Your child’s speech, language and communication difficulties may impact their self-esteem. And they may show signs of increased frustration. You want them to be full of confidence, increasing their participation in school and fully engaging with their peers.
1. Practise active listening
Speech difficulties can mean that it’s more challenging to understand what your child says. It’s important to show that you’re paying attention, giving them time to express themselves. Focus on what your child says rather than how they are speaking. Remember to maintain eye contact, and actively listen. Active listening and giving time can be trickier than it sounds. I can provide strategies to support your active listening skills.
2. Give other means and forms of communication
Allowing children to express themselves in a variety of ways (e.g., gesture, signs, written, use descriptions to describe a word (e.g., sand – you find it out the beach, it can have pebbles on it, it’s not the sea), use of symbols or high-tech augmentative communication methods such as a computer). Using different ways is vital in reducing frustration and communicating their message. If you’re unsure of what other forms of communication you can use, please contact me for some top tips.
3. Praise efforts
Providing specific praise allows your child to understand what they’ve achieved. E.g., you could praise the way your child listens, or how they take turns, or their resilience (e.g., “I like the way you listened” or “good listening”). Think of different ways you could praise you child during different activities, so you are prepared with phrases that you can use.
4. Have clear start and end points in activities
Some children with speech, language and communication needs have difficulties with transitioning from one activity to another. They also have difficulties with changes in routine. This can add to their frustration and changes in behaviour. So, how do you show a clear start and end to an activity? You can have a visual timetable, or you could have ‘start’ and ‘finish’ boxes where you place all the materials in the box labelled ‘start’. And once the activity has finished, you put the items in the box labelled ’finished’. If you need support with transitions, please contact me.
5. Use visuals
Visuals can support your child to understand routine and spoken language. Visuals can range from symbols to online images, to photographs, or a combination. Explore which type of visuals work well for your children. Using visuals can be powerful if used correctly. Make the most of the opportunities that visuals can provide for your family.
Increase confidence and reduce frustration in children with speech and language and communication difficulties today. Please feel free to contact me if you need any support or tips on maximising these opportunities.
Find a speech and language therapist for your child in London. Are you concerned about your child’s speech, feeding or communication skills and don’t know where to turn? Please contact me and we can discuss how I can help you or visit my services page.