A child can only learn that communication is possible if others are willing to communicate with them. Every youngster needs to develop two-way communication, not just speech skills - and you can help.

Physical closeness

Hold your child’s hand, touch his face, call his name and help him to turn to you. Once he does know his name, try calling it from a little distance away and then from another room.

Make sure he looks at your face when you are talking to him. Watching your lip movements and facial expression will help him to understand.

Position yourself so the child can look into your eyes. When your eyes are in line with your child’s, you will notice a lot more about your child’s facial expressions and level of interest.

By being face to face, you show your child you are interested in what he is doing or saying and become more aware of what you do and say.

React to your child’s smiles, laughter and frowning by copying them. Comment on your child’s feelings in an appropriate tone of voice such as “Oh dear, you look cross.” Try to use the same language each time using clear simple phrases.

Eye contact

Good eye contact is important for social interaction. It helps children pick up more information through facial expression and gesture. If necessary, gently move your child’s head to look at you or towards an object you are looking at.

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You are the best game in town and the best toy in the house.
Monte Ball Parent and psychiatrist