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The modules below have been created for caregivers in the Waiora Tamariki Programme to support children’s social communication.

Engaging your Child and Following their Lead

Attention is essential for learning. Capturing your child’s attention is the first step to ensuring he or she is motivated and ready to learn from you. Following your child’s lead during play can increase their attention and provide opportunities for learning. This module discusses ways to engage your child’s attention through play, including how to set up the environment to maximise your child’s focus. This module also discusses how to follow your child’s lead and join in on their interests and activities.

This module covers:
  • Understanding your child’s likes and dislikes
  • Setting up the environment for interaction and learning
  • Following your child’s lead
  • Narration and the use of positive emotions
  • Joining in on activities

Engaging through Play and Everyday Routines

Play provides an important context for learning; when children are motivated by play, they are focused and ready to learn. When you and your child are actively engaged in the same play activity this creates a powerful learning environment. This module discusses different ways to engage with your child through games with people and objects, including within everyday routines, to promote social communication and learning. This module also considers how to support your child to transition between activities.

This module covers:
  • The use of games with people and objects
  • Expanding your child’s play themes
  • Imitation and turn taking
  • Weaving play and learning into everyday routines
  • Packing up and transitioning between activities

Supporting Tamariki to Learn New Skills

All behaviour has a purpose and is a form of communication. Identifying the factors that occur before behaviour and the consequences that immediately follow it helps us to understand why behaviour occurs. This module discusses the ‘ABC’ model of how children learn behaviour, and how to apply this model to support your child to learn new skills and behaviours.

This module covers:
  • The ABC model of learning
  • Using the ABC model to support skill development
  • Specific strategies to support learning, including prompting, step-by-step teaching, and the use of visual supports
  • When it is optimal to teach

Understanding, Reducing and Replacing Harmful Behaviour

The ABC model can also be used to understand why a child may engage in harmful behaviour (e.g., aggression such as biting or hitting). This module focuses on ways to support your child to safely and effectively communicate their needs and wants to reduce or replace harmful behaviour.

This module covers:
  • The ABCs of harmful behaviour
  • How to develop goals for replacement behaviour
  • Specific strategies to support replacements behaviours

Supporting Non-Verbal Communication

Body language is a powerful way of conveying meaning without words and can set the foundation for language development. This module covers practical ways to teach and support your child to communicate non-verbally in the context of play.

This module covers:
  • Specific strategies to facilitate non-verbal communication, including modelling, intentionally creating opportunities for communication, the use of prompts and visual supports
  • Ways that you can respond to encourage and shape non-verbal communication

Supporting Verbal Communication

Spoken language is an important element of communication that enables children to express themselves and convey messages to other people. This module discusses ways to teach and strengthen your child’s verbal communication.

This module covers:
  • Specific strategies to support verbal communication, including modelling, creating opportunities for spoken language, and the use of prompts
  • Ways that you can respond to encourage and expand verbal communication

Module Resources and Summaries