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am a volunteer at developmentally disabled day care center>23 yr old female, has limited vocabulary, i.e., oh god![when offered food she doesn't like], no way,[regarding unwanted food], >'i hungry'

rubs tummy>...'potty' says thank she able to speak more and can I assist in increasing
her vocabulary?


Asked by Granny144 at 3:28 PM on Sep. 21, 2013 in Special Needs

Level 4 (32 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (4)
  • The best thing you can do is talk to her, and not in baby talk. She might pick it up; she might not, but I'll bet she can understand a lot more than she can verbalize. If you want to try and teach her words, start by focusing on nouns, concrete objects she can see and touch. Those concepts are a lot easier to introduce than abstract ideas or the minor words in sentences like adjectives an prepositions.

    Answer by Ballad at 4:20 PM on Sep. 21, 2013

  • There's no way to know unless you speak with her family members or other workers that have been around her longer. You can model using full sentences and try to get her to repeat them, but some developmentally disabled people never get to the point of using full sentences.

    Answer by missanc at 3:38 PM on Sep. 21, 2013

  • We can't offer a definitive answer. suggestion is to employ reflective listening with her. It's a matter of "contingent communication," which starts with paying close attention & being attuned to what she is communicating. It's when you receive the message she DOES send ("Oh, god!"), comprehend its meaning, and send back a message of your own that conveys that you are tuned in because it relates to what was happening for her. This contingency is the important aspect, more than any vocabulary you offer or ways you try to assist her development. Making YOUR contributions relevant to HER experience is the aspect that makes the difference.

    Every time she communicates or reacts in her rudimentary way, is an opportunity to work with her right where she is. The connection is what's important, and it is what will go the furthest toward "developing" her skills.

    So pay attention, notice, "get" her message, and show you did.

    Answer by girlwithC at 5:35 PM on Sep. 21, 2013

  • So in response to "Oh, god!" you might respond, "Oh, you didn't want any of this kind!"
    And behave appropriately (if you're the one offering the food, or if another staff member is) so that her message is "gotten."

    You also might explore the topic by asking, or making observations, about the dislike. There are many possibilities for why someone would reject an offered food item--it didn't look good, she wasn't sure what it was, she doesn't like that food item or dislikes that type of preparation, etc. If you are well-attuned (sensitive to her openness), you can make use of opportunities to explore the person in front of you, using her own reaction & communication as a starting point.

    It's more helpful if true connection (genuine interest in the person) is your primary reason for reaching out (rather than some "goal" of instructing or coaching.) But one thing that happens in those interactions is modeling expression.

    Answer by girlwithC at 6:28 PM on Sep. 21, 2013