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“Use Your Words” ?!?!

Fall Bulletin 2015- # 13
Behaviour Problems and Communication

An article in the Globe and Mail (December 2014) described the strategy that many parents use when their children are upset, demanding attention and having a meltdown. Parents often say “use your words” unrealistically asking the child to be rational and calm to find the words to say to express his/her needs. Julie Freedman Smith of Parenting Power reports and Sharon agrees that in the throes of high emotional/physical needs the access to the logical, word-finding and regulated part of the brain is denied. Behaviour problems are communication problems, all the more so when children are younger or have speech and language delays/disorders. As for most of the strategies for teaching behaviour or better/more clear communication is:

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN YOUR CHILD
MODEL THE COMMUNICATION YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO EXPRESS

• You take a deep breath.
• Observe the child’s behaviour to understand the cause/problem.
• Validate the purpose of the communication (“You want my attention!)”.
• Name the feeling (“You are really upset!”).
• Validate the feeling and model the words to use in the context (“That makes sense. Let’s take turns…”).

Behaviour problems are often communication problems. Speech and Language therapy can help improve communication!

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