Seven Tips to Encourage Communication in your Child with Special Needs

October 29, 2015 | By More

Seven Tips to Encourage Communication in your Child with Special Needs

Communication is fundamental to a child’s development. It is at the heart of relationships – it’s how we get to know each other – and it’s essential for learning, play and social interaction. Most of us learn to communicate innately in childhood.  But what happens if your child has difficulty learning to communicate?  In addition to specialized speech therapy, there are many things a parent can do to encourage communication development.

  1. Sabotage:  Often we do so much for our children that they don’t have the need or opportunity to communicate on their own.  This is where sabotage comes in.  Contrive situations where your child is forced to communicate their needs or wants with you.  For example, put toys or important objects in a place where your child needs to ask for them, or give a meal with no cutlery so your child has to ask.  Find ways to manipulate situations to necessitate communication.
  1. Give choices:  Instead of making a choice for your child, give them a choice with the expectation that they will verbalize their response.  For instance, if you are helping them get dressed for the day, ask them which color shirt they prefer and wait for the verbal response.
  1. Create conversation:  Use a dry-erase white board each day to draw a picture of a particular activity you have done or something interesting that’s happened in your family. Each time you leave the house remind your child by showing them the picture.  When you are out, try to get your child to tell people about the activity. Or, if people come to the house, ask them to take the board to them and explain what happened.
  1. Sing along:  Songs and nursery rhymes are great for learning new words in a fun way.
  1. Level up:  Playing and talking are easier if you can see each other. Sit so you are at the same level.
  1. Keep talking:   While self-talk like “Now we are buckling you in the car seat so we can go to the store” is common parental practice, parents can take this practice to higher levels to advance language development by intentionally narrating their child’s activities.
  1. Lastly, have fun!  The best motivator for a child to listen and contribute is to provide a stimulating and fun environment!

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The Magazine of Santa Clarita, February 2015

Seven Tips To Encourage Communication From Your Special Needs Child By Megan Howell, Principal, Imago Dei School Published February, 2015




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