Understanding the language

Understanding language begins with the child feeling like an effective communicator and repeatedly experiencing that they have loving people around them who understand what they mean when they use their body to non-verbally express what is on their mind.

 Problems understanding language

If your child has problems understanding words, language and what you say to them, you first need to help them understand the MEANING of communication by reducing your language and focusing more on gestural communication, e.g. when they:

  • Imitates words without meaningful meaning
  • Misinterprets what you say and reacts in a way that makes no sense
  • does not react to what is said to him/her
  • seems confused and dysregulated

 Developmental strategies to help your child understand language:

  1. Look at what the child is looking at
  2. Use your language in context, because the child will try to make sense of what is happening around them.
  3. Use gestures and show him non-verbally what you mean. to help the child understand, i.e. so that it can "see what it hears".
  4. Reduce the complexity: Keep the language simple (but without distorting the grammar), i.e. avoid long sentences,
  5. maintain correct grammar, melody and fluency:_use correct language and not grammatically incorrect language, as this affects the meaning
  6. Repeat the corresponding language or words in a meaningful way (i.e. not for 'teaching' or 'testing') and in many different familiar situations.
  7. Match the language to the child's actions and feelings: Being playful works best, first with 1-1 sensory and action games (joint attention), later with toys (divided attention)
  8. Do what makes sense_and what you normally do with objects, e.g. don't turn the cup upside down, - until the child realises that turning a cup upside down is a game
  9. and, very important: do it SLOWLY!!! Keep a slow/appropriate pace so that the child can follow and has time to process everything
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