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Strategies to support understanding of spoken language at home

Visual support

a visual timetable reading 'first' 'next' 'then' 'then' and finally'

Use a visual timetable.

Support spoken language with visual materials for example pictures and objects.

hands showing what is being described

Use signing or gesture.

Giving instructions

one big square next to one small square

Break language down into chunks.

 

numbers one, two, three

Give instructions one step at a time.

a group of circles that have been sorted in a line starting from small to big

Give instructions in chronological order.

speech bubble with arrows pointing to paper

Repeat key instructions.

snail

Speak at a slower rate than normal to allow the child to process what has been said.

Comprehension monitoring

Smiling face with a speech bubble containing a thumbs up

Encourage your child to say when they have not understood for example,

  • “What do I have to do?”
  • “Can you say it again?”
  • “Can you say it more slowly?”
  • “What does that word mean?”
blue tick

Praise your child when they ask for help:

  • “That was really good when you said you didn’t understand”
  • “That was really good when you asked for help”
Black question mark

Check back with your child that they have understood what they are meant to be doing, by asking open ended questions.

For example: “What do you need to do?”

Green box with two symbols inside meaning 'I understand'

Use symbols and colours. For example:

  • green tick: “I understand”
  • orange question mark: “I’m not sure”
  • red cross: “I don’t understand”

 

Top tips

All children can potentially benefit from these visual resources. They help make the verbal message a bit easier to understand.

Visual information like pictures and symbols are more ‘permanent’ and can stay available as a reminder of what needs doing.

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Disclaimer

Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

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S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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