Strategies to help children with listening difficulties

• Remember listening difficulties are not the same as hearing difficulties, speaking more loudly or clearly will not always help. The difficulty lies not in receiving the signal but rather the quality and then internal processing of the auditory signal. • Eliminate background noise (e.g. fish tanks, traffic, computers, people talking) or if this is not possible ensure the child’s back is to the source of noise. • In classroom situations ensure the child is as close to the front and towards the center of the classroom as possible. Try to position the child so that students immediately surrounding the child will not be distracting. • Gain the child’s full attention – i.e. eye contact and stopped all other activities- before giving any oral (spoken) information or directions. • If possible ensure the child is facing you when you give instructions (don’t shout to them from the next room!) • Use gestures and other visual supports (e.g. draw pictures, write keywords) wherever possible. Be tolerant of children watching other students for cues when following instructions. • Break instructions/ideas into smaller steps. • Repeat spoken information emphasizing key points. In the classroom this can be achieved by asking another student to repeat information covered for the benefit of everyone in the class! It can help to re-state key ideas before beginning more in-depth discussion. • Ask the child to repeat back to you the key ideas or the steps in a list of instructions. • Try not to jump from one idea to another, provide logical sequencing of ideas. This is because children with listening difficulties are often relying on...

Top three tips for teaching your child to talk

It can be heartbreaking watching your little one frustrated and unable to communicate. Late talkers who don’t get the right support are at risk of literacy and social difficulties. You want desperately to help them learn how to talk but how do you teach a child to talk? The most powerful and proven strategies for teaching young children to talk are what I call the Teaching Toddlers to Talk Trifecta. Without further ado, here they are! 1. Modelling 2. Repetition 3. Waiting Firstly, modelling has two key elements: self-talk and parallel-talk. Self talk is where you provide a running commentary on everything you are doing using short, simple phrases (yes you sometimes sound like a crazy person doing it in public but it works!) e.g. “Mummy is eating, yum, eating a carrot. Crunch crunch. Mmm yummy carrot. Oh look I ate the carrot. All gone!” Parallel talk is similar but you are providing a running commentary on what your LO is doing eg “Jimmy is looking at the book. Open the book. Hmmm what’s that? A sheep. Jimmy is looking at the sheep. Turn the page. More sheep! Uh oh. Shut the book. Finished reading. Bye sheep.” Secondly, repetition means that you say the same word over and over but in slightly different different word combinations eg car, fast car, big car, the car is red, I love cars, more cars, stop car, go car. I found a car! Finally the third part of the Teaching Toddlers to Talk Trifecta is waiting. This means that after you’ve done some modelling with repetition built in you lead in with a...

10 Tips for helping your child learn to play

Playing might seem like it should be the most natural thing in the world for a young child to do. But, for some little people, especially those with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) it is extremely challenging and they need extra help to develop these skills. Here are a few tips to help you teach your child how to successfully play with a wider variety of toys and activities. 1. Get down and play with them. Being on the same level as your child creates a totally different feeling for both you and your child. Lay or sit on the floor and try to get your eyes at the same level as your child so you can see what they see. If your child has trouble engaging with people socially then play next to them. Often this “next to” position or a right angle type position is less confronting for children who have difficulty making and maintaining eye contact. 2. Imitate. Watch what your child is doing, copy what your child is doing and then wait to see how they respond. 3. Extend. Once you have copied what they have done (e.g. hitting the blocks) change the play with that toy just a little bit (e.g. put one block on top of another or put the blocks in a circle). Wait and see if your child copies you. If they don’t imitate you don’t worry just go back to copying them and then try it again a little later. 4. Encourage “one more”. If your child quickly moves from one play activity to another encourage them to just have 1-3...