As my followers are aware of I am a big believer of communicating with your locked in client at an early age to help the brain to develop language. At eighteen months a toddler will have a very simple language system going. I encourage families and speech therapist to give their toddlers a flip book which contains one word pictures, this will help the child to understand they have a voice and their job is to use this voice. If an individual starts their life knowing that if they speak, people will listen, it will set the standard that he or she will be expected to communicate.
I can tell when a mentee is not continuously being communicated with because they would come to me severely delayed in their language skills. I can tell what age they are, just by the way they are choosing to use their communication device and how much help I need give them to organize their thoughts. My client is showing a big delay in her language skills and I credit this, to her not being well communicated with at an early age. Children, disabled or not, need to understand the art of communication, to be able to voice their wants and needs.
As a speech therapist, you need to give toddlers communication devices that have simple, one hit sayings and as they grow, have the communication device evolve with them. The child will hopefully start to understand that along with having a voice they are no different from other child. This will help client to grow up understanding, that they are going to be excepted to make something out of themselves and that will be the norm from the start.
All children like and thrive on higher expectations and challenges, which is why I tend to push my clients. They will start to have a higher level of expectations for themselves. At my job, we have children who start at communicating at a preschool level and they work themselves up to a point, where they are ready to go back to their own school districts and they have gained communication skills to compete with other able body peers. The earlier the child starts to talk independently, the sooner they are returned to their districts so they can be with their peers. It is easier to get a child to understand what a powerful tool they have in their voice, verses trying to install that into them at an older age. So, my advice to speech therapist is that the earlier you are able to get a client to communicate the better chances they will have of developing at the average rate.
Until next Time, Enjoy Your Children