For posts on bullying, visit The Learn to be Buddies Series Blog.
All images and posts written by and copyright to Amanda Clements (nee Gray) 2009-2012 unless otherwise indicated.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Talking to your child

Based on Newman (2004) pages 107 – 108

Newman discusses a series of things you need to consider when talking to your child who has communication difficulties. Here is my summary of her advice, and some hints about how you can achieve these:

1- Get your child’s attention – which usually means eye contact.
For children with sensory integration issues, pointing their ear towards you may be there way of paying attention. Or you may want to hold their hand and wait until they are still before you speak.

2- “Speak clearly and simply using natural intonation.” p107
Exaggerating expression or speaking/yelling loudly will not help your child to understand, even if they have a hearing impairment. It will only distort the sounds. Using inappropriate volume will also mean that your child will not learn about the different use of intonation and volume for different contexts. Eg. you might talk loudly outside, but use what teachers may call an “inside voice” indoors. You yell when you are angry or warning others, but speak calmly or with a smile in your voice in play situations.

3- “Repetition and consistency is very important.” I addressed this in the previous post.

4- Talk about everyday events and experiences, such as favourite games, videos, dinner, bathing and so on. Newman (2004) states, “Give her the language for what she is doing: ‘You are having a bath.’” (p107). If you repeat this regularly, your child will learn to connect the language with the experience.

5- Talk about the things your child is interested in. Watch what your child is looking at and label it, describe it. We have probably all done this with our very young children – “Look at that cow! Mooo! Moooooo! It is eating grass!”

6- Make sure your child can use the context to help them understand what you are saying. So if you are at the dinner table and you want to talk about what has happened during the day, make sure you have some cues such as photos.

7- Use body language to support your words. Use natural gestures to reinforce words, such as waving to reinforce the words “Bye-bye.” Makaton signs were designed for this purpose.

8- Pause and maintain eye-contact to encourage your child to respond. It may take longer for your child to process what you have said, and produce a response.

… I will talk more about helping promote children’s responses in my next post.

Newman, S. (2004). Stepping Out: Using Games and Activities to Help Your Child with Special Needs. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers


About This Blog

You are welcome to browse as you like... but please remember that everything here is copyrighted. To receive printable copies of articles that you can hand out to others, subscribe to the Learn to be Buddies newsletter at

Copyright Amanda Gray 2009-11

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP