Preverbal Skills

Pre-verbal skills are skills learnt or needed before Speech begins. Communication encompasses much more than just spoken words. Thus, communication in babies start long before Speech production is heard. They start communicating from the moment they enter the world. Some skills are needed for and may be seen which are important for Speech- and Language development. The following are some areas of pre-verbal skills:

  • Eye contact

Eye contact before communicating is very important to make sure your baby is paying attention to what you are saying which will enable him/her to follow an instruction more successfully. Smile, when making eye contact, as facial expressions are vital for effective communication. It is important to hold objects at eye level when playing with them, so that they have quick and easy access to make direct eye contact with you when trying to follow the item visually.

  • Imitating / copying

Imitation of actions is an important skill for all babies to learn prior to learning the imitation of sounds. This can be taught through pulling funny faces and making it interesting for your baby to communicate with you. Encourage him/her to copy you and make sure you copy your baby’s sounds as well. Play peek-a-boo games and use repetition when talking to your baby as the more repetition of sound your baby hears, the better he/she will pick up Speech and Language.

  • Requesting

Requesting creates a need to communicate. This If you anticipate everything your baby wants, he/she will have no need to communicate and it may influence his/her Speech- and Language Development. Try not to give your baby what he/she wants immediately, at all times. Try to hold items back for a while to encourage him/her to ask for the item or indicate a need.

  • Turn-taking

Turn-taking is a pre-verbal skill that is learnt in activities, so that he/she is able to take turns in speech at a later stage. Teach your baby how to take turns in games such as throwing a ball or building a puzzle.

  • Seeking attention

When your baby cries, he/she is asking for your attention. Similarly, children will throw tantrums or speak for attention as well. Therefore, try to teach your child positive ways of getting your attention.