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How I made my son speak through Nursery Rhymes

When we started the therapy for my son was 3.5 years old, he was just a “No No” baby meaning, the only verbal communication he had was being able to say “No”.

He also made few other sounds like “Ba” for bye bye but was consistent in using those sounds. Initially it was very very difficult to get his attention and he was very hyper too. I was really confused where to focus. That is on his speech, behavior or hyperness.

But something told me that if we improve his communication, then it would be easy to make him understand other things.

Along with the basic words for communication “Rhymes” helped him a lot to verbalize. He also liked to watch Rhyme Cds. It added to my advantage. I used it like a “reinforcer” or to grab his attention.

I selected some of his favorite rhymes songs from the CD and I used the same tune. The aim was to make the child to fill the word in the rhymes when we pause. Let us take for example, “Johnny Johnny yes papa rhymes”.

First I gave stress where I wanted my son to fill. For example, I stressed Yes papa and did not expect him to say Yes Papa. Since at that point of time, his only vocabulary was No, any phrase that I wanted to make him say was going to be a big task. So rather than expecting him to say something immediately, I kept stressing the phrases which I wanted him to say

Johnny Johnny Yes Papa
Eating Sugar No Papa
Telling Lies No Papa
Open your Mouth Ha Ha Ha

One day when I started the open your mouth he finished by saying “Ha Ha Ha”. Yes that was the first fruit of the Stress and the Pause. After that whenever I sang this song for him, I paused after, “Open your Mouth” and also occasionally paused and checked for “Yes Papa”. If he was not able to fill it I filled it immediately after the short pause and moved to the next sentence.

Since he knew to say “No” then he started to tell “No” but not “No Papa”. Slowly “Yes” was also added. Then slowly I just started the first word of the sentence like “Johnny” gave a quick pause, then “Eating”, pause again and so on. I waited for him to finish the next word in these pauses, but if he was unable to complete, I filled it for him. Slowly he started filling words here and there. Eventually with patience and persistence, he can now sing the whole song :)

  1. Dont stick to one song as your child could get bored and uninvolved. Select 5 to 10 songs depending on your child's interest and keep shifting between them.
  2. Do actions along with singing like nodding your head for “Yes Papa” so that even if the child does not get the words immediately, he will first get the actions and start imitiating them. Those actions eventually become the words.
  3. The aim is to make the child to speak, not to master the song.
  4. Give the tunes, stresses and pauses to your other family members who interact with the child. This will help avoid any confusion to child and he can learn smoothly.

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