This week in Literacy class we covered speaking and listening. We thought about all the situations during the school day that the child would need their speaking and listening skills. From the first time knowing where to put things and where to go, deciding and communicating what they want for dinner, taking the register, following rules, sharing/getting along with peers, asking to go to the toilet, in all lessons (reading/maths/PE, etc) – to pretty much all of the day. We then thought about all the things required for good speaking and listening skills.
Good Speaking and Listening Skills
- Speak clearly, at a pace that the other person can understand.
- Use the right tone of voice.
- Make sure that you have good eye contact – this will also ensure that non-verbal communication cues can be picked up.
- Use NVC – most language is read through our body/facial actions (this is why it is harder for children on the Autistic Spectrum to communicate).
- Respect the speaker – give them nods/smiles/say yes (at appropriate times) to show that you are listening. Do not interrupt. Do not have inappropriate responses (laugh when it is serious). Do not fidget or fiddle.
- Ask relevant questions.
- Ask for clarification/repetition of anything you did not understand or could not hear properly (do not do this too many times!)
- Have patience and think before you speak.
- Give the listener time to process the information – those on the spectrum may take longer to digest the information.
Developing Speaking and Listening Skills
The best way to help my Sensory Seeker to develop his speaking and listening skills is to just simply spending time with him – talking. We did two activities – the first was for him to draw a picture without me seeing it, then we had to talk to each other about it and for me to draw it (without seeing it). We sort of did this but he struggled with not showing it me, as he didn’t really understand that concept. Then we made a junk model together. He did a great job of discussing with me what he wanted to do, materials used. He absolutely loved what we created together and used lots of language to tell others about it. My boys really do seem to like “show and tell” sessions at school too. I think if they are passionate about something (especially if they are on the Spectrum) they find it easier to talk about.
I am really enjoying this course together, and I was delighted when he told me it was Monday (the day we do it). His face really lights up when he sees me come to collect him for it, and it has shown me how much I underestimate what he can do. We have homework too – finding the letters of his name in the newspaper, finding the score of his name in Scrabble, a punctuation hunt, a visit to the library – and lots lots more suggestions.