These tips were given to me by Ann Haig – an Early Years Professional.

They were written with special needs children of all ages in mind, but can be used with any early years children who are beginning to communicate.

Here are a collection of ideas to help encourage your child to communicate with others at home.

1. Put toys, especially desired ones, in sight but out of reach.

2. Set up a routine until it is very familiar to the child and then do something out of sequence.

3. Give your child a bowl of cereal but no spoon

4. Give everyone at the dinner table dessert except your child.

5. Stop a singing session after one song.

6. When singing very familiar songs, leave pauses for words at the ends of lines and at other times, make “mistakes.”

7. When your child wants to read, choose a book that you know he doesn’t want.

8. Give your child plenty of choices where appropriate.

9. Make silly “mistakes” like putting his shoe on his hand instead of on his foot.

10. Model communication by being nonverbally expressive (e.g. pointing at things, making animated faces to show what you think of something, etc.)

11. Give your child the yoghurt she wanted but don’t take the lid off.

When your child communicates something to you, acknowledge it by repeating the message back and then extend the message to a short grammatical sentence. When pausing, don’t pause so long that the child perceives pressure to perform.

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