Clarification Strategies for Communication Partners
If your child presents with speech sound errors, there may be times when you (or another adult) don’t understand something they are saying. While this can be frustrating for your child, it can also be frustrating for you. Here are some tips you can use as a communication partner to help understand your child’s message and reduce frustration:
#1. Ask them to repeat it: Having your child repeat their message may help you understand them better. If your child becomes frustrated when you ask them to repeat themselves, try to put the blame onto yourself. For example, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening very well. Can you please tell me again?”. If you still don’t understand what they said, try using another clarification strategy.
#2. Repeat back parts of their message you understood: While you may not understand your child’s entire message, you may find that you understood a few phrases or key words. Repeat these back to your child so that they know that you understood some of their message. You can then build on this to get more of their message.
#3. Ask Yes/No questions: Asking yes/no questions can help narrow down what your child is talking about. Begin with more general questions and then you can ask more specific questions as needed to help you gain context for your child’s message.
#4. Ask clarifying questions. Asking a couple questions can help you determine the topic your child is talking about. Examples include: Who are you telling me about? Where did it happen? When did it happen? Once you have some context, it will be easier to understand at least some of their message.
#5. Use Closed-Ended Questions: Closed-ended questions involve choosing from a set of choices to answer the question. This reduces context to help understand what your child is saying.
- Mara H.