- Communication should always be easy!!
- Low tech aids are just as effective as high tech aids!
- Body Language makes up a large part of anybody’s communication!
- Anyone with a communication difficulty almost always makes their Yes and No understood.
With these thought in mind below are some simple ideas.
Try videoing you and your child communicating, and watch it back, you may be surprised that you don’t always pick up on all the body language or may misinterpret what your child is actually trying to convey.
Try to become aware of any gestures and/or sounds your child makes, observe and build upon them. You may find that certain sounds and gestures are attempts to tell you something or answer a question.
Make use of any sounds and or gestures to try and build it into a meaningful word or message.
For example, it may be that your child smiles & makes a small ‘mmm’ noise, this could actually mean ‘nice/more’ it could also be reinforced to become ‘nice/more’ by imitating the gestures and/or sounds, repeat the word ‘nice/more’, show symbol and or sign to reinforce their sound and/or gesture to mean ‘nice/more’.
Symbols and photographs can be used to:
- Give visual clues and reinforce the understanding of language.
- Provide opportunities for your child to initiate conversation for example by eye pointing or touch.
The use of photographs and/or symbols of family, friends and pet’s, and likes/dislikes placed in a small photo album will:
- Make a communication passport to provide everyone who is involved with your child information about them, their family and their preferences.
- Provide the opportunity for everyone to share and engage in a more meaningful conversation with your child.
- Use the book effectively by placing family etc. in the front and then use the back of the book reversed to insert preferences. Attach a symbol to the front and back cover to help identify the topic, if your child is able to access the book they can then reach the topic they want quicker (so can other people who access it).
- Keep the book at hand, for example you could attach it to their chair or keep it in view where the child can easily access it themselves.
- Place symbols, photos or even objects in convenient places, for example, you could place symbols on a key ring and hook on to clothing so they are easily accessed and not lost.
- Place choice of favourite DVD’s near the TV stood up and on display so your child can eye point or reach out and touch.
- Place food and drink symbols/pictures near or in the kitchen.
- Perhaps your child likes going out so place their coat in a place that can be easily reached either physically or by eye pointing.
- Use sign in your conversations, again this can help to reinforce the understanding of language.
- A child needs to see signing being used routinely and many times before the child will learn a sign and be able to sign back to you!
- You do not have to sign every word in a conversation just stick to the keywords.
- Makaton uses speech together with a sign (gesture) and/or symbol. Your child does not have to be exact in Makaton to be correct, it is designed to be flexible so a child can make a near like action to the sign and still be an acceptable and understood word.
- By starting off in a simple way with the above ideas you may then want to build upon them to extend your child’s communication.
- It would be wise to start seeking professional advice from your SALT (Speech & Language Therapist) to assist you in finding the best way to extend your child’s vocabulary and communication. This may include the use of any relevant therapy to build on any existing speech combined with more involved use of AAC (Augmentative and Alternative communication).