Observe: take some time to watch what is interesting to the child, watch how they use toys and items within their environment. Watch how they play with other children or with adults.
Wait: try not to fill all the pauses that naturally occur when you are talking to the child. Taking time to pause gives the child longer to process information and plan what they are going to say next!
Listen: actively listening to the child will encourage them to communicate more. It will make them feel confident in their skills as a communicator
Follow their lead: try not to direct the child during play, if the child wants to move onto another activity, move with them.
Get down to the child’s level: By making eye contact and being face to face, we ensure that our child can see the correct mouth shapes for making sounds. Making eye contact increases the feeling of a ‘shared experience.’
Comment: talk to the child about what they are doing in their play. Always remember to keep your language simple so that the child is able to understand what you are saying.
Think about your questions: try to avoid questions that require a single response that will end the conversation e.g. ‘what’s that?’ and yes/no response type questions. Try to use questions like ‘what’s next?’ Or ‘what if?’
Offer choices: Use the format would you like….or…..? This always ensures that the child must answer before he/she will get something in return. It also provides a good model of the adult way of saying something for children who are having difficulties with speech sound development.
Imitate and add language: This involves repeating back what the child has said and saying just one more word. For example, whilst playing outside the child says, “me ball.” Adult can imitate and add “me big ball.”
Expand: when sharing a game or activity, your child may talk to you about what is going on or what they are doing. We can expand in lots of different ways:
Describe: “car going fast”
Pretend: “banana like phone”
Talk about the future: “Daddy goes on a plane”
Talk about feelings: “Mummy likes bananas”
Opportunities: We need to give …. a reason to communicate. If …. is able to access everything he needs/wants without adult support he does not need to communicate with us. Therefore, we need to create opportunities for ….. to ask for things e.g. putting things out of reach. We can also create an opportunity by offering choices even when we know which one he wants. By anticipating wants and needs we are taking away an opportunity for … to express himself.
Repeat: children must hear new words lots and lots of times so activities and words will need to be carried out again and again.