Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 4: Basic communication skills
Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!
Make a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.
People usually communicate by using words or signs. But children begin to communicate long before they learn these skills.
Communication happens when:
- one person sends a message, and
- another person receives the message and responds.
A young child sends a message by moving her body, making sounds, or changing the look on her face. When parents understand her movement and respond to her, they are already communicating.
This child is sending messages that:
|She is excited||She wants her toy||
She is happy to see her mother
Yes, Laila! Mama's back.
Basic communication skills develop when a child is a baby, before she learns to talk or sign. During this time you can help your child learn that communication makes things happen. Basic communication prepares your child to learn to speak and use sign language.
This chapter will help you understand how your baby can:
- take turns.
- pay attention to you.
- understand you.
- use gestures.
- make sounds.