Have you seen the videos or photos of people making silly faces on different apps such as Tik Tok? Making those faces could actually be the foundation of your child learning language. How? Oral/Facial imitation has been researched for years and is thought to be the foundation of imitation in childhood development. According to Sarah Lydon, a Speech-Language Pathologist at Playworks Therapy inc, Oral imitation is the primary skill before vocals and other language emerges.
Imitating movements such as:
- blowing raspberries
- opening their mouth
- sticking tongue out
- moving their tongue from side to side
This will give your child an idea of how their mouth moves to make sounds. While some may be able to imitate this right away, repetition is key!
Once they have mastered these skills you can begin to work on imitating facial expressions with vocal sounds such as smiling while saying “ee” or “cheese”. Along with animal sounds or vehicle sounds such as a siren. These sounds are perfect to do with songs and movement as well to engage the child and gain their attention so that they can imitate the facial expressions.
Getting creative and paying attention to your child’s interests can help improve your child’s eye gaze, scanning and imitation skills as a whole. While you and your child may have limited time to work on skill development, creatively implementing them into your daily routine can be enjoyable for the whole family and fit them naturally into your schedule.
Make a silly face! Oral Motor Imitation: What is it and why should you target it? PlayWorks Therapy Inc. (2022, February 16). Retrieved July 5, 2022, from https://playworkschicago.com/make-a-silly-face-oral-motor-imitation-what-is-it-and-why-should-you-target-it/