Communicating with your non-verbal child may be challenging at times. To help with this, we have compiled a list of tips:
Body language can be a strong sense of communication for children who are non verbal. Using actions to teach your child the meaning of different words can help them learn to communicate with you. Try teaching your child an action, such as clapping their hands, so they can use this action to communicate. For example, you could teach your child to clap their hands when they want to say yes to something.
Although your child may not be able to verbally communicate, it does not mean that they can’t communicate at all. Observing your child can teach many lessons on the way that they communicate. Focus on their body language and see if you can spot any actions that they repeatedly exhibit. For example, they may be trying to tell you how they feel, or if they want something. In addition, it may be helpful to pay attention to your own body language. Try to sit at eye level with your child, while giving them full eye contact, so they know that you are engaged with them. Use a pleasant tone of voice and make sure your posture is relaxed, as this will tell your child that you are ready to listen and respond to their needs.
Children with additional needs really benefit from being given a choice. This can be a choice of two or three items. The quantity of choices that you provide for your child will vary according to their level of understanding. When it comes to mealtimes, for example, try giving your child a few options and label them A, B and C, or 1, 2 and 3. Encourage your child to point at what they would like. Alternatively, you could also use flashcards with pictures. For example, PECS and visual timetables work really well for children who are nonverbal.
There is so much that can be done with the use of technology. It can be a great form of encouragement for a child to communicate. There are some great apps that are focused on facilitating communication with non-verbal children, such as:
AAC Speech Buddy (free) – This app enables you to create communication boards comprised of pictures to facilitate visual communication with your non-verbal child.
There is so much power in music, books and other activities. Using these objects can be a great form to encourage your child’s communication and interaction. Any form that you can use to give your child opportunities to express their emotions and needs are great ways to encourage communication. This can take a variety of forms. For example methods of expression such as music, drawing, using toys such as puppets or dolls, or looking at picture books.
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