Callier Expert Offers Tips to Minimize School Stress

Molly Augustine

Molly Augustine

Children with language and hearing disorders face challenges when they move into new classrooms or schools.

The result can be poor academic performance and a sense of social isolation.

Molly Augustine, a speech language pathologist at UT Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders, says parents, teachers and other children can help minimize difficulties.

She recommends following these tips:

  • Talk to children face to face and on their level. This helps children know you are talking to them and helps you better understand what they are communicating.
  • Slow your rate of speech. Give the children more time to process what you are saying.
  • Simplify your language. Use shorter, simpler but grammatically correct phrases to aid comprehension.
  • Give only one or two directions at a time.  This can improve understanding and encourage participation.
  • Use visual information. Pictures, facial expressions, gestures or simple drawings aid understanding.
  • Seat the child close to the teacher. This helps children pay attention and hear what has been said.
  • Give the child enough time to respond. After asking a child a question or giving directions, wait 5 to 10 seconds. Children with language and hearing disorders sometimes need more time to process what is being said.
  • Provide structure and routine as much as possible. This helps children visualize and anticipate what is expected during the day.
  • Provide warnings before transitions. Go to the child and say that you are about to move on to a new activity.
  • Give the child a job. Assigning responsibilities aids attention. Children thrive when they feel needed.

Teachers are advised to talk as directly as possible to children with hearing and language disorders.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].