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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Talking Twins - Developing Your Children's Language Skills
Talking Twins - Developing Your Children's Language Skills
There has been much research undertaken on language development in multiples. There are some factors that may affect multiples such as twins being behind in learning first words and physical development. This short article is some general advice on developing language skills and applies to all children. For the extended version that goes into this area in more detail for twins and triplets, follow the link at the end of this extract.

All children need to learn how to listen and follow directions. They also need to learn how to express themselves. Try to use the following suggestions during everyday activities to encourage your children's language development;

1. When you talk to your child/children, make sure you have his/her attention. With twins or higher order multiples, speak to each child individually.. Call his/her name before you say anything or touch him/her gently on the arm. Separate them if necessary and talk to them one by one - not always easy but it's important that each child receives some individual attention.

2. Make sure each child is listening when you talk to him/her. To ensure you have his/her full attention, get down to your children's level and make eye contact with him/her.

3. Try to eliminate any distractions, turn off the television or clean up toys. These can distract his/her/their attention away from listening to you.

4. Pair gestures and facial expression with directions. This will help them to understand what you are telling them to do.

5. Speak clearly and not too quickly so that they have time to take in what your are telling them. Kids are more likely to listen to slower speech that is broken into segments: Take your coat off. (pause) Go wash your hands please.

6. Repeat information where necessary. Repetition will really help them to learn.

7. Encourage your child/children's attempts to communicate with you. If a child uses a word incorrectly repeat the word back correctly and emphasize the word or sound they are having difficulty with as often as you can. Do not try to get the child to repeat the word back to you because they may repeat it incorrectly again which may discourage them from trying again and/or emphasis the incorrect use rather than the correct use. It"s not necessary to correct your child"s pronunciation or grammar. Instead repeat what s/he said in the correct way without insisting that s/he copies you. It is better to provide them with lots of chances to hear the word or sound used correctly.

8. Emphasize key word and sounds you want your child/children to learn. Remembering all the groups of words we use to form sentences: names, locations, action words, describing words. and socially useful words.

9. Repeat main ideas and new information frequently in as many different ways as possible.

10. Give your child enough time to respond. Your child may take a long time to organize his thoughts and feelings and put them into words. Avoid the tendency to interrupt your child or finish their sentences. Most children take 3 to 5 seconds to respond. It may take 5 to 11 second for a child with a speech and language delay to respond. We usually give our children .5 or 1 second to respond.

11. Be aware of the words, sounds and sentence patterns or grammar that each of your children needs to learn and model them often for your child/children.

12. Talk out loud about what you and each of your children are doing in simple sentences. It is also a good idea to talk about how you and other people might be feeling.

13. Expand on what each of your children says by adding new words and new ideas to their remarks.

14. Reading to each of your children on a one-to-one basis is one of the best ways to develop their listening and talking skills.

Resources : Extract from a presentation by Paula Moss. Speech-Language Pathologist and Mother of 10 month old twins on November 26. 1998

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