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Child communication development
There are various senses involved in communication. This can be verbal, auditory, visual and body language. All children develop an understanding of this communication and speech at varying stages. Children with additional needs may show challenges with this. A challenge can be in the form of reduced or visual or auditory understanding. For example, with a child who is blind or deaf. Alternatively, children who have autism may display challenges with understanding and processing communication. This may be a challenge with understanding the verbal, visual or auditory communication. Alternatively, your child may be limited in communication or be non-verbal. If your child experiences challenges with communication, it may be useful to seek the advice of a speech and language therapist.
Communicating with a non-verbal child
Children may be non-verbal for a range of reasons. This includes selective mutism, autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, neurological disorders and speech disorders. Therefore, your child’s non-verbal speech could be due to a motor, neurological or learning difficulty. There are various strategies that you can use to help your non-verbal child learn to communicate. The strategies that would best help your child are largely dependent on the root cause of your child’s communication challenges.
How do you support non-verbal child communication?
Learning through play- Engaging in active play with your child while talking to them can help them to learn various words.
Imitating your child’s sounds and intonation- This can help your child to see that someone responds to their individual form of communication. This imitation process can further help your child as they begin to imitate your sounds.
Simplifying language: Using a long stream of words can often be difficult for children to process and understand. Breaking your communication down to a simple one or two-word phrases can often help your child. Repetitive simple language can also help your child to learn a new word. The works well for non-verbal children.
How do you encourage effective communication with child?
There are various strategies that you can use to support your child’s communication. This includes
Using visuals supports-Making use of visual supports to support communication can also help your child. This includes things such as using an iPad to communicate, hearing aids, and visual timetables. The device that would benefit your child is largely dependent on their specific needs.
Patience and giving space can also help. Some children need a clear break between receiving communication, processing it and replying Allowing your child enough time to process and understand can support their communication.
Praise and rewards- Rewarding your child through praise and encouragement can also help to promote communication
Phonics- depending on your child’s level of understanding, phonics can help your child start to learn the initial speech sounds and begin to form sentences.