Getting a child to listen is not always the easiest thing to do in the world, but learning how to get a child to listen becomes especially important for children with special needs.
Children have a variety of reasons for not listening to their parents, guardian, or teachers.
How adults communicate to the child matters
Children and children with special needs can be sensitive to the tone of communication as well as the words being used. Often, adults might unintentionally take an accusatory tone with the child or they come across as reprimanding the child when it might not be the case.
It’s important not to humiliate or shame the child when speaking to them. Pressing the child with questions is counterproductive as it triggers their self defense mechanism. When the child does not open up, they are more difficult to teach and learning opportunities diminish.
Ensure you are always attentive:
Letting the child speak, listening to them, and reflecting what they say back to them allows the child to understand that they can speak openly and safely in the company of people who are willing to listen to them without pressure or judgement.
Making yourself available:
Create a safety zone to help build trust. Since children do not have daily agenda for themselves, this allows you to be there when the child is comfortable enough to open up of their own. Trying to make children talk on the parent’s or the educator’s schedule can often have the opposite effect.
Talk while the child is engaged in an activity:
Children who are engaged in an activity have shown a willingness to speak and open up more as they are distracted with activity. This can be when they are drawing, painting, or solving a puzzle. It provides a way for them to speak up without feeling directly confronted and forced.
Join us at College of Allied Educators to see how you can develop an understanding of the different types of exceptional children, their needs, and the different special needs programmes and specialties that are available to you, for them.
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