How to Teach Child With a Speech Delay

Written by toni-marie ramos
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For a child with a speech delay, communicating everyday wants and needs can become a frustrating task. When you place a child with speech delays in a classroom setting, the frustration is not only shared by the child but all those around him. Whether the speech delay is developmental or due to another medical issue such as a hearing loss or autism, teaching a child with a speech delay can be acheived with the right approach. Encouraging communication is key.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Observe the child's interests. Exploring the child's interests will help a teacher engage the child and encourage communicating and participating in classroom activities.

  2. 2

    Collaborate with speech pathologist who can assist and advise a teacher or parent on techniques used during therapy to be carried over into the classroom or home. Children with speech delays need constant reinforcement.

  3. 3

    Create an environment that encourages speech development. A child with a speech delay benefits from the ability to socialise and communicate with their peers. In this type of setting, children learn from each other.

  4. 4

    Read and sing. Reading and singing will encourage language development as it exposes the child with a speech delay to words and sentence structure.

  5. 5

    Adjust your speaking voice, especially with a child with a hearing loss. Speaking slowly and in a clear voice will allow the child to grasp the words being spoken.

  6. 6

    Teach simple sign language to the class. For a child with speech delays, sign language gives him another way to communicate his needs and participate in class activities. Simple signs like "yes," "no," "more," the days of the week and the seasons are helpful.

  7. 7

    Make use of visual cues to encourage communication. Flashcards, symbols, pictures and any other visual aids that represent words are all tools that can be used as forms of communication for a child with speech delays.

  8. 8

    Teach in small groups. Small groups allow the child to focus and gives the teacher the opportunity to adapt the teaching method to accomodate the child a with speech delay. This method provides for less distractions.

  9. 9

    Always make eye contact when teaching. Eye contact will allow for the child to focus on what is being said and allow for greater comprehension of the conversation.

  10. 10

    Assign proper seating placement in the classroom. By placing the child with a speech delay near the person providing the instruction will allow the child to focus and provide for less distractions.

  11. 11

    Make directions clear and simple. It may be necessary to not only dictate the directions verbally, but also give them in written form.

  12. 12

    Ask for clarification. To foster communication and comprehension, ask the child with a speech delay to repeat back what has been said.

Tips and warnings

  • Encourage speech and language development. Create an environment that welcomes communication and encourages students to communicate with each other and the classroom staff.

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