A couple of weeks ago I was talking to Lynne, whose son Ryan has a speech and language delay. Lynne shared how Ryan wasn’t speaking as much as he used to, and she was worried something was wrong. We revisited the 3 main areas of communication, and how each area is important for communication to be a success. Through our discussion it became clear that Ryan didn’t see opportunities to speak and that we could do things to help.
Here are 3 things we did that made a difference:
Tip 1 – Observe the Daily Routines
The first thing we did was look at all of Ryan’s daily routines. As he found comfort in routine, there were many times during the day where he did the same things, in the same order, in a very predictable way. Whilst this helped to create a very happy, comfortable boy, it also removed the need for communication to take place. Everything was either anticipated or done without thinking. Independence and communication are rarely both achieved at the same time, so we spotted in routines the places where we could make the difference.
Tip 2 – Make Small Changes
When we had finished noting down all the routines that took place every day, Lynne started to plan ways of making small changes to invite more speech. This included changing the way she said things, missing out key parts of the routine and muddling the order ot how things went. All of these changes would invite a response from Ryan, something that would gain his attention as it was unexpected. We talked about the similarities with grocery shopping and how we get extra opportunities to speak to a member of staff if our favourite items have been moved to a new aisle or they are not in stock.
Tip 3 – Repeat, repeat, repeat
The final tip is one that applies to so many aspects of learning, and it features here too! Through repeatedly going over and revisiting daily routines, Lynne found that she could always do something to create a new speech opportunity. Once you have the tips and techniques you need, it’s worth re-visiting them regularly. This gave her confidence for if the same thing happened in the future.
Following these 3 tips helped Lynne and Ryan to build in lots more opportunities for speech, and it also gave Lynne new skills that empowered her moving forwards.