Speech Pathologists look at communication as a series of different skill sets.
So when we are considering where kid’s strengths are we are looking at what they understand, the words they use, the sounds that they use, the non-verbal skills they have and their understanding of the social constructs of communicating with others.
I think of communication skills as building blocks. Our oral communication skills are the building blocks to literacy. I have also over the years thought of communication much like a healthy tree.
You need strong roots – these are our hearing and our attachment and connections to primary care givers.
From there the trunk can form thick and strong – what we understand, the words we know and use, the sounds that we have.
Then the big branches form and these are our complex sentences and storytelling skills. Understanding the social dynamics in a conversation.
Then the thick luscious canopy of the tree is the world of opportunity that good, strong communication skills can offer our kids. Strong reading skills, feeling confident at school, doing well at school, making friends, opportunities in the future. These all come from healthy, strong roots.
Clearly life is not as simple but at the core of it that is what communication can offer.
Communication development in a young child follows a typical pattern.
With crying being our babies primary means of getting their message across.
Kids are understanding long before they are expressing themselves with words.
I recall when my eldest was very young and not yet talking. He was in a farm dam (muddy body of water for those not familiar with dams) and my Dad was putting mud in his hands. When he got words a few months later he was telling me about the time that Pa put mud in his hands at the dam and expressing his disgust with the mud! I was gob-smacked, even though I know how it all works but to see it in action was awe-inspiring. Here was this small toddler, memories being laid down, understanding being laid down and then when the words came he could talk about it.
So I find myself super passionate to support parents to understand that what they do matters, but it is not hard and nor is it rocket science. But supporting our kids to be capable communicators is a really important part of what we do as parents!
In the words of Paul Kelly: “From little things big things grow”.
Yours in Small Connections
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