People are social beings. People with intellectual disabilities are no different. Speaking is one way of communicating. I speak to Audric, and he signs, uses body language, his words, and the environment to communicate back.
When we’re used to one way of communicating, it’s hard to think outside of that bubble, but with special needs, you’ve got to. Or the conversation ends up feeling like an interview. It’s be one-sided, overwhelming for the child being asked a bunch of questions. And exhausting for the person asking them.
Do you want this? Do you like it? Are you okay? How do you feel? It’s like when my parents speak Korean to me, but I respond in English. There are many ways to communicate. And to get started, here are two ways to ask fewer questions:
– Pay closer attention to body language.
– Let your child initiate if he doesn’t like something.
A good way to assess how you communicate with your child is to do a recording. Observe. See if you’re asking questions. How’s the body language? Do you ask questions or wait for your child to initiate?
Recording yourself helps you see things you didn’t notice in the moment. And some children like watching themselves. It can be useful tool. Save it or delete it, but use it to help you be a better communicator.
Now here are 2 strategies to communicate more authentically:
– Get rid of the thinking- “They won’t understand.” You’re thinking about the disability. Instead, think, “They know everything!”
– Keep it real. Don’t fake talk. Talk about that funny thing that happened to you at work, or what you didn’t like about that movie.
Do you have a child who uses multiple ways to communicate? Do you talk with your child about your day? Leave a comment below. Let me know.