Help: My child does not respond when I ask simple questions.
Pause, stop asking questions and make sure your child has the foundational skills to know how to answer you. Teach them, and lessen the questions. This is the time, especially when they are young. We want to set them up for success and support their understanding of language. The more we model what the appropriate answers should be, the better outcomes they will have in the future and the more confident they will feel in answering you.
1. Recasting throughout the day. Saying things like “look it’s a book, do you see the *pause*”
2. Modeling Semantic features. I see a round, green, cucumber. “What’s this? *pause* / cucumber… it’s a round, green *pause* cucumber”
3. Lessening response/demands of too many new items at once. Don’t try to teach them the encyclopedia overnight.
4. Modeling, modeling, modeling. Sometimes I think kids feel nervous they will say the answer “wrong” so they do not speak when asked. I would honor whatever they say even if it is wrong. For example if they answer spoon for fork, try not to say “it’s NOT a spoon it’s a fork” but instead say “spoons are what we eat ice cream with forks are what we eat macaroni with, this is a fork. You say “fork”.
5. Model the answer you want them to give. If you ask your child where is the ball? And they don’t answer give them a few options. Say “is it in the toy room, bedroom, garage, or somewhere different?” Make sure to always include the last option which is somewhere or something different, in case it’s not.
6. It might be time for a language evaluation and support from an expert to help with more strategies at home.