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My baby’s most beloved toy is her rubber duck. She calls it her ‘dut’. While she is just a baby and is expected to make mistakes like this, as a speech pathologist I know that there are easy things parents can do to help our children learn to say words correctly. Here are a speech pathologist’s top tips:

  1. The best and most simple thing you can do to help your child learn to say words correctly is to let them hear you saying the word the right way, again and again, and again. And again.
  2. Avoid saying the word the wrong way back to your child. Although it is sometimes very difficult (even for me as a speech pathologist!) to suppress the urge to say ‘It’s not a dut, it’s a duck!’, it is very important to only say the word to your child correctly. The more times they hear the mistake, the more this reinforces the incorrect production.
  3. Just pick one word or one speech sound to correct at a time and aim to say it the right way to your child as much as possible over a week or so. You don’t have to wait for your child to say the word – just use it lots in your everyday conversation. At the moment we are saying ‘duck’ a whole lot!

These few tips are easy to use but very effective and supported by research into how children learn to talk. For further information about effective ways to model speech to your child, visit this page and open the slideshow called ‘modelling’.

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