Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Talking Tips For Kids - A Review

C is still on the waiting list for Speech Therapy.
Apparently we are nearly top of the list but as things stand at the moment we are still waiting.
In the meantime we were asked if we would like to review a Talking Tips For Kids video by Speech Therapist Fiona Barry.

I was already familiar with Fiona's work through aricles she had written in the Telegraph and thought this an excellent opportunity to get access to some additional resources.

We were asked to review the "Wise Words" video which is aimed for parents of children aged between 1 and 2 years.  Obviously C is slightly older than this but this level best fitted her speaking ability.  Wise Words focusses on when children are beginning to learn lots of single words but not yet joining them together.

I have become more defensive about C's speech as the months have gone on as the comments that many make are particularly unhelpful and usually imply that C's speech issues are due to a fault in my parenting, something I refuse to accept.
My personal favourite which comes up again and again is...

"My son/daughter has great speech but that is because I have read to them everyday from an early age"
I am well aware of the importance of reading to young children and have also read to C from an early age, often 3 or 4 times a day.  We have an extensive book collection and since the age of 18 months she has also visited the library once a week meaning we have a constant stream of new and interesting books to read.  I really enjoy reading to C so a lack of being read to is not the root of C's speech issues.

I therefore began watching this video with a little trepardation but was pleased to see immediately that Fiona's clear, concise tone did not sound patronising
Much of what she says I was already aware of from my own research previously.
For example the importantance of getting down at the same level as your children and engaging in fun, imaginative play; however having this information all together was helpful to collect my thoughts.

There were a few little gems that were new to me though.  The most fundermental being not to constantly question your child, particularly with pointless questions you know the answer to.
This I am definately guilty of!  In an attempt to get C to speak, I am the Queen of Questions....
What colour is that train? 
How many wheels does the car have? 
What animal is on your T Shirt?
In my defence it was one of the more effective ways of getting C to speak however the video has made me take a step back and either wait for her to describe the item off her own back or if not for me to simply tell her what it is.

Also as a result of this video I have been trying to add more songs into our every day activities.  My favourite time is in the car when there are minimal distractions.
Our current favourite in Old MacDonald.  I sing the main words but pause at the animal names and noises for C to fill in the blanks.  C has taken to this really well and I am definately seeing an improvement.  She is even started joining a couple of words together at the chorus e.g. "woof woof here, woof woof there".
I am hoping that as she sees these improvements in herself it will improve her confidence to try new words.

I have tried a similar approach with certain key books e.g. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle and Bill Martin, Jr.  Because the text is simple and repetative, and is associated with clear pictures, C is now able to have an attempt at all the animals in the book when i pause .

"Brown _____ Brown _____ what do you see?  I see a Red ____ looking at me"

Just this week she has started to make an attempt at "horse" and that is purely down to using this technique with this book.
It is so great to see these improvements
In the past month I really do feel her speech has come on so much.
In May she had 10 words, now she has 25!
For a child of 28 months she is still well behind where she should be but to double her word tally in 2 months is pretty impressive!


At only £1.49 each the Talking Tips for Kids premium videos are great little aids for parents wanting direction with regards to their child's speech. They are useful in encouraging you to step back and look at the practices you are currently using with a more critical eye.  I can certainly see I got into some bad habits.
There are also shorter free videos which address particular issues or areas.

We were given free access to one premium video from the Talking Tips for Kids website for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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