When we communicate with people be it children young people or adults we adapt our communication to the appropriate language. We will do this automatically if we are in a meeting with other professionals, we will act and speak in a formal and professional manner, whilst speaking to a infant we will be more animated and speak in a higher voice which we know will keep the babies attention.
So when I communicate with children I need to be clear so they can understand what is expected of them. I do
•Make eye contact
•Use verbal and non-verbal communication (signing using sign along) •I make sure I speak clearly
•I only give as much information that is needed
•Repeat myself when needed
•Ask a child to look at me if there attention is straying
•I will smile to encourage them to keep speak
•I try to ask extra questions to encourage them to keep the conversation going
•I ask them how they would make a one word answer into a sentence encourage them by giving them the words to make that sentence
•I also use PECs asking the child would they like juice or milk ECT.
The child will then choose the appropriate sign this is a very good form of communication when a child refuses to speak or does not have the vocabulary
•Other forms of communication I use are big macs jelly beans which can be programed or hooked up to computers, they can also be place on mount on a wheelchair for those who are infirmed, I have had many a wonderful lesson with children who use these, as they love to be able to join in and even show off there skills, they feel very much apart of the group showing how happy they are by laughing and smiling.
•Interrupt children whilst they are speaking as this discourages the child from wanting to approach me in the future •Will never dismiss what a child as to say because as this is known to lower self esteem) •Don’t laugh at
what a child is saying
•Hurry a child when they are speaking
•I know that at all times I need to keep my relationship with the children I work with that of a formal none not allowing to become over familiar as one child who as special needs did whilst in the play ground he came up to me put his arm round me and said hi miss, I move away from the child then turned round faced the child and told him that was unacceptable behavior and that it was not nice to get into someone personal space and he was not to do it again, he said he was sorry and would not do it again, the child understood what personal space ment as he was of secondary school age .
I then reported the incident to my line manager, as this was a cause for concern that had come up in the daily meeting with regards to the student behavior. On another occasion a new pupil who had just started in year seven was in tears so I approached the child not being sure of his name I first said hi what’s your name?
He said his name, I then asked him why he was crying, he said he was new to the school and was frightened, I told him not to worry as lots of children feel frightened when they come to a new school, I asked him would he like to walk round the playground with me, I let him link me for comfort to make him feel he had a friend, while we walked I asked him question i.e. which school he came from ect helping to build his confidence after awhile he was smiling feeling better, I then introduced him to other children I knew would look after him, the result was a week later he came to me and told me he was not scared anymore and that he quite liked redwood school.
As teaching assistants we can make a big difference to children and young adults lives by using the skills we have hound during our life.
Courtney from Study Moose
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