When we are talking about young children’s speech and language skills, it is important to think of the child in terms of the skills the child currently has (rather than chronological age) so that interventions can be best built upon these skills. Knowing what stage of communication your child is currently in also helps YOU as a parent know how to best help your child communicate at home.
Stages of Communication
- The Discoverer – These children react to how they feel and to what is happening around them, but have not yet developed the ability to communicate with a specific purpose in mind. These children may squeal with delight when being pushed on a swing (reacting to the swinging) but have not yet developed the ability to communicate that he wants MORE swinging.
- The Communicator – These children send specific messages directly to a person, without using words. Example: Your child may point and grunt to an object he wants you to get him or even “tell you with his eyes” (and face and body) that he is interested in something my looking at the item, looking at you, and then back at the item with an excited facial expression.
- The First Words User – These children use single words (or signs or pictures). These children have developed the ability to communicate with a specific purpose in mind and have begun using symbolic ways to communicate (single words, signs or pictures).
- The Combiner - These children combine words into sentences of two or three words. These children communicate by stringing words together.
How do you know what type of communicator your child is?
Guess what? The Hanen Centre actually has a great form YOU can fill out, which is available on their website for FREE! (It’s from their It Takes Two To Talk Parent Handbook). As I mentioned earlier this month, May is Better Speech and Hearing Month and to celebrate, Hanen has a FANTASTIC page set up called ThePower of Parents. On this page, you will find the My Child’s Stage of Communication Checklist as well as some tips on How to Build Language at Every Stage for your child.
Not only that, but make sure you check out the last section of the page called Seize the Power of Every Day. If you have been reading a while, you know how much I talk about how children learn language everyday within normal routines and activities. Hanen has some wonderful articles linked in the section that can help YOU build language in everyday activities and routines.
So tell me, what type of communicator is YOUR child? Do you find these terms helpful?
Quick Note: I love the Hanen Centre and their It Takes Two to Talk program (you can read my review of the training session HERE). Though I did contact Hanen for permission to use their terms, they in no way sponsored this post….I just love their information and programs! I highly recommend the It Takes Two To Talk Parent Handbook if you have a young child with speech and language delays.
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