Roadmap: Communication

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Communication is critical to the human experience. Humans have to be able to communicate, and we do in all sorts of ways. We must give our children a way to communicate. If we don’t help them, they will find a way to communicate through behavior.

Here are some things you can try to help your child communicate.

Sign language

At a very young age, babies can learn sign language and use it to get their wants and needs met before language comes. If your child is taking longer to find speech, this might be an excellent method to cut down frustration and allow them to communicate.

Here are some websites that have a few intro signs you can teach your child:

https://www.thebump.com/a/how-to-teach-baby-sign-language

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

PECS was developed in 1985 to help children with autism communicate. PECS consists of pictures and/or sight words that have been cut out individually, laminated, and have a Velcro sticker on the back. Children can look through a PECS book to find the image of the thing they want-a toy, something to drink, something to eat-and give that picture to their parents. As you work with your child, you can introduce new vocabulary, teach them how to create sentences, and teach them to bring the sentence to you. Anyone considering an Augmentative andAlternative Communication device should teach their child PECS first in case that device ever breaks, or ends up in the pool like my sons did, you will have a back-up way to communicate with your child.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication device

The AAC device has revolutionized changed how non-verbal children can communicate. This device allows for a more extensive vocabulary than PECS and can be used by touch or sight (eye tracking systems). Parents might feel hesitant to use these devices out of fear that these devices might further delay their child’s speech, but research has shown that they do the opposite. They increase the rate at which a child learns to speak.

If you want to try an AAC app, check out: Alexicom Tech

If you would like your child to have an AAC device, talk to your DDD support coordinator to start the referral process. If approved, your child’s device will be fully paid for by the state