Helping my daughter find her beautiful little voice has been no mean feat - we hit many obstacles along the road but over the course of a year we have achieved more than we could have ever imagined.
In just twelve months we have gone from roughly thirty words to over four hundred including four to five-word sentences. It's been hard at times and very time consuming, especially in a busy house of seven but thankfully we got there and her emotional and social development has been thriving ever since.
I strongly believe interactive games alongside sign language played a huge part in promoting my daughter's oral language. In fact, these types of games were her go-to every day and having something she really enjoyed was half the battle when it came to our one-on-one time.
Here are some of my top-rated interactive games to help promote oral language:
Picture cubes are a great learning resource for all children not just those with speech difficulties. Story cubes are a fun and colourful way to spark creativity, storytelling skills and to help develop listening and speaking skills.
Some cubes can cost a pretty penny but cheaper versions can be bought from various outlets including Flying Tiger and Amazon for as little as €3.
Sometimes kids with speech difficulties have weak muscles and using bubbles can help position and strengthen the tongue correctly for certain sounds produced in the back of the mouth. It also promotes eye contact, teaches sound and it's a fun way to teach young children to take turns.
In a busy house, it can be hard to share your attention, especially with the ones who need it most. To combat this, I rented nursery rhymes and their favourite movie soundtracks from the library and had them on repeat in the background all day every day.
At first, I didn't believe it was causing any more than a headache but a few weeks in my daughter was mumbling her first-ever nursery rhyme. Now I can't get her to stop singing Let It Go and it pains me but it is a positive all the same!
One of my favourite times of the day is when the books come out and there is some sense of calm in the house. We turn off all background noise and each of my children become entranced in our books.
We read a bit of everything but Magic Moment, The President's Cat and The Squirrels Who Squabble are firm favourites here.
Most recently our speech therapist recommended interactive games such as Operation, Buckaroo, Greedy Granny, Pop-Up Pirate and Pop Goes Pig. We invested in all of them using birthday money and each of them has gone down a treat.
They are much-loved games perfect for promoting taking turns and oral and expressive language.
Other things that helped us over the past few months include flashcards, age-appropriate jigsaw puzzles and at least thirty minutes of one-on-one time every day of the week.