Thanksgiving pie on a decorated table

Thanksgiving season is upon us. It’s a special time for families to come together, celebrate and be thankful. For children who have a communication difference, this holiday is a great chance to work on their communication skills and feel more confident. In this post, we’ll explore some simple ways to help support children with communication differences get ready for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Suggestions for increasing communication
  • Create a Communication-Friendly Environment: A child who has communication differences needs the support of an environment where they feel comfortable to be successful. To create a communication supportive environment, consider the following.
    • Setting aside a quiet space for conversation to minimize background noise.
    • Encouraging family members to be patient and attentive listeners.
    • Using visual aids like picture cards or communication boards to facilitate communication.
  • Get Ready to Talk: Thanksgiving often means chatting with relatives and friends. Before the big day, work with your child to practice key phrases they might use during Thanksgiving. These could include:
    • Thank you”
    •  “I’m grateful for” 
    • “more please.”

Working with your speech therapist and rehearsing these phrases can help your child feel more confident and prepared for social interactions.

  • Use Pictures: Encourage Non-Verbal Communication: It’s important to remind your child (and guests) that there are many ways to communicate besides speaking. You might want to practice using the following to communicate before the big day: 
    • use gestures
    • facial expressions
    • picture cards 
    • a communication board with pictures on it to help your child express themselves
Helping everyone better understand
  • Use a Social Story: Social stories are a great way to prepare children with communication differences for social events like Thanksgiving. A social story walks your child through the day and includes pictures and simple text to help them understand what to expect and how they can respond. Here are some free resources where you can find social stories: 
  •  Make Everyone Feel Welcome: It’s important to educate (or remind) your family and Thanksgiving guests about your child’s communication differences. You could try:
    • Making a phone call or sending a message to explain how they can support your child could make the day more enjoyable for everyone. 
    • Encourage them to be patient and kind. 
    • Tell them the different supportive items you will have in place (quiet area, social stories, etc.).
    • Share with them how you and your child are preparing to communicate on the day (share this blog post with them). 

We want everyone to feel comfortable and included on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a time for coming together and giving thanks. By using these simple tips, you can help kids with communication differences feel confident and part of the holiday fun. Encourage them to communicate, join conversations, and enjoy Thanksgiving with the family. With your support, Thanksgiving can be a special and happy time for everyone.

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