When Lily was diagnosed with SATB2 Associated Syndrome, one of my comforting thoughts was that I already knew a lot of what to do. So, we leapt into action!
How do you get a silent baby to make noise?
All the SLPs I talked to didn't have any advice for getting Lily to make noise. Most people would be thrilled with a nice, quiet baby, but not babbling won't help the baby learn to talk.
So we came up with our own activities for eliciting speech.
1. Mirror Play
This has been amazing!!! We play in front of a large mirror on the floor for a half hour or more each day, with Lily slobbering all over it and slapping the surface.
This is great for many reasons! She is learning that the baby in the mirror is imitating her, and babies and toddlers love to "be in charge".
For speech reasons, she can visually watch in real time as she makes the O shape with her mouth what noise comes out when she does. It is particularly helpful if you sit with your child and also do the same noises/ oral motor shapes.
2. "Wake Up" the Mouth
Do you know the feeling right after you brush and floss your teeth and you notice the parts of your mouth more? Same concept! But with babies, you can use oral motor stimulators (we got an Ark tool from Lily's OT), or just a little chewy toy.
Pressure around the lips/ mouth will also help. Basically the goal here is to create awareness of the mouth's muscles so the baby can then use them.
We do this during diaper change time, because it is frequently throughout the day. I just keep the tool right there by the diapers and wipes, and will brush around in her mouth for a minute or so each time. She loves it!
3. Lip Buzzing
Closely related to the previous idea, but on this one, you use your finger or hand to rapidly vibrate the baby's lips. Then the baby will (hopefully) make an "aaaah" noise.
4. Highly Desired Activity
Think of something your baby loves. I mean LOVES. For Lily, it is trying to grab running water. Then, any time you can, reward a noise, ANY noise, with that highly preferred item/ activity.
So while the bath is filling up, I turn the water off, then on again once she makes a sound. When passing water fountains, same thing! In the kitchen making food, the sink is right there.
5. Get your baby to squeal
Most parents don't have to worry about this. But when a baby is very very speech delayed, he or she won't laugh to squealing almost ever. So our job is to play with them so much that they squeal from excitement.
The Most Important Tip:
If this isn't fun for you and your baby, then STOP!!! Therapy gets a bad reputation sometimes, with people thinking that is has to be drill, drill, drill. And your baby will hate the time and you will hate the time if it isn't enjoyable. Call it play time if you want, just make it fun!!!