Strategy 1: Develop A Trusting Relationship with the Child
What to do
- Always identify yourself when you interact with the child
- Choose a name sign or personal identifier and use it consistently to let the child know who you are
- Say "Hello" and "Good-bye" and expect the child to do the same
- Learn how to have a conversation with a child in non-traditional ways
- Provide opportunities with a partner for turn-taking (see box to right)
- Expect, wait for and acknowledge child's responses (Actions Speak Louder than Words video from minute 7:34-9:50)
- Identify the child's likes and dislikes
- Allow the child to direct conversations about their topic (follow their agenda, not yours)
- Have frequent conversations with the child (may or may not use spoken language)
- Incorporate rhythm, music, finger plays and mime games into daily routines and activities
Things to Consider
Are you close enough so the child knows you are there?
- Is the child positioned in a manner that is both functional and comfortable?
- Are the cues you are using specific to and appropriate for the child?
- For a child who is non-verbal, have you explored using voice output devices?
- Does your pacing match that of the child?
- Are you engaging in an action the child likes rather than something you want the child to do?
Tips for Turn-Taking
- Place yourself in close proximity to the child and in a position so the child knows you are there
- Greet the student and introduce yourself
- Watch and wait for a response. Be patient and give child time to notice and process your presence.
- Enter the child’s space and adopt the child’s pace, follow the child’s lead
- Imitate the child’s actions (vocal, visual, movement)
- Add words or music to the child’s actions
- Look for a response from the child – may be subtle (change in breathing rate, skin color, change in pace of their action)
- Begin a turn-taking exchange (action – cue to respond – wait – repeat)
- Find ways to turn-take within familiar interactions, routines and activities (e.g. bath time)
- Use familiar and favorite objects