By Karla Pretorius (Psychologist and Parent Coach)
It is essential for parents to provide opportunities for their children to communicate. When children have the opportunity to communicate, they feel more independent and are more likely to do so.
Here are some tips for increasing independence in children diagnosed with ADHD or ASD
1. Make sure your child has a way to communicate.
Whether it’s a whiteboard and markers or a voice output device, make sure your child has a way to communicate. This will give them the confidence to communicate their thoughts and needs.
2. Encourage your child to communicate.
Make sure you give your child plenty of opportunities to communicate. This could be through conversation, asking them questions, or giving them choices.
3. Listen to your child.
Give your child your full attention when they are communicating with you. This will show them that you value their thoughts and feelings.
4. Respond to your child.
Make sure you respond to your child’s communication. This could be through verbal or nonverbal communication. For example, you could nod your head or say “I see” to show you are listening.
5. Validate your child’s communication.
Let your child know that you understand what they are saying. This will help them feel heard and respected.
6. Follow through with your child’s requests.
If your child asks you for something, make sure you follow through. This will show them that you take their requests seriously.
7. Encourage your child to communicate with others.
Make sure your child has opportunities to communicate with other people. This could be through play, school, or extracurricular activities.
8. Model communication.
Be a good role model for your child by communicating effectively yourself. This includes using clear language, maintaining eye contact, and using facial expressions.
9. Encourage your child to use their communication skills.
Make sure you praise your child when they use their communication skills. This will show them that you value their efforts.
Have you tried all of this and your child is still struggling with communicating their needs and wants independently?
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