Thursday, January 14, 2010

Week 1 Beginnings

I had to have this titled "Beginnings" because I have never blogged before. Yes, I am just jumping into this form of communication with faith that I will be able to share my ideas with you in a way that is meaningful, fun and helpful.

I have been a speech and language pathologist of over 25 years and my main focus has been with children, especially children under the age of 5. Over time I have found easy things that parents can do during their day that will help their child communicate better. I would love to share these ideas with you and answer any questions that you might have. Every week I will post an idea or suggestion or hint that might be helpful to families that are struggling with communication issues. Please feel free to ask questions or comment...I would love for this to be an interactive site where we can all help and support eachother.

While working with the children and families, I have I realized the family is the key to change with this age group. Families, you really are the most important teachers for your child. You know your child best and your child trusts you and connects with you like no one else. So, that is where the learning should start. I believe that you do not need to take your child to a speech therapist so that they can wave their magic wand and "fix" your child. Most little ones that are delayed in communicating just need a little nudge to get going and a speech therapist is a perfect resource for the family. When we all work together, that's when the magic begins.

So here is my thought for today:

Regardless of what your child is saying or not saying, he or she is always communicating and it's up to you to figure out what they are saying and how they are saying it.

The first step that you need to do is watch your child, be a detective and take notes. Watch what interests them and how they react to those things. Do they smile? Do they reach for an item? Do they make some sound or sounds? Could those sounds actually mean something? Do they take you by the hand and take you to what they want? All these actions are communication. All these actions are a starting point for us to build on. So for this week I want you to watch your child and see how they are already communicating. Have the whole family join in on this activity and compare notes.

Be sure to watch nonverbal as well as verbal communication. Watch for gestures, changes in facial expressions, sounds or possible word approximations that your child says the same way for the same thing, watch how your child problem solves, get as many clues as you can and look for any patterns that might show up.

Enjoy this process...have fun with it and next time we will use the information you discovered this week to lead us to the next step.

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