Adapting Adult Language and Interactions

Explain how adapting adult language and interactions can support a child's behaviour, emotional, social skills, as well as support their communication development

The amount and style of adult talk can greatly influence the environment and how accessible it is to children with speech, language or communication needs. Giving children time to process and understand information, and to respond is crucial. By adapting their use of talk in the setting and in particular their level of language, adults can really enhance their learning development as well as supporting their communication skills.

Adults can support this through a number of ways. These include:

- Focus on what the child is looking at or doing

– Follow their lead/ topic of conversation. Encourage children to talk about their own interests at appropriate times. By acknowledging all efforts at communication it shows that the child is valued. This will help build a positive relationship and support the child’s independence and self-confidence. - Get down to the child’s level

– It’s easier to talk if you are face to face.

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Taking it in turns to communicate so that the adult and the child both get a turn talking, giving choices to increase vocabulary, e.g. apple or orange?

Build up your child’s sentences by repeating what they say and adding words. If the child says a word inaccurately, acknowledge what they have said and repeat it back ‘once’ correctly.

- Use of rhetorical/ open questions and expanding statements

– Making sure you use lots of statements and fewer questions.

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Scaffolding techniques (whereby keywords and phrases are repeated)

- Giving children and young people the time needed to respond and process information

- Provide opportunities to communicate.

- Work one-to-one or in small groups - Give opportunities that facilitate communication with their peers (since social skills and language are inherently deeply rooted).

- Letting children work in pairs to encourage listening to each other. - Circle time can help develop listening skills and better attention.

- Use of shorter sentences.

- Support what you say with visual cues, gestures, diagrams etc.

- Listen and show interest with eye contact, body language etc.

- Give positive feedback.

Updated: Jul 06, 2022
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Adapting Adult Language and Interactions. (2016, Apr 29). Retrieved from

Adapting Adult Language and Interactions essay
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