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Language difficulties: a child’s behaviour

Children with language difficulties tend to react strongly to changes and new situations. They often have a hard time understanding instructions and integrating notions of time, which often causes them to become very insecure and throw a tantrum. The following are some helpful tips on how you can make every day a pleasant one, and how you can make the most of fun moments:

  • To ensure your child’s everyday cooperation, establish a fixed routine in which everything is done in the same manner day in and day out so that they can have stable points of reference. This will help reassure your child. For example, their bedtime routine must consist of the same steps night after night: taking a bath, brushing their teeth, reading a story, and then going to sleep.
  • Use pictograms (small pictures) to illustrate in sequence the steps of more difficult routines and activities. These can be drawn in a way that your child can learn what the steps are and know how to go about them (e.g. pictograms on how to get ready for bed, get ready for school, get dressed, etc.).
  • Before switching to another activity, prepare your child by letting them know 5 minutes ahead of time. You can use a clock (with needles) where you can stick pictures to mark the start and end times of an activity. Your child needs visual references to help them understand more easily.
  • A wall calendar mounted at eye level is often very useful. Without over-crowding the calendar, you can stick pictures on it to mark important weekly activities. For example, you can mark the days they spend at the daycare and those they spend at home, or indicate any upcoming excursions.
  • Once you have planned a new activity, you should properly prepare your child ahead of time. From your local library, you can borrow a number of small books that show your child how certain activities are done. For example, to reassure your child before their first visit at the dentist’s office, they could look at pictures that illustrate the sequence of this type of visit. You can now find many different kinds of theme books (first day at school, going to see the doctor, etc.). 
About this page
Updated on 3/20/2015
Created on 1/19/2015
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The CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation’s Mélio Fund – formerly the Fondation Mélio – is an essential pillar of support for the centre of excellence in musculoskeletal disorders and in rehabilitation medicine. It is dedicated to providing ongoing and indispensable support for the 5,000 children with locomotor or speech impairments being cared for at the Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre (CRME).


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