Communication – Pre-school children
Parents ask us for help with a range of issues, and in supporting them, we would almost always be working on developing communication skills of some form with their child. 14% of teachers too, when surveyed in a US based study said over half of children begin school with communication difficulties. These difficulties can impact making friends, responding to teachers and independence in the classroom.
Common concerns parents have about communication might include:
Lack of eye contact
Doesn’t respond to other people
Doesn’t respond to name
Doesn’t point or gesture
Might babble or have their own language or repeat phrases over and over
Might be able to label things but can’t ask for things
Their language might be unclear or ‘behind’ other children their age
Grabbing or pulling for things they want rather than asking with words.
Communication is a pivotal skill - it opens up pathways to other things!
Learning the power of communication
Language can come in many forms such as signs, vocal communication, picture exchange or augmentative devices. It can also have different purposes such as to ask for items, to seek attention or to label what you see.
For a child that might be struggling with communication we need to initially harness the most powerful type of communication to increase their success - making requests!
A request is where you say something - and you get THAT thing!
Teaching children to ask for things they want and need empowers, reduces frustration and builds the foundations for more complex social skills
At Early Steps one of our early goals is often to ensure that children have the means to ask for things they want and also stop the things they don’t like. We give many many opportunities to practice these skills to make communication as easy and rewarding as possible.
Every child is different and a speech and language delay can be for a variety of reasons.
Some things to consider-
Check for hearing problems
Was your child premature - this might mean some areas of development are delayed.
Is your child exposed to more than one language at home?
If your child still presents with difficulties and you feel that they are missing out on important opportunities to socialise or communicate, trust your instincts and visit your doctor or health visitor to discuss additional support.