Children with speech and language difficulties often find it hard to communicate or express their emotions. Here’s how you can help.
For a child with speech and language difficulties, expressing emotions can be a huge challenge. Just communicating their wants and needs can be hard, so as a parent or guardian it’s only natural for you to want to help. However, doing so is not always easy. Here are a few options you can consider to help your child with this aspect of communication.
Offer them choices
Being asked a question with a large number of possible answers can be overwhelming for a child with speech and language difficulties. Something as simple as “what do you want to play with?” can seem impossible to answer. You can simplify this by turning open-ended questions into a series of choices.
For example, instead of asking a child what they want to do you could ask them whether they want to play inside or outside, then whether they want to be on their own or to play with you. You can keep going with this, narrowing down the options until your child has made a choice. This can also help them develop the same logical pathways in their thought.
Express through art
It might seem like a cliche, but art is a great way to express emotions, particularly for children who struggle with communication. Your child might not be able to talk to you about how they’re feeling, but they might be able to draw or paint it. They could even find it easier to express themselves through dance than through speech.
The key is to let your child use the method of communication that feels right to them. Don’t force them to paint if they’d rather dance or play music; any creative activity is going to help them learn how to express their feelings, so even if one doesn’t directly lead to communication it’s still a good idea to encourage it.
Give them control
Speech and language difficulties can be incredibly frustrating for children, especially when it comes to having their lives dictated for them. You can counter this by giving them a bit more control over their daily routine. This can start small, for example by letting them pick their own outfits for the day.
Over time, you can give them more and more choice. Let their interests guide you. If they gravitate towards books on robots, or dance at every opportunity, then find out if there are ways to further explore those and offer them to your child as an option. They might not want to learn robotics, and if so, don’t push it on them. Giving them control allows them to best express themself.
If you are looking for other ways to help your child to express themselves, we can help! Take a look at our services to see what kinds of therapies could suit your family. We are always happy to have a chat, so feel free to give our team a call to get some free advice.
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