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The Speech Therapy Blog


Selecting Toys for a Speech Delayed Child


Last updated Dec. 10, 2018


When it comes to helping a child with speech delay, there are a lot of things you just have to get right.

Playing is one of the most crucial factors to consider and the toys to use will go a long way in determining the rate of success.

The toy box can readily be turned to a speech and language therapy toolbox and you just have to be careful with what goes in there.

In this article, we will share with you some tips that will help you select the toysr for your speech and language delayed child.


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1. Go for Repeating Toys

There is something about repetitions that get children interested in the repetitive game. The predictability attached to such games makes it fun for them.

Repeating toys will teach your child with speech and language delay about cause and effect and can engage them fully in any giving play.

When you are involved in the game, you can ask your child “what will happen next” and try any other thing that can make him/her speak to you.


2. Do Away with the Batteries

There are individuals who will recommend toys that can make some sort of noise, but this is actually a no-no for a child that has speech and language problems.

You don’t want the toys making the noise during playtime.

It is absolutely better if your child is making the noise, so even if you’ve already got a toy that has batteries, you can do away with the batteries and have your child making the noise: this will really help them in overcoming speech delays.

There might be exceptions to this rule, and we can go straight to talk about them.


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3. Consider Microphones

A microphone is a brilliant way to get a child talking. It is one of the special toys that demands breaking the rule/tip above.

A microphone with a sound amplifier will really encourage the child to make sounds and this will be a great boost in overcoming speech delays.

When you also pair this with a voice recorder, the experience and result will be much improved.

Record your child’s voice as he/she spits into the microphone and have it played back to excite the child.

Allow him/her to also toy with the volume and adjustments, this way, his/her interest is aroused the more and speech and language development can quicken consequently.


4. Consider Dolls and Puppets

You obviously know that puppet games encourage speech and language development.

The use of dolls and puppets to reenact everyday activities can really help a child with a speech-language delay. There is actually no limit to the use of toys and puppet.

Children can give toys voices and personalities. Non-verbal kids can also get involved with the play by demonstrating with their body parts.

Dolls and puppets come in different forms but they will all eventually contribute to the speech and language development of a speech delayed child.


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5. Do not be Particular about Gender

When dealing with a speech delay, you really don’t have to be particular about the gender of the child when picking the toys.

What you are dealing with is how to solve a defined problem and there is absolutely no point in considering the gender of the child.

Buy whatever you feel can help. A study into the impact of specific toys has indicated that there is really no point considering the gender of a child.

Set aside whatever concept you have about gender-specific toys and get your child whatever elicit his/her interest.


6. Pick Open-Ended Toys

Open-ended toys are the types of toys that have no beginning, middle or end.

They are special types of toys that allow lots of imagination; can be used in different ways, and give lots of scope and ideas about language.

Some good examples of open-ended toys are played foods, baby dolls, building tops, dress ups, road maps, blocks, play dough, Mr. Potato Head, and the likes.

Open ended toys have the ability to provoke your child’s creative freedom as he/she manipulates them during play.


7. Get Outdoor Toys

There are several indoor toys that can help your child with speech delays, but outdoor toys are just as wonderful.

Outdoor toys have a way of providing uncommon sensory input and add lots of language opportunities for kids.

Water troughs, clam shells, and pit, as well as toys in free play areas like your local park, can be quite helpful.

You can also consider your vegetable garden as an option for sensory experience and play. Your child will find it helpful.


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8. Go for Traditional Toys

We’ve already talked about open-ended toys and their advantages. Well, traditional toys tend to be open-ended most of the time.

Some of the most common open-ended traditional toys include Legos, Wooden blocks, play kitchen and play foods, doll house, Mr. Potato Head, Playdough, toolset, tea set, baby doll/baby blanket, cars, trucks and transportation toys, and simple train tracks and trains.

These toys never seize to appeal to children and you can take advantage of them to aid your child in speech and language development.


9. Forget About the ABCs and the 123s

There are certainly lots of toys with claims of being educational toys that can help your child with certain skills like how to read their ABCs and do their 123s.

You can see quite a trailer-load of them in toy shops labeled ‘educational toys’ or ‘teaches ABC’, or other great labels that indicate that your child will learn a lot by using them.

These sets of toys may be great for most children, but they just do not suit kids that have speech delays.

The skills they teach are certainly not the priority target in a child that has speech and language development issues.

There are other major things that the child requires like access to outdoor areas where he/she can play for sensory experience, and you have to keep the so-called ‘educational’ toys away at the moment.


10. Go for Toys that get Kids Moving

Children need to be moving around and it is necessary to get them toys that encourage this habit. Many outdoor toys have this quality but you can also make it happen indoors.

There are certainly some specific toys that can get your children moving while indoors, and there are also ways to achieve it without buying those toys.

Making forts and tunnels is one of such simple ways to get a child moving indoors.

You can create a safe place in your house and get a few other little things like a ball to get your child moving.


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11. Try Rotating Toys

Children with speech delays need new things that can provoke their curiosity and have them figure things out from time to time. A toy rotation may be the best way to achieve this.

Note that too many toys at a time are not good for a child, so even if you have bought lots of cool toys, try rotating them and do not have a child play with so many toys at a time – it can be overwhelming.

There are so many other things you need to know and a speech pathologist will always guide you on how best to take care of your child with speech delays.

In the matter of toys, there are few other things you should know such as the fact that less is more and the age of the child should also play a part in determining the type of toys to buy.

Keep your child’s speech therapist informed and follow their advice carefully.