Imitation is the ability of a child in copying the actions and sounds of others. This skill plays an important role in language development, play skills and social interaction. While imitating others child also learn social rules and appropriate body gestures. During the first two years caregivers have an important role in baby’s development since they tend to imitate facial expressions, sounds, intonation and volume along with pitch variations in their language. There will be an increase in the knowledge about words, sound combinations, the way to produce sounds and even grammatical structures through the imitation skills. They also show an increase in their vocabulary development through imitationduring the initial years of their lives. Later on they will start to selectively imitate the words which they want to use and after 2 years they will start to use other methods to learn languages.
Children with neurodevelopmental disorders have great difficulty in imitation. Since imitation is important for many aspects in language and social skills, we need to improve imitation skills in order to improve social abilities.
How to improve imitation skills?
In order to improve imitation skills we should first observe them and find their area of interest.
Show funny faces and different intonation patterns to get child’s attention.
Imitate child’s actions and sounds so that child can imitate you back.
Play with those toys and help him to imitate through observation. If the child doesn’t imitate even after a delay we should give them hand over hand assistance. For verbal imitation, start with rhymes and environmental sounds which includes vehicle sounds, animal sounds etc…
Prompt the child to imitate actions and sounds; encourage them with appropriate reinforcements for their good attempts.
Repetitive drill works will help to improve imitation skills.
Make them to imitate real life actions.
Try to maintain an eye contact with your child for getting a qualitative result.