Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 4: Basic communication skills

HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Deaf > Chapter 4: Basic communication skills

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
A small child smiles at his mother.
She is happy to see her mother
Yes, Laila! Mama's back.
A baby smiles and waves her arms.
A baby lies on her stomach and reaches for a toy.

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.