Archive for the ‘Sign language’ Category

Communicating with your child when they have communication challenges

Whether your child has difficulty producing speech sounds, has challenges  hearing words, is delayed in developing language or has some other communication challenge, the most important thing to remember is that communication is an exchange; it involves the active participation of two or ore people- in this case you and your child.

To encourage your child to increase his communication skills and to really converse with him, we need to ask open ended questions, make comments and wait for them to compose as well as to produce their response.  Instead of bmbarding your child with a series of leading questions in an interview format, try using suggestive questions and statements. For example, you might say, “Tell me about recess today”, instead of “What did you do at recess today?”, or What were some parts of the movie that you liked the best?” instread of, “Did you like the movie?”, or instead of saying, “That’s a pretty picture that you drew”, try something like, “You used so many bright colors, what were you thinking about when you chose those?”, or instead of blurting out a story about an evnet such as, “My car wouldn’t start today”, you could say something like, “You  will be surprised to hear what happened today”, and wait for your child to ask, “What?”.  Do you see how these  questions are more leading and more conversational?

Today, while driving your child to school, or while eating dinner together, try using the technique of leading instead of bombarding.  Then, listen.  I’m sure that your child will be happy that you did.  And who knows, they may even tell you something that you didn’t know!

Posted by on January 8th, 2011 No Comments


Sign? But my child’s not deaf!

Sign language is getting a lot of attention with new parents these days, and rightly so.  It is a marvelous first language for little ones, and for older ones who are struggling with the production of sounds.  Producing signs with our hands is much much simpler than the very fine and highly coordinated muscle movements required for speech production.  Hence, children who have not yet developed the motor capacity to produce speech sounds can produce language with their hands.

Sign language empowers children.  It gives them some control over their world.  They can now ask for things and reject things without becoming frustrated.  Providing a means of communication for your child before they are able to speak actually enhances their language development, providing an ever bigger foundation for verbal communication once it develops.  It is amazing to watch, too, how the signs seem to fade away as speech develops.  Because we live in a verbal world, our children who sign find it faster and more efficient to use speech when they are able, so once verbal words are possible, they stop using their signs.

Some signs are difficult for little hands to produce.  Don’t hesitate to simplify signs.  Many children make up their own signs.  That is terrific- as long as you understand those individually created signs, let them use those signs.  We want to encourage communication, not get picky over the format of the individual signs.

There are many popular DVD programs available to assist you and your child in learning new signs.  Check out your local library for resources; there is also a wide selection of picture books illustrating common childhood words in sigh language.

Play around with signs- and  Have Fun!

Posted by on November 18th, 2010 No Comments