Let’s talk about … SOUND EFFECTS and EXCLAMATIONS!


When a young child is struggling to talk, a good place to start to focus on are sound effects and exclamations first.

When working with young children on their speech development I like to explain to parents why this approach has so much purpose.

Sound effects and exclamations are powerful early speech targets to focus on with minimally verbal toddlers and here are my top 4 reasons why!

  • They consist of simple syllable shapes that are easier to motor plan (increasing the likelihood of verbal success)
  • They are spoken using interesting and varying intonational patterns, making them more satisfying to the child
  • They can be playfully embedded into different interactions throughout the day, allowing for frequent practice
  • They encourage the adult to focus on being a good speech model, instead of being a good language model speech is a motor skill)

Try some of these kinds of sounds not only at playtime but throughout the day.  Here are some examples:

When your child sees a dog outside, on a commercial, or while reading a book, model panting “Ha Ha Ha” or barking “Woof Woof”.


When you see someone sleeping, model yawning, snoring, and say, “Sh!”

As a toddler plays in the kitchen while the parent is cooking, get out the dishes, pots, and pans and excitedly say, “Boom! Boom!” as you bang a spoon on the bottom of the bowl or “Swish! Swish!” as you pretend to stir.

While at the park, point out children going down the slide and say, “Weee!”

More than anything, remember to get NOISY to help your child move towards using words!