Communication is a critical skill that begins to develop at birth with your child’s first cries. As your child develops, her communication develops as well. For children with impairments in understanding or expressing language, early intervention is key. The resources here can give you tips and strategies to help build your child’s communication skills. Your child’s speech-language pathologist can help you find the method that works best for your child.

Popular language development programs

Here are several of the many programs and trainings available to help build children's communication skills or support their communication systems. These programs are commonly used by schools and other facilities. (NOTE: These links are for informational purposes only. Some of these sites offer their program materials for sale. This site does not endorse or recommend any commercial products or services.) 

The Hanen Centre—Hanen’s curriculum is designed to help build communication skills in young children with language delays, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and issues with language and literacy development. 

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)™According to their site, “PECS was developed in 1985 as a unique augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) intervention package for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities. PECS does not require complex or expensive materials. It was created with families, educators, and resident care providers in mind.”

Signing Time—This is a popular series of sign language videos, flash cards, wall charts, classes, and books for babies, toddlers and kids.  

Information and resources

Go to How Does Your Child Hear and Talk from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to learn about the developmental milestones of speech and language.

Watch Tips for Parents regarding Speech and Language Development. This video interview with a speech-language pathologist can help you spot warning signs of a language delay, so that you can seek early intervention.

PBS offers this communication development milestone chart for parents, as well as Building Language and Literacy Skills, an article to help you do just that.

Read Strategies to Support Language Development and Learning from to learn strategies to help your child learn to express herself and build her language skills.

Check out the Therapy Tip of the Week from Teach Me to Talk for a wealth of practical strategies and ideas.

Visit Thirty Million Words to learn about this initiative to spread public awareness of the three T's of early childhood language development: Tune In, Talk More and Take Turns.

Adaptation Station, an article from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, offers different ways you can use AAC to help your child build communications skills. The article was written for teachers, but should be helpful for parents, as well.

Communication Development: A Parent's Guide, from San Francisco State University, has several articles you might want to consult, including:

What is a manual communication board?

Home Strategies for Promoting Language: No Tech or Low Tech AAC

What does it mean to use gestures as a communication device?

What is manual signing?

Manual Eye Gaze Board

What is a visual schedule?