How to Setup my home for communication success

Your child may not be misbehaving or refusing to
follow the rules, rather, they may need support by
adjusting the home environment. Here are some helpful tips.


Does it ever seem like your child is well-behaved in certain places, but never at home? Have you ever returned from your child’s therapy session where they were well-behaved and communicated successfully - but at home you couldn’t even keep them seated for more than a few minutes? 

It probably feels like your child just won’t listen to you and they want to do everything their way because they are naughty.

Perhaps not!

Your child may not be misbehaving or refusing to follow the rules, rather, they may need support by adjusting the home environment. This is because children will behave differently depending on who is present, what’s in their environment and how much access they have to these. 

So what can you do?

It’s important to create situations where your child cannot easily or immediately receive what they would like, as this removes the need for your child to intentionally communicate with another person.

1. Hold Back

 You might be tempted to give your child what you know they want, but don’t give in! 

Keep their toys stored in containers that are not easily accessible – this will give your child a chance to ask you for something they want, whilst preventing them from causing havoc in your home!

During playtime, limit access to some of the toys or pieces. Keep them out of reach so that your child is motivated to label what they’re after or request “more!” Having a small tub or bucket that only you can access is helpful.

 2. Understand their communication needs.

If your child relies on visuals to understand their environment or to communicate, make sure they are accessible to them at all times. You can use a visual or written schedule to help them understand the routines and expectations for play time, such as sitting and packing away toys.

3. Work with their interests.

 If the reward isn’t motivating, then your child is unlikely to work for it! Be sure to work with the toys and activities that they love. Don’t expect your child to request ‘more’ of something they hate doing! 

4. Celebrate their communication!

Reward and celebrate every communication attempt – it might be a single word like “help”, pointing to a desired object, or even looking at you expectantly. Reinforce their communication by giving them the item they want and by copying their words or actions.

Your Speech Pathologist can help too!

Your speech pathologist is a key player in your child’s communication development. They can support you in a number of ways:

  • Your therapist can arrange a telepractice session with you to observe your child in their home environment and make recommendations to support language development.
  • They can develop your very own visual supports for use at home, including core instructional symbols like ‘sit’, ‘finish’ and ‘pack away’. They can also provide symbols for house hold items, toys and routines.
  • Most importantly, they can help you to understand your child’s communication needs and make recommendations that are specific to your child’s skills.


By Christine Merhi
02 8065 1197

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that is motivating and rewarding for your child!