How can music help build my child’s language?

We have probably all heard music in a least some capacity whether it be on the radio, at a concert or off a CD, but did you know music can be used to build speech & language as well?

Music is an affordable tool that is easily accessed via a any device with an internet connection, or even a television in the home environment and can be used in various ways to encourage communication and allow opportunities for exposure to different word types and speech sounds.

Below are some ways that you could use music at home to help language (including but not limited to);

  • Singing a nursery rhyme with your child then stop suddenly, let them say the target word or make a noise depending on their communication level before you continue the song.
  • Use a song loaded with speech sounds to get some extra practice in of those! Baby shark has been very popular of clients of mine working on ‘sh’, or even as simple as ‘wheels on the bus’ for words with /b/!
  • Working out our emotions and learning different ways we can express these, in early language this may be as simple as “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” or as a teen/ into adulthood we can often link our emotions to music by understanding lyrics. Sometimes we even just need a music break to calm down, and that’s ok too!
  • Allow your child to develop listening skills and join in! Perhaps it’s as simple as every time the character says Jump in the song you jump together.
  • Sometimes we can talk to beats. This can help us to learn breath control and makes for clearer speech, may allow us to put more words together and support smooth speech. This can make it easier for others to understand individuals due to their slower speech rate.
  • Practicing varying intonation patterns so that speech that may have previously sounded ‘robotic’ or ‘unnatural’ becomes closer to the ideal targets!

Music and speech both activate similar parts of the brain, by using music we can support the development of this across the lifespan! Using music can occur at so many different times in a day and in different environments. I’d love to hear how you have found a way to link music into your everyday activities!

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