The Power of Predictable Language

Routines are wonderful things.

They are predictable.

They can be verbal routines or they can be physical routines.

My 11 year old and I have a verbal routine that I love. We have been doing it for years and to be fair I don’t even know how it started. It goes like this….
Person 1: I love you
Person 2: I love you more
Person 1: I love you the most

Then we have over the years tried to better each other by…I love you forever or I love you to the moon and back or anything to try to trump ‘the most’ ..I love you infinity… but we both know that most is where it stops…so there is also a small measure of competition to be the one who starts it as then you can also be the finisher! But it is special and it is ours.

Other routines such as when you put them in the car seat, making them a drink, changing their nappy or as you push them on the swings. All of these provide opportunities for predictable language.

Which you can use to help build their talking and understanding.

Routines can be a people games, or a song or a rhyme. Anything your child loves.

Each time it starts the same way.

Each time you can offer your child a turn.

With predictable language you can use pauses to allow your child to see it is their turn….wait for them (I have to count in my head to 5 to keep quiet).

The end is usually the same. Which gives them a chance to request it again if they want!!

If you are looking for more information on what to expect with your young child’s communication development then I have an e-book for the typical milestones for communication development from birth to four years. You can download it here.

Talking to babies. A key to brain growth.

Communication starts at birth.

My eldest is about to finish high school. I can still recall the moment he was born. This is possibly because the midwife had just said he would be born the next day and I distinctly recall thinking ‘absolutely no way is this going into tomorrow’ and he was born at 11:50pm. Although it may have been the life changing experience of actually having him that makes the recall so very clear!

Even though I knew communication began at birth having him bought it home so strongly.

Communication is not just words but eye contact, turn taking, connection, and shared moments.

Those moments when you look at your baby and smile and they smile back.
Or they make a noise and you copy it back to them.
They do something with their hands and arms and you copy that action.

These moments are connection and conversation.

Research has shown us that brain growth across the first 3 years is the most rapid of any age.
At birth a baby’s brain weighs about 380g.
At 3 years of age it is 1270g.
At adolescence it is 1450g.

We also know that turn taking which researchers call ‘serve and return’ is critical to that growth.

Responding to your babies’ communication is important to their brain growth.

It is fairly instinctual though as we are wired to connect and as such we respond to our baby’s interactions. Know each time you do this you are supporting their brain development (pretty cool I think).

So copy their sounds.
Copy their actions.
You will find they will copy yours.
Add words for the things they are looking at or feeling.
You don’t need anything special or different. Just you and them.

Enjoy these early communication moments.

If you have a young child and finding yourself a little unsure how their communication is developing then I have an ebook (Is this normal? Typical milestones for speech development from birth to four years) that could be useful. You will find it here.

An introduction.

I would love to take a moment to introduce myself.

I live in Queensland, Australia and at the moment the Jacaranda trees are blooming which looks amazing. For all those at university it signals the need to have started studying!!

A few points about me:
• I have four children (17, 15, 13 and 11), whom are my greatest teachers, greatest cheerleaders and greatest ‘button pushers’.
• I have been a speech pathologist for 24 years.
• I have always worked with children and their families.
• I have two dogs, 3 cats, 10 chickens and over the years we have had rats (they were terrifyingly large), mice (they were not as cuddly as my daughter had hoped), and fish. At one point we had 7 cats when the kitten we re-homed declared she was pregnant. That was a wonderful experience for us all and cat mummas are extraordinary.
• We try hard to live and work in close proximity to each other.
• I love online courses especially in relation to business and food. I have realized I love learning. Action taking not always my strong point and I am working on that.
• My family once walked 64km in 4 days when we walked the Overland track in Tasmania. This was a life changing experience and I was by far our weakest link.
• I believe that all care should be person centered and so for me that means the child and family are front and centre. Our family has been on the receiving end of extraordinary care as well as ordinary care. When it is delivered from the place of where we were at it was hands down the better and richer experience.
• I am developing Small Connections to be an online Speech Pathology portal. Where you can feel heard and receive information you need to be making decisions regarding your young child’s communication development. I see it as a triage space.
• I will not see people in a physical location, only in the online space.
• I believe groups offer wonderful learning opportunities. Someone always has the same question as you and it is nice to feel you are not alone in your thoughts and concerns.

I am offering 4 spaces for one on one work in October. If this is for you then please head to this page.

It is school holidays here in Queensland. I love school holidays. I love the relaxation of routines. My kids have been indoctrinated with the ‘we go nowhere and do nothing’ until you can get along when bored. I also think boredom for kids is critical!

If you are looking for some support in understanding your young child’s speech then I am very happy to help.