Early speech and language skills help your child to tell others about their ideas and feelings, wants and needs. Difficulties in communicating can lead to frustration and social or behaviour problems. Learning to communicate is the foundation for learning at school. Research has also shown that early development of language is important for academic success, for understanding the teacher, learning to read, write and do math, and for developing relationships with teachers, peers, and others that come to be a part of the lives of our children. One in ten children in Ontario will need help developing their speech and language skills to get ready for school.

What Parents Can Do to Help

Parents and caregivers are the most important resource children have. Parent and caregiver interaction with the child affects how the child learns, communicates and interacts with the people and world around them. Parents and caregivers can get involved in their child’s development by spending time every day in routines, listening and responding to their child’s communication, sharing play time, reading, and sharing comfort, love and affection with your child. The organization Affiliated Services for Children and Youth, out of Hamilton, Ontario, chronicles each stage of development in speech, and offers suggestions on how to get involved with your child to promote the development of communication skills.

Information provided by the Affiliated Services for Children and Youth, www.ascy.ca. We have a great article on teaching sign language as well.