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Language strategies: Reducing rate of adults’ talking

Language difficulties are nobody’s fault, but changing the way you talk can really help your child.

Illustration of adult reducing their speech

Reducing your rate of talking

When you talk to your child, try to speak more slowly than you usually would.

Don’t worry if it feels different, it will help your child to hear what you are saying and gives them more time to process your language.

Don’t speak so slowly that it impacts on your conversation and play, just try to slow down a little bit.

Don’t tell your child to slow down! They may slow down naturally after listening to you and that’s okay, but telling your child to slow down is not always helpful.

Why use this strategy?

A face looking confused with a question mark beside it

Children with language difficulties may need more time to process what has been said.

Reducing your rate of language will help to create a relaxed and unhurried talking environment, reducing pressure.

Reducing your rate of language may encourage your child to slow down their rate of talking, which may help to increase fluency and give more time for your child to think of the next word or phrase.

Reducing your rate of language may make it easier for your child to identify individual words in a sentence, as there will be more time or longer gaps between each word. This may also make it easier to hear the sounds in individual words.

Additional resources and information

These videos are part of the Weekend Words series and explain and demonstrate how to use language strategies in everyday activities at home.

Information to help you understand and support children and young people’s speech, language and communication: Speech and Language UK

Activities for parents, children and young people to improve their language, literacy and communication skills from home: Words For Life

An article on: Helping Your Child to Talk

Helping you help children to communicate: The Hanen Centre

The Giving Voice campaign aims to ‘give voice’ to people with speech, language and communication needs: Giving Voices 

Contact us

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service at Flockton House on 0114 226 2333.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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