Communication may be the real challenge when raising children with special needs. It’s definitely the most complicated task to accomplish and it can really affect the child’s behavior and development.
As parents, we have a natural understanding of our children’s ways of communication. We know and understand what every sound and attitude means, but the problem hits families when school starts, and we feel unable to stay close to our child to translate his feelings to the teacher and professionals.
ESE teachers and therapists have the skills and knowledge to help your child succeed, but your help will make a positive difference in understanding his needs better and more efficiently.
Celebrating and sharing his abilities while accepting his limitations and challenges with love.
Some interesting tips for helping your child at this stage are:
- Explore and consider alternative ways of communication, easy methods are visual cards or pictures, baby signs, or a special book that he can bring to school for pointing out his preferred activities or his personal needs like being thirsty or in need of going to the bathroom.
- Taking advantage of technology, you can discuss with the teacher and IEP team the possibility of providing your child with a technological device to facilitate his communication. Two great apps that grow up along with your child’s development are:
- Proloquo2go First released in 2009, Proloquo2Go’s research-based vocabularies, highly customizable features, natural sounding voices, and unique innovations make it the premier Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) solution for children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental disabilities, apraxia, stroke, or traumatic brain injury.
- TalkTabletUS, with 6 US English ACAPELA voices (with children’s voices) and 1 LA Spanish voice, is a fully-featured AAC speech solution for people who are unable to communicate clearly as a result of Autism, Aphasia, Down Syndrome, Stroke, Laryngectomy or other condition that adversely affects a persons ability to speak.
Another great idea is to create a dictionary for your child’s teacher, write down the personal sounds he uses along with the meaning. This will help the teacher communicate with your child and boost his confidence and ability to learn.
Communication should not be a stressful time to be faced with school time age. If you work with your child from the beginning some things may come faster and easier, just remember the importance of having a good time with your baby while you play together and learn.
These are easy things to do at home that you can practice since your baby is a newborn.
▪ Cleaning your babies gums after each feed.
▪ Brushing his gums and tongue with a baby tooth brush
▪ Massaging his cheeks and lips gently not only will help the baby, but will also create a very intimate moment between baby and mom.
Important tips for families when raising children with special needs
▪ Don´t stop talking to the child because he doesn´t respond to your or seems not to understand. You are feeding the brain with every word you say
▪ Start conversations with the child, asking simple questions like: “What´s your name” or “how old are you”? Make this a daily game to empower your child´s understanding while teaching him the magic of talking
And again, don’t be afraid of alternative ways of communication! There are easy and low-cost ways to help, like creating a special book for your child that he can help elaborate throughout the years with pictures of his preferred games, activities and favorites foods. Let him be an active part of this and other activities by taking the lead.