Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dr. Jim's Thanksgiving Letter

As the holidays arrive, here's Communicating Partners', Dr James D MacDonald's "Thanksgiving Letter" to extended family, written from the perspective of the parent of a child who is delayed in communication, speech, and language. It's good enough to share.

Dr. Jim wrote:

Dear Family Members:

My child can do more than you think!

Interact WITH not AT my child.

Enter physically in his world and observe him silently for a short while.

Become aware of his interests and ability level.

Then, gently join into his activity without disrupting it.

Do what the child is doing.

Do not do a lot more than he is doing- but be active.

Match his movements; act in ways he can try to do.

Respond to his movements with similar, related movements.

Talk about the here and now, about the child's experiences.

Be animated: be more interesting than what is distracting him.

Do more of what you do when he stays with you.

Do less of what you do when he leaves you.

Match his speech: talk in ways he can now talk (this will help him talk more.)

Respond to his speech: show him you are interested.

Wait silently for him to take his turn.

Don't praise him: enjoy him instead; your response is the best reward.

Take turns with action and talk: be sure to give and take.

If you don't understand him, treat it as a foreign language and simply give him an English word that fits the situation.

Limit your questions and demands: comment instead.

Bottom line: the more you enjoy each other, the more my child will learn with you.

1 comment:

walking said...

Can I have an amen?

Very thoughtful letter!

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