5 Essential Communication Techniques
By: Suzie Dalien, M.Ed.
Communication involves the exchange of words, ideas and feelings. One of the most important experiences a parent can teach their child is to talk and listen to others. Through interactions, children develop relationships that help them learn about themselves and the world around them. The best parent-child relationships are characterized by positive communication.
Communication is a fundamental part of our lives. Used constantly through both verbal and nonverbal means, communication is often a struggle for children with special needs. Whether a result of low self-esteem or the feeling of not fitting into the environment surrounding them, there are various techniques parents can use to assist their child in perfecting the art of communication.
5 Essential Communication Techniques For Children With Special Needs
1. Tell a child what to do instead of what not to do.
Using the word “do” instead of “don’t” will go a long way with young children. They need to hear more positive statements and directions from you, children respond better to “do” statements. Say something like, “Please color this picture for me” instead of “Don’t color on the wall.” Another example would be, “Pick up your toys please” instead of “Don’t leave your toys on the floor.”
2. Keep your requests simple so your child doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Children have a hard time remembering things, especially long requests. They do better when asked to do one thing at a time. Make sure to separate all requests and make them simple. Use short sentences with one-syllable words if possible. Put the main directive in the opening sentence. Too much talking is a common mistake. Keep in mind that young children often take 30 seconds or more to share their thoughts so make sure you give them some time to answer your questions.
3. Always speak kindly to your child.
Kind words typically bring good results, they communicate respect and love. Kind words also help children try harder and behave better.
4. Listen to what your child has to say.
The most important thing to remember in regards to listening, is never pretend to be listening when you’re actually not. Get rid of distractions and pay attention to your child.
5. Make eye contact when talking to your child.
Engage your child in eye-to-eye contact to get his or her attention. Teach him or her to focus by saying something like, “Lily I need to see your eyes.” Try to do whatever it takes to minimize the distance when communicating, even if you have to get down on your knees or sit on the floor.
In addition to these tips and other information found on our website and others, special education tutoring is rapidly becoming a great alternative for parents who are searching for ways to increase the rate in which their children develop academically, behaviorally along with critical life-skills.
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