Monday, May 2, 2011

Strategies to Help Develop Imitation Skills ~ Speech Therapy

* Sitting in front of a mirror can often make copying more fun
* Make sure your baby is watching you. He/she will not be able to imitate unless he/she sees what you are doing
* Start by practising easier skills first. For example, when teaching imitation of sounds, it is easier to start with noises than sounds.
* Your baby will find it easier to imitate a sounds or action that he/she has already done. Watch your baby. When he/she makes a sound or does an action, copy it and then wait to see what he/she does.
* Initially follow your baby’s lead, if he/she is playing with a toy and bangs it on the table, wait. Then take the toy and bang it on the table. Give the toy back to your baby and wait to see what he/she will do. If your child makes a “b” sound copy him/her and then wait. Provide encouragement for him/her to do the sound again.
* Use cues to help him/her understand that you want him/her to copy you. Encourage your baby to imitate the sound or action by saying “you do it”. After you have done the action, stop and look at your baby expectantly. Remember to praise your baby when he/she tries to imitate a sound/action.
* Once your baby becomes good at playing an imitation game with an action or sound he/she has performed, try becoming the leader. Do an action/sound in front of your baby (eg, clap your hands) and then wait for your baby to copy you.
* Make the activities fun and rewarding. Your baby will find it easier to copy things that he/she enjoys doing.

Imitation of actions

Actions with Object
Pat a doll
Feed a doll
Put blocks in a bucket
Rings on a pole
Roll a ball Throw a ball
Knock over blocks
Stir with a spoon
Bang 2 blocks together
Build a tower
Push a car
Wash face
Hit a drum

Imitations of Actions
Clap hands
Wave Goodbye
Raise hands (hands up)
Rub hands together
Bang the table (open hand)
Pat head
Bang fist on table
Raise hand (give me high five)
Tap legs
Cover face with hands
Tap tummy

Imitations of oral actions
Open mouth
Stick out tongue
Put lips together
Pucker Lips
Move tongue side to side
Move tongue up and down
Place tongue to bottom teeth

Imitation of Sounds

Start teaching your child to imitate sounds by copying the sounds that your child makes. If he/she says “bababa”, copy him or her and wait. Try introducing new easy sounds such as ‘ar’ ‘ee’ ‘oo’ ‘pa’ and ‘ba’.

First noises
Brrroom (pushing car)
Ah choo (pretend sneeze)
Tongue clicks (clock)
Moo (cow)
Whee (having a whizzy)
Ah (mouth open)

Then sounds
P-blowing out candle
M-pat tummy (yum)
B-bouncing ball
S-snake sound
T-ticking clock

Later words
Bye bye (waving)
Mine (holding toy to chest)
Go (pushing a car)
All gone (hide toy)
Night night (pretend to sleep)
Me (pointing to self)
Boo (peek-a-boo)

A Word About Songs

Singing songs is a great way to learn about imitation. Sing songs that include actions or simple sounds that your child can imitate. Great songs may include:

Open Shut them
5 Fat Sausages
This Little Piggy
There Were 3 in a Bed
If You’re happy and You Know it
Old McDonald
5 little ducks
5 little monkeys
Put Your Finger on Your Nose
Little Peter Rabbit.

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