from Speech Kids Canada – http://speechkids.ca/
Below are some ideas on how you can help a child who has unclear speech. It will give you some general ideas before seeing a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP).
1. Get down to your child’s level, so your child can see your mouth. Visual models can reinforce how to properly say certain sounds.
2. Speak in a slow but natural way so your child is encouraged to speak at the same rate. Speaking quickly requires more refined coordination.
3. Instead of asking your child to repeat the word, model the word back emphasizing the sound in error correctly (e.g. Your child says, “I want the big tar”, you can say,”You want the big Car?”.
4. If you know your child can say the sound, you can give him/her choices (e.g. Do you want the “tar” or the “car”?). But, if they aren’t able to say the sound, offering choices would not be very helpful.
5. If you have understood part of his sentence/conversation, repeat it back to him/her so he/she knows you have understood him. Building confidence is important so he/she keeps trying.
6. Don’t pretend to understand but rather ask your child to “show you” what he/she wants.
7. Use contextual and environmental cues as well as facial expressions and intonationto help you to figure out your child’s message.
8. Promote good hearing. Good hearing is essential for the development of normal articulation. If you are concerned with your child’s articulation skills, it is always a good idea to have his/her hearing assessed.