To understand the child we need to build good relationship with the child as a parent/carer or as a practitioner. When we talk to a child from early age or older children we give a children time they need of interaction understanding of the world around us and the important thing in language new vocabulary and sounds that is the base of communication and development. Through interaction we can ask questions, explain with our gesticulation body language, bend down to a child level and have an eye contact. Children need to feel that they have our full attention in communication. Children come from different environment so our role as practitioners is to help and show them to express them self, show their can have ideas and build self-confidence that is important for communication.
There are two factors that can affect difficulties in language and communication needs. Biological factor: children can be born with some hearing defect or impairment or it can develop later in child’s life. Any hearing impairment may have affect on child ability of speech as the hearing may be lost. This can affect child social skills to interact with other children communicate with them and talk to them. They need support from parents/carers and practitioners that work together and other professionals as a team.
Speech dysfluency is common when children get very excited or upset. Dysfluency is speech disruption, repeating whole words several times, some sounds or whole sentences. It is common in children around 3-4 years, when this continue it may be because other medical conditions such as Down’s syndrome or could be a sign of Parkinson’s disease later. Children with dysfluency may have difficulties to interact with others, fear to talk or explain themselves. Support of the speech and language therapist will asses and give different support method that can help a child who is stammering or repeating words. Child will be able to develop their language and communication skills more without any hesitation.
Some children are able to hear but their refuse to talk it called mutism. This children may be affect from their environment, they are shy, they are scared or they refuse to talk front of others or selective people. We as practitioners must give a child time to interact with their peers without pressure, avoid to point “he/she is mutism” and bring attention to it, “say hello “. Most of the time children speak non-verbal using his/her gesture, so we can encourage the child with his alternative communication. Set activity where children can talk freely, set the small groups of children where they can whisper or use mouthing or gesture to communicate. Talk with the parents/carer about strategies and techniques work as a team with other professional to help a child development.
Autism is other biological disorder that may affect language and communication of the child. Autism have spectrum of causes and we can help a child to improve his/her life with appropriated learning. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty to focus on learning their language, because they are not interest in communication with other people. As practitioner we can focus on teaching children with every day activities, and make them harder when the child progressing such as a child can ask for a toy when he/she can’t reach maybe with eye and gesture communication, or in play activity to ask for piece of the blocks or when they have snack time children are encourage to choose the fruit or vegetable from the plate. We are the role model for children the comments on what we are doing can help a child understand simple movements “open, close, thank you or please”. We need to praise a child and show him that every progress is good even when is small with reward of sweet or stickers. Work with other professional is very important for a child development. Gender is other biological factor where we can see difference between girls and boys language development. Girls at age of two are able to develop their language rather then boy at this stage.
Environmental factor: this can affect child child ability of good language and communication skills. Some children are raised in family with additional language and English is not they first language, those children may find difficult to understand English, they are slower with learning and this may affect their communication skills there are shy to talk, find a friend and play. The Key practitioners must support a child with better understanding, showing him/her cards with pictures talking to them so they get familiar with the words, interact with other children through play so child will not feel left out. If parents have difficulty to understand English practitioners may support them with person who can translate give them advice on some English course classes around in their area.
Other environmental factor is the background of the family how they talk and communicate with the child. Some parents have less interest to communicate with the children and it can affect his/her capacity of vocabulary, understanding of the world and communication. The research showed that children who parent talk to then in complex sentences rather then “baby talk” have better ability to develop understanding to use complex sentence structures. Number of sibling can affect child language and communication. Some children who don’t have siblings, can feel that parent give a child full attention and there are no competition. On the other side children with siblings have more opportunity on communication and provide stronger language development.