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Developing Early Communication

Communication is so much more than just talking; children need to develop good early communication skills as these form the foundations of language. 

First, children need a language-rich environment where they can listen, watch and learn to communicate. They also need reasons to communicate and opportunities to do this. Children need to learn how to use their language socially. The need to be able to use and understand non-verbal communication (for example, using eye contact and turn-taking), develop shared attention (for example sharing an activity with an adult) and develop their play skills.

So, before children learn to use words, children need responsive adults to provide them with positive experiences of communication. Children need opportunities to communicate with familiar adults, adults to show they are interested in what they are saying and to respond to all their communication attempts. Regular, good quality interaction opportunities will help them to learn about how communication works and develop their skills.

1. Top Tips for Sharing Books

Parents are their children’s best teachers! Reading to your child exposes them to lots of language from a young age. It will help to develop an understanding of language and increase their vocabulary too.

2. Top Tips for Making Choices

Learning to make choices is a functional way for your child to start letting you know their likes and dislikes and what they would prefer. It is hard to stop anticipating what your child wants or needs but by waiting a few seconds and allowing your child to come to you shows them the value of communicating with you.


3. Top Tips for Using People Games

People Games offer a special advantage for children with social communication
difficulties, who learn best through structure and repetition. As people games are played the same way each time and often have a ‘script’ to say while playing, children with social communication difficulties can learn many things during these predictable games.

4. Top Tips for Activities at home

There are lots of opportunities to support your child’s speech and language development during everyday activities. You don’t always need to make extra time, or have extra toys to do this.


5. Top Tips for Using Everyday Activities

There are lots of opportunities to support your child’s speech and language development during everyday activities. You don’t always need to make extra time, or have extra toys to do this.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Norfolk & Waveney Speech & Language Therapy Service by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 


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