Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Slow Down When You Communicate

Here is another post about something you, as a parent could do that would help your child learn new communication skills faster than anything a Speech & Language Pathologist could do in a weekly therapy sessions. Slow Down when you communicate.

Take the time to move closer to your child and get down on his or her level as you communicate. Pause after phrases and sentences. Say one idea. Then be quiet.

Take the time to articulate words clearly. Use an interesting voice with lots of animation and drama but still say the words clearly.

Substitute hand gestures or facial expressions or head nods or shoulder shrugs for chatter. Tap your head as you think. Slap your forehead when you do something silly. Even as you use non-verbal communication, hold your gestures and expressions for longer since this is the nonverbal equivalent of slowing down.

Hold your child's hand or with eye-gaze demonstrate that you are waiting and listening. Don't be in a hurry to fill in answers when it is your child's turn to talk. Waiting longer is the way you slow down while listening.

Be quick to show your child what you mean when you sense confusion. Draw a picture. Demonstrate. Interpret any behavior that looks like lack of attention as confusion. Interpret any behavior that looks oppositional as confusion. Stay calm. Stay focused. Say Watch, I will show you.

All this takes time but your child will learn more communication skills with you, if you will take this kind of time while you communicate, than he or she will learn with anyone else.

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