Helpful Tips

Setting Expectations

Remember that kids need to have expectations set for them. Sometimes, kids with communication difficulties have their needs anticipated and met for them without any required effort on their part. This will result in them not attempting to communicate at all, or throwing a tantrum until someone gets whatever they want right. Expect a little more than the child can do, and reward efforts toward that goal. It may be as simple as an eye gaze or grunt, or pointing, or imitating. But expect something, and make sure it’s consistent across the board.

Play Some Games

Video and computer games are fun, and some are even educational and beneficial, but don’t forget about the good old fashioned games that require interaction, like charades, board games, hide and seek (or peek-a-boo with babies), etc. Kids need to learn appropriate social skills and turn-taking, not just how to play by rules.

A Little Reflection

Mirror play is a great way to have some fun with your little one! In front of a mirror, make silly faces. Make faces that reflect different emotions, then label the emotion (“This is my happy face,” etc.). Have the kiddo make some faces…it is great practice for oral motor exercises. Then add fun things….blow bubbles and see if your child tries to pop them in the mirror or in the air. Put foam soap on the mirror to play in and make designs. Use bath crayons to color and draw. So many ways to use a mirror!

Peer Play

People were designed as social beings. Some are naturally outgoing and bubbly, others are more reserved and prefer to observe. Either way, we all learn from our peers. It is important to have ample opportunity to engage with peers in the same age group on a regular basis. This could be as simple as going to programs at the library or through the park district, playing at the park (or even at some indoor playgrounds at some malls), or simply hanging out with friends and relatives.

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