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Day to day communication with toddler(4 Posts)
My toddler hasn't been diagnosed with anything yet but we're on the waiting list for her to be assessed for autism.
I'm really struggling with interacting with her on a day to day basis (she's 21 months).
I try talking to her all the time and saying what we're doing, playing with her, asking questions, showing her things and saying what they are etc.
I can't get her to interact with anything I'm saying or doing, she'll get me to play with her blocks with her but she'll only watch me build and then get angry once she's knocked it down. She doesn't respond to me playing and doesn't try copying anything I do or say. She can only say dada and just says that for everything.
What am I meant to do with her daily if she doesn't interact back? She doesn't even listen to me when I say things or just isn't interested. She can tell us she wants a drink by bringing her sippy cup over, and takes our hand to play when she wants to play. But when it comes to anything else she wants she just starts having a meltdown until I've finally figured out what it is she wants, which can take hours and often I never figure out what's up.
How can I play with her in a way she'll engage with? She loves blocks and will play with them by herself sometime but when she wants me to play she just disengages from it completely and I'm not sure what to do. It makes it very difficult for me to stay motivated to actually play because it's just me sitting there with her toys while she wonders around. But she'll get annoyed if I stop playing with her toys.
Have you tried doing intensive interaction with her. You essentially sit next to her and copy the things she does and the sounds she makes. So if she's playing with block you get your own blocks and copy what she's found. Then she can see that you are trying to enter into her world. There are lots of videos of people doing this online.
I also found with ds not talking so much was better and using simple one-two word sentences if I wanted him to do something. He was already spending a lot of time and energy trying to process all the sensory input from his environment and sometimes me talking or singing would send him over the edge.
Makaton and visuals were also very helpful here but that was more when he was a bit older.
I second intensive interaction. Also, the attention bucket is quite a good technique for younger children.
Don’t ask her a lot of questions at this point. The rule of thumb is a good one - make 4 statements (i.e. about what she is doing) for every question.
The other thing I would say is don’t assume she’s not listening or that she doesn’t understand. She may not yet understand the point of communication but she probably takes in more than you know and I’m sure it will have a benefit in the future, when she’s ready, so keep going with it.
Faye from Nurturing Neurodiversity has a little bit about this kind of intensive interaction about 10 minutes in to this video:
And also this one is a bit more practical/hands on and includes some clips of Faye doing activities with her sons:
The Nurturing Neurodiversity Facebook group is really good for support too. Lots of other parents there and mainly with toddlers/still waiting for diagnosis, so I'm sure you'd find others in the same situation.