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helping with 'wh' questions and is the Talkability Book suitable for my DS?

(22 Posts)
Barmymummy Sat 30-May-09 10:47:06

2 parts to my thread really that I hope you can help me with...

My DS struggles with the 'wh' questions both in using and understanding. I am finding it so hard to teach him! He is usually ok with 'where' 'what' and just starting to get the hang of 'why' (hence a million 'why? q's every day grin) but he just doesn't get 'how' or 'when' at all.

How did you go about teaching them? He is 4 on Friday btw and has loads of vocab. Still dips into the echolalia but isn't reliant on it iykwim.

Secondly, the talkability book through Hanen. Because it is so expensive I am loathe to get it without knowing if it is going to help! Would it help me with my DS to achieve the above or is more aimed at building communication in general? We have no issues at all with him trying to communicate with us, its just what he says!


amberlight Sat 30-May-09 11:00:58

Good grief, it's nearly £100! They can produce a book for £2-£3 so that's a heck of a markup.

'How' is a really difficult one to learn. It often means "tell me the instructions to do this" but sometimes people use it to mean other things like "how are you"? Or "How's life". Those don't make any sense at all as sentences. I'm not 'how'. Life isn't 'how' either. Baffling. I have to learn what people expect me to say to those.

'When' needs a concept of time. Before now, now, five minutes, soon, today, tomorrow, some time after that.

I can manage those. I can't manage 'morning' or 'afternoon' particularly well, though. Night is ok if it's dark, but I'm still puzzled about the light bits of night in summer. Are they night?

In other words, not sure quite how to help you with this one, sorry.

PipinJo Sat 30-May-09 23:57:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lingle Wed 03-Jun-09 10:15:49

Bump to see if anyone has got the Talkablity book as have the same questions about it.

Wish so much I'd spent the money and bought "more than words" when DS2 was 2.0.

Does anyone think we could get our SALTS to buy it?

lingle Wed 03-Jun-09 10:17:56

also barmy have you seen moondog's posts recommending using a calendar to teach the concept of time?

Barmymummy Wed 03-Jun-09 17:16:16

Oh no I haven't! Will try and have a look for it later, thanks x

HelensMelons Wed 03-Jun-09 18:31:21

For our s&L we had (and have) these difficulties as well.

For 'when' questions we point to a pretend watch on our wrist. We also look at stuff that's done in the morning (face washing, etc) and other stuff that's done in the evening.

For 'where' we have arms out in front with hands, palms up with in circular motions (almost as if you are plumping a pillow) - we gesticulate like this and "where is the..., etc"

An example of 'why' questions - "which pictures go together?" and "why". Then a mixture of pictures but things that pair up like a tennis racket and a ball that type of stuff. Or put a circle around the odd one out and why?

Hope that kind of makes sense.

TotalChaos Sat 06-Jun-09 00:02:56

barmymummy and others - if you get it through Winslow publications then it's about £45 incl. postage. I got it last year, when DS was just starting to speak in fluent sentences, and found it was above DS's level. I will read it again over next few days and report back!

In terms of question words - advice from SALT was broadly the same as HelonMelon's post - to put visuals such as signs or pictures to go with the question words.

You might find this useful - not cheap but quite good -

That is also about £45 from Winslow.

lingle Mon 08-Jun-09 11:32:12

So you've got "Talkability" Total? Would love to hear your thoughts on it ........

TotalChaos Mon 08-Jun-09 12:17:19

I would say that to fully use "Talkability" a child would have to have a language age of 4, in terms of looking at some of the more complex stuff about tuning in/false beliefs etc as that involves abstract language about thinking/seeng etc.

I would say Talkability does assume a child can speak fluently in sentences, but not that a child has full comprehension - so that a child may need prompting to answer questions relevantly.

But there's some good stuff about linking in understanding of the world/play/story telling/pretend play to help language/social play that is suitable for younger children. The chapter on social play/play coaching is particularly good and even has some visual cue cards, and starts off basic, so would be relevant to a child who has difficulty joining in at all with play, as well as children who are OK with that.

In terms of conversation -
first the book talks about structuring the conversation - ICE - initiate/continue/end - i.e. how to behave at points in a convo

Then it talks in more detail about the "I-Cues" - to keep the convo going -
so to help you take your turn, you
*Include your child's interests, ideas and words, Interpret his message,
*Introduce your own Ideas,
*Insist on a change of topic,
and to tell your child that it's his turn you
*comment and wait,
*ask a question and wait,
*make it easier to answer your question and wait
*hint and wait
*make a suggestion and wait
*tell your child what to say or do, and wait.

The more conceptually complex stuff is to do with tuning in to other people - they separate it into 5 stages .

1. want words - so understanding different people want different things
2. think words - encouraging child to think about what others are thinking - e.g. I think that cloud looks like a car, what do you think it looks like. focus on words like "think/know/forget".
3. understanding that seeing leads to knowing. so letting your child know you don't see what he sees. e.g What are you doing? Playing with THIS. Daddy can't see the train, tell him you're playing with your train
4. Understanding hidden feelings. Start with talking about what somebody else is saying that isn't directly to the child (e.g. daddy says it's cold today). Then highlight difference with what people say and mean E.g. he says he's not hungry but he really wants a cookie.
5. Understanding false beliefs. E.g. the children in the story had 2 different opinions about monster in the story and only one of them was true.E.g. LIttle Red Riding Hood.

In summary - it's useful and builds on ITTT - you could argue either way as to purchasing it now - as on the one hand you won't get full use of the more subtle social skills chapters- but on the other hand, there's no harm in percolating the ideas as your child's language develops

(creepy wannabe stalker emoticon required) - but if any of you lovely ladies are in Liverpool/Manchester area I would be happy to come over, meet for coffee and let you flick through the book to see if it appeals.

TotalChaos Mon 08-Jun-09 12:18:57

barmy - back on main point of thread - we did a narrative group course with SALT last year - they did some exercises where they had little piccies relevant to bonfire night/Xmas/holidays and asked the kids to say WHEN each piccie belonged to. And more simply they had sheets with Day and Night on, and asking WHEN got kids to say whether an activity like getting dressed/brushing teeth etc was during Day or Night.

lingle Mon 08-Jun-09 17:42:14

thanks total you just saved me some money for now........

our conversation age is about 2.9 and receptive language age about 2.4 I think.

Barmymummy Mon 08-Jun-09 20:36:23

Oh gosh I had forgotten to check back at this thread! Thank you sooo much for your replies, esp chaos for your fab post, very much appreciated, x

iwearflairs Mon 08-Jun-09 22:07:26

Hi, I've just found this thread - ditto total, that is really interesting about conversations and I will definitely use it.

My DS is 5 and highly verbal but doesn't understand the social use of language and taking turns in conversation. He has been described as hyperlexic but seems ok with 'wh' questions, but he finds pictures in storybooks hard to interpret and also finds any emotional content that is not people being nice or funny hard, almost impossible to tolerate.

Is there any advice on how to help a child come to terms with the range of emotion - would the Talkability book help with this?

TotalChaos Mon 08-Jun-09 23:37:01

weeeeell - the book seems to focus on encouraging eye gazing by waiting before doing /saying things - idea being that it gives the kid a reason to look at you. and the book seems to think of encouraging eye gazing as the best way to get kids to tune into emotions/see the subtle differences in facial expressions. It's the one bit of the book I'm a bit hmm about - partly because I find eye contact very difficult myself! other advice about encouraging "tuning in" seems to be exaggerate bodily gestures etc accompanyting emotions...

iwearflairs Mon 08-Jun-09 23:43:40

I don't think I have ever been good at eye gazing either! Actually I try to make myself do it more recently and it isn't so bad! Thanks for responding - am a bit down this evening due to having been bitten by DS this afternoon!

lingle Tue 09-Jun-09 09:00:50


There is a quite a detailed section in Greenspan's "The Child with Special Needs" about how some SN kids are very wary of negative emotions and with suggestions of how to get them to deal with them through play (gradually building them up to the point where they can say "I feel cross!", etc).

sc13 Tue 09-Jun-09 13:33:36

Have just ordered the Talkability book - I already know it's way over DS's present stage, so when it arrives I can lend it to someone who wants to have a look

lingle Tue 09-Jun-09 15:27:18

ooh me please!

Am feeling good about myself as have finally passed on that "Highly Sensitive Child" book.

iwearflairs Wed 10-Jun-09 11:30:04

thanks lingle - will look it up. I am gradually working on reading books to DS with scary or sad bits and he is very curious but doesn't like it.

sc13 Wed 10-Jun-09 11:34:17

Hi there Lingle! I'm flying under the radar a bit because I've finally got to the point where I have to do some work or there will be some serious explaining to do! The book hasn't arrived yet, but if you have an e-mail I can give you a shout when it does.

lingle Wed 10-Jun-09 12:01:13


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