‘Communication’ is a broad term that includes many skills, such as talking, understanding what other people say, and body language. Body language includes using and understanding gestures (e.g., pointing, waving hello, nodding your head to mean “yes”, shaking your head to mean “no”), using eye contact, and showing how you feel by using different facial expressions.
Many children can face challenges with communication. These will vary and be unique to the child. Some may have challenges using and understanding spoken language (i.e., talking), others may have more difficulty using and understanding visual parts of communication (e.g. gestures, eye contact). Some children may use other ways to communicate if they can’t speak, such as sign language, gestures, picture cards or iPads.
A child’s ability to understand spoken language may differ from their ability to use spoken language. For example, a child might be able talk and express themselves clearly, but they may find it harder to understand instructions, especially if they are complex or lengthy.
Just because a child faces challenges with talking or communicating does not mean that they are not smart or that they have difficulties with thinking or learning. As a coach, learning how to communicate most effectively with a child is important so that everyone has the same opportunities to participate and have fun.