If your child experiences trouble with speaking, there is a high chance that they may require speech therapy. Ideally, toddlers should start to develop a regular speech pattern by the age of two.
If you can’t understand much of what they are saying, they may have a speech impediment, and you may need speech therapy tools for toddlers.
Does Your Child Have a Speech Impediment?
There are different speech impediments, but some of the most common are stuttering, apraxia, dysarthria, and even selective mutism.
A child may also experience speech delay, articulation errors, and trouble forming the correct sounds with their mouth.
If any of these are happening to your child, it’s important that you take them to see their pediatrician. Early signs of a speech impairment can include:
Stuttering is either an inherited condition or a sign your child’s brain isn’t developing typically. Generally, stuttering is related to a delay in development.
- Articulation Errors
Articulation errors occur when a child can’t properly form speech sounds because of their tongue placement
Ankyloglossia is a biological condition that makes it hard for children to move their tongue.
Apraxia is a condition where a child’s brain isn’t coordinating muscles and speech together.
Dysarthria is a condition where a child may slur their words. It’s generally a condition due to brain damage.
- Selective Mutism
Selective mutism is where a child is anxious and will refuse to talk in certain situations.
Speech Therapy Tools for Toddlers
Toddlers learn best through play. As such, speech therapy tools are primarily designed to imitate games where children can learn while they have fun.
Not only does this help keep young children’s attention, but it will also guarantee that they remember what they are learning.
Below is a list of speech therapy tools suitable for toddlers.
The TalkTools Sensi Therapist Kit is an oral motor therapy set that helps children strengthen their speech. It focuses on strengthening the lips, cheek, tongue, and jaw areas.
The kit also includes 14 Sensi Tips, which can be swapped out from the main base toy. Its main goal is to improve speech, strengthen muscles, and help improve sensory skills.
The ARK’s Z-Vibe Sensory Oral Motor Kit is an easily transportable speech therapy set that includes tools to help a child strengthen their speech.
The kit consists of a Vibe handle along with 10 tip attachments. Along with the kit, the book offers techniques, exercises, and strategies to address speech problems.
The Stages Learning Materials Language Builder is a fun playtoy kit that enables kids to learn vocabulary. Inside the kit, there are 48 realistic plastic figures and 48 matching photo cards.
Each card and toy represent animals, foods, and everyday objects. This kit is best used for introductory matching lessons, which teach kids new vocabulary.
The Yoto Player is a speech therapy kit that includes a fun audio player toy suitable for kids ages three through eight.
It allows children to insert over 300 cards into the device, and it will read out the card. Other features include a pixel display, nightlight, and Bluetooth compatibility, which works as a Bluetooth speaker.
The LeapFrog LeapPad Academy Kids’ Learning Tablet is a children’s device equipped with 20 educational apps.
The learning tablet is suitable for kids with speech delays or those struggling with learning words. LeapFrog does require a month-to-month subscription, but it’s well worth the investment.
Additionally, features include:
- A kid-friendly web browser
- Interactive learning programs
- The ability to download kid-friendly apps
Helpful Tools for Parents
Parents who have children with speech impediments should take the time to educate themselves on what language disorders look like in different stages of development.
Early intervention is the key to quickly helping your child’s talking ability. However, it can be tricky to catch the first signs of a speech issue.
Here, we provide three valuable books that can help introduce parents to the different language disorders.
The book introduces parents to comprehensive coverage of children who don’t acquire language normally.
It summarizes all aspects of everyday language and what to look for in terms of communication and language development.
Parents will then move on to nine chapters on language difficulties sorted by age and in combination with any etiological conditions.
The Language Disorders from Infancy through Adolescence teaches speech disorders through different developmental stages.
It is an extremely valuable tool in understanding the many aspects of speech disorders.
It uses descriptive-developmental approaches and presents vocabulary and an overview of issues and controversies.
Aside from that, it uses professional resources, and the 5th Edition includes new common core standards for language arts.
The Language and Literacy Disorders is designed for undergraduate and graduate students but can be helpful for parents.
Those who want to learn more about normal development, assessment, and intervention practices will benefit from this book.
It also basic concepts and policies, appropriate assessment and intervention procedures, and common language and literacy disorders.
What Is the Best Speech Therapy Tool?
Speech-language pathologists will advise you to use speech toys that entice your children to play.
Even if a toy is higher rated or boasts of being more effective, it will be rendered useless unless your child wants to use it.
Moreover, it’s good to pick toys with a wide variety of uses, colors, or sizes.
The more variety there is, the better chances your child won’t become bored and want to interact with it.
In that case, choosing kits instead of individual toys may also benefit you.
Toddlers are at that stage where they want to communicate their feelings. That’s why it’s important to find toys that can help relate to that kind of communication.
Look for toys that teach them how to identify what they are feeling, how to put those feelings into words, and how to pronounce them.
That way, a child will be less prone to finding other negative behaviors to express their feelings.
Lastly, look for speech therapy tools that help promote their fine and gross motor skills.
In young children, especially toddlers, developing sensory systems all at once can help engage them in long-term learning.
So, keep this in mind when searching for the best speech therapy tools.
Talking to Your Toddler’s Pediatrician
Not all speech impairments are noticeable right off the bat, so many parents tend to put off taking their children to the pediatrician.
The truth is, the sooner you tackle a speech impairment, the easier it is to correct.
Taking your kid to a pediatrician as soon as possible can help you determine what’s going on and what type of treatment they need.
Here are some examples of what normal speech should look at between ages two to three, according to Dr. Jay L. Hoecker:
- Children should be able to speak two- to three-word sentences without any problems. They should use a minimum of 200 words a day.
- Children should start to make connections and refer to themselves using pronouns. Other family members should be able to understand what they are trying to communicate.
Get a Speech-Language Pathologist
Speech therapy tools for toddlers are very effective in helping correct speech impairments before they become a bigger issue.
School-age children tend to struggle in school settings due to a lack of communication skills and inability to keep up with their peers.
The sooner speech therapy is implemented, the better off your child will be. The tools we mentioned here are excellent kits with many applications.
However, we urge parents to take their child to a speech-language pathologist to be correctly diagnosed.
An SLP will be able to use speech therapy tools efficiently and provide guidance when using the tools at home.