Why encourage your child to make a request?

Why encourage your child to make a request?
Some children will not be able to say words and some will be able to say
words but don’t have any ‘need’ to talk because their wishes and needs
are met without needing to talk. This can happen more often when a
child has a closely aged sibling. The child may rely on using gesture or
grunting which the sibling interprets. If the child is one of twins, the twins
can develop their own communication system. When a child relies on
something other than talking to communicate:
• They may ‘request’ items by pointing and or accompanying this
pointing with a vocal sound, e.g. ‘uh’.
• Parents/carers respond to this pointing or grunting because they
‘know’ what the child wants.
• When others are caring for the child, these other adults often do
not have the same understandings that the parent has. There is
lack of understanding and communication and this can be
frustrating for both the child and the adult.
Once a child is starting to use sounds or words to talk, adults should:
• Expect the young child to vocalise as near to the name of the item as
is possible for the child - even if it is only the first sound or an
approximation of the word i.e. ‘ju’ or ‘u’ when trying to say ‘juice’. Or,
‘mik’ when trying to say ‘milk’.
• Use the correct name of the item - avoid copying the child’s attempts.
For example,
! If the child says: “ju ju”, the adult says: “Juice. I’ll get your
juice” or “Juice. Here’s your juice”.
Offer toys in containers with a tight lid so the child has to ask for
assistance or say, “Open.” or “Open please.”
Use toys that require asking an adult to help:
Blowing bubbles
Wind-up toys
Squeaky toys (e.g. need pressing or squeezing to sing/dance)
Music boxes - Jack-in-the-box; wind up e.g. dancing monkey
Spinning tops
Offer things bit by bit – (Small piece of fruit at a time, rather than
whole plate)
• Give the child everything but the one item they need to complete
the task – e.g. withhold the spoon to eat with, the paintbrush to
paint with.
Put a child’s favourite things where they can see them, but where
they can’t reach them.
e.g. toy, food