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Responding to Gestures

“Born To Hand Jive Baby”

Your child learns new skills by observing others and imitating what they do. Gestures are a non-verbal means of communicating. Your child needs to respond to gestures before able to use them to communicate. Using frequent gestures as we speak helps your child understand our message.

  • Pair newly presented words and gestures with specific activities so that your child becomes familiar with hearing the word and seeing the gesture combined.
  • Use gestures in many situations throughout your child’s day (e.g., meals, dressing, play, traveling, etc).
  • Point to specific rooms as you say, “Go to the bathroom/your room.”
  • Extend your arms to your child as you say, “Come here.”
  • Use gestures that occur naturally in your child’s daily routines.
  • Use those same gestures in a variety of situations.
  • Raise your hands up when asking your child, “Do you want to be picked up?”
  • Pat the chair as you say, “Junior, come sit down.”
  • Extend your hand with your palm up as you say, “Give me.”
  • Repeat the word “up, up, up” while bouncing your child up and down on your lap, jumping up and down, pretending to fly a plane, throwing a ball up and catching it, or when it is time to get up from a chair/out of the crib.

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