Communication Temptations — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Communication Temptations

by Tammy and Parker


Written by CC from

For beginning communicators (such as young children, people with developmental delays, or people with social delays) knowing how to appropriately communicate can be very difficult. Some young children find it much easier to cry or tantrum when they want something, than to communicate in a more appropriate way.

“Communication Temptations” are efforts to tempt a child to communicate. I use the term “communicate” here because these methods work for verbal words, signs, or alternate communication methods (such as communication boards or bracelets). These situations encourage children to want to communicate with you because they need your help.

One way that I do this within the school setting is by almost performing a task. I might say “1….2….3….” and then I pause and wait. If needed, I will slowly start to prompt the child to say “go” by saying the whole word, saying the first sound, whispering the word, or signing the word. Then I phase my prompts out. I use this technique with blowing bubbles, pushing a child on the swing, opening the door, pouring a drink, etc.

At home and at school I find myself constantly repeating, “Use your words.” A grunt or cry is not acceptable for a child that can use words. A single word is not acceptable for a child that can use sentences. I have high language expectations and am constantly nudging my students up to the next level.

Even my older age students must politely request a drink of water using a complete sentence “Can I have a drink of water please?” And then sometimes I’ll throw them for a loop and say “Why?”. I use the child’s descriptions to increase their language skills starting from a very early age and continuing until…. well, I don’t know since I haven’t gotten there yet!

Heidi wrote a great post about 8 Ways To Get Your Child to Speak. I highly encourage that any parent of young children, or parent of children with language delays, read her suggestions.

Email Author    |    Website About Tammy and Parker

I am the mother of 5 wonderful kids. My youngest, Parker, is a medically fragile blessing with Down's Syndrome. I am @ParkerMama on Twitter.

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