Imitation Is Vital For Speech and Language Development
Imitation begins early in infancy and continues throughout childhood. Although crying is a infants first form of communication, speech and language begin to develop through the process of repetition and imitation. Early on an infant learns to imitate because someone first imitates him. Your baby makes "raspberry" sounds or vowel sounds or babbles "ga-ga" and you imitate your baby. Your baby enjoys the response and the attention and does it again. This is the beginning of your baby learning imitation skills and this is an important skill for both speech sound development and language development.
Ways to encourage imitation skills in your little one:
- Imitate your baby/child often, as often as you can throughout the day. Imitate sounds your baby makes, mouth movements and even hand movements and gestures.
- Follow your baby's lead and then change it up every now and then. If he babbles "ga-ga", you say "ba-ba". Show him your mouth and enthusiasm and see if he'll imitate something "new" that you did.
- Do the same thing with hand movements, gestures and body movements and encourage him to imitate you.
If your child does have a speech or language delay, his ability to imitate will be an important tool in the therapy process. In fact, if a child does not understand imitation this is one of the first things that a therapist will focus on with your child.