Parent Talk

“News and views from our members”

May 2018 – Communication Month

This month we are focusing on communication. How do children learn to communicate? How does communication impact children’s behaviours?



This is exactly why Family Graffiti exists, to support and empower parents to help their children.
It always floors me, as to how hurtful (maybe unintentionally) ignorant words can be.
And we have lived through this as parents and grandparents. Believe me, we know your pain.

Look at your brave son, in that picture; his face is communicating more than any speech on his mobile phone could (lol).
And he has been through more trauma in his young life, than any outsider can describe.
Well done him and well done you. Don’t let others undermine you, let your sons battling spirit lift you.

Speech and development may come slower to your son, maybe because of his traumatic start.
But he is of an age where this can still yet be achieved. His ‘norm’ is what you understand and that is a very admirable start.

Communicate good messages to the ‘inner’ child, understand his frustrations and needs and he will gradually learn from you.

The others; unhelpful, non-empathetic, spiteful, these people are perhaps beyond our educating, and have shown very poor ‘norms’ of their own.
They are obviously delayed in empathy if nothing else.

Don’t be alone, your son still has the opportunity for learning and development in front of him.
If we can help, we will be here for you.

Family Graffiti

Parent Talk

Rhiannon has always been a very articulate child. When she was a toddler people assumed she was years older as she had such a huge vocabulary and grown up way of talking.

She has asked me on occasion, as many children do, what her first word was. I had to answer honestly with “I have no idea.” It was as if someone threw a switch in her brain labelled ‘speech’ and she just, well, talked! Five word sentences aged just 10 months old! The complete opposite to her sister who uttered her first word ‘shoes’ aged 16 months. With hindsight I should have realised that shoes would be a passion!

However, being precocious with her speech does not mean Rhi necessarily finds it easy to communicate. I recall, at two, her being overwhelmed during a shopping trip to Ikea. It was the classic meltdown but all those words she had and could use to such effect were not there. This became something of a pattern: during times of stress and anxiety all she had was rage, frustration and distress. She couldn’t use all those words to explain what was happening. Or why she was upset. In her own words from being three “when I get upset my words go away”

She spent more and more time assuming different personalities when going out and about. I assume as a coping mechanism. Most often she was a cat and would meow. Once back to the safety of home she would say “it’s me, Rhiannon, now.”

A  speech and language assessment scored her at secondary school age yet identified social communication difficulties. She can ‘butt in’ to conversations, is incapable of waiting her turn to talk, controls conversations back to her interests or loses interest and wanders off during a typical take turns exchange.

She also can take things literally. Jokes and sarcasm are often lost on her and concepts we grasp she can take some time to get to grips with. I remember an exchange that started with me saying “what a lovely summer’s day.” She replied with “It’s not Summer, it’s Tuesday.” She couldn’t understand it could be both Summer and a Tuesday!

Communication difficulties are not always as obvious, but they can still be there, even with very wordy ‘little professors’.