We often think of communication as spoken words and phrases, but there are so many ways in which we communicate daily. Think of the moment when your partner asks you “what’s for dinner” after a full day of work and taking care of the kids. I am sure your body language might communicate a different message than the words you say…
We learn from a young age to look out for various ways people and animals communicate – when a dog growls, we take caution, when a person shouts at us while crossing a road, we look for danger. We need to remind ourselves that our children also communicate in different ways and often these are initially easier than verbal speech.
Let me know which other ways of communication you notice in your kids! Comment below!
Contrary to popular belief if you provide more than one way for your child to communicate, their verbal speech will also increase. Think of it this way – you are reducing the amount of pressure on one mode of communication and offering more ways for your child to provide their message to you effectively. If there is less pressure on your child, they will be more likely to engage and explore various modes of communication.
Here are 3 ways to increase communication, functionally:
- Visual choice boards – we go into great detail on visual choice boards in our training courses. The point of introducing a visual choice board is that there is always a way for your child to indicate what he or she needs or wants.
- Respect the gesture – if your child chooses to communicate today with gestures, pointing at what he chooses as a snack, respect it. Tomorrow he might choose to be a bit more verbal in his requests, but let him point or nod today.
- Model it! If you want your child to request more, you should model this throughout the day too. We don’t want to expect anything from our children that we don’t engage in ourselves, right? If you want a certain snack, vocalize it, if you are enjoying an activity, state it. Modeling behavior is one of the easiest strategies to increase imitation.
Have a look at our free videos for more practical strategies – click here!