Chat Time

27 November 2019

By: Shefali Shah

“How do I chat with my toddler? She doesn’t really talk as yet.”

As parents of hearing-impaired children this is a fair comment. Let’s explore ways to open up chatter between you and your deaf toddler.

The guidance that follows has helped many families at Sound Steps get Conversation going.

1.Grab every opportunity that your child provides.

Young children often say short phrases or 2-3 words that could be a great conversation opener.

Example: A 30 month old playing with a car, peered at the window and said: “Gramma, Papa”This provided wonderful insight into this child’s imagination and accepting his contribution without correction, I responded and said “Oh! You’re right! That is Gramma and Papa! Where are they going?” to which he responded “home”. I then asked “Do you want to go home too?” and he nodded.In that short exchange, there were a little more than 2 turns of a conversation!

2. Model a conversational manner.

As you engage your child through the day, listen to yourself to see if your manner is conversational rather than instructional.

The research shows that children who are raised from infancy in homes that encourage conversation, grow up to demonstrate above average performance at University.

Example: Look at the sky and comment aloud, “ Hmm…. The sky is clear; it looks cold today. We’d better get you dressed all warm and snug!

Go get you coat.” This is so much more conversational than merely instructing your child to get his coat.

3.Focus on keeping the conversation going.

It is tempting to say little as you focus on getting on with your day. Talk as you work and add to what your child said, keeping the conversation going.

Example: Your child comes in complaining, “Sara pushed me.”Resist the temptation to repeat what he said; instead add to it, with a smile and ask “And what did you do to her that she pushed you? Go on you can tell me.”

This is far more likely to encourage a response, even if it’s an outburst than if you merely repeated what he said.

Conversation grows more conversation! So get it going and revel in the unexpected delights that it invariably brings!