Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Di's 23 ways on how to communicate with a non verbal / pre-verbal / verbal child





1: Stop talking so much:  Smile


2: If you do talk, stop repeating yourself, say something once and then pause.


3:  Pause (a lot) and give the child time to process the information.


4:  Pause for as long as it takes, at least 45 seconds.


5: No reaction? How close are you to the child? Are you at the child's level?


6: No reaction? Make a small noise, perhaps gently clear your throat or click your tongue.


7: No reaction? Gently touch the child on the arm and wait for the re-connection.


8: Eye contact. Think of it this way - it might not be a case of the child being scared of eye contact, it actually might be because the child doesn't understand the importance of referencing a face for information.


9. Child still not referencing? Make sure that you are at the child's level, make a little noise, wait for the connection. Spotlight the connection with a lovely smiley face.


10: Child still not referencing? Bring in a favorite activity. Blow a few bubbles and then pause.. Wait for the connection and a possible response. Big smiley face and blow again. Push your child on the swing, pause and wait for the connection and possible response. Big smiley face and push again.


11: When the child gets the 'why bother' of referencing a face for information, start bringing in more facial expressions and exclamations. A big smiley face = "That made me so happy". A sad face = "Ouch, I bumped my knee!"


12: Start using your eye gaze to share information. Exaggerate those eyes and look towards a place that you would like the child to look at. Perhaps you are doing a puzzle together.... look towards the piece that you would like the child to pick up. When the child feels competent with eye gazing within a close proximity then extend to other areas of the environment. "I can see the blue car over..... (use your eye gaze)....there!"


13: Bring in that body language along with your facial expressions. Over emphasis your movements. Shrug your shoulders, turn your face, body, arms. Think about your natural movements and then expand on them in order for your child to pick up further communication cues.


14: Don't forget to pause (a lot)


15: Cut back on your use of imperative language. Asking numerous questions does not give the child the opportunity to *think* about their response. "Show me the blue car" doesn't require much thinking on their part!


16: Increase your declarative language. Use your words in such a way to invite a response. Give the child a chance to hear what you have said, process the information and then plan their response. "That blue car looks fun to play with".


17: Don't expect your child to read your mind. Use declarative language to *suggest* what is about to happen. "I need my car keys". "Hmmm, I can't see your shoes".


18: Share your thoughts using declarative language in order to help your child become aware that you may have different thoughts to them. "I really don't like the taste of your yogurt!".  Think aloud.


19: Remember the 80/20 rule (80% delcarative, 20% imperative). Believe me, it works! Oh, and when you become accustomed to using declarative language it actually becomes second nature.


20: For children who battle with transitioning, chanting a few words works a treat. "We are walking, walking, walking". "We are walking to the car, we are walking to the car". If your child is receptive to holding hands, gently sway arms backwards and forwards to the rhythm. A musical sing song voice can also be helpful


21: Slow down. Take your time, there is no rush!


22: Ask yourself the following questions

Am I doing too much for my child?
Am I jumping in too quickly and giving my child the answer?
Am I giving him the chance to listen, process, plan and respond?
Is my child thinking on a conscious level?
Is my child making his own decisions?


23: "Empower your child to be a problem solver rather than direction follower" ~ Linda Murphy





23 comments:

  1. Nice list : )

    Kathryn x

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  2. Hope you don't mind I shared with everyone I know!

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    1. Hi Cecily Anne, I don't mind at all. Thank you for wanting to share the post. :)

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  3. Wonderful list!!! Will be sharing :)
    Daphne SLP RCI consultant Seattle

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    1. Hi Daphne, I am glad that you like the list and thanks so much for sharing.

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  4. Brilliant. I'm going to share if that's ok?

    xx Jazzy

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  5. I love this, it's so simple and clear :)

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    1. @Blue for Blue Sky ~ this was the quickest blog post I have ever written! I am glad that you love it. xx

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  6. I love this, it is so nice to read and realise I do so much of it, not all. I will try the eye contact thing, maybe that is what I do less of. Number 23 - just up my street :-) x

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    1. Hi Stardust, good to hear that you do most of it. Number 23 all the way! :)

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  7. I really love it! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Really nice, Di. Great advice also for communicating with verbal individuals who have broadband communication challenges!

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    1. Thank you, Laura. Your comment is very much appreciated.

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  9. Nice Di! Good advice for communicating with verbal individuals with broadband communication challenges as well!

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  10. This is a great list even for children without language difficulties, but I love the easy-to-read style. This is a great post for parents and teachers of children with communication delays or disorders. Thanks for the resource!

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    1. Thank you, anet1223. I am pleased that you find it useful.

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  11. Thank You Di. Fantastic comprehensive list for everyone and anyone. I found you via Catherine Koenig. Blogging is the way to inform and I am so grateful. Definitely sharing xxx

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    1. Thank you, Carry. You also found me via Kids First!! :-)

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  12. Hi I am new to your blog. I love and use some of the 23 suggestions and have had great success . I do have a question I hope you can help me with. I work in the classroom with a teenager who is autistic and is for the most part non verbal except for the repeated "Home at 2:00 OClock please. He repeats the phrase verbally, he writes the phrase all day and will take our hands to read and say the phrase back to him. This can go on for hours and even after confirming his phrase many times he continues asking all day long. If we ignore him the tantrums begin. He gets himself worked up to the point of screaming this phrase. Once we acknowledge it and then re direct with actviies of many kinds he will still continue all day long. Any suggestions on how we can best work with him ? Any suggestions of how to move past this repeating phrase and to connect with him? Thanks De from PA

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    1. Hi Denise, great to hear that you find the suggestions useful. I have a similar issue with Nick. He frequently makes the sign for school and sounds out the word 'house'. The best option that has worked for us is a very small white board. I write out a very basic schedule on the board and we go through it together: i.e.

      School
      Home
      Lunch
      iPad
      Go out for a milkshake

      Doing something like this has been very helpful for Nick. If he continues to repeat, I will go over the board again... or remind him that we have already discussed what is going to be happening.

      Not sure if this will help your situation, but worth trying. Good luck.

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