One Habit to Avoid for Better Communication

Monique Simpson

Welcome again to our new subscribers out there.

I’m slowly but surely answering the emails that many of you have requested some help with…

Today’s topic…

How Avoiding this one little habit will help improve your child’s social and communication skills

Often children with autism can be very passive communicators and may only talk when they are spoken to or when they are very motivated to communicate something.

Sometimes when I’m carrying out assessments, parents tell me that their child is capable of stringing a few words together into a sentence, yet often the child will not utter a single word for the entire session which is very sad! This is because the child does not know how to share their wonderful thoughts with others yet.

One way that you can dramatically improve your child’s ability to actively share their thoughts and ideas with you is by reducing the amount of questions that you ask them. Sounds simple I know. But sometimes we have such a natural desire to constantly ask our child questions because we know that they understand many things and we want to try and ‘squeeze’ as much information out of them as possible!

Here are 3 reasons why you should avoid doing this

  1. It constantly puts your child into a passive position in the interaction, and they get used to the pattern of just responding all the time, rather than initiating.
  2. It incorrectly teaches them about how we use our language. They begin to believe that they should ask many questions of others during a conversation. But in reality, we spend the majority of our interaction with others simply ‘sharing’ our ideas such as what we will be doing on the weekend and what we have been up to over the past week. Constantly asking someone question after question is typically not an appropriate way to interact.
  3. Often you might ask your child questions simply to test them… but this is not actually the purpose of a question. Generally, the reason we ask a question is to get an answer to something that we do not know (e.g: What would you like for dinner? What is the matter?). Can you imagine how awful it would be to constantly be asked questions to test your knowledge? It would be enough to turn your child off interacting with you because it’s simply no fun!

When communicating with your child you must remember…

  • to keep questioning to a minimum and only ask them a question when you genuinely want to know the answer.
  • to ‘model’ the behaviours that you would like them to improve. For example, if you would like your child to use their language to share more of their thoughts, then you simply need to do more commenting and sharing of your thoughts.

For example
– If you are looking at a book with a picture of a duck, instead of pointing to the duck and asking your child “What’s that?“, model what you would like them to say e.g. “Quack, quack” or “The duck is silly” (depending on your child’s level of comprehension).
– Or instead of saying “Why is the girl sad?” you could just say “Oh no the girl fell off her bike“.
– Or instead of asking your child “What did you do at school today?” (which most kids hate!) share something that you think would be funny or interesting to them about what you did in your day.

  • Finally, remember that your child’s desire to listen to language can be poor at times, so it’s important that you make your language fun so that your child becomes very motivated to listen to you.

For more training in this necessary area of development you will find my audio HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD LISTEN AND LEARN very beneficial.

Click here to take a closer look at this.

Till next time, stay well and wishing all Mum’s out there a very happy Mother’s Day over the weekend 🙂

Have a great day.
Monique Simpson

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