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A tip for parents of young children who communicate without words

Sing songs with your child and build in opportunities for him to take turns

Sing simple songs with your child, especially ones with actions, like “Row Row Row your Boat”, and build in opportunities for him to participate. This is a fun way for him to learn to take his turn in an interaction, as well as to learn new words.

  • Sing a new song the same way a few times so your child learns the song and its “high point”. High points are the most interesting parts of a song. In “Row, Row, Row your Boat”, the high points are the rocking back and forth while you and your child sit on the floor, holding outstretched hands, and saying the last word after a long pause – i.e., “dream”.
  • Once your child is familiar with the song, pause before a high point and wait for him to respond.

For example, when singing “Row Row Row your Boat”, sing the song through once or twice and then, still holding his hands, WAIT for him to ask you to sing it again (he will probably make a sound or rock back and forth to ask you to do it again).

Or, you can start to sing the song while rocking back and forth, pausing mid-song so he can ask you to continue.

Or, you can slow down and pause before the last word (“dream”), so he can make a sound - any sound - to end the song.

  • To take his turn during songs, your child may wriggle, make a sound, look at you, point to something or perform an action. Accept anything as his turn and then continue immediately. The most important thing is that he takes a turn and has fun while doing it.

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