#284 11 Skills Toddlers Must Use Before Words Emerge – #6 Understanding Gestures
In this podcast I’m discussing the importance of helping a child learn to understand gestures and nonverbal communication, the next skill toddlers achieve before first words emerge.
A child who understands gestures others use is connected socially – meaning he watches and listens to other people as they talk to him. It also means that he’s moving along cognitively (how he learns and thinks) and is beginning to assign meaning to what other people say and do. It’s an important marker for language development.
TIPS FOR UNDERSTANDING GESTURES
The best way to help a child learn to understand gestures is for adults to use gestures a lot! In the show I provided examples for LOTS of ways parents can incorporate gestures naturally as they go about their everyday lives with their children. Another important thing we can do is to make our facial expressions match our words.
Listen here or by clicking the play arrow:
Before we can expect a child to understand and use SIGN LANGUAGE, he should be understanding and using the kinds of gestures we talked about on today’s show. So… this means that if you’ve tried unsuccessfully to teach a child some signs and he’s not getting it, take a step back and look at how he uses and understands these kinds of gestures FIRST.
I also referenced a couple of charts from my book Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual if you’d like to take a look at those and get detailed instructions for helping a child not only understand gestures, but begin to use gestures himself.
Ready for the next show? Click here!
If you’ve missed the other shows in this series, listen here from the beginning:
#275 Introduction Show – Why These Skills are Important
#276 Overview of Skills 1 – 5
#277 Overview of Skills 6 – 11
#278 Responds to Things in the Environment
#279 Responds to People
#280 Building an Attention Span
#281 Developing Joint Attention
#282 – Developing Early Play Skills (part one)
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Thank you so much for all your hard work and publishing books! Our 17-month-old toddler suddenly exploded into speaking and imitating everybody's gestures and sounds, just a week or two after we 'completed' all activities that are listed under 11 pre-linguistic skills! Your method really works!"
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What an inspiration!
Thank you for helping me be a better Developmental Therapist. I often listen to your podcasts which help me help families.
Your enthusiasm, professionalism and
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You are part of my team.
I just wanted you to know I appreciate you."
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As a retired audiologist with a fabulous and language delayed grandson, I used your podcasts and outstanding publication, The Autism Workbook, to inspire and guide me over the past year.
It works!! He went from barely verbal, no gestures, didn't respond to his name etc etc to a verbal, social, curious, ready to imitate anything, fill in the blanks on familiar "set" speech, generate his own totally appropriate and mostly understandable sentences...not just short phrases anymore... full little paragraphs...about imaginary things, what he did during the day, what he wants. True communication!
You make a powerful difference in this world! ❤"
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I’m a parent who bought the autism workbook and it’s the only clear resource I found to make a change in my son. I’m really thankful to Ms. Laura for helping out people like us all over the world."
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Laura thank you so much. Btw, you have transformed my therapy- I have become such a competent and strong therapist after watching probably like 350 of your videos and podcasts over the past few years. And I am a seasoned therapist with almost 25 years experience. (Yes prob 350 episodes ha!) But there was still a lot I learned from you. I have such a thorough understanding of birth to 3 development and how to properly incorporate appropriate therapeutic goals, techniques and strategies now, thanks to you. Kelly
Hi Laura,I want to thank you so much for the resources you provide, my daughter has delayed speech and though she qualifies for CDS. Honestly the most progress she has made in her speech/language development has been after I implemented your 5 top strategies for delayed talkers! She is now almost 2.5 and her vocabulary is well over 75 (I haven’t counted recently, could be over 100) words when at 2 she barely had four words. Honestly the last few months have been a transformation for her.