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Helping your child become an effective communicator

Communication

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.

  • Sing nursery rhymes, doing the actions and play games like peek-a-boo and round & round the garden. These games teach your child about “conversational turn-taking”.
  • Narrate their day. Talk about what  you are doing while you are doing it. This can be done during dressing, bath time, bed time routines.
  • Practice saying sounds together, e.g. animal sounds, water sounds in the bath, vehicle sounds.
  • Name body parts whilst singing, e.g. this little piggy, “this is the way we wash our hair...face...hands....etc” at bath time.
  • While reading, point out interesting pictures and encourage your child to point to what they are interested in. If they can’t name the picture yet, name it for them.

Catherine Downs

Catherine Downs

Catherine Down is Platinum Pre School's preffered Speech Pathologist, she writes specifically tailored articles for the Platinum Newsletter and advises our staff on questions related to childhood speech development. Catherine is a Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP) with Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) and is an affiliate member of the American Speech - Language - Hearing Association (ASHA).

Catherine holds a BA in Psychology from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and a BAppSc of Speech Pathology from The University of Sydney. Catherine's qualifications and experience give her a unique set of skills for dealing with clients who are having communication, literacy and learning difficulties.

To find out more about Catherine's services or to book an appointment, please call Catherine on 0417 255 062 or visit her website - www.cdsp.com.au

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