Different Ways to Communicate

Different Ways to Communicate

How to Promote Communicating for Different Purposes

There are many different ways a child can use language in order to communicate. Not only is it important to increase the child’s vocabulary, but it is also important to increase the variety of ways a child is using language. This helps build a strong foundation for future language to develop.

A child may use actions or words to communicate. Here you will find 10 different purposes listed along with examples and strategies that can be used to help your child communicate. Typically developing children should be able to use most of the intentions by 18 months of age, but the last intention may not show up until about 24 months.

Acknowledging – This is one of the earlier developing purposes.
Examples: action (child turns head and smiles when Barney is mentioned) word (child says “Barney” when adult mentions child’s favorite show).
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult “accidentally” drops a spoon on the floor and ignores the spoon until the child indicates that something happened. Adult takes cookies out of a grocery bag in plain view of the child. If necessary, the adult makes noise with the cookie package and eats a cookie.


Answering – This is also another purpose that develops sooner than other purposes.
Examples: action (child points to nose when asked) word (child says “nose” when asked “what’s this?”)
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult hides a familiar item in a bag, brings it out and asks “what’s this?” Adult hides a familiar item while playing and asks “where’s _____?”


Commenting on an Activity
Examples: action (child points when spoon falls) word (child says “down”)
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult throws a toy bug on the wall that slowly creeps down the wall. Adult pushes a swing with no one in it.


Seeking Attention
Examples: action (child crying and hugging adult’s leg) word (child says “watch me”)
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult “accidently” spills some water or juice in front of the child and ignores the spill. Adult places a paper plate on his head while he is at the table initially ignoring the child’s attempts to get your attention to let you know that something is wrong.


Requesting an Item
Examples: action (child reaches or points at item wanted) word (child says “cookie”)
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult eats the desired food item without offering any to the child. Adult places a favorite toy out of reach when the child isn’t looking.


Requesting an Activity
Examples: action (child hands to to adult to turn it on) word (child says “help”)
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult initiates a pleasurable game or action, then stops and waits. Adult blows up a balloon and slowly deflates it then holds it to her mouth and waits or hands it to the child and waits. Adult opens a jar of bubbles, blows some, then closes the jar tightly and gives it to the child. While the child is watching, the adult places a desired food item in a clear container that the child cannot open.  Then the adult places it in front of the child.


Protesting
Examples: action (child pushes away or in uncooperative) word (child says “no”)
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult hands a disliked food item to the child. Adult offers a choice of two items and then hands the child the wrong choice.


Commenting on an Item
Examples: action (child points at object) word (child says “wow” or “big”)
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult rolls a ball to the child After a few turns the adult substitutes a different toy (not a ball) and rolls it. Adult blows a big bubble in front of the child.


Greetings (Hi and Bye)
Examples: action (waving) word (“hi”)
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult waves and says “hi” and “bye” to objects as they are removed from or placed in containers. Adult produces two telephones and “calls” the child emphasizing “hi” and “bye.” After three or four phone calls the adult pauses and waits for the child to say “hi” or “bye.”


Requesting Information
Examples: action (reaching or pointing) word (child says “wassat?”)
Strategies to help your child use this purpose: Adult plays with new or unusual item in front of the child. Adult hides an item in a bag and peeks in the bag exclaiming about the item (i.e. “Wow! Look at that!) without bringing it out of the bag.