Updated: May 5
These isolation days during the COVID-19 pandemic are necessary but tough. In order to support one of our communities, Andalusia Speech is partnering with Mommy Connections to host a free webinars for Speech and Language Milestones for infants aged 3 to 18 months. The feedback from the moms watching the seminar was great and Andalusia Speech was asked to provide a summary and links to toys/books used during the sessions, so here we go!
An intro to us: Andalusia Speech is offering virtual speech therapy assessments for all adults and children. When the pandemic ends, we will re-open our physical locations in Roncesvalles and the Beaches in Toronto, but we will continue to offer online therapy as we have for two years. For those at home now, we can help with the following assessments or therapy:
Adults: Vocal issues, stroke and aphasia, public speaking, accent modification, and stuttering. Children: Late talkers, articulation, literacy and dyslexia, stuttering, auditory verbal therapy, vocal issues, and autism.
Speech and Language Milestones Webinar Summary
0-3 months: cooing
4-6 months: exploration with squeals, raspberries and sounds /m/ /b/ /p/
7-9 months: babbling: bababa, mamama, papapa
10-12 months: variegated babbling: bamaga, tikati, adult-like intonation
Ensure your child passed their newborn hearing screen if born in Ontario
Your baby should startle to loud sounds
If your baby has more than 2 ear infections, check with your family doctor to ensure there isn't fluid build up which can reduce your baby's access to sounds
12 months - staring to follow some one step instructions (bye bye, stand up, sit down, no)
Motherese and Parentese: You are likely already, naturally speaking to your child in ways that help them learn language. This includes simplifying your sentences, highlighting or exaggerating key words, and using a variety of intonation patterns. It also helps to narrate what your child is doing, be the Morgan Freeman of their life! Read more on our latest blog post about Parentese here!
Social Communication, Gestures and First Words
Smiling, eye contact and pointing are important social communication tools for your child to do and learn.
Early gestures to help your child communicate before they speak include the signs for 'more', 'all done' and 'please'.
First words usually appear around 12 months, and by 18 months, we are looking for 10-20 words. Remember this is a range and children can be on either end of this spectrum. First words include sounds for animals (moo) or vehicles (beep beep) or food sounds (yummm).
Toys used in some of the sessions:
If you purchase any of these books/toys through our Amazon links, we receive a commission. We encourage you to purchase locally if possible and our Amazon affiliation does not impact our recommendations, we love these products no matter where you get them from!
Ball: excellent for turn taking, which is an important social communication skill to develop to take turns in play and in conversation down the line
Sensory Balls: soothing for sensory seeking behaviours and can entice a child to explore the ball more.
Rubber ducks: you can use them in the bath or outside, repeat the word 'quack quack quack' until you turn into a duck, and help develop play skills to have the ducks quack at each other!
Baby + disappearing milk bottle: excellent for developing pretend play skills and modelling language used in your child's daily life (eat, sleep, diaper). The full accessories set can be seen here. We bought the doll locally but any simple doll will work, ideally with one that you can wipe down (not cloth body if you can help it) and change the diaper on. A lot of dolls are overpriced surprisingly, you should be able to get a basic doll for under $20 locally too.
Monkeys in a Barrel - a fun activity as you add more monkeys to your swinging vine of monkeys. Also useful to prompt the sign or word 'more' each time you add a monkey or to make monkey sounds together.
Bubbles - Another useful toy to prompt the sign or word 'more' for each new set of bubbles. We have been through our fair share of bubble brands but we like this one as it seems to be the most spill-proof and you get less of the soap on your hands.
Stacker toys - a simple stacker toy helps expand explorative play skills and introduce relational play skills. They are easy to grab and manipulate and language like 'put it ON' can guide your child's play.
Building Blocks - great to develop typical play skills, build them up and knock them down! Use words like 'up, up, up' as you stack and 'down!' when you knock them over. Any simple, safe set of blocks will due. Not referring to Lego here as they should be able to knock down easily.
Pop Apart Animals - your child can explore and mouth these toys while pulling them apart and learning animal sound as they go! Pair them with a book or a rendition of O'McDonald!
Songs I mentioned in the session
Songs are important for a variety of reasons. The rhyming helps set children up for literacy skills, the songs teach them words, familiarity with songs help children participate in circle time in daycares, drop in centres and kindergarden, and the early gestures in songs help children develop those signs and eventually early words to fill in while singing.
Early songs include Twinkle Twinkle and interactive rhymes like This Little Piggy. Later songs include Row Your Boat; O McDonald; Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toys; and Wheels on the Bus. Remember to include all the gestures you can!
Between 3-12 months, your baby will primarily chew, pat, and hopefully try to share the book with you. For this purpose, washable books are great. Here are the books we covered:
Bath books: Chewable and washable books that your infant can explore with their mouth and use in the bath are an effective way to get your child interested in books! We recommend any that have simple, early vocabulary in them like animals or vehicles or food.
Baby Touch and Feel First Words: To engage your child 6 months and up, books with one picture per page and touch and feel aspects can draw your child in with the different textures. Simple pictures can help with language development.
Animals Book: We can't find the exact book we used in the session line yet (will update if we do!) but one picture per page, board books for animals are great. Your child can link the animal sound with the one picture on the page to help them 'moo' or 'woof' their way along to their first words.
Open the Barn Door, Find a Cow: As your child gets older, a step up from textured books is flaps. Flaps are great to engage your child in a book, and this one in particular combines flaps and animal sounds. Our kiddos and Speech Language Pathologists love it!
Where's Spot: The classic Where's Spot is another excellent flip book that I showed the mommies in the seminar. You open each door to a new animal and can work on the receptive instruction: open the door.
We jam packed a lot of information into the seminars and they were an absolute pleasure. All you families are doing a fantastic job adapting to the isolation period and we hope these milestones and tips were useful during this time!
If you have any questions for a Speech Language Pathologist, you can submit them to our Ask an SLP page or if you want to book an assessment for your child or yourself virtually, you can contact us. Andalusia Speech will be returning to Mommy Connections for more presentations where we will go further into some strategies discussed during the pandemic. We are all in this together and we will get through this together!
Andalusia Speech Therapy has two Toronto speech therapy clinics and offers speech teletherapy to anywhere in the world. Contact us more for information.