Explain why behaviour can be seen as a means of communication.
Communication is a key part of a child’s development. This is broken down into 3 areas within the development matters document; Listening and Attention, Understanding and Speaking. As children grow they begin to develop their communication skills, if they develop their skills well then they should be able to communicate their feelings effectively. However children develop at different rates and where some children excel in communication skills others need support to help them to progress, these are known as SLCN (Speech, Language and Communication Needs). For children with SLCN it can be a frustrating time for them and this can show in the way they behave. They may have tantrums, scream, hit others or become withdrawn or shy. This can also occur in very young children who have not yet gained language skills to speak fluently enough to express how they are feeling.
Our setting takes children between the ages of 2 and 4 years old. During my time at the setting I have experienced many types of behaviour displayed by the children who are trying to communicate their feelings. The most common cause for their behaviour is that they have not yet gained language skills that can be fully understood by us as practitioners or other children. The behaviour comes across to people as being ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’ behaviour, however I know that there are reasons behind this behaviour. An example of this occurs daily in the setting and is usually about sharing. Two children want the same toy and the youngest child (who doesn’t have many words) begins to scream and hit the older child. At this point I need to intervene because they may cause harm to the older child. I try to explain, at their level, that it isn’t acceptable to be hitting others and try to support both children by suggesting turn taking or distracting the upset child by suggesting another toy/activity.
We also have a small number of children with SLCN, these children range…