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Quiet Child


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please could any of you lovely people give me any inspiration for a child i have!!!

 

he does 5 mornings was less than that till quite recently as he was not settled but since doing 5 mornings, he has really settled

 

i try to plan for his interests in my 'adult led actvity' but it is so difficult as this little boy is soooooo quiet i cant get anything from him.

 

i ask open questions, ive tried saying statements so he could lead a little, ive shown him our photos of our areas which helps a little but if you ask him questions he just says dunno in this sweet little quiet voice!!!

 

am i doing to much or not enough, how do i look at it

 

any suggestions

 

please help

 

louisa

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Hi,

 

At my school we have had some training on O W L ing. Observe, Wait, Listen from our Speech and Language Therapist This basically means not putting any pressure on the child at all to speak and kind of goes against what you may have done before BUT does actually work.

 

It goes something like this.....smiling at the child, parallel play with accompanied sound effects and running commentary etc but not any direct questions...even "how are you?" It's really, really hard to do but eventually they will begin to speak more because they feel under no pressure what so ever to "perform". This may take a day it may take a week or even longer but it really is worth a go and is a recognised technique. We use it a lot with our EAL children who have a good understanding of English but aren't yet confident to have a go. With one child who just wasn't talking at all we set up the water tray with his favourite aquatic animals and he started to play. The adult came along and started to play at the other end, making splashing sounds and whale noises.....After 20 minutes of tortuous playing and OWLing our little chap started chatting away. We were amazed....This is just one case but it is the best example!

 

What do his parents say about him? Is he generally a quiet child or does he talk quite happily at home and with other known adults? Is he generally shy in new situations? You don't say how long he's been with you but give him time....

 

Hope it's useful.

 

Sassa

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instead of adult led activities why not join him in his chosen activities instead, where he might be alittle more comfortable,

We have a little girl who is exactly like this except i know she can be vocal when she wants, she will not open up to her key person but will often to me so i often do observations for her key person.

 

you could also try sitting a little way from him and record what if any conversation is going on and of course give him time

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That's a really hard one. If you could find him alternative ways to communicate he may be more at ease but then he may be even more reluctant to speak. At the same time if you put pressure on him to speak you could may him more reluctant to do it.

 

My gut feeling would be to speak to him as if you're expecting an answer all the time but accept him not wishing to give one. Try to find a balance between making him feel comfortable and allowing him to opt out of speaking. If it goes on for a long time I would be tempted to look for some professional support in case this turns into selective mutism.

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If it was me I'd try observing him during child initiated time and seeing what he chooses to do, who he interacts with and how he interacts. I have a child in my class who is very quiet with adults but really opens up with her friends (particularly when she doesn't think any adults are watching!).

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Hi, I'm going to say exactly the same thing as Sassa. Silence can take months though, don't look for a miracle quickly.

Leave the time for his response a lot longer - he may need longer to process the information you are giving him to formulate his answer. You could count to 40 seconds and then if he still hasn't answered verbally, see if you can get a non-verbal response by offering him one, like a smile or a shrug (or both)

 

Does he talk much at home? I had a little boy who was mute with us but prattled away the minute he took hold of Mum's hand at hometime.

 

Build up the bond, he'll open up when he's ready.

Edited by Cait
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Are his parents any help, he may tell them what he enjoys at your setting they will know what he enjoys at home. They could also tell you what he's like at home and in other places. Are observations any help or is he a floater without any apparent favourites? Could you ask him to photograph the things he likes around the setting?

 

you may need to begin by offering him a choice of two things to get him to choose, or use forced choice questions, will he choose by selecting the pictures you show him?

But you may decide he needs time settle some more. in which case I would play along side him for a while talking about what he is doing with out any apparent expectation that he will speak, then gradually begin to leave the end off your sentences. eg the train is going up the..... and use indirect questioning "I wonder what colour the red and blue paint will make?" so he can fill in the answer if he wants.

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The two choices method has worked well with us in the past with a child who found it difficult to communicate verbally, and eventually she did verbalise her choices alongside indicating which object/picture she was choosing.

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Recently we have had a "quiet" child at our setting. My Husband couldn't get her to speak to him by asking questions. I took over and played with her. We played with the play doh and I said what I was going to make. I made a square but said I was making a circle. Just to see if she would notice that I had made a "mistake" and pick up on it and correct me. She didn't but she was interested in what I was doing and commented on what she wanted me to make. It got the conversation moving. Later I made a snake and told her that I was making it's tounge which had a v shape on it. She made a tounge and asked me if I could make the tounge for her snake.

 

I think a way to deal imo with quiet children is to play alongside them and comment on what you are doing. Making "mistakes", mucking around, commenting on what they are doing etc. This encourages them to correct the mistakes or at least for them to see and maybe comment on what you are doing.

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My son was silent at preschool for al the time he was there... but at home was so chatty .

 

his reason was as suggested by others he did not want to get things wrong when questioned.. it worried him he could be wrong so preferred not to answer - he was still learning from what was happening and enjoyed the setting, just did not want to talk.

 

I too used to do as sassy suggested with the quiet children, play alongside, verbalising while playing at something he has chosen... often they would move away, so we left it and continued another time.. eventually they became more confident in themselves to talk to us.

 

I used to first check with parents about how the child was at home, lots of language, chatting, talk in sentences or one word.. to make sure there was not a language difficulty / speech delay that may need addressing.

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There is no need for him to speak in order for you to be able to plan from his interests - just watch and you will learn from his non verbal communciation.

 

Are you feeling under pressure to record evidence of him speaking? This is what worries me about all this evidence gathering stuff that staff are pressured to do.

 

As others have said, don't put any pressure on him.

 

Have you heard of elective mutism, might be worth a google. Some children will refuse to speak for a long time in high pressure situations.

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Hi,

 

At my school we have had some training on O W L ing. Observe, Wait, Listen from our Speech and Language Therapist This basically means not putting any pressure on the child at all to speak and kind of goes against what you may have done before BUT does actually work.

 

It goes something like this.....smiling at the child, parallel play with accompanied sound effects and running commentary etc but not any direct questions...even "how are you?" It's really, really hard to do but eventually they will begin to speak more because they feel under no pressure what so ever to "perform". This may take a day it may take a week or even longer but it really is worth a go and is a recognised technique. We use it a lot with our EAL children who have a good understanding of English but aren't yet confident to have a go. With one child who just wasn't talking at all we set up the water tray with his favourite aquatic animals and he started to play. The adult came along and started to play at the other end, making splashing sounds and whale noises.....After 20 minutes of tortuous playing and OWLing our little chap started chatting away. We were amazed....This is just one case but it is the best example!

 

What do his parents say about him? Is he generally a quiet child or does he talk quite happily at home and with other known adults? Is he generally shy in new situations? You don't say how long he's been with you but give him time....

 

Hope it's useful.

 

Sassa

 

thank you for ideas sassa, i will def try it but think it will be hard for me as just feel i need to be saying something to him or im not 'interacting' with the child but think your way will be so much better.

his parents say he is just quiet,!! he has 3 big brothers and sisters at home!!!

he has been with us since sep, i will give him more time

 

thank you

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instead of adult led activities why not join him in his chosen activities instead, where he might be alittle more comfortable,

We have a little girl who is exactly like this except i know she can be vocal when she wants, she will not open up to her key person but will often to me so i often do observations for her key person.

 

you could also try sitting a little way from him and record what if any conversation is going on and of course give him time

 

 

have tried joining in with his chosen activites but he kindda just wonders about, have sat back and observe wat he does and do but he just looks so lost!!

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There is no need for him to speak in order for you to be able to plan from his interests - just watch and you will learn from his non verbal communciation.

 

Are you feeling under pressure to record evidence of him speaking? This is what worries me about all this evidence gathering stuff that staff are pressured to do.

 

As others have said, don't put any pressure on him.

 

Have you heard of elective mutism, might be worth a google. Some children will refuse to speak for a long time in high pressure situations.

 

 

suziec8 i do feel pressured and thats my problem, maybe i am giving to much pressure to him and myself.. for him to speak and me to get the cll obs

 

thank you

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thank you so much to all of you, you have given me a different view to look at and def will, i have played alongside him but still ask im lots (mayb to many) questions, i will try!!! so i will take all yr ideas on board.

 

i did have a bit of breakthrough today, i had the whiteboard on with lots of sounds and letters from phase 1 (the letters and sounds book) he came over and joined in, voiced he wanted a turn and was telling me (in such a quiet voice) what he had heard. i think the language is there and he is obviously a quiet spoken child with 3 older brothers ans sisters i suppose you mayb (not sure)!!!!!

 

but he was there and thats the main thing

 

thank you guys

 

louisa

 

x x

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suziec8 i do feel pressured and thats my problem, maybe i am giving to much pressure to him and myself.. for him to speak and me to get the cll obs

 

thank you

 

 

Recording body language can be just as informative as spoken words for CLL observations. ie: He glanced towards the wall appearing to notice the sun light beaming in. Activity idea from this could be giving him a mirror (safety one) to play with making light patterns on the wall.

 

Don't be too hard on yourself, I remember my course students complaining to me that they couldn't do observations because "The child doesn't do anything", I'd reply by asking "Is the child breathing?" Yes, then the child IS doing something, write it down. :o

 

As the child wanders around he may not be doing anything specific BUT he will be showing some interest through where he looks, for how long he looks at various things / other children / adults, what attracts his attention, what things he blatantly ignores etc etc.

 

Another way to help with verbalising is to let him play with a tape recorder, or small voice recorder.

 

Peggy

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