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The SLT Blog: The importance of imitation

Bríd O'Connell, one of the Speech and Language Therapists at DSCNE has given some of her tips on imitation.


During the early stages of language acquisition, children learn by observing and imitating the speech patterns, sounds, and vocabulary used by the people around them. By imitating these models, children can practice and internalise the basic building blocks of language.


Activities that promote imitation or copying can help enhance observation and imitation abilities, which are vital for learning speech and/or Lámh. Imitation of both actions and words are an important part of development.


Here are some suggestions to encourage the development of copying skills:


Imitate your child!

Start out by copying what your child is doing. You can draw their attention to the action you are doing. For example, if your child is clapping his hands, clap your hands too. Make eye contact with them and smile.

Action Songs

Sing songs with accompanying actions, such as "The Wheels on the Bus." Encourage your child to join in and copy the movements along with the song.

Action Pictures

Use pictures of people performing various actions. See if your child can mimic the movements depicted in the images. This can be a really lovely activity to do while reading a book together.

Water and Sand Play

These sensory activities offer opportunities for pouring, splashing, mixing, and other manipulative actions that children can observe and imitate. Again, you can be as silly as you want and don’t be afraid to make a mess!

Outdoor Play

Play a "follow the leader" game where children line up and copy the actions of the leader as they move around.

Body Parts Dice

Create a dice with pictures of various body parts on each side (e.g., foot, hand, head). Take turns rolling the dice and moving the corresponding body part.

By engaging in these diverse activities, children can develop their observation, imitation, and overall communication skills through the process of copying.

DSCNE currently has two SLTs who both work two days a month. For more information check out our SLT area https://www.dscnortheast.ie/slt 

You can add your child's details to our Expression of Interest list via : https://forms.office.com/e/tzcaJjazQj 

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