Community Event: 5 Secrets of a Speech Therapist!


Our next event takes place Tuesday, April 24th from 10:00-11:00 AM PST // 1:00-2:00 PM EST right here, so plan naps and lunch breaks accordingly, because you aren’t going to want to miss it! Have all your questions about your child’s language development answered by one of our favorite speech-language pathologists, Erika Cardamone, who will also be sharing 5 Secrets of a Speech Therapist to get your little one talking.

Looking forward to seeing you here!



Is the block party happening now?


Hello @janeyd28, We’ll begin in 35 minutes at 10:00 AM PT. Please circle back!

In the meantime, feel free to post any questions you have for Erika!



Hi Everyone! I’m so excited to be chatting with you all about your families, here on this amazing online community. I know that everyone here has their children’s best interest and future success at the top of their mind, so we’re all like-minded in that regard!


Ok! The Formals! My name is Erika Cardamone, I’m a licensed speech-language pathologist and have been helping children and families communicate with one another for 12 years! It’s the best job! I’ve worked with a wide range of kiddos varying in age, ability, and goals. And today… I’m sharing with you 5 Secrets of a Speech Therapist. 5 things that we do during our therpy sessions to get kids talking! It’s super valuable information that I know you’ll be able to use with your little ones!
Besides loving the art of communication, I’m also a Mom of 2 awesome kids (ages 3.5 and 1.5). I’ve been using the Starling with my 19 month-old since day 3 of life! It’s amazing at reminding me to engage with her (even when I feel like I’m too busy or too tired!). My 3.5 year old gets a bit envious, so there’s days that he wears it too, ha!


Hello @Erika, and welcome!! We’re so excited to have you here with us today!!! Thank you for being here! :heart_eyes::heart:


@jami It’s a complete pleasure!

So here’s a total truth… after tracking how many words my kids hear in a day, I identified a “weak spot” for me. A time of day that had noticeably less talking than others. For me, it was between the hours of 5:00 and 6:00 PM. I’d just get home from work and be too tired to chat… or I’d be scrambling to cook dinner for the family…. or worse! I’d be completely distracted on my phone checking social media. Whatever the excuse, there wasn’t a lot of talking. So everyday, I challenge myself between 5:00 and 6:00 to TALK. Whether it’s narrating the steps to a recipe, or recapping the days’ events, or just singing!

Any other ideas on how you guys engage to reach your word count goals?


This is such a great point, and reminder for how the Starling can be used @Erika! To bring awareness to our current habits as parents so that we can think of ways to engage and connect during the times we feel we it may be helpful to – all to ensure that our little ones are getting exposed to as much language as possible in their earliest years!


Alright, so let’s get to it! Secret #1 is…… Repetition!

One of the most basic learning techniques! In the infancy months, repeat syllables for your child, such as “mamama” and “bababa” as they begin to use new sounds. Soon, those syllables will expand into words and then phrases. Younger children (particularly 4 to 18 months) benefit from repetition the most.

It’s not unusual for a parent to name a person/object a few times within a conversation to reinforce the word. For example, “Look at that truck, the truck is so big and has those big round wheels! Wave hi to the truck! Hello truck!”

It sounds so so simple, but it’s exactly true. It’s why reading the SAME book over, and over (and over?), and over again can be really valuable for word learning. Verbal routines could also be very useful. For example, say (or sing!) the same thing every time you’re washing your kiddo’s hands… something like, [in tune to Row-Row-Row You Boat] “Wash, wash, wash your hands, a little rubbing will do.”

You can use verbal routines at any time of day, bath time, meal time, getting dressed, etc.

Is this something that anyone does already? Can you share an example?


Hey everyone! Thanks for thfor invite and knowledge.


YES! I have to admit I was much better at this when my older son was a baby. Lots and lots of repetition and we sang about and spoke to everything we did – e v e r y t h i n g!

We definitely didn’t do this as much with my younger son, who’s now 3.

Taking notes, Secret #1 :writing_hand:


Hi @Paysonsmom!

@jami I LOVE that image! I think it was Aristotle that said “We are what we repeatedly do.”


Hi @Paysonsmom, welcome!! Thanks for joining us!!


Secret #2 is no surprise, and generally a very hot topic! Using gestures, or signs to get kids to talk!

Our little ones communicate with us long before they are saying words. I say “gestures” in addition to “signs,” because you don’t need to be fluent in American Sign Language to start using non-verbal communication with your little one. Now you might be thinking… “I want my kid to talk, not use sign language!?!”

Gestures can be used as a bridge to verbal communication, and pave the way to learning speech. Believe it or not, pointing actually counts as gesture! And it’s one of the first gestures we see. When your child is able to use gestures or basic signs to convey a message, or request, verbal language typically follows more rapidly.

Parents can use gestures such as pointing, waving, or basic signs to reinforce verbal communication. Some examples of good signs to start with include “more,” “open,” “milk,” “eat,” and “up.”

I usually start with the signs “more,” “all-done,” or “I want/give-me.”


@Paysonsmom What signs and or gestures is Payson currently using the most right now to convey what she wants/needs to you?


Secret #3 is Fill in the Blank….
This one is surprisingly effective! I like using this after some rounds of repetition or verbal routines. It’s super easy and can be really effective at getting your little one to have some confidence in their talking ability!

I’ll repeat a phrase over and over again, for example, during bath, I might say
“Let’s wash Ears, and then your nose, and then your knees, and then your toes!”

I say it, I sing it, I’ll do it really fast to make them laugh too… then after a few rounds (say 3 or so), I’ll leave some parts out and see if the child can give it whirl!
Me: Let’s wash your ears, then your _____
Me again: and then your knees and then your _____”

Just for fun, let’s all do a this Fill in the Blank, as if talking for our kiddos:

One food that Mom/Dad give me, that I absolutely refuse to try is ___________


I really love this tip! I may do this on occasion unintentionally, but I want to get intentional with it!

"One food that Mom gives me that I absolutely refuse to try is asparagus! – although it sounds more like aparigoose. :rofl::rofl:


@jami Hahaha. Asparagus is a non-favorite with mine too. I don’t see the reason for resistance!


@jami she might point some… or goes toward and gets it or tries her self. She will swat things away like food she doesn’t want. She can sign more and all done.


Me neither, it’s one of my favorites! My older son loves it. :green_heart: