Saturday, April 2, 2011

Communication Temptations - Part 2

As I mentioned in the post about wind up toys, communication temptations are activities that are designed to encourage the child to interact with other people. Wind up toys are a great temptation device, but other activities can be equally successful. Here are others that I have used over the years.

Bubbles: Open a container of bubbles, blow some bubbles, put the wand back in the jar, and close the lid tightly. Hand the bubble container to the child and wait to see what happens. When the child hands the bubbles back to you, open the jar again, and repeat the sequence. Every time you close the bubble container you're giving the child another opportunity to practice communication skills.

Balloons: For older children balloons can be a safe option for play. Blow up a balloon, let it deflate, and then hand an identical balloon to the child. Wait for the child to hold the balloon out to you as a request for you to blow more. You can do this task with just one balloon, but I prefer to use two for sanitary purposes. If the child hands me his/her balloon I quickly switch it for my own balloon.

Treasure Box: Find a toy or other object that the child really enjoys using. Put it in a clear plastic container that the child is unable to remove the lid from ( large, clean plastic peanut butter jar with a screw on lid works well). Show the child you can open the lid, but close it again before he or she takes the toy. Hand the container (with the lid screwed on tightly) to the child and wait to see what happens! Initially the child my become frustrated, but that's okay. If you are patient and stick to your plan, eventually the child will realize that in order to obtain the desired object you have to be involved in the process.

Snack: This is a lot like the treasure box but it involves an activity that many children love - Eating! Sit down for snack with the child and get some juice or crackers for yourself, but don't offer any to the child. Quickly the child will let you know that he or she wants something (maybe by screaming) and then you say something like "Oh, you want juice too?" and pour a tiny bit of juice into a cup (also give cookies in small pieces). By only giving the child a little bit a time, he or she will have to keep coming back to you to get more. The more children interact with us for specific purposes the greater their chances are for using language (verbal, signs, or pictures) more spontaneously.

These techniques work for most young children learning language but are especially useful when used with children with Autism.

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