Dealing with a child who has a language disorder can be a difficult experience for everyone involved. Not only is the child easily frustrated inside of a learning environment, but you too can often feel helpless in the situation.
Figuring out ways to help a child deal with their vocabulary development can be quite taxing, to say the least. And in order to get the results you’re looking for, you have to have a decent idea of what to do, and what not to do, so you don’t make things worse.
But what tips and tricks are worth knowing when dealing with a child who has a language disorder? And what can you do to make the entire process easier for everyone involved?
If you’re asking yourself these kinds of questions, wonder no longer, because we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll give you 6 ways that you can help a child dealing with language disorders learn new words and phrases more easily.
Now then, let’s get started.
1. Speak Slowly and Be Patient
Above all else, it’s important that you speak slowly and be patient when dealing with a child who has a language disorder. Your calm and patient demeanor can go a long way in helping them relax, and thus, make it easier to communicate and work with them.
The child is most likely going to be very easily frustrated, especially within a learning environment. It’s your job to make that environment calm and relaxing, so they can focus on the task at hand.
2. Exaggerate and Use Gestures
When communicating with a child who has a language disorder, it’s imperative that you exaggerate when pronouncing new words. This makes it easier for them to hear the various sounds that make up those words, which in return makes it easier for them to learn how to say them.
Using gestures that relate to those words also helps the child learn what different words mean, and helps keep them focused, too. And anything that you can do to make it easier to learn, and easier to focus, is worth trying out.
3. Use Objects and Pictures
As we touched on briefly, visual learning cues are extremely helpful when dealing with children who have language disorders and learning disabilities. And while gestures work well, objects and pictures take this approach to the next level.
Spend some time gathering various objects and pictures that you can use to make teaching that much easier. And when you find a word or phrase that the child has a hard time saying, come up with a picture or object you can use to make it easier to understand.
This is a great way to make learning fun, so try and find some funny pictures that relate to whatever it is you’re trying to teach them. Because if you can make the experience feel more like a game than a chore, you’ve got a better chance of getting positive results.
4. Ask If They Understand Often
Because learning new words and phrases is difficult for children with language disorders, oftentimes they will want to get through a session as quickly as possible. That means they will often lie about whether or not they actually understand what it is you’re saying, which of course isn’t a good thing.
That’s why it’s important to confirm with the child they do indeed understand, and often, so you can keep them engaged. Again, don’t be afraid to ask them if they’re grasping new things every few minutes.
They may get annoyed, but it’s not a good idea to have them just sit quietly while you do all of the talking.
5. Play the “Repeat Back to Me” Game
One of the best ways to confirm that a child is picking things up clearly is to ask them to play the “repeat back to me” game. Because if they can repeat back whatever it is you’re trying to teach them, there’s a good chance that they’ve grasped that new information.
If you can, try to get other people involved in the process, too. Having your child repeat something that they have learned to someone else is, again, a great way to confirm that they’ve picked it up.
And having someone celebrate with you both is a great way to encourage them to make the entire process fun.
6. Utilize Positive Reinforcement
To further build upon that last point, it’s important to utilize positive reinforcement whenever you can. Celebrating even the smallest of wins can go along way in keeping the child engaged during learning sessions.
If you can find ways to make the child want to learn new words or phrases, you can more easily get the results you’re looking for. And best of all, celebrating those wins together will be both a rewarding experience for you and the child.
Helping Children with Language Disorders
Well, there you have it! Those are 6 ways to help children with language disorders learn new words and phrases more easily.
As we mentioned, patience is without a doubt the most important thing you have to have to be successful. Speak slowly, exaggerate your words and use gestures, and stay calm and relaxed throughout the process.
Confirm that the child understands what it is you’re trying to teach them. Ask them to repeat it back to you, or someone else, so you can confirm that they understand.
Have a child with ADHD? Check out our article on how you can help them succeed in school.