it followed by its pronunciation.
The sentence can be like this : I want some more sugar in milk.
In this way a kid will understand the basics behind sentence structure building and so also it will foster speech improvement.
7. Target reach
A fantastic technique to get your younger children talking is through toy cars. Make a road through the space using yarn or tape, and place many “stops” along the path that contain the desired word, sound, or statement. Encourage the kid to sound out the target word or sentence at each stop before continuing on to the finish line.
This will pour in a sense of awareness within the child and also enhance the speech due to pronunciation.
8. Play with consonant sounds
Consonant sounds make speech crisp, clear, and understandable, which makes it simpler for listeners to understand what is being said. Compared to vowels, consonants are simpler to learn. Each consonant sound can typically only be spoken in one way. You can also start clubbing vowels with the consonants to develop understanding for sounds.
For eg: R consonant clubbed with a,e,i,o,u will become “ra,re,ri,ro,ru”
Thus some of these exercises can effectively help in improving speech disorders.
Foods that can be helpful
Some of the foods that can help with the speech disorders include:
All the nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E and help in boosting memory. They are also antioxidants which protect against cell damage. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are a valuable substance for brain function, memory and thinking abilities. This fatty acid also encourages cognitive functions and helps out with speech. (best nuts for protein)
Apart from nuts, seeds like flax, chia, melon, sesame and pumpkins also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E that protect the brain from free radical damage. Sunflower seeds impact overall mood and mental processing powers and therefore it is considered a brain boosting snack. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, copper, and much higher in zinc than other seeds, which help in increasing concentration, memory and attention span. One of the easiest to feed brain boosting foods for kids
3. Cocoa Powder
Pure cocoa powder (unsweetened) contains brain boosting components as it is packed with a large number of antioxidants molecules, the main is epicatechin helpful to improve cognition and speech impairment in studies. Hence cocoa powder is also an important brain development food for children. (More benefits of cocoa powder)
Brahmi is a superfood for the brain and is believed to sharpen the brain by protecting cells and increasing chemicals associated with learning and memory. It has shown to improve spatial learning and retaining power in kids. That is why in older times, kids were often given Brahmi powder with ghee/honey. This would increase their focus and attention while keeping them calm and distressed.
Shankhapushpi is a traditional remedy for increasing the functioning of the brain. The powerful antioxidants and flavonoids present in it improve the memory capacity, focus, concentration, calmness, alertness of an individual. Since it is a brain tonic and stimulator, people taking shankhapushpi have improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. It is known to reduce anxiety and stress. Moreover, it increases acetylcholine levels which support better memory, mental focus and intelligence. Ashwagandha also improves communication between nerve cells and stimulates the body’s capacity to heal any nervous system damage. It also helps in speech improvement.
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