Supporting Children with Difficulties Understanding What is Said to Them

Do you think that your child does not always understand what you are saying? Do they;

  • Respond slowly or not at all when you speak to them
  • Change the subject or go off tangent to the topic of conversation
  • Wait and follow what others do when they are spoken to
  • Have poor attention and spoken language skills.

Here at Speech Right, the speech therapists would recommend the following strategies as being useful to use:

Make Sure You Have Gained Your Child’s Attention Before Speaking To Them.

If your child is not concentrating on what you are saying, then they will not be able to listen to and understand what you mean. Wait for your child to look up from the activity they are doing and make eye-contact with you before you speak.

Reduce Your Language Level To That Of Your Child’s

If your child is using spoken phrases of 2 words, make the sentences you use with your child 2-3 words long. This might mean, rather than saying “Go and get your shoes and coat and put them on” using “Get your shoes” “Put your shoes on” “Get your coat” “Put your coat on” would be better.

Match The Words That You Use To The Words That Your Child Uses.

If you use language which is too complex, your child will not be able to workout what you are saying e.g. when a child is developing their understanding of ‘transports’, it wil

Introducing Makaton

As speech therapists in Nottingham, we are often introducing Makaton to families to support their children’s’ communication skills.

What is Makaton?

Makaton was devised by 3 speech and language therapists. It is a language programme that uses signs and symbols to help people communicate. The signs are based on signs from British Sign Language (the official sign language for people who are deaf or who have a hearing impairment) and the symbols are simple, black and white line drawings.

The CBBC ‘Something Special’ programme uses Makaton.

Who Uses It?

As a speech therapist, I have used Makaton with a range of different communication problems. By signing and symbolising the environment, adults are:

  • Encouraging children to attend to what they are saying (the child is hearing AND SEEING something)
  • Helping the children to understand by adding a visual clue to support their spoken words.
  • >Giving children confidence to support their own speech with gestures/signs as the children are surrounded by adults who are doing the same.

Speech Right has used Makaton successfully in therapy with:

  • Children who are delayed in using spoken language
  • Children who have difficulties understanding English
  • Children who are struggling to produce clear speech
  • Children with attention and listening problems
  • Children who have social communication difficulties
  • Children who have English as a second language

Can Makaton Be Used AT Home?

Yes, even if your child does not have any speech and language difficulties. Speech Right actively encourage families to use Makaton as research has shown that using signs and symbols actively encourages the development of speech and language skills (www.makaton.org.uk).

To start:

  • pick some key words which you use daily with your child and begin to sign the word everytime you say it.
  • Watch Justin and Mr.Tumble on ‘Something Special’ together with your child.

For further information about Makaton, please feel free to contact Speech Right and the speech therapists here in Nottingham will be happy to help.