Communication is not only about the words we use but it also involves non-verbal cues such as, tone of voice, body language, eye contact and facial expression. The use of language for social communication purposes is also known as “pragmatics”. Pragmatics involves knowing when to use certain language depending on; the situation you are in, who you are speaking with and also being able to follow conversational “rules” to navigate social situations.
A person may be able to express themselves using words and sentences, but if they are not using their language appropriately, they may still have a communication disorder. Such difficulties can also occur in parallel with other language disorders. Children develop their conversational skills in their preschool years. They learn about communication (verbal and non-verbal) in the context of conversations with immediate family, familiar adults, peers and teachers. Initially, their conversations are about what is happening in the moment, “here and now”. Those conversations are usually short, but in time and with practise, the pre-schooler learns to be an effective conversationalist.
As parents of pre-schoolers, you can help your child develop his or her social communication skills by;
• Encouraging your child to say hello / goodbye when you meet or leave a friend’s home, for example.
• Making time for your child to develop close friendships with their peers and to socialise.
• Modelling appropriate social communication skills in a variety of situations.
• Reading stories that reflect social interactions and feelings/emotions with your child can be conversation starters.
• Responding to topics your child initiates in conversation shows them how to maintain a conversational topic.
• Setting aside time to talk with him or her regularly about things that interest each of you can help develop their conversation initiation, turn-taking and maintenance abilities. Young toddlers may only be able to maintain a conversation for about 5 minutes at a time.
Some examples of typical pragmatics skills development are;
• Up to 12 months of age toddlers smile, vocalise, use gestural communication and eventually early words to request objects and actions, to refuse something and to comment.
• 2 ½ year olds begin to use “please” more, They use words to request information and to respond to questions, they engage in more symbolic play and can tell a basic story.
• 3 year olds become better at maintaining a topic in conversation but still may only do so for about half of the time. They are more likely to request clarification if they do not understand something, they use language more in their play with peers and their stories become more sequential.
• 4 year olds use “Can you…?” and “would you…? to request items. They show more empathy, engage in more imaginative play and maintain their interactions more effectively.
If you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language development, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0417 255 062.
Children of all ages are interested in bugs, insects and creepy crawlies. Below are some ideas to encourage your child to expand their speech and language skills whilst learning about bugs and insects!
General Games/ Activities:
Descriptive Language: encourage your child to think about all the features of the bugs and insects he/ she are learning about. Consider words that describe;
If you would like further information about any of the above information, please contact Catherine on 0417 255. 062.
A recent media release by Speech Pathology Australia highlighted the importance of language skills for school aged children. They noted that 25% of children starting primary school have difficulty understanding or using language effectively. This affects their ability to learn to read and write. As language permeates every aspect of the classroom, early intervention for speech and language difficulties is vital.
Language is a central part of learning. It aids us in understanding meaning and convey that understanding to others. Language is a vehicle by which we receive information, process it, understand it and share our knowledge of it. It is used to store and access information already stored in memory. As a child’s language skills develop, so too does their ability to learn. A child who has difficulties with any aspect of communication may have difficulty coping with the workload at school. Therefore, therapy for communication difficulties needs to begin before a the child starts school.
Things to look out for:
Below are some questions you could ask yourself about your child’s communication skills. Consult a Speech Pathologist if your child has difficulties in any of the following areas:
If you would like further information about any of the above information, please contact Catherine on 0417 255 062.
We all know how important it is to have effective communication skills. Even young children need to be able to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings to their family, carers, friends, teachers and peers. It is important for their learning, but also for their social development.
Many parents ask what they can do to help their child’s communication development. Below are some ideas for activities that you can do with your little ones that will help them reach their communication potential.
First of all, ensure that your child is able to hear. Frequent ear infections can cause transient conductive hearing loss that often goes unnoticed. Such hearing loss means a child cannot hear certain sounds and words clearly. If they cannot hear a sound or word, they will have trouble saying or responding to it. The only way you can be sure that your child’s hearing is sufficient for the development of speech and language is to see an audiologist. If you have any concerns about your child’s hearing, speak to your GP.
Babies & Young Toddlers:
Before we expect a child to be able to speak, there are a number of early communication skills developing. These include looking, listening, interacting with others (e.g., returning a smile) and using gestures (e.g. reaching up, pointing).
Reinforce your child’s communication attempts by looking at him / her, listening and mirroring their facial expressions or imitating their vocalisations e.g. cooing, laughter, smiles, babbling.
Your children may already be asking you about where you go to work or about your job. They may be interested in visiting you at work or dressing up to be like you.
When you are out and about together, try talking about the people you see working in the community. Point out particular uniforms or work related clothing worn by those people, e.g. shop assistant, police officer, fireman, baker, swimming teacher. Encourage them to describe the uniforms and ask them why those workers might need to wear a uniform for their work. Talk about the vital role these workers play in the community and how much they are valued.
Some other things you / your child can do are:
If you would like more information about speech and language development, or would like to discuss your child’s communication, feel free to contact me on 0417 255 062.