How do I know if my child needs extra help with early language and literacy?
All children develop at different rates, some learn language and literacy skills very early and others develop later. You can make sure everyone in your child's life is providing good language and literacy experiences - check with other people who care for your child to see how they are encouraging language with your child and if they have concerns. Many people working together to help a child make a great difference. Some children need extra time to think and respond to questions (give them time to think, do not rush them), some children need models of how to talk (give them the right words to say: "Say 'more milk'."), some children need help learning new words (give them vocabulary, expand on what they say - Child: "truck" Adult: "That is a red truck."). Some children need different types of experiences - some benefit from encouraging non-verbal communication to start (you may have heard of a program called Baby Signs that encourages children to "talk" using signs, either formal sign language or informal signs you make up with your child; which allows children to communicate before they have the verbal skills to get their meaning across). Give your child lots of different types of language experiences. Books are a great way to introduce new words, repetitive books give them a chance to try out new words and remember them.