Non-Verbal Communication Development in Children: The power of the point

non-verbal, babies, communication, non-verbal communication

Who has been bossed around by the power of the point! Did you know that if children do not point from an early age, it can be a red flag for later social and/or developmental delays? A point to indicate something or someone specifically is a key non-verbal communication gesture that parents are recommended to look out for. This simple gesture is a foundation expressive language skill for babies and toddlers.

Children are typically pointing from 12 months of age.

non-verbal, babies, communication, non-verbal communication

The point has power!

A point can mean:
  • Look!
  • I want that!
  • Not that one, that one
  • I want you/ I need you
  • That is the same as we saw before
  • Oh, you want me to show you I understood you (Where is the dog?)
  • And SO much more
If by 12 months children are not using the point gesture for all of these social interactional communication intents, then it is important to see if you can boost or encourage this non-verbal communication skill.

Children’s hearing & vision should always be checked to see if there are any reasons for concern!

If children are crying or whinging for something, then manipulate their finger so they are pointing at the thing you have guessed they want.

At the same time as you take their hand to format this important non-verbal gesture, help them point while saying “you want that ____, show me___”.

Play a game saying – “look” and exaggerate your pointing each time you show them something e.g. the light, the flower, the puppy

If they vaguely reach out or half-heartedly point – reward them for “pointing” by getting excited that they “told you something” – “OH you want the cup!!” Good showing me “and move their hand again into a point to reinforce that is was the non-verbal gesture that was good!

For further ideas on how to boost early verbal and non-verbal communication development in children take a look at our “FOCUS on TODDLER TALK” – it has heaps of video of Dr Sandra McMahon, Speech Pathologist, PhD explaining & demonstrating in easy to understand terms early foundation skills for talking and learning.

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