One common technique to encourage children to communicate is to use objects. Here are some suggestions:
- Arouse interest in an object (eg put it behind your back, on your head).
- Take turns with objects such as balls or bean bags.
- Use an object with component parts that you can hand to the child one by one.
- Make the object irresistible! (What does the child naturally gravitate toward?)
- Use one object in a distraction-free situation.
- Observe the child and follow their lead before showing them what else the object might do.
Here are some further suggestions.
- Use toys and gadgets that surprise – allow the child thinking time to engage.
- Offer objects that require your help to make them work.
- Comment on what's happening using short phrases.
- Develop into a familiar play routine – pause and wait for an anticipatory response.
- Store a familiar item slightly out of reach, model how to point to it and encourage the child to point to request the item to play with.
Using objects in practice
Leyla and her teacher, Claire, play a turn-taking game.2:21
Chris, an assistant headteacher, finds ways to engage Bailey.4:03
Sophia's teacher uses humour to engage Sophia.2:40