For anyone who struggles with speech and communication, being in a space where you can feel relaxed, confident and without fear of judgement is really important. Not only can this help develop speech confidence and ability, but this also is beneficial for emotional wellbeing and ability to form relationships. Here are a few ways you can adjust your surroundings to support your child or other children with their communication skills and also help develop their confidence to allow them to feel more confident in other environments.
The layout of the space should allow for different elements of communication in a non-threatening and subtle way. It would be beneficial to have space for group talk as well as other areas which are a bit more private and can cater for one-to-one chats or lone thinking.
This is one of the key aspects of creating a calm and safe space for communication and speech development. High levels of noise can be distracting and cause distress for individuals who don’t have the confidence to speak loudly or talk over any interfering noise and can, as a result of this, stop them from communicating altogether. Low and manageable levels of noise allow individuals to think without feeling pressured to rush into talking or compete with other noise that is going on.
Giving your children choices to make independently can encourage their communication development as it gives them a sense of control. Particularly in offering fewer options, such as 3 toys to play with instead of a whole drawer-full, as this can be a more manageable decision to make. Too many choices can cause confusion and a sense of being overwhelmed.
Having lots of decorations, colours and writing around the space can become very distracting for children and could cause them to break attention much more easily which would impact their listening. Aim for simple designs and neutral tones to create a friendly and homely space which isn’t too visually loud and distracting.
As with a lot of individuals, having a routine is a good way to settle anxiety and increase a sense of control and order. Especially for those with speech and language difficulties, a clear and consistent routine means that they will be aware of what will happen next and will allow them to feel more comfortable in communicating freely without the panic of sudden change.
Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team of Speech and Language Therapists to learn how we can help you and your children today!