Supporting your children's speech development at home

In Term 4, 2021 the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House partnered with local business, Optiform, to offer a series of four free-of-charge online sessions to the Ballarat community to help support families to encourage their children's speech development at home.

BENH Childrens Speech Optiform Week 4 FB

If you attended one or more of the sessions, please complete this short feedback survey.

Access to Allied Health services is limited at the moment and many families are desperate for support regarding their children’s speech and language development. In partnership with Optifom, the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House ran four free online information sessions for local families. Speech Therapist, Meaghan Sullivan discussed: what’s age appropriate, when to be concerned, ways to stimulate speech and language at home etc. She offered some strategies, resources and where and when to seek further support.

The sessions included:

  1. Introduction to children’s speech, language and communication development
  2. Stimulating speech & language in the first years of life (age 0 – 2)
  3. Extending speech & language skills in the pre-school years (age 3 – 4)
  4. Speech sound development (age 5) and social communication development and participation – preparing for the social world at kinder, school & beyond

To find out about the sessions running in 2022, please contact the Ballarat East Neighbourhood House.

Resources

Resources - Session 1: Introduction to children’s speech, language and communication development

During Session 1, Meaghan refered to Children's Communication Milestones available on the Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) website. On the SPA website, these free resources are described as:

"The Communication Milestones Kit is a series of A4-sized downloadable information sheets and an A3-sized poster. These outline the talking and understanding milestones for children aged 1-5 years. The information sheets and poster outline how early childhood educators and speech pathologists can work together to ensure that children reach these milestones within the expected timeframes.

The kit also presents information on the role of speech pathologists and how to find a speech pathologist. The information sheets are a useful tool to start a conversation about a child who may be having difficulty with their speech, language and communication."

Revised Communication Milestone Poster 2018 from SPA website OCT 2021 smallSource: Speech Pathology Australia Website, October 2021

Resources: Session 2: Stimulating speech & language in the first years of life (age 0 – 2)

Videos on YouTube from The Hanen Centre:

1. True or False: 5 Common Assumptions about Language Development
"Do boys talk later than girls? Do children who are late talkers “grow out of it”? There are so many common assumptions out there about language development. Let’s take a look at what the research says through a little game of “True or False”. Together we’ll learn if the evidence supports or debunks these popularly held beliefs."
 
"Like all parents, you’re probably very eager to hear your child’s first words! But before learning to talk, your child must learn to communicate without words through sounds and gestures. Let’s explore some of the most common ways children communicate without words and what you can do to help encourage their language development."
 
3. You Are the Key to Your Child’s First Words
"What sets the stage for children to say their first words? Find out how you, as a parent, can have the biggest impact in helping your child learn language."
 
Information sheets from Optiform:
Building Language Expansion
Download the PDF: Building Language Expansion
 
 
Declarative Gestures Early Vocab
 
 
Modelling Language
Download the PDF: Modelling Language
 

Resources - Session 3: Extending speech & language skills in the pre-school years (age 3 – 4)

Treehouse A4
Download the PDF: Children's Speech Sounds
Tips and Activities to Encourage Speech Language 2 5yrs p1
Tips and Activities to Encourage Speech Language 2 5yrs p2
 
 
 

Resources - Session 4: Speech sound development (age 5) and social communication development and participation – preparing for the social world at kinder, school & beyond

Video on YouTube from The Hanen Centre:

What Young Children Should Know Before They Start School

"Before they can start to read and write on their own, young children need a strong foundation of emergent literacy skills. Studies show that children who start school with higher levels of these skills go on to have greater academic success. Janice Greenberg, Director of Early Childhood Services at The Hanen Centre, identifies what these emergent literacy skills are and why they’re so important."

Social Stories App

Meghan also mentioned the Social Stories App by Touch Autism as a useful tool. This looks to be available for Apple devices only. There appear to be several other Social Stories Apps also available for both Apple and other devices.

About Meaghan

Meaghan has a special interest in voice and disorders of the larynx, including vocal cord dysfunction, chronic cough and functional voice disorders. Meaghan has been working as a Speech Pathologist since graduating from Latrobe University in 2002.  She works with children, adolescents and adults with a range of communication difficulties.

QUALIFICATIONS  // B Sp Path, B.Mus (Voice)
AREAS OF INTEREST // Voice & laryngeal disorders, Acquired Brain Injury, Stuttering, Early Intervention/ ”late talkers”, Language disorders , Articulation & Phonology, Literacy learning, Dysphagia/swallowing.

Find out more about Optiform.