As kids enter their school years, they become increasingly independent, spending
much of their days outside the home in school and with peers. But talking with your
child is still essential to bonding, so share ideas, opinions, and information.
Communicating With Your Child
Here are a few suggestions to aid communication:
Make time to hear about the day's activities; be sure your child knows
you're actively interested and listening carefully.
Remember to talk with your kids, not at them.
Ask questions that go beyond "yes" or "no" answers to prompt more developed conversation.
Take advantage of time during car trips or standing in line at stores to talk
with your child.
Make time for sporting and school events, playing games, and talking about current
Encourage your child to read books and stories that are slightly above his or
her competency level.
Vocabulary and Communication Patterns
As kids progress in school, their comprehension and use of language will become
more sophisticated. Usually, kids will understand more vocabulary words and concepts
than they can express. Your child should be able to engage in narrative discourse
and share ideas and opinions in clear speech.
If You Suspect a Problem
You should have ongoing communication with your child's teacher about overall language
skills and progress. Kids with language comprehension and usage problems are at risk
for academic difficulties.
A child who has a specific communication difficulty, such as persistent stuttering
or a lisp, should be referred to the school speech-language
pathologist (an expert who evaluates and treats speech and language disorders).
Stay in touch with the therapist about therapy goals, language activities to
practice at home, and your child's progress.
If your child's teacher suspects a language-based learning disability, comprehensive
testing will be done. This can include a hearing
test, psychoeducational assessment (standardized testing to evaluate your child's
learning style as well as cognitive processes), and speech-language evaluation.
Typical Communication Problems
Problems in communication skills may include:
difficulty with attention or following directions in the classroom
difficulty retaining information
poor vocabulary acquisition
difficulties with grammar and syntax
difficulties with organization of expressive language or with narrative discourse
difficulties with academic achievement, reading, and writing
persistent stuttering or a lisp
voice-quality abnormalities, such as a strained, hoarse sound (may require a medical
examination by an otolaryngologist — an ear, nose, and throat specialist)
Medical professionals, such as speech pathologists, therapists, and your doctor,
can help your child overcome communication problems.