Climbing Mt. “No:” Tips to Help Navigate this Very Important Two-Letter Word
Guest Authored By Emily P, M.S., CCC-SLP
At an early age, “no” is used as a quick and effective way to help children make safe choices andunderstand expected vs. unexcepted choices. For example, “no jumping on the bed,” or“no throwing toys.”But, how do children with language and processing delaysrespond to these cues?
Often, we will see them repeat that action we initially said “no” to, multiple times. This can be frustrating for parents,caregivers, and teachers. We’ve compiled these trailmaps we can all use to help ourchildren when we aretempted to use the word “no.”
Model, Model, Model:Children with language processing delays often have difficulty understanding spoken language and what is being presented verbally. This can make following simple directions and language challenging, includingthe word “no.”Modeling an expectation is a way to communicate the idea of “no” while removing verbal processing demands. It allows children to imitate the expected choice and reduces unexpected choices.
Example:Saying“no throwing toys,” + modeling gently setting the toy down orother safe/expected actions we can do with the toys.
This example uses the concept of “ideation.” During early development, children are learning this process of creating and generating ideas. This can be through watching others, playing, or learning new experiences throughout childhood and within the environment. Providing ideas on what to do plus using “no” canhelp your child follow directions.
Language Choices:Using simple language of what they are expected to doinstead of “no,” can be helpful, as children benefit from clear cut directions.
Example:“we need to use walking feet” or “let’s move our feet nice and slow.” This varied language can be a helpful insteadof “no running.”
An extra step is to have them repeat the directions back to you! This can help them better process the language that has been verbally presented.
Choices:Providing choices for a child of what they can do. This is a great way to support our children if they are having difficulty understanding that “no” means “not an option.”
Example:“we can read a book or play a game” as an alternative to “no tv right now.”
Problem Solving:Problem solving through the word “no” cancreate an opportunity to reflect about why their action was unexpected or unsafe.
Example:“what might happen if we climb on the table? “instead of “no climbing.”
This canhelp them understand the cause and effect or impact of their actions. This can alsoencourage them to follow directions.
The idea of “no” and the effect it has is not only an important developmental milestone, but also a powerful concept that can be challenging for anyone to navigate. The above “trail maps” can support everyone involved when we are climbingMt. “No” with our children. Have questions? Want to learn more strategies? Reach out to your child’s speech therapist (SLP) or ask if speech therapy services are right for your child.
Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.
Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.
Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!