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Speech, language and communication – What to expect at 6 months

Speech, language and communication development – What to expect at 6 months.

At this stage babies are becoming more aware of what is going on in the world around them.  They begin to experiment with their own voice and develop early turn taking skills. Babies develop skills at different rates but most have acquired the following skills by 6 months:

Startle at loud noises

Turn in the direction of the sound they hear

Recognise your voice and watch your face when you talk to them

Smile and laugh in response to others smiling and laughing

Experiment with their voice by making cooing, gurgling and babbling sounds

Gain attention of others by making sounds such as cooing or squealing

Have different cries to express their different needs e.g. hunger, tiredness.


How you can support your baby’s speech, language and communication development.

Copy sounds that your baby makes then wait for her to respond – this encourages early turn taking skills which is important in all communication.

Hold your baby face to face so that your baby can see you when you are talking.

During daily routines talk to your baby about what you are doing – e.g. when changing your baby’s nappy you could say “Mummy’s cleaning your bottom”. This will help your baby to learn new words..

When you are in the car or walking with the pram talk to your baby about where you are going and what they can see or hear around them e.g. “Let’s go and see Nanny” or “oh look there’s a bird”.

Take time to look at simple picture books and talk about what your baby can see.

If you are worried or concerned about your baby’s speech, language and communication development speak to your Health visitor, GP or Speech and Language Therapist. For more helpful tips and advice follow us on Facebook @Chester Speech Therapy.

Look out for my next blog – Speech, language and communication – what to expect at 12 months

Sarah Neilson, Independent Speech and Language Therapist. Chester Speech Therapy.  07973 213 648








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Did you know stammering usually begins between the age of 2 and 5 years (later onset may occur). This is a time when a child’s language skills are rapidly developing.

It can be a worrying time if your child begins to stammer. You might notice that it starts gradually or it may suddenly ‘appear’ overnight. In some cases a child’s stammer can disappear within a few weeks or months.

What causes stammering?

The answer to this question is unknown and research findings are conflicting. Research suggests that many factors affect the onset and duration of the stammer.

Characteristics of Stammering.

Your child may:

  • Repeat whole words, e.g. “but, but, but, I was first.”
  • Repeat single sounds or syllables, e.g. “w-w-where’s D-D-Daddy.”
  • Prolong sounds, e.g. “sssssssam is my best friend.”
  • Block sounds, the mouth is in correct position, but no sound comes out.
  • Show muscle tension shown in the face or body.
  • Display additional body movements – such as foot stamping to ‘get the word out’.
  • Look away during the moment of stammering.
  • Change their breathing pattern, for example your child may take a deep breath before speaking.
  • Change what they were going to say e.g. I want a ch-ch-ch……jam sandwich.”
  • Avoid speaking in certain situations such as answering questions in class.

Try to avoid

  • Finishing off your child’s sentences.
  • Telling your child to slow down.
  • Asking your child lots of questions.
  • Telling your child to take a deep breath.

What might help?

  • Ensure that you are looking at your child when they are talking (be aware of your facial expression).
  • Try to slow your rate of speech down and use pauses.
  • When you ask your child questions just ask one at a time and wait for their response.
  • Listen to what your child is telling you rather than how they are talking.
  • Praise your child for things (not related to talking).
  • Make sure your child is having enough sleep.
  • Having some quality, uninterrupted one-to-one play time with your child (even if it’s only 5 minutes)

If you or your child is concerned about stammering speak to your GP, Health visitor or Speech and Language Therapist

Sarah Neilson

Independent Speech and Language Therapist

Chester Speech Therapy

Take a look at our Facebook page @chesterspeechtherapy

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Encouraging Early Communication skills – Playing Peek-a-boo

Everyone has heard of peek-a-boo. It’s the simple, classic game that can be played behind your hands, using a piece of fabric, or around a door. You can hide behind anything really!

Why play Peek-a-boo?

  • It develops object permanence – that even though your baby can’t see an object it still exists.
  • It develops social interaction – interaction which provides pleasure simply because another person is there to share the experience.
  • It develops eye contact and turn taking skills.
  • It develops shared communication – your baby smiles/laughs then in turn you smile/laugh and because it is fun for you both it is repeated.
  • It is predictable and repetitive – babies and young children learn through repetition.
  • It’s a great game to play with your baby and from around 6 – 8 months of age your baby realises that Mummy or Daddy are just hiding and they will begin to anticipate the game.

How to play

  1. First gain your baby’s attention and eye contact.
  2. When you know your baby is looking at you hide your face – only for a few seconds.
  3. Then say “where’s Mummy?” or “Where’s Daddy?” etc – being conscious of your volume.
  4. Uncover your face and with a big smile say “peek-a-boo” or “boo”
  5. Watch for your baby’s turn – this may be a smile, a body movement or their attentiveness. Repeat the game.
  6. Initially your baby may be surprised that you have returned but they will learn to anticipate what’s going to happen and may even start to grin as you cover your face.

As your baby gets older you can try covering their eyes with a piece of light fabric and say “where’s ………..?”  Pull the cloth away and say “boo”. Your baby may move under the cloth and eventually they will begin to pull the cloth away.

Written by Sarah Neilson – Independent Speech and Language Therapist

Chester Speech Therapy

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Encouraging Language and communication – Nursery Rhymes

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This is my first in a series of posts to show you how you can support your child’s language and communication development during daily activities and routines.  As a Speech and Language Therapist and a mother of two young children I am aware of the importance of communication development but also realise how busy family life can be.

The suggestions in my posts are intended to be easy to include into daily routines.

Even though both my children are now school age they continue to enjoy songs and rhymes. I remember singing to them from when they were tiny babies. Whether it was a calming rhyme to attempt to settle them in the middle of the night or daytime action rhyme. To begin with I did feel slightly self conscious as I am aware that I don’t have the best singing voice, but the feedback from a little face smiling back at me soon made me less so.
I am going to share with you some of the benefits of using songs and rhymes and some ideas I use when singing with my children.
Singing rhymes and songs supports the development of:

  • new vocabulary
  • how sounds combine and blend together to form a word
  • rhythm, rhyme and different beats
  • non-verbal communication skills
  • social skills
  • hand eye co-ordination by copying actions
  • language, communication and literacy skills


Making the most of songs and rhymes

  • Sitting face to face with your child enables you to see each other’s facial expressions.
  • Singing slowly and clearly gives your child the opportunity to learn how sounds combine and blend together to form a word, hear each single word and join in by taking a turn
  • Pausing during key parts of the rhyme gives your child the opportunity to take a turn. How they take their turn will depend on their stage of development. It may be a single word, a sound, or even an action or change in facial expression.
  • Make the songs and rhymes visual by using props such as puppets and pictures
  • Don’t expect too much from your child. To begin with focus on singing one or two songs from a small selection. This will help your child to become familiar with the songs. You will both begin to have favourites.
  • Words to rhymes and songs can be found on the internet and also check out your local library as they often hold Rhyme time sessions.
  • Most importantly – Have fun!




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