We have quite a few kids that we work with that will engage in repetitive language, by telling us about their interests over and over. Although we love listening about their interests, we always want to expand on this and create functional language for them to converse with peers and family members.
We have a few tricks for you to try out that have proven to be quite successful with our kids. As you know, we are focused on creating a calm and sensory-enriching environment for our kids. We want to firstly ensure that our kids are receiving the sensory input they crave and need, before we work on difficult concepts, such as reasons for expanding on interests and how to do so.
- Ensure your child is calm (in the “green zone”) by always going over his or her “zones of regulation” chart. We have excellent examples of these charts that we can share with you – let us know if you need some ideas!
- Once you have provided (or your child can regulate independently) their sensory input needs, you can explain to them the reason for expanding on their interests. The reasons can include making friends, maintaining these friendships, learning from each other and keeping each other engaged in conversations.
- It’s important to always include visual strategies when explaining more difficult concepts to your child. You can include a social story and reference to this when your child is perhaps not in the “green zone” and is starting to repeat questions or statements.
- Redirecting language is a great way to help your child not get “stuck” in a repetitive cycle. You can reply to their question or statement once and then possibly refer to a “topics” book where you let him or her know who he can speak to about this next and when. Then redirect his or her thought processes to a different topic (working towards mindfulness, where you reference the activity at hand, for example). We use this strategy when a child shows signs of “looping back” to the same topic consistently.
Let us know how it goes!
We would love to hear from you. Let us know if these strategies made a difference. Remember our 3 C’s:
-Clear and concise instructions (always)
-Child-specific and interest-based topics
-Consistency is key – you will need to implement these strategies consistently for a period of time, before we can truly determine if it’s successful or not 🙂